Sunday, August 2, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Umbrella Academy' - A Final Confrontation at the Farm Reveals New Secrets and Betrayals in 'The End of Something'

Netflix's The Umbrella Academy - Episode 2.10 "The End of Something"

Reeling from the events of Dealey Plaza, the siblings head to the farm to help save Harlan - only to find themselves drawn into a deadly showdown.

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 season finale of Netflix's The Umbrella Academy.

"The End of Something" was written by Steve Blackman and directed by Jeremy Webb

On October 1, 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth despite none of them showing any signs of pregnancy previously. Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children. That's how the Umbrella Academy was formed. That was the first piece of information this series gave the audience. Those babies were special. They grew up with powers. All of them did. For a long time, Vanya thought she was different. She was actually the same as her siblings. They are powerful. And now, they finally have each other's backs. Diego and Five argue that it's smarter to go on the run instead of listening to Vanya when she says Harlan is in trouble. They know that the Commission is coming. They won't be safe anywhere they go. But they do decide to offer Vanya support because she has found a new family to love. That farm provided her a space to belong. She put their lives in danger. Carl is dead. Sissy and Harlan don't understand what's happening. Vanya is fully aware of her life now. She knows how dangerous it can be. She feels the urge to run to them and save them from this destruction. That only invites more chaos to the farm. That's where the big twist of this finale is revealed. Lila is also one of the children mysteriously born in 1989. The show hasn't delved too much into the mythology of that action. It was simply a weird circumstance that set the overall narrative into motion. It's not something that can be explained. It's simply something that happened. The world only got weirder from that point on. That has to be accepted in order for the audience to enjoy the story. None of the Hargreeves siblings seem to have questioned the nature of their existences though. It's also unclear how much of this story was actually told to them. Reginald adopted them knowing that they were different. They project so much of their insecurities and personality struggles onto his failure as a parent. After Ben's death, he punishes all of them for failing to be a team. Ben continually had to make sacrifices for them. Of course, he was scared as well. It took him years before he could accept moving on to the next stage of existence. He held onto his family bonds. He didn't have to leave them. He found that peace. And now, the narrative is shifting once more. The interactions the siblings have had in the past with their father have informed the decisions he had when forming his academy. During the dinner, he was baffled as to how these six people could possibly be his children. They didn't seem to share his sensibilities. He expects more from them. That pattern holds for such a long time. He was constantly disappointed. That may be fate no matter what when it comes to the academy. Or perhaps he could have built something better if he had adopted a different group of children with abilities. The siblings are unique because they grew up together. They could rely on each other. Vanya didn't always feel that love and support. But now, she has it in abundance. The family is immediately willing to offer the same to Lila after learning that she too has powers. She can absorb any abilities that someone else demonstrates. She can master it and turn it around against her opponent. That makes her very skilled and dangerous. That's why the Handler was so interested in her. That compulsion to be a mother came from wanting power not from trying to offer this child a loving home after disaster struck. Lila's parents were killed because the Handler wanted her. As soon as she no longer served a purpose, then the Handler had no problem eliminating her. The audience and Five witness that reality. It was always expected at some point that Five would listen to his father's advice and travel back in seconds instead of decades. That tip was provided episodes ago. It's weird how it took Five this long to see if it could actually work and be helpful to his interests. It means the show gets to depict the brutality of the entire Umbrella Academy dying because of the Handler. But it doesn't stick. Instead, the Handler dies and Lila escapes. Diego may admit his love for her but the journey will have to continue elsewhere on her own. She isn't a part of this family just yet. Harlan may still be. Vanya believes she can take away what she gave him. She thinks she has succeeded. The show teases that some remnants are still left behind. That would suggest this tragic love story isn't done just yet even though Sissy knows she can't put her son in harm's way. That's what Vanya's life is like at the moment no matter what time period she lives in. It will always be dangerous. The Commission may have new leadership. The Hargreeves siblings are respected. But they also return to a future dramatically different than what they had known. The apocalypse has been averted both times. Reginald is still alive. He just has a new academy. One led by Ben. One that will likely be just as skilled as the siblings. They will have to continue to fight for a place to belong while relying on each other. That support is enriching in all of their lives. They save the world. They make things better. Their lives just grow more complicated as a result which is once again seemingly the burden they have to bear because of the abilities they have. More opportunities are given to them. And yet, Vanya and Allison can't take their loves to 2019 with them. That's devastating and means the personal stakes of this season were much more effective despite the insanity always present in the narrative.