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

Credit: Netflix

It’s Tuesday again, folks and we are getting closer and closer to a new season of The Umbrella Academy. We’re getting so close, in fact, that Netflix has released a new trailer and it’s a doozy. I have so many questions after seeing it. So many questions, but seeing as we are still five episodes out from the first season finale, I will wait to go through them with you guys. 

Instead, we’re going to get right back into our binge. We left off Thursday with Luther and his monkey chested origin story and ended up with a drunk Five back at Diego’s while Diego dealt with the death of his lady love Det. Eudora Patch, which is the worst thing The Umbrella Academy has done so far. It says a lot that it’s the worst thing considering what Leonard is doing to Vanya, but we’re not going to go there right now. That will come later. 

For now, let’s just jump in with the episode, aptly numbered “Number Five.” Remember, like always, spoilers abound.

  1. I feel bad for Five. He’s alone for at least forty years in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, having to fend for himself, going through puberty alone, having no friends, no reliable source of food, or shelter, or anything really. That’s tough for a pre-teen kid to face. Tough is actually a giant understatement, but this montage really shows just what Five faced and it’s only a fraction of what he faced out there by himself. It’s kind of heartbreaking. Though, I gotta ask, how did the Handler find him at the end of the world by himself? I can’t remember. I’m sure I’ll find out.
  2. And there’s the obvious exclusion of Vanya in the sea of dead faces. Seriously, why did I not pick that up before?
  3. I am still really salty about the writers killing Eudora and I hate, hate, hate, that it’s just what he needs to become a part of the bigger fight. They could’ve let her live and had Diego’s inclusion into the fight be tied to something else. I don’t know what, but it could’ve been something. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 
  4. Oh, okay. The Commission preserves the time continuum and that’s how the Handler found him. It’s why the briefcase in the previous episode zapped Klaus away on the bus. Alright. I got it now. I think I started focusing on Vanya’s story and just forgot everything else that happened.
  5. Ah, the Kennedy assassination. He doesn’t do it. Which, as we know, or as we might guess, this is part of the catalyst for the second season. Very interesting.
  6. I love that Allison is trying to make amends for what she unknowingly pulled as a kid, but I do feel like she’s trying a little too hard. She’s right about Leonard, though. Yikes. Just yikes. I mean, she told Leonard that the girl who was the first chair just stopped showing up and he’s like, “Yeah, that’s great.” You’re awful dude. Can we not?
  7. Klaus, in Vietnam, is the most heartbreaking thing in this entire series. The entire series. I know that Eudora dying is meant to be sad, blah blah blah, we know what I feel about that whole development, but this… this is far worse than that. Far, far worse. 
  8. Hazel just casually asking Agnes to lunch. He’s smooth. So smooth. Then they just sit there and eat and watch birds They are precious. 
  9. Aidan Gallagher is the best kid they could’ve chosen for Five. He’s incredible. His performance is so nuanced and perfect, I could spout his praises all day long. I don’t think anyone could have played him as Gallagher does. 
  10. Who leaves their windows unlocked anymore? Seriously, who does that? On that same note, I do love how we’re introduced to Vanya’s powers, though. It makes sense now why Hargreeves made her learn to play the violin and maybe some vain attempt to get her to control her powers.
  11. BONUS: Diego and Klaus rolling up in an ice cream truck playing a music box version of the 1812 Overture is brilliant and the perfect comedic moment in the middle of such tension. It doesn’t last long, though. How’s that for a vague ending?

I love this episode mostly because we finally get a glimpse of the Commission and the Handler (Kate Walsh). This is the piece we’ve been missing since episode one. It answers a lot of questions about Five, how he got so dang good at hand to hand combat, and why he went completely off his rocker. It’s such a fascinating look at his character, and if I remember correctly, the ending of this episode, partially pictured in the photo above, feeds directly into a deeper look with Five. So much hinges on Five and his job with the Commission that it doesn’t make sense that they waited this long to reveal it. 

Besides that, though, oh my goodness, this episode. We get to see more of Vanya’s powers which is extraordinary. I don’t know if it’s just me knowing what happens, but getting to see Vanya’s power is so rewarding. We’ve spent this entire time watching her struggle to fit in and figure out where she belongs in this family of superheroes and we finally see it and it’s so validating. It’s also played phenomenally by Ellen Page. I feel like a lot of the time she’s just known as “Juno” from Juno, but she is so much more than that and I feel like this show is a glimpse of that. 

Creepy Leonard (and what we learn about him this episode) aside, Vanya feeling powerful and actually feeling emotions is so precious and pure and Page embraces that with a carefree giddiness that feels special. However, it’s a dangerous kind of carefree giddiness and the audience knows that. While Vanya doesn’t, we can see the danger this brings and it is presented to us in such a disconcerting manner that it makes me cringe just thinking about it. 

But enough about Vanya. This isn’t the Vanya show. (Though, I guess, it probably should be.) Anyway, can I just talk about how brilliant and enigmatic Walsh is as the Handler? There is a strange dichotomy about her that I can’t pin down and I can’t wait to see more of her. Yes, I’ve already seen this show, but it’s been a year and I’m pretty sure I just started ignoring everything as Vanya started becoming more and more important. So, I just love the Handler and Walsh handles what little we see of her in this episode with poise and style and a bit of a snap. Plus there’s just something so interesting about a woman who dresses like she’s from the ’50s and smokes with a ’20s style cigarette holder and wears bright red pumps with an all-black dress that’s just so intriguing. I clearly have an aesthetic I like. 

Join me Thursday for “The Day That Wasn’t” as we pass the halfway mark and head downhill to the denouement. 

Shelby Arnold
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