Recap: Umbrella Academy S1E1 “We Only See Each Other at Weddings”
Over a year ago Netflix graced us with the Umbrella Academy series and it immediately became a hit. Great characters, a compelling story, enough of a deviation to keep us comic fans on our toes but, close enough to the source material to keep us happy and, the soundtrack was a whole bop. The show mixed amazing music, with flawless acting, a story that even with all of its twists and turns was easy to follow and, some killer action scenes. In case you haven’t had a chance to binge this truly binge-worthy series (or you just don’t have time to rewatch it before season two starts and need a recap), I rewatched the whole thing so, that I could let you in on everything you need to know before Season two drops this Friday.
The Umbrella Academy Family (and their powers)
Number 1 Luthor aka Spaceboy – Superstrength and kind of indestructible.
Number 2 Diego aka The Kraken – Knife Throwing. Combat Fighter.
Number 3 Allison aka The Rumor – Vocal manipulation. She can get you to do anything by saying “I heard a rumor…”
Number 4 Klaus aka The Seance – Can talk to the dead… and soooooo much more.
Number 5 aka The Boy– he can travel through space and time. He also still looks 13 , even though he’s mentally in his 50s.
Number 6 Ben aka The Horror – He’s essentially a bunch of monsters in a people suit and can release the monsters at any time to attack.
Vanya aka Number 7 – Can manipulate sound waves to cataclysmic ends , making her the most .
Cha-Cha and Hazel – Agents from the time bureau on the hunt for Number Five to stop him from stopping the end of the world and keep the timeline intact.
In the premiere episode we get (most of) the backstory, we find out where the kids came from, their superhero origins, and what they’re up to as adults. Klaus is fresh out of rehab, Vanya is trying to get to first chair with her violin, Allison is a movie star, Diego is a vigilante, Number Five is still missing after 16 years (four months and fourteen days), Ben is dead and Luther is part ape and in space. They have been estranged for years and are brought back to their family home, monkey butler, and robot mom because their dad is dead. Luther believes that the death wasn’t natural and wants to investigate but, the rest of the siblings don’t have the same warm and fuzzy or dutiful feelings that he has.
We learn that Vanya is the only powerless one in a family of extraordinary siblings and as a result has spent most of her life feeling isolated and like an outsider. She wrote a book about her family and what it was like for her but, its publication has led to her being further estranged from her family. With all the kids back in their old house we see the ghosts of their memories of an unhappy and stress filled childhood. We learn that Allison has a daughter and an ex-husband who gained custody of her child because she used her power on her. As the kids gather to figure out what to do about their dad’s arrangements, Luther wants to figure out what happens to their father and he thinks that one of the remaining four siblings is responsible for his death.
We get to see the siblings as tweens on their first mission and get a glimpse of their powers in action for their formal introduction to the world and Vanya looking on, sad that she can’t be a part of the team, while her father reiterates, coldly, that there is nothing special about her and she can’t be. Back in the present Klaus tries to communicate with their father while super drunk and high, knocks over the urn with his ashes and as the siblings retreat to their rooms Luther puts on a record & plays Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” and although they are in different spaces, emotionally, physically and mentally they all dance along in their isolation and it is for sure one of the most amazing, emotionally, beautifully crafted, character establishing dance sequences on TV.
Then comes the lightning which calls all the kids outside to check out what’s going on and holy smokes, straight through the fabric of time comes NUMBER FIVE who nostalgically wants a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich and really wants to know the date. Turns out he was in the future and he’s back with an ominous, apocalyptic mission. At the patriarch’s funeral Luther protectively guards his father’s urn in the rain and while some sweet words are spoken, Diego lets out decades of fury and resentment for him causing a physical fight between him and Luther destroying Ben’s memorial statue.
The show showcases the cruel treatment of the siblings and Vanya’s isolation in a montage of the kids doing training exercises and getting an umbrella tattoo that no one seems thrilled about except for Luther, while Vanya draws on her own with a marker. We also see how the dad showed affection for Luther and none of the others and how he rejected affection because he was mission orientated. As Vanya pops her “medication” and heads home, refusing to stay at her family home with her siblings, Number Five heads off to find coffee at the diner (Griddy’s Doughnuts) the kids used to sneak off to as a kid and we see how he has discovered a new skill while he was in the future. Number Five has become a badass assassin and he fights his way to safety, killing everyone when a group of time agents show up and close in on him trying to bring him in.