Better Late Than Never: 10 Random Thoughts On The Umbrella Academy Episode 9

Credit: Netflix

It’s another Tuesday and it’s the last Tuesday before the new season of The Umbrella Academy drops this Friday. We are just one episode away from the season finale, which will be posted on Thursday. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look back at the first season and I hope that this has helped you keep up and refresh your memory before the new season. As I said last week, I think I finally got the hang of what I’m going to do for more of these so be on the lookout for my next installment.

For now, though, let’s get right into episode nine, titled “Changes” and see what shenanigans the Academy can get themselves into.

As always, spoilers abound.

  1. Stubborn, headstrong, obstinate, powerful, this montage with Vanya and the nannies is so delightfully creepy. Especially when it gets to Grace and she just rights her neck like it’s no big deal and I love it. I like Vanya in so many different ways. Misunderstood, powerful, all alone in the world. I always go for the loners and the misunderstood characters. This is no exception. 
  2. Oh my god, Leonard gaslighting Vanya and manipulating her is the grossest thing and I am waiting for the day that I won’t have to listen to him speaking ever again. 
  3. Ben is so tired of Klaus’s shit. “I like the sober you.” I’m with Ben. Sober Klaus is the best. 
  4. “You just Patrick Swayze’d me.” Accurate. That’s accurate. Ben and Klaus is the second-best platonic relationship in this entire show. 
  5. Vanya proving that she will always, always go back to her family and pick her family over anyone else is such a power move. Then her turning around and destroying Leonard in the way she did? Oh, man. I don’t condone violence toward anyone, but he was so abusive and vile. 
  6. Luther and Allison as a couple need to just go away. Go away and never come back. I hope they’re not a big part of season 2. We’re getting closer to finding out, but for now, dang, just go away with your creepy, incestuous grossness. 
  7. Hazel is such a badass. He just walks off a knife in the thigh like it’s no big thing. Even though Mary J. Blige is the best as Cha-Cha, Cameron Britton as Hazel is just so cool and confident but slightly nerdy and totally in love. Blige isn’t given the chance to grow as Cha-Cha or change. She remains one-note and static as a character. Hazel is allowed a full character arc and I’m grateful that at least one of them did. 
  8. “Cute butt. Nice legs.” “Anything a little more profound than that?” Five is like, “Look, I’m over fifty and came of age in the post-apocalypse by myself with half a mannequin. There is more to women than just their looks.”
  9. Luther doing what he did to Vanya just pisses me off something fierce. How dare he. How dare he. That is the worst thing he could’ve done. In the grand scheme of things, that is the most irredeemable thing he could have ever done and I will never forgive him for what he did and I love that the rest of her family tried to help her but Luther is number one. Because Luther is number one they all listen to him and it’s sickening. I hate it. I hate Luther. 
  10. Hello, the Handler. She controls time and she survived a grenade in the face. Another badass in the Commission. The Commission is just full of badasses and Five is the best, but the Handler takes the cake. 
  11. BONUS: I haven’t said this for a couple of reviews but the music in the show is so carefully curated and perfect for each moment it’s used. I love it so much.
  12. BONUS bonus: A completely soundproof room doesn’t block out the beat of a heart. There’s a song reference in there somewhere. If you can find it, kudos. 

Guys, this is the best episode of the series to date. Hands down. So much happens in this episode. So many characters grew and changed and experienced hardships. There is no doubt that these people will be irrevocably different when we head into the second season of the show and I am here for it. As always, the standout performer in this episode is Page as Vanya. Another stand out, as always is Aidan Gallagher as Five. But, you know, we finally get some good stuff with Luther. I say good stuff and mean the word “good” as loosely as possible. There is absolutely nothing good with the way that Luther changes. He started out as a bit of a blank slate, but once Vanya shows her power, he and Diego automatically turn against her and lock her up “for her own good.”

There is some terrific acting on the part of Page and Raver-Lampman in the scene with the Academy in the bowls of the mansion. Raver-Lampman does some phenomenal work despite being unable to talk. I felt so bad for her and Vanya as Luther and Diego blocked her and the others from helping Vanya. Honestly, that is the moment that solidified my dislike of Luther. I didn’t like him before and now I definitely don’t like him even more. And poor Tom Hopper, again, tries so hard, but he just comes across as wooden and stiff. Again, maybe that’s a character choice because Luther isn’t the most developed character in the show, but between all the other actors, he’s the sore thumb that stands out the most.

Other than some character quibbles, I will reiterate that this is the best episode of the series. The writers have finally found their footing as they attempt to balance every character and do so in an artful and creative way where no one gets shafted. First seasons are always difficult and with a cast this large, it’s understandable that it took this long to get a good foundation. However, it is a shame that the first season took so long to get it right. There are some good episodes overall, but to wait this long and toil this long, I’m sure Netflix lost a lot of viewers like this, but for the people who stuck around, it made it all the more rewarding.

Don’t forget to join me Thursday as I finish up the first season.

Shelby Arnold
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