Friday, July 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Umbrella Academy' - Ray Learns More About Allison's Family as the Sit-In Approaches in 'The Swedish Job'

Netflix's The Umbrella Academy - Episode 2.03 "The Swedish Job"

As the sit-in approaches, Allison reconnects with Klaus, the Swedes chase Vanya into a cornfield, and Luther makes a distressing discovery.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's The Umbrella Academy.

"The Swedish Job" was written by Jesse McKeown and directed by Stephen Surjik

Upon landing in the 1960s, Klaus was allowed to survive and thrive. He always had opportunities afforded to him despite not fitting into the societal culture. When he was thrown out of a diner, he could simply be picked up by a wealthy white woman amused by his charms and talents. Those same opportunities are not afforded to Allison. Sure, she could use her powers to get whatever she wants. The last time she tried though almost led to her death. She lands in this time unable to speak for a year. She was still given the ability to prosper and find love. She has a committed relationship with Ray. They are married. She cares for him in a way where she is willing to risk everyone just to keep him safe. That love is apparent. She had to embrace a new life for herself. It's one still faced with heinous abuse by people who shout and force her to belong in a certain box. She knows the world is full of opportunities. No one should be held back or be told what to do based on the color of their skin. This is the work that invigorates her because she understands its importance. This is how she can potentially change the timeline. Many of the siblings have that desire upon landing in this era. Diego wants to stop the Kennedy assassination. That is his core objective. Klaus wants to prevent Dave from signing up for the military. They want to save lives. For Klaus, it's a way for him to feel heroic. He is labeled as crazy. His psychology seems like it can be pinpointed without much training in the profession. He is eager to please his father. Reginald shanked him though. He is rescued. Lila is there for him. All of this may only prove just how easy it is to deceive him though. Lila is actually the Handler's daughter. That is the big revelation at the conclusion of this hour. That is a perfect example of the show ending on an enticing note that doesn't have to be built around lethal imagery. Instead, it has an intense focus on the characters. Lila is feeding a story to Diego. She wants him to essentially protect her and feel like she isn't being abandoned once more. She plays into the idea that he has to save people. He has let her in very quickly. She has saved his life twice now. She reminds him of that. It's a debt that now lays on his head. He is aware of that support. He engages with it completely clueless to what is going on in her life. It's easy for her to sneak off and meet up with her mother who still operates with a vendetta towards Five. That is her personal motivation. It's not about the Commission and protecting the timeline. Instead, that burden can be left to the assassins who hunt down Vanya. Her powers save her once more. They aren't recklessly out of control. She does witness the scale of what she can do. She is also being shielded from the destruction of her past. She places her complete faith in Five. He is forthcoming. He is grateful to have a sibling who listens to him completely. That's only because she doesn't remember going through this routine previously. She doesn't know any of the angst that has plagued this family for years. That may be freeing for her in a way. But it also means she has formed a deep connection with Sissy and Harlan. Five doesn't understand that. Meanwhile, Luther is too caught up in his own sorrow and misery to build any kind of meaningful life for himself. Instead, he exists simply to be the muscle for a gangster. He's the man who can win fights whenever Jack Rudy needs him to. He can have that simple life with no one questioning if he belongs. That's how he has accepted living in 1963. He is anguished upon learning Allison got married at the same time he arrived in the past. She has moved on. That devastates him. But it's much more personally wrenching as Ray feels betrayed by his wife. He thinks he knows who she is. He believes they share the same values. She is passionate in this fight too. Instead, he is greeted by white family members that reveal she has had a very different life. One surrounded in mystique. One that gets a police officer to walk away instead of beating a defenseless Black man. It makes no sense to him. Allison's siblings don't see that as a priority either. And yet, it has to be a cause people speak up for. Allison needs this freedom to express herself despite the horrors the world does to her. It's a righteous cause. One that may be co-opted by the apocalypse on the horizon that will more than likely be the priority of this season. But this story proves that the show can do quite well when it features small stakes. Allison's life is being disrupted by her siblings who don't empathize. She enjoys the peace that comes from letting her guard down with them. But that is only her reality for a moment. It has to be more because of the demands her family asks of her. Her personal agency over her own identity has to be a priority as well. These siblings have to fight for that instead of always having to rely on each other to survive the crazy threats that want to end this world over and over again.