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Review/Recap: Helstrom S1E2 “Viaticum”


Helstrom S1E2 “Viaticum” starts off filling in a little bit more of the siblings’ backstory and gives some much-needed info on their family dynamic and shared family trauma. The family side of this dark supernatural drama is only part of the story in the show and in this episode. No sooner than the full family reunion kicks off we find ourselves drawn back into the mystery of the demon who’s inhabiting mom’s body and what it’s after.


Family Affair: After a decades-long absence Ana finally gets a one one one with her mom. In an attempt to “connect” she slaps her mother coaxing out a telekinetic attack that flings her and Dr. Hasting across the room. Daimon and Ana come to verbal blows and bring up a lot of family history after Ana’s visit with her mom and the slap that followed. There’s a lot of sibling bickering that seems realistic and rings true. There’s a lot of pain and jealousy and it’s nice to see the show showcase a real family dynamic with compassion and honesty.

The Big Bad: A man inhabited by the demon’s henchman gets picked up by a Good Samaritan who repays his kindness with a ruthless attack. Ana’s associate is trying to work out the provenance of an axe when he finds himself face to face with the skull that the demon sent his possessed acolytes to find. Of course, her partner lies to the Caretaker about being in possession of the skull, even though it was whispering in a wild old language when he was checking out the axe. I’m a fan of the way the show drops breadcrumbs in each episode about what the demon is up to, it builds suspense and keeps the viewer invested in what happens next.


Overall: So far the show isn’t perfect, it’s a slow burn on a long wick but, it’s pretty damn close. Helstrom S1E2 “Viaticum” builds on the tension and story from the last one. It’s well written like the pilot, beautifully shot, wonderfully acted and the directing is top-notch. I like the way the show highlights relationships between people and families, the ones you are bound to by blood, and the ones who choose you. We learned in the pilot that Daimon had Dr. Hastings. In this episode, we find out that Ana had the Caretaker when she got a little older. We also learn that there are two different factions who have been keeping the siblings apart for unknown reasons. There’s a lot of mystery going on in this show and while we don’t get a lot of supernatural power showcasing we do get a good story. The build-up to the full power blast that we are expecting to come at some point this season seems like a fun gamble that I hope is worth it. But, if I don’t get it, I won’t be too disappointed because the story is good enough so far that it’s still worth it to watch,

Review/Recap : Helstrom S1E1 “Mother’s Little Helpers”


Kicking off the first episode of Helstrom, n Portland, Oregon, Saint Teresa’s in under attack. In Salem, Oregon Sister Gabriella and Daimon have come to call on Mr. Cavallo and his wife who is dealing with an attack of their own from their demon-possessed child. After a few minutes alone with the kid, Damion realizes that the kid isn’t possessed just crying out for attention, and calls his bluff by showing him his power, setting the stage for a supernatural Marvel show that could possibly give us everything that New Mutants could never.

The Run Down: It’s 2020 so obviously I’m naturally afraid of anything that might bring back the murder hornet, so when the escaped Saint Teresa patients and the rogue guard make their way to a crypt in the City of the Dead and decide to open it up for the lolz, I get a little nervous. While Daimon is on the hunt for the escapees and wants to stop their plans, his sister Ana is working on things for the other end as she tries to find out why someone broke into the City of the Dead in the first place and what kind of demon they unleashed. Sister Gabriella is tired of being kept in the dark and her insistence on being kept in the loop she can report back to the Vatican might get her in more trouble than she can handle.


A Family Affair: Helstrom focuses on a family. This episode introduces some of the major players. Daimon, Ana, and their mother. In the first half of the episode, we get to meet them and see what each of them is bringing to the table. Ana has a side hustle where she hunts serial killers and uses her powers to kill them in a way that looks like natural causes, Daimon uses his power to fight demons, and mom is possessed by a demon who is up to something sinister. We are also introduced to Dr. Hastings who raised Daimon to fight demons on Earth but didn’t get to raise Ana, who still grew up to fight another kind of demon, the human kind who are mortal and still your everyday kind of normal monster.


Best Scene: The backstory montage complete with the tear-jerking follow up Ana and Daimon separation scene. It is well done, emotion-evoking, and done in a way that fills the viewer in on most of what they need to know to catch them up if they’ve never read or heard of the comics. We see the mother’s torment at the hands of the demon and her isolation, Sister Gabriella learning about the family history, Ana working on her side of the case, and Daimon trying to figure out what big bad is being set free and hoping to find a way to save her mother.

First Impressions: This was a well thought out, neatly packaged first episode that gave off a Dresden Files tv show vibe minus the campiness. There are touches of a procedural mixed with supernatural fun that gives you a story to follow and adds to the suspense. Every moment in the first episode builds up perfectly to the end scene where the siblings finally reunite and since everything fits together seamlessly you get the feeling like you’re about to embark on an epic journey with them. The show is dark in nature but, doesn’t take itself too seriously or lean into the campiness of the implausible situations that the characters find themselves in. The writers manage to find a happy medium where you get an otherworldly environment that feels based in reality. The show has just enough of the source material to keep the fans of the comic happy but, enough nuance and story arc to bring in people who have never heard of Helstrom. There is a hold back in the first episode that I hope they handle in future episodes, the reasons behind the sibling’s separation isn’t made clear in the first episode, nor is their paternal side fully brought up. I find it to be an interesting thing to tease by not go into because in some ways it adds more to the mystery. In other ways, it feels like a bit of a plot hole in a show that seems to have a huge story to tell and a lot to dig into. Overall I found the episode to be well crafted and enough of a taste to keep me around to see what happens next. I found myself invested in the story and the heart of it all, the characters were well written and the acting gave them enough life that they feel real.

Overall: 8.2

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E10 “The End of Something”

Umbrella Academy Season 2

The good news is the Academy averted the apocalypse, the bad news is they’re now tagged as terrorists (except for Five who the government thinks is being held as a hostage). Elliot’s loft is no longer a safe place since the Commission is clearly on the hunt for them and can find them anywhere and at any time. And, they still can’t stop arguing with each other from their individual insecurities long enough to figure something out we’re in for another bumpy ride with our favorite ragtag group of supernatural siblings.

The Vanya Connection: When calling to check in on Sissy, Vanya realizes her connection to Harlan and heads back to the farm to help her. After finally accepting her place in the family she asks her siblings for help and after some initial resistance, they all come along to help her save the kid.

Time Isn’t on Their Side: While Vanya is trying to save Harlan, the Handler and Lila show up to bring Five in for killing the board and she came with all of the available agents the Commission had on hand, so basically an army.

Say What? Remember last season when we were trying to find out what happened to the other kids? Well, it looks like the Handler found one and she’s basically Rogue. Also, Diego can control metal? That’s infinitely cooler than being able to hold his breath underwater for a long time. Vanya finally has control of her powers and Klaus can raise an army of the dead.  And, let’s not even talk about the WTF ending!

Side Note: Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why the Commission keeps coming for Five? He’s like a walking, talking, ass-kicking DMX lyric. Why do they keep coming for his level of smoke?

Final Thoughts: Because of the time period this season dealt with some pretty serious things and they did it in a brilliant and beautiful way. They had a realistic 1960s lesbian love story, tackled segregation, AND managed to have an ASD kid who didn’t get “cured” and have that be the ideal end result. All of these different types of people and different issues and they dealt with them respectfully and with integrity. Season One was amazing but, Season Two showed us something even better. The creative time kicked some serious ass, between the color palates and the beautiful shots,  the amazing acting and killer scripts, Season Two was an off the chain ride that is binge-worthy AF. This season dives deeper into the Academy member’s lives and origins leaving us to want to keep following their stories and lives.  Season Three has got some pretty big shoes to fill and some pretty big questions like do Vanya and Sissy ever meet up again? Does Dave go off to war and if he does, does he remember what Klaus told him and make it back alive? Does Ray become a civil rights icon? What’s up with Herb? Where in the (timeline) world is Lila Super Powered?  What’s the deal with the Sparrows? Is Five ever going to grow up?

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E9 “743″

Diego, Klaus, and Allison walk into the FBI. There isn’t a joke in there it’s how this episode of Umbrella Academy starts, right where we left off, trying to save Vanya from the FBI because their torture has caused her to go full White Violin. Diego and Allison can’t get through so it’s up to Klaus, we’ll actually it’s up to Ben because he’s the only one who can get close enough to turn off the rage in Vanya’s head.

On the Fives: Old Man Five doesn’t trust Teenage Five and they both seem to have a case of Paradox Psychosis so, neither one trusts the other one and they both want to kill each other. Poor Luther is stuck playing babysitter because he thinks that Old Man Five has a better plan.


Best Line(s) : “I will beat you…and NOT the way you like it.” – Diego to Klaus on the Vanya rescue mission

“You fought in Vietnam.  You survived a family of seven. You went to a fraternity party in a sarong and came home with a bunch of numbers. You can do this!” – Klaus to himself in the world’s greatest pep talk.

Episode MVP: Ben. Save the Vanya and save the world. Ben has spent most of the season being the voice of reason to Klaus and whether or not they know it, he has solid advice for his other siblings as well. His longing to reconnect with them and with life itself is emotional to watch on its own but, the lengths that he goes to in order to save his siblings with no regard for his existence in one of the more emotional scenes this season is beautiful AF and, earns him this episodes MVP status.

Double Trouble: I’ve been feeling all kinds of sorry for Luther this season but, it’s actually kind of fun to watch him have to ping pong between being the caretaker of the older version and the younger version of Number Five. The two of them trade barbs with each other and make all kinds of digs at Luther for his appearance and his intellect but, with the Paradox Paranoia setting in on both of them it’s kind of funny to watch it all play out. Watching the two Fives try and off each other adds a  whole three stooges level hilarity to the situation giving much-needed levity to an otherwise heavy episode.

Side Stories: Carl is mediocre cis toxic white male little d*** masculinity at its finest so, watching Sissy stand up to him,  take her son back and go off to live her best life was nice to see. The fact that he didn’t care that she wasn’t happy because since he did the bare minimum and felt that she should be happy with that. It was a real-life glimpse into how lesbians and women were treated in the time and it was well done and clever AF.

There’s also the matter of Lila finding out that Five was the trigger man on her parent’s murder and why she was an orphan and there may be more to her story than we know. But, now we’ve got to worry about Five because he doesn’t know she’s coming.

But, Why Tho: Watching the Handler snatch AJ out of his fishbowl and swallow (yeah, I said SWALLOW) the fishy chairman of the Commission’s board in one gulp, with a painful swallow after her meeting with Lila was gross AF but, on-brand for her character and the show.

The Final Countdown: Diego still wants to save Kennedy now that Vanya is no longer a bomb that starts the apocalypse. The season could have ended right here but, adding one more episode after Daddy Hargreeves “Told you so…” note to Diego as he tackled a decoy version of him on the grassy knoll, that whole secret Cabal murder meet cute and reveal and, the Handler’s call to war at the commission, I’ve got questions!

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E8 “The Seven Stages”

Diego gets kidnapped by Lila and misses the jump, she also makes him an offer to join the commission. Klaus shows up just in time to help Ray and Allison bury a body. Luther and Five are pissed the other siblings going MIA made them miss the jump. Vanya is being held by the FBI because she has a Russian name, speaks Russian, and seems to have some special power. Daddy Hargreeves comes across Grace finding out that he’s not who he appears to be and, all of this goes down in the first five minutes and those are the least intense moments of “The Seven Stages.

Mission Statement: While Diego slips into his role at the commission, Luther and Five head out to meet Old Number Five and convince him to give up his briefcase so that they can return home since he doesn’t need it because he can jump forward by himself.


Poor Vanya: Vanya is being tortured by the FBI and Diego learns that once again Vanya is the bomb that goes off. Kennedy lives but, the country goes to war with Russia.

Go, Diego, Go: Knowing that Vanya is the cause of the apocalypse again he used Commission agent Herb and a rogue briefcase to get Klaus and Allison to go stop Vanya. Because he went to those two instead of Luther and Five, I believe that he’s going to try and help her this time instead of killing her, which makes me happy because that poor girl has been through enough.

Episode MVP: Diego. Someone is finally making a good call and the usually hot-headed, guns ablaze, ask questions later Diego is taking his time and trying to do the right thing by his sister. The character finally has the nuances that his siblings have had the opportunity to take advantage of for almost two whole seasons. This is the episode where Diego gets his layers and it’s wonderful and exhilarating to watch.

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E7 “Olga for Oga”

At the end of the last episode of Umbrella Academy, Vanya had a heart to heart with Sissy and they decide to run but, Carl catches on, Daddy Hargreeves gives Five a theory as to how they can fix things right before he takes the Handler up on her offer to take out the board in exchange for her helping him get his family home and the remaining Swedes descend upon Elliot’s loft and torture him to death to find Diego. This time around Five goes toe to toe on an assassination mission to give the Handler full control, which we are sure is going to end up in a spectacular double-cross, Ben works on possessing Klaus and Vanya doesn’t want to leave without Harlan and Sissy.

That Fight Scene Though: Watching Five do a hatchet job and run through the board members while occasionally stopping to take drink is entertaining AF but, not as entertaining as watching the secretary try and come for him before he gets rid of the head of the board. It was quit, it was efficient and it reminded us what a little bad ass Five really is.


Brotherly Love: Watching Klaus try to stay awake so Ben can’t ghost jack his body is hilarious but, watching them argue is even more awesome. I loved the sweetness of the, lamenting over Dave and Jill, their respective unrequited loves, and when Klaus finally agrees to let Ben use his body to talk to Jill because he knows how it feels to have someone you are in love with and not be able to talk to them. It seems like Klaus is getting some clarity and empathy and Ben is finally going to get some connection.

The Devil’s In the Details: Well, the OG Handler kept her bargain with Five, after he killed the whole Commission Board, she gave him a time suitcase to get his family out of Dallas and 1963 BUT, the suitcase is only active for 90 minutes and he’s got to get all of his siblings together even though they all have their own agendas and are scattered through the city. What could possibly go wrong?

Episode MVP: Emmy Raver-Lampman‘s portrayal of Allison is pure fire. Because of Klaus’s eccentricity, Ben’s levelheadedness, Diego’s temper, Luther’s smugness and, Vanya’s brokenness Allison gets overlooked. Every episode she brings pure fire, compassion, and badassery but, it gets lost in the pure awesomeness of all of the other characters. This episode gave Allison a time to shine and shine she did. Her trying to keep a hold of something real or fighting the Swedes she was all fire all episode and as far as Emmy’s performance goes in making us feel connected and believing everything she was going through? Her name says everything I feel about her portrayal of Allison.

Oga for Oga: It’s Swedish for an eye for an eye and it’s an appropriate title for all of the carnage that the Academy and their Nemesis cause. Watching all of the time tricks and timeline changes go through, this show is the Butterfly Effect of Crank and there is always going to be a thing that causes the wings to just snap off. I liked all of the tender moments, doubts, fears, and feelings that come to a get pulled out on to the rug just to watch that same rug pulled from under us. The creative team is amazing at sucking us in and managing to keep the momentum going as the episodes progress, not just because we are in love with the characters but because they’ve created a world that feels so real we’re invested in how things turn out. We’re heading towards the final 3 episodes and I’m wondering how this is going to all wrap-up but, I’m also glued to the TV waiting to enjoy every last twist and turn that awaits me.

Review/Recap: Umbrella Academy S2E6 “A Light Supper”

Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 6

In episode six we see Allison land in the alley. She still can’t speak and she’s in a time where it wasn’t “good” to be a black person especially a woman. After seeing the “Whites only” sign she runs off disoriented and runs into a group of white men who hit on her, she attacks and ends up running from them, straight into a Black-owned salon. She still can’t talk but, she has a job and that’s where she meets Ray.

Team Zero: Diego and Luther fill Vanya in on the invite from dad and try as they try to figure out if it’s a trap. Ben confesses to Klaus in a roundabout way why he was itching to get back to San Francisco and they argue about how to best tell the cult what’s going on and he decides on telling them that he is a fraud but, it doesn’t go quite how he expects it to go. Allison gives Ray the rundown on her past and the future and he has lots of questions, starting with Barack Obama and the fact that there was a black man in the White House and be really wants her to prove it.

Dinner With Daddy: After all of the siblings receive the mysterious invitation from Daddy Hargreeves they find themselves accepting individually and showing up to meet him at the same time. The team reverts to their old roles in their dad’s presence and he is really mad that they keep calling him Dad because he doesn’t like kids.

Craziest Scene: Allison goes full revenge mode when she rumors the counter guy at the diner who threw hot coffee on her lap during the sit-in and called the cops, to keep pouring coffee while he burns his hand, scaring her husband and maybe giving him a better idea as to why she doesn’t use her power all the time and makes him question if she ever used it on him.

The Vibe: I know I’ve said this before but, I really enjoy watching Klaus and Ben’s interactions, it’s like he has a real-life conscience that can and will kick his ass. I also like watching Dave and Klaus reconnect when he shows up at the commune and they have a talk where Klaus tells him all the secrets he knows about him and tries again to talk him out of joining the army by showing him his dog tags, which Klaus has carried with him since his return to 2019. He finds out that him trying to stop him at the diner makes Dave sign up sooner and the heartbreak in Klaus’s eyes makes the scene cause full-on waterworks. If you thought that the last season of Umbrella Academy was trying to break your heart, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Recap/ Review: Umbrella Academy S2E5 “Valhalla”

Umbrella Academy Valhalla let’s loose a lot of surprises and explains a few of the academy’s feelings and actions that show themselves when Five first runs into them. We learn that in addition to not knowing if Allison survived he also had a rather gut-wrenching meet up when he sought out his dad upon arrival. The whole thing destroyed Luther’s already fragile existence. We also find out about the connection between Hargreeves, Pogo, and human Grace which is a bit heartbreak in its own right. Allison and Klaus bond over the good booze which Ben isn’t pleased about because he thought Allison would help sober him up. Vanya wakes up naked with her “gal pal” Sissy and nearly gets caught when her husband shows up home early and we find out that Harlan has some of Vanya’s power. While Five, Luther, and Diego have no idea how to deal with the big reveal that dad and his cabal are about to trigger doomsday and, this might call for a full family meeting, Lila has a family meeting of her own and her mom comes clean.

Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 5

The Gangs All Here: Five finally manages to gather all of his siblings in one place, Diego accepts Vanya’s apology and Allison is so happy to see Vanya, while still sans memory Vanya is just excited to have a sister and runs to her. They share the most love-filled, happy embrace before Klaus jumps in and after Luther sucker punches Five the three loved up siblings bolt for the salon to enjoy some family bonding time that ends in Vanya, Klaus and Allison twisting the night away. Since nobody knows he’s there but Klaus, Ben sits woefully alone in Elliot’s loft missing his siblings and happy to have seen their faces, even if they can’t see his.

Best Line: “He shanked you heart.” – Diego to Luther after hearing how his first meeting with Hargreeves went.

“My cult is gonna be so pissed. Ben! I told them we had until 2019.” – Klaus to his siblings upon learning that they brought the apocalypse with them to 1963

Heartbreak Hotel: Vanya confesses her feelings to Sissy because there are only six days left until the end of the world but, she refuses to leave with her. Klaus decides to confess to his followers while Allison tells Ray the truth about her and her family.

Those Triplets Though: The Swedes get a kill order from the commission for Diego and bury one of their brothers in a Viking funeral.

Overall: Another stellar episode that finishes out the first half of the season perfectly. One of the best things about it is that it was a full culmination of the first half of the season and was so well done that if they were to have left the season on the endnote they chose, it would have been one hell of a perfect cliffhanger that would have had us all clamoring for the next season. Luckily, we still have five episodes to go, and with the bar set so high, I hope it can do better than this episode when it comes time to bring us home in the end.

Recap/Review : Umbrella Academy S2E4 “The Majestic 12”

Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 4

Considering the level of Leonard/Harold vibes I got from Lila when she was introduced I was still surprised when the end of the last episode gave us the big reveal. This episode started by giving us a little more backstory on Lila and her relationship to the OG Handler and the Commission and we find out that her new mission is to protect Number Five and not kill him. A battered Luther wakes up to a still amnesiac Vanya and they reconnect and have a heart to heart where he tells her what really happened at the apocalypse. Vanya heads back to the farm because she doesn’t want to be involved and Allison tries to track down her husband but, some hospitals don’t treat negroes. Five heads back to Diego, Elliot and undercover/double agent op Lila and they work on a plan to track down their dad, who they find out is a member of a shadow government that secretly runs things. And, Klaus is on his own personal mission to save Dave and it goes about as well as you’d expect.

Key Scene: when Harlan hears that Vanya is leaving he takes off and drowns near the farm but, Vanya brings him back from the dead by lifting the whole lake up with her powers and in doing so accidentally transfers her powers to him.

Episode MVP: Klaus and Ben. Ben is the conscience that Klaus need and Klaus is the conduit for Ben to live a little. Klaus gives up on his three years of sobriety after his run-in with Dave and gets tracked down by his followers causing him to flee again. The two of them are fun to watch and provide a fun and interesting perspective on all of the very real issues that they are dealing with either directly or indirectly.

Big Reveal: Grace , robot mom, is modeled and named after a real woman that he met in Dallas and it gives Hargreeves a bit of a soul and I’m not just talking about his sick AF dance-like fighting skills. It shows he has a heart and watching Diego have a brief moment with her and watching the joy and sadness fall across his face when they meet it, sweet and telling.

Touching Moment: Allison meeting up with Luther at the outdoor eatery, as they embrace after seeing themselves for the first time in years (or decades, depending on how you look at it) and the clever and emotional style choice of having all of the people who were thee before and after the hug disappear while they embrace and things go silent making the scene all the more powerful.

Overall: This show is amazing, the writers, the stylization, the AMAZING Emmy worthy performances by the stellar cast, the timing, the not sweeping to the side political and social issues, everything Umbrella Academy does is pure magic and even though we are only four episodes in, this season already surpasses Season One in every way and considering how much we loved it, that’s a very big compliment and a super high bar to set.

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E3 “ The Swedish Job”

Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 3 The Swedish Job

In The Umbrella AcademyThe Swedish Job” we find out how Klaus became a spiritual guru and acquired his mansion. After seeing one of his followers in jail while visiting her husband, Allison is able to track him down and they hug at not being the only one who landed in the 60s, using Ben to freak out the guard, he is able to get his brother-in-law released from jail. Vanya is chased into a cornfield by the three Commission assassins and without meaning to uses her power, sending a sound wave out that allows Number Five to find her and fill her in on what’s going on. Luther has his boss help him to track down Allison when he keeps imagining seeing her and can’t get her out of his mind. Diego is having his wound from his run-in with Big Daddy Hargreeves tended by Lila who followed him and Five and rescued him after he was stabbed.

Best Scene (s): Luther coming face to face with Allison’s husband Ray and finding out that she is married now. The intense exchange between the two of them is a little bit heartbreaking since Ray has no idea that the reason his wife looks up to the moon is that she misses Luther. He also introduces himself to Ray as her brother which is going to make things super awkward down the line.

Klaus finally tracking down Dave, his great love, at his pre-Army job at a hardware store and realizing that he’s why Klaus wanted to and needed to go to Dallas. It’s super sad that Klaus experience flashbacks to the war while he Dave mixes paint and knowing that Dave is going to die and he’s trying to save his life by stopping him from enlisting even though Dave has no idea who Klaus is because their relationship hasn’t happened yet.

Episode MVP: Ben. He’s been putting up with Klaus’s behavior and selfishness for a while now and he’s the only person who can give keep in check and focused. It was cute seeing him fall for one of Klaus’s devotees and even cuter watching him spook the guard to get his brother-in-law released from jail. It’s always entertaining to watch him be the counterpoint to Klaus’s impulsiveness and energy.

Overall Vibe: The episode wasn’t as intense as the last one but, it was somber, political, and beautiful. Watching all the heartbreak as Allison loses Ray because he sees her use her power as Klaus drags her away and Luther getting pummeled after figuring out what Allison has been up to and having his heartbroken. We also find out a killer secret about Lila and her connection to this whole mess that the Academy has gotten themselves into.

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