Better Late Than Never: 10 Random Thoughts on The Umbrella Academy Episode Four

Credit: Netflix

Is it Thursday again? Time is just flying by, I tell you. I hope everyone is enjoying my trip through The Umbrella Academy before the new season drops this month. I’ve enjoyed rewatching the show and picking up on things that I’ve missed. Let me tell you, I’ve missed a lot. 

We left on Tuesday with Diego and Allison discovering Luther has a gorilla torso and no one was told. Of course, this all happens after Hazel and Cha-Cha attack the house and earn more than they bargain for when they’re met with the three. Vanya was made to feel worthless again (surprise, surprise) and Diego, sadly, decommissioned Mom in a heartbreaking scene I forgot existed. Whoops. 

Anyway, let’s hit up episode 4 “Man on the Moon” and see what more nonsense the Hargreeves children can get themselves into.

  1. We immediately jump into Luther’s story, seven years ago, and he’s alone in the Hargreeves mansion and he’s normal. Lonely, but normal. He doesn’t have a gorilla body. He’s just stuck in a perpetuating loop of boring time. Until Pogo calls on him for a mission. I like how we see a bit of him with Reginald. For a moment, Reginald seems to have regrets that Luther is the only one left in the mansion for missions and he does seem to care about Luther after Luther is hurt. But it’s still not enough. Not enough for Luther, especially seven years later and Allison knows that. I like how Allison tries to reconnect with Luther but I don’t like that Luther pushes her away. 
  2. You know, for a moment, I actually liked Leonard. For a moment. Just one. He seemed genuine walking with Vanya to rehearsal, but then again… he’s still squicky. 
  3. Oh, Diego. I really started feeling sympathy for him after Mom “died.” He isn’t my favorite character at all. In fact, he’s still right behind Luther in characters I dislike, but he and Eudora and his relationship with Mom. It’s heartbreaking. 
  4. And there is the moment with Leonard that immediately made me hate him again. Forget Hargreeves and Cha-Cha and Hazel. Leonard is the true villain of the show. No one can argue with me. 
  5. Pogo is the all-knowing, all-seeing, ambivalent leader of The Umbrella Academy. I don’t make the rules. He just is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that he is the true leader of the house. Maybe he always has been. He definitely stepped up and filled the void that Hargreeves left in the children, and did so quickly, which makes me think he was always the defacto head. 
  6. High Cha-Cha and Hazel at the MeriTech lab are fantastic. I don’t like the editing they did, but the soundtrack is great again. It’s always great and it always coincides with them being on the screen. I want to know what made the producers choose to use great music with them and Five. It had to be a conscious decision. 
  7. So it turns out that heartless assassins in child masks have feelings about the apocalypse. That’s a bit unexpected. 
  8. Ben, yes, that’s Ben, the one who died, is so good for Klaus. He is his voice of reason and thank goodness for that because Klaus needs a voice of reason because Klaus is crazy. But I love his craziness. He’s easily my favorite. 
  9. Thank god for Allison trying to be the voice of reason about Leonard. Someone needed to be. End of. Because, boy, Leonard is the worst. 
  10. I hate the ending of this episode. I absolutely hate it. I mean, I love that we get to see Klaus’s power in full swing, but at the same time, damn I hate the end of this episode. It’s unfair and it falls into the oft used trope of killing off the woman to motivate and spur the male into action. It’s so unfair. I hate it.

I could almost say that this is my favorite episode so far. Almost. The thing that changes it all is that ending. That ending drives me absolutely bonkers. Everything after that moment, like Klaus getting teleported to God knows where in front of that cute little lady on the bus is golden, but the writers, and by extension creator Gerard Way, had to go and kill Eudora for the sole purpose of propelling Diego’s exposition forward. That, my friends, is an unforgivable trope that has gotten a lot of attention from viewers and it’s not lost on me here. It almost makes me not want to continue, but since Diego isn’t my most favorite character, and he isn’t the character I’m following the closest, I’ll forgive it a little bit so I can keep going forward. 

Other than that moment, I love this episode. Truly. There is a lot to like about it like the development of Allison and Vanya’s relationship, which ends up being so very important to later episodes. The audience can see that Allison really cares about Vanya and regrets how she used to treat her sister. And her motherly (and sisterly) instincts about Leonard show another facet to her character that we’ve yet to see so far. We know she loves her own daughter, but since we don’t get to see her in the show, Vanya inhabits that role in a lot of ways. I don’t know. I like Allison and Vanya’s dynamic and I like that we finally get to see it more in this episode. 

I also liked Five in this episode, but I always like Five. He’s not in it much, but when we do see him, he’s in charge and not taking any garbage from that MeriTech worker, but I think I like him best when he’s drunk as a skunk in the library and then trying to talk to Luther and Diego as they walk to Diego’s. Strong characters showing their vulnerability is my kryptonite and Five does it better than Luther and Diego, even though Diego had his moments in this episode too. We get a lot of vulnerability in this episode, actually, and maybe that’s why I like the episode so much. 

Ellen Page, David Castaneda, and Aidan Gallagher are on top form this episode, as is Robert Sheehan. The acting just keeps getting better and better. I do have to say that the writing is getting better too, but it’s lost the narrative structure I liked so much. I understand why they had to, though. They couldn’t keep dropping us into the middle of the narrative and expecting us to keep up, especially as this show was created specifically for binging. But at the same time, even though I like this episode, and it’s my favorite save for Eudora dying, I feel like things are getting stale. So much so, I don’t even remember what the next episode’s about. I guess we’ll find that out together. 

Join me next Tuesday as I pick up with “Number Five.”

Shelby Arnold
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