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

Credit: Netflix

It’s Thursday, so welcome back to Better Late Than Never as I continue to binge through The Umbrella Academy before the new season drops July 31st on Netflix. If you missed the first episode you can read my thoughts and my mini-review here. Please remember that I’ve seen this show before so there will be spoilers in both my thoughts and my reviews. 

Today, we’re diving into episode 2 titled “Run Boy, Run.” It’s a pretty apt title for an episode that focuses so closely on Number Five and his discontent with his father as well as his search for the truth and why the apocalypse is bearing down on them in seven days. 

So, let’s get into it. Here are my thoughts. A review will follow. 

  1. I adore the little details at the beginning of this episode at the dinner table. Hargreeves sits at the head of the table indicating power and control over the children. Mom doesn’t eat so Vanya sits at the foot of the table indicating her powerlessness, but there’s more to it. The foot of the table is usually reserved for the mother of the family. The mothers, traditionally, have slightly less power than the fathers but still control the family or, in essence, still have power, albeit less than the patriarch. Another little hint at Vanya’s position and what she will soon become. Also, Hargreeves makes sure to keep a seat, on each side of him, between him and the children indicating their tumultuous relationship with each other and the fact that he can’t stand kids.
  2. The soundtrack for this show is incredible. I don’t think I can say that enough. 
  3. I mentioned something about the timelessness of this show on Tuesday, how some things look old and some things look new. I also appreciate how there are no defining qualities of the location. We don’t know where this is taking place. The police don’t give their location when talking to Agnes at the doughnut shop. The skyline is nondescript. Even the cop cars don’t have a city name on them. This could be happening anywhere and I think that’s really cool.
  4. Klaus is the most chaotic character I think I’ve ever seen written. He is literally the best and I love how the show handles him and his relationship with Ben. It’s both great writing and great editing. 
  5. Eudora and Diego are the cutest couple in this entire series. Sure Agnes and Hazel are cute too, don’t get me wrong, but there is just something about the straight-laced girl cop and the renegade ex-superhero that just gets me in the feels. I don’t think I could properly explain it. It’s also nice to see a strong woman holding her own against the stereotypical macho man that Diego gives the audience. I mean, I know Cha-Cha is a strong woman who doesn’t need a man, but I just love Eudora. 
  6. Klaus and Five at MeriTech is also the most chaotic thing I’ve ever seen. Though, I have to say, even though Klaus is high most of the time and isn’t presented as a smart person, he really is probably the smartest and most capable family member, next to Vanya. 
  7. Oh, Leonard. Leonard, Leonard, Leonard. You know, looking back, he was always super squicky and slimy looking and feeling. Like, it’s an automatic no go for launch with this dude. I don’t care what anyone says. The relationship might have started out cute, but no. Nope. 
  8. Pogo knows what’s up. He’s kind of like the all-seeing eye of the Hargreeves house. Forget Mom. She’s a throwaway character, but Pogo… I love how he drifts in and out of the kids’ lives and their presence and presents the things they need to see. It might not be what they want to see, but it’s what they need to see. 
  9. Was anyone else really surprised the first time they watched this and found out Dolores was a mannequin? It does lend a bit of credence to Vanya’s worry about Five losing touch with his mind and reality. 
  10. The ultimate question is: did they ever explain why Hazel and Cha-Cha wear those ridiculous masks when coming to kill Five? What’s the point if he already knew they were coming? Granted, he doesn’t know what they’ll look like, but still. It seems a bit overkill on their part. 
  11. Bonus! The slow realization that Five has as he realizes that his brothers and sisters are all dead in the future is the kick in the teeth that the first episode needed to signify urgency. Looking back, though, it’s pretty obvious that Vanya was missing. 

As much as I love “Run Boy, Run,” I still feel like this episode was too slow in the scheme of things. It presents a whole lot of plot threads for the audience to pick up on, but, in my opinion, you can almost skip this episode and be perfectly fine understanding what’s going on. Maybe not because there is a lot happening, but, again, a lot of the character’s actions lack urgency. They’re still all meandering around like nothing is going on. They’re still in the post-funeral haze of their lives. 

Luther and Five are the only ones that sense the urgency but just two characters out of a whopping seven, not including Eudora, Hazel, Agnes, and Cha-Cha do not compelling motivators make. Five, maybe, but Luther is often shuffled to the background in favor of Five so that argument kind of fizzles.

The Umbrella Academy could have easily been an eight-episode series instead of a ten-episode series and I think the pilot and “Run Boy, Run” are both indicators of that. When I first watched this show, as I said on Tuesday, I remember not being hooked until the third episode, and this just kind of proves it. 

That’s not to say this isn’t a good episode in regards to character development, because this is one of the best character development episodes so far. As I said Tuesday, TUA is a character-driven story. The plot might be strong, but at the same time, these characters are a bit more important than the plot and the audience gets a lot of character development here. We learn about Allison and her relationship with Luther. We also learn that Allison’s relationship with her ex-husband is strained, to say the least. 

We also learn about Diego and how he is still stuck in the past and still trying to make a life and a name for himself as a vigilante but the police have grown tired of his antics. The whole family has grown tired of his antics, truthfully, and it’s obvious he has grown up emotionally stunted because of his father’s actions. He and Vanya are the worst right off the bat but Vanya’s issues are still to come. 

Next Tuesday, we’ll continue the rewatch with “Extra Ordinary” and see what else the Umbrella Academy will get themselves into. Episode 3 is the one that kicks things into high gear and where things get interesting. I can’t wait. 

Shelby Arnold
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