Better Late Than Never: 10 Random Thoughts On The Umbrella Academy Episode 8

Credit: Netflix

Welcome back to Better Late than Never. We are now only two episodes away from the season finale and a little over a week out from the new season of The Umbrella Academy. You might notice that my list for this episode is a little short. I’ll tell you why. This episode was so interesting and full of things that I had to pay attention to, I forgot I was supposed to be making a list. That and the episode was so straightforward that I didn’t have many questions or many observations.

So, here is my short little list of thoughts. Read to find out what I thought of the episode below.

  1. Aww. Allison and her daughter Claire are the cutest things ever. So is the animation that goes with the story she tells. It’s adorable. And her talking about Vanya is also sad. Then her using her powers on Claire and realizing all the times she used her powers to get what she wanted… Hmm, that’s brutal. 
  2. Also brutal? Vanya learning that she killed three people involuntarily. That’s harsh. 
  3. I think sober Klaus is far funnier than high as a kite Klaus. I stand by that statement. I really do.
  4. “This is a bad idea.” “Yeah.” long pause “I conjured Dad last night.” Robert Sheehan’s comedic timing is perfect. 
  5. There’s Pogo and then he just admits that he and Grace helped Hargreeves kill himself. There’s what Grace was trying to tell Diego in the day that wasn’t. I knew it had to come up another time. I didn’t realize it was this quickly after “The Day that Was.” 
  6. Agnes and her little map of all the places she wants to visit to go bird watching. It’s so precious. I love her. I know the next season happens in the 1960s but I hope that maybe a young Agnes can show up with an older Hazel. I think that would be a great parallel to explore. Whether they do it or not is another story. 
  7. The whole Diego/Patch murder…thing is so annoying. Like just let it go and move on. There are bigger fish to fry here and this side narrative just doesn’t work at all. Even if he’s let go by Patch’s partner. It’s still annoying. 
  8. But Vanya’s powers being based in sound wave manipulation is brilliant. Hargreeves knew what he was doing when he decided to put Vanya in classes for the violin. It is compassionate in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It’s a great character beat despite Hargreeves being an absolute douchecanoe. 
  9. Can Leonard/Harold just shut up for a little while? Talk about being a manipulative, controlling bastard. 
  10. That was easily the biggest twist of the entire series. It was bigger than learning that Vanya had powers. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. I did not see that coming at all.

This is Vanya’s world and we’re just living in it. Page deftly delivers the rage and the nuance that Vanya requires in these scenes where her world is falling apart and she’s discovering all these new things that she had no idea she could do. There are so many emotions going through Vanya and there has been such character growth that I think we forget that there is a reason why Hargreeves gave Vanya that medicine. Was it ethical? No, not in the slightest, but the thing is, everyone else can control their powers. Vanya cannot. Not only that, but her power is also tied to her emotions. Page delivers a solid performance that just continues to grow through the final two episodes.

As for the structure of this episode, “I Heard a Rumor” is, as I said, pretty straightforward. There is nothing odd or out of sync about it. We learn more about Claire, Allison’s daughter, and we learn a little bit more about why Allison and her husband are estranged from each other and why Allison no longer is using her powers. It’s such a beautiful and sad moment that parallels with that shock twist ending. We also see Hargreeves use Allison for the safety of himself and the Academy and that realization doesn’t sit so great with either me, as a viewer, or Vanya. I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again, but Raver-Lampman and Page have such great chemistry that it’s hard to see why this show wasn’t centered around them and their sisterly relationship from the start. I think the show would’ve dragged less with them more at the center. But I understand ensemble shows need time to find their footing as well as a good balance between characters. I just think that The Umbrella Academy took too much time to find their footing.

This episode had a lot packed into it, but it also wasn’t that interesting. Here is where I make the argument that, again, TUA should have had at least two fewer episodes to its roster, but that’s neither here nor there. For what it is, “I Heard a Rumor” is a good exploration of character and a good episode to start the downward slide toward the season finale.

Shelby Arnold
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