Saturday, August 1, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Umbrella Academy' - Five Presents His Siblings with a Deadline for a Better Future in 'Öga for Öga'

Netflix's The Umbrella Academy - Episode 2.07 "Öga for Öga"

After Five travels to 1982 to carry out his new mission, the siblings face a flurry of difficult decisions. Carl issues a warning to Vanya.

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.

"Öga for Öga" was written by Nikki Schiefelbein and directed by Ellen Kuras

A version of this episode's story would have focused heavily on Five's mission to kill the Commission's board of directors. Instead, that is the first act. That's an incredibly smart decision. Yes, that action sequence is important. It highlights just how skilled an assassin Five really is. It also proves that this organization may not be as influential and powerful as it always claims to be. It's all about the Handler's desire to be in charge. She makes promises that things will be different. However, she always throws a twist that ensures others suffer while she gets everything she wants. That's the true action and drama of this episode. The siblings only have 90 minutes to meet up and travel back to 2019. In doing so, they are under the impression that both versions of the apocalypse will be stopped. Again, that may not necessarily be true because the Handler is the one feeding Five that information. He simply has to hope that it is true because the alternative is much worse. He wants to return home. He wants to embrace the life he feels he should be living with his siblings. He has spent the least amount of time in the 60s. He has always forged ahead with the desire to prevent the apocalypse. He made this deal with the Handler because it seemed like the only option afforded to him. She is already planning on making him a scapegoat. It should be fairly easy for her as well. She can see the bigger picture. None of the siblings have that foresight. They shouldn't have to either. They should have access to normal and fulfilling lives. Instead, they are forced to accept that their lives will always involve extreme choices that have to be made simply because they are special. That is the burden they have to constantly carry. They see themselves as these grand figures who continually mess up the timeline and cause the end of the world. That is the narrative they have heard over and over again. It's how their father raised them. It's the message Five came back to deliver. It follows them around. Allison and Vanya have built lives for themselves here. Klaus has found a way to reconnect with his greatest love, Dave, in the hopes of saving him from death on the battlefield. Even Ben has found a way to connect with the world once more. Klaus may fight him every step of the way. And yet, his future is full of possibilities now that he has access to a body that can interact with the world. These powers are wonderful and miraculous. The siblings are grateful to have them. They make their lives incredible. However, Allison and Vanya connected with their loves on a personal level. Klaus did the exact same thing. And now, they have to make the devastating choice of whether or not to leave them in this time period. They don't want to say goodbye. It's a choice forced onto them though because Five believes everything he does is in the best interests of his family. The Handler doesn't buy into that argument. She just sees a skilled assassin. He is the best she has ever seen. And yes, all of the siblings can handle themselves in battle. The Swedes have come after them and none of them have died. That is hardly the only obstacle they have had to face though. Vanya understands that 2019 will be a more accepting and loving world for Sissy and Harlan. That trust and love is so apparent. It means they will try to move the entire world to stay together. They are stopped and Vanya proves her true strength. She is on a path to preserve and embrace those she loves. She doesn't want to hurt others. That still might happen though. The future remains uncertain. The family doesn't succeed in gathering together to return to 2019. The mission is a failure. Five is upset. He doesn't understand how his family could be this dysfunctional. The choice was easy for him though. He believes he can order and force his siblings into compliance. Luther may not have much keeping him grounded in this life. Klaus feels the urge to run away from his cult all the time. That isn't good enough. This family needs each other. They are never in complete agreement though. That makes all of this more complicated. They are racing against the clock and the world prevents them from accepting the happiness they each deserve. Allison loves her daughter. She will do anything to get back to her. Ray feels it's important to stay in the 60s and do the necessary work so change remains on the horizon for all marginalized groups. That passion is real and lasting. It's also effective storytelling because of how it all goes awry. The desires these characters have doesn't always ensure success. Sometimes it means Diego being recruited into the Commission because Lila is rebelling against her mother and wants him as her boyfriend.