Friday, July 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Umbrella Academy' - Lila Receives New Orders While Vanya Flexes Her Powers in 'The Majestic 12'

Netflix's The Umbrella Academy - Episode 2.04 "The Majestic 12"

While Allison searches frantically for Ray, Vanya contends with a crisis at the farm, and Five, Diego and Lila crash a party at the Mexican Consulate.

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 Majestic 12" was written by Bronwyn Garrity and directed by Tom Verica

Lila is an agent with the Commission. Well, she is at least working for the Handler. She addresses her as her mother even though she is fundamentally aware that the Commission actually killed her parents. She was trained and conditioned to be a skilled agent. She was set to follow in the Handler's footsteps. She takes orders from her. And yet, it never truly feels as if the Handler is aware of everything going on in Dallas. She suggests that it is all an elaborate show. Lila had no reason for concern when she fights with the Swedes. They are tasked with a slightly different mission. However, they are working in tandem with one another. It's a suggestion that may implode by the conclusion of this hour. Lila is tasked with protecting Five no matter what. She is forming a stronger connection with Diego. Five doesn't trust her. He has that mentality largely because he can only rely on his siblings to prevent the apocalypse. They are the only people who know that it's coming and what's at stake. Lila is simply native to this time period and unaware of what's actually going on. He is wrong in that regard. He may not suspect that she is an agent with the Commission just yet. She operates differently than the agents have in the past. It's always about taking out the targets who pose the most danger to the timeline. Lila is actually growing close to her target and forming an actual relationship. That may complicate things eventually. Right now, it's clear that she will save Five when he is in danger. She will still preserve that mission. Diego may be off getting distracted by his own baggage once more. However, he also has to suspect that something is off with her. He views their connection as grounded and real. She has no reason to care about what happens to Five. And yet, she chooses to protect him when fighting against the Swedes. That's suspicious. But again, a lot of random things happen in this narrative that the audience has to take at face value. It's real and genuine when Allison talks about needing something to ground her in this new life. She always knew that Five would come back eventually. However, she needed something immediate to fill her life with purpose and emotional stability. She is passionate about the fight for civil rights. Her coy nature about her family though is seemingly costing her everything she has built in this new life. She cares about Ray. She wants to explain her powers to him. Her inability to do so makes him believe that she is nothing but a traitor to the cause who will disrupt any mission that they embark on. It's only after that confrontation that she just happens to run into Luther. That is such a strange sequence. It suggests that the two of them could have bumped into each other at any point in time during the year when they both lived here. That never happened which seems incredulous. The show is full of those storytelling elements. It suggests that these siblings are naturally drawn to each other. Their lives are connected to each other even when they don't suspect it. They can't escape their fates of having to save the world together. Some of them want to plant roots and build something more meaningful. It's a whirlwind for Vanya to learn that her powers actually ended the world. And yet, her bond with Sissy and Harlan compels her to move forward with conviction. She is fighting to preserve something. Allison can relate to that. Luther is holding onto something from the past. He views Allison as the one great love he can have in his life. Anything that goes against that idea is suffering meant to make him miserable. Him getting high is less stylish this time than the first season. But it also just highlights the agony of his life and character trajectory. At least the audience has something to keep Klaus' relapse relatable and gutting. His love for Dave makes him do reckless things in the hopes of saving a life. That may be impossible because of the militaristic pride in his family combined with hatred for the gay identity. Klaus fights to make a difference. He may fail. That suffering is real and visceral. In other story elements, it feels like the show is simply delaying things just to prolong the narrative. That's incredibly annoying. And so, Reginald escapes from his children once more. He can continue to run the world with the latest covert and powerful organization. That has no real substance to it beyond the show using the buzzwords of "deep state" to make it tantalizing to the audience. That's unfortunate while suggesting that all conspiracies about power are actually true and people are too dysfunctional and broken to see it or make a difference. That through line has always been evident. It just makes it difficult to believe that a nondestructive outcome is destined for the conclusion of this season.