Before I dive into my thoughts on the return of that weird and wacky dysfunctional family known as the Umbrella Academy, I want to take a moment to say I am very glad that the series and Netflix decided to incorporate actor Eliot Page’s transition into the series. I haven’t seen it yet, but the Netflix plot descriptions mention someone called “Viktor,” and yeah, that does sound like it will be the character’s name at some point soon. However, I didn’t see that in the season premiere, so I’ll refer to the character as “Vanya” until then since, well, he hasn’t given a new name in-series for me yet.
Likewise, I am guessing this episode was filmed after Page did his own transition because, well, Vanya looks a little…off? Like, my guess is an obvious wig and not a very good one at that.
As it is, the Umbrellas return to their house to find their father Sir Reginald Hargreeves not only still alive, but he says he isn’t their father because he is really the adoptive father of the Sparrow Academy, a team of heroes that are actually loved and respected by the outside world. The Umbrellas refuse to leave, including Five who I would have thought would have figured out what was going on without being told. Klaus doesn’t get it, obviously. He keeps trying to connect to brother Ben, but I kinda figured out what happened from the moment the Sparrows appeared in season two’s finale, namely that Sir Reginald, so unimpressed by the Umbrellas (except for Five, but whatever), just decided to adopt a different batch of kids to raise as superheroes. And yeah, Ben would be there because the Sir Reginald couldn’t see Ben’s ghost in the past.
As such, the fight is there mostly to show off what the Sparrows can do, remind the audience the Umbrellas largely suck at fighting, and eventually get the Umbrellas out as they realize what all this means to them, setting up a new home base in the nearby Hotel Obsidian. They’re in a new world, one where they were never adopted by their father and never became superheroes or even famous. Alison doesn’t seem to realize that means her daughter likely doesn’t exist, but save that drama for later. Alison makes no sense to me more often than not since she keeps trying to use her fists in fights when her voice can literally make opponents freeze in place.
So, the Umbrellas, after some reflection at least among the boys, realize that this could be a very freeing experience. All they have to do is avoid their alternate selves so they don’t get paranoid and crazy, and since those babies were originally scattered across the globe, that seems unlikely. Diego won’t give up the house, but he was taken down by some hallucinogenic spit from one of the Sparrow girls to imagine the fight as some kind of dance-off, then spent most of the battle tossing knives at one Sparrow who appears to be some kind of floating cube.
That hallucinogenic spit also did a number on Five, the only Umbrella who does know how to fight well. Klaus mostly ran away. Alison eventually froze one Sparrow, one that had no eyes but saw through ravens she could control, and Vanya eventually let out a blast of whatever it is she does to knock out all the Sparrows long enough for her siblings to get away.
There’s a lot to like on display here, but there generally is for The Umbrella Academy. Opening the episode with some kind of dance off after showing what all the different Sparrows can do was a nice touch. The Sparrows work well together, but they aren’t, for the most part, all that pleasant as people. Yes, one Sparrow woman and Luther seem to be somewhat taken with each other, but beyond that, these aren’t pleasant people. They care about image and being the best, and Sparrow #1 Marcus–who is either super-strong, super-agile, or both–believes Vanya must be the Umbrella’s leader since she is clearly the most powerful and took the Sparrows down in ten seconds.
Oh, and Sir Reginald, in private, appears to be…subservient to them? That doesn’t seem like a good thing to me.
Then again, it also wouldn’t be The Umbrella Academy if there wasn’t a doomsday scenario ticking away somewhere to destroy the world. It’s in the Hargreeves basement. The robot Grace seems taken with it. So, when Marcus, under an arrangement with Vanya, agrees to fetch the time traveling briefcase so the Umbrellas can just leave, goes down to get it, Grace lets him know this anomaly is from God, and I don’t know about you, but I would be very wary of a robot that found religion.
Point is, something makes Marcus die or disappear or something from that anomaly, and I suspect for the day to be saved, the Sparrows and the Umbrellas might have to work together. And right now, that doesn’t seem likely.
But I am sure to enjoy this weird and wacky trip in the meantime.