Category Archives: Reviews

Review/Recap: Helstrom S1E3 “The One Who Got Away”

The previous episode of Helstrom left us with a very possessed, after being bitten by the skull, Chris. He kills the brother of the serial killer that Ana made commit suicide in the pilot when he comes looking for answers to his accomplice/sibling’s death. We also found out that mom really loves Ana, and the dark force that the siblings have been hunting from both ends is their father. Those big reveals and changes leave us with a lot to look forward to in Helstrom S1E3 “The One Who Got Away” and the build up was worth it because it gets you even more invested in the episodes that are going to follow.

Helstrom S1E3 "The One Who Got Away"

The One Who Got Away: The demon inhabiting mom’s body lets the siblings know that their Dad is back and he’s going after the one who got away. Ana is convinced that the one who got away is her and she’s scared. But, Gabriella’s research leads them to a victim of her fathers who got away. Her name is Zoe and it turns out that despite the horrible things that happened to her, including being burned alive, she managed to survive and has been living in secret at her sisters until Ana, Gabriella, and Daimon come to call. Zoe’s sister pretends to be her and sees this as a way to enact revenge on the little girl who led her sister into a trap, putting Ana in danger in the same way Ana put her sister in danger.

Helstrom S1E3 "The One Who Got Away"

Daddy’s Home: Zoe’s sister gets what she wants, sort of, when she leads Ana into an abandoned building but, she also gets something she didn’t expect. The person who is supposed to get her revenge for her sister is the person who did the horrible things to her sister in the first place, and when he turns on her and kills her, she dies not knowing the whole story. Ana goes toe to toe with dear old dad solo and jumps out of the building to get away from him because, this isn’t the dad she knew, he’s a suped-up version of him with a whole lot of new tricks and powers up his sleeve.

Helstrom S1E3 "The One Who Got Away"

Episode MVP: Ana! No question. Sydney Lemmon portrays her with such conviction, talent, grace, and heart that you forget she isn’t a “real” person. It’s impossible not to want to give her a hug and tell her it wasn’t her fault and that she was just a child and should let go of all that guilt. Her character went through the wringer this episode and you felt every moment of anguish, pain, and fear right along with her. If she was to win an Emmy based on this episode alone, I wouldn’t be mad at it. The way she fought her dad off with such ferocity through her fear and how she broke down in front of her brother almost immediately afterward is the stuff that true character development and amazing acting chops make legends of and I’m here for it.

Overall: Helstrom S1E3 “The One Who Got Away” doesn’t tell us what happened to Chris but, there was so much other awesomeness going on, I didn’t mind that loose end being left hanging, in fact, I kind of forgot about it. The writers seem to be very capable and I’m sure they will double back to that string at a later episode. This episode filled in a few more blanks about the siblings’ dad, their mom, the Caretaker, and Hastings. We learn about the things that Ana was forced to do, to survive, as a child under her dad’s murderous roof and we can see how it impacts her today. The story was very Ana and her trauma centered and I liked it. I also love learning about Hastings and Caretaker’s friendship and the private very human battle that Hastings has been fighting on her own. There was a lot of heart in Helstrom S1E3 “The One Who Got Away” and it aided in me becoming bonded and fully invested in the characters and the story. I can’t wait to see what happens next and make sure that Ana is okay.

Overall Rating: 9.7

Review/Recap: Helstrom S1E2 “Viaticum”

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.

HELSTROM S1E2 “VIATICUM”

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.

HELSTROM S1E2 “VIATICUM”

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”

Helstrom

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.

Helstrom

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.

Helstrom

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

Why Lovecraft Country’s ‘I AM’ episode is the beating heart of the HBO series

Lovecraft Country, episode 7 “I Am”

(Beware! SPOILERS abound for Lovecraft Country “I Am.”)

If you’ve stuck with Lovecraft Country up to episode 7 you might’ve already realized that this show is on a mission.

Each episode, almost self-contained in scope, puts the series’ heroes in situations more commonly found in storytelling genres dominated by white male narratives. War, horror, adventure, and science fiction each get the chance to be used as statements on the perils of narrowing the possibilities of story by not acknowledging the rich differences found in diversity.

The lead up to episode 7, thus far, has seen the show put its own racially-conscious spin on the haunted house story (ep. 3 “Holy Ghost”), the Indiana Jones-like adventure story (ep. 4 “A History of Violence”), the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like doppelganger story (ep. 5 “Strange Case”), and the classic war/romance story (ep. 6 “Meet me in Daegu”), each sharing in cosmic horror as the common thread. While Tic (played by Jonathan Mayors) is still the driving force behind the main story, this layered exploration of genre lets every character have their turn behind the wheel.

It’s with episode 7, though, where the show lays its heart and soul bare, with us looking in as if through an open wound that shows signs of healing. It’s aptly titled “I Am.” and it’s where science fiction comes in to drive the following point home: not only does black representation matter, it can create stories the likes of which we haven’t been allowed to see.

In this episode, Hippolyta (played by Aunjanue Ellis) takes to the road to find answers about her husband’s death and the secrets pertaining to an orrery she had previously found. Her search leads her to a mysterious observatory that can open a rift in reality to other dimensions and universes.

Hippolyta’s love for astronomy is played to great effect here. What was once an endearing character trait that made her more relatable and interesting turns her into a key character with access to information few others in Tic’s group can access. Hippolyta felt like a strong background character all the way up until this episode and not having her play a more central role in the unraveling of the main mystery after everything that just happened to her would be doing a disservice to the character.

Lovecraft Country, episode 7 “I Am.”

What makes “I Am.” the proverbial heart of the show lies in its approach to science fiction as a genre that feels tailor-made to portray the black experience. The specter of systemic-racism creeps into the episode as Hippolyta’s journey into the multiverse puts her into several potential realities her character could’ve perfectly fit into if given the chance to define herself within it, hence the episode’s title. The show takes the opportunity to celebrate possibilities rather than merely protesting the lack of representation, something it’s already established and done well in previous chapters.

Throughout her multiversal jumps we see Hippolyta become one of Josephine Baker’s dancers in 1920’s Paris, an Amazonian warrior from the all-female Mino or Dahomey military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey, and a space explorer cataloguing alien life in a fashion similar to how her husband researched new safe routes for his travel guides, an activity he didn’t allow her to participate in for fear she would get hurt on the road (an excuse Hippolyta challenges in the episode to great effect).

Lovecraft Country, episode 7 “I Am.”

Each version closes with Hippolyta declaring “I Am…,” which claims the character’s right to create her own self-identity within each genre, unencumbered by the expectations and prejudices of white male-dominated perspectives.

The episode goes lengths to portray each version of the character as deserving of their own series. It continues the show’s mission of showing how black representation in these genres has been absent or downplayed for far too long, denied by a culture that systemically devalued non-white perspectives (and still does). We get a sense of the type of stories we’ve lost in the process.

While that sense of loss is present and palpable–as it is in every episode thus far–the storytelling realities the show has brought to the fore also come with an unrelenting sense of hope. Hippolyta’s science fiction voyage and its several stops provide new avenues of story that demand to be explored. It amounts to a resounding “it’s about damn time” for the masses.

Fans of HBO’s Watchmen can find certain converging ideas between Hippolyta and Dr. Manhattan, especially in that show’s eighth episode, “A God Walks into Abar.” Manhattan’s decision to give Angela Abar, a.k.a. Sister Night, the choice of remaking him into a black man in that episode spoke to the importance of giving black creators the leading voice in the storytelling process so what we can see how new perspectives come to life. Something similar happens with Hippolyta, only she’s recreating herself under her own conditions with no need for anyone’s permission.

“I Am”/”A God Walks into Abar”

Lovecraft Country’s “I Am.” is yet another statement on the importance of self-identity and creative agency in fiction. The show has been successful in showing how fiction can respond to the needs of many, regardless of skin color, but it’s in this chapter that we see the argument come full circle. It’s a call for justice in representation with the guarantee that it has no intention of settling for anything less than creative control. Hippolyta is now the new face of that claim in Lovecraft Country, and it looks like “I Am” is the new rallying cry.

Lovecraft Country’s Debut Shows Tremendous Potential

Lovecraft Country

“This is a story of a boy and his dream…”

I’ll be honest, when they said that Jordan Peele was associated with Lovecraft Country, I was automatically interested. Since Get Out, I’ve loved this comedian-turned-visionary’s foray into the sci-fi and fantasy genre. A genre, I might add, that has rarely had any Black leads or Black characters of note. I always found it interesting that for a genre filled with so many variations of aliens, elves, etc. it was hard to spot any Black people. But now we don’t have to worry about that as Black speculative fiction, written and visual, is finally getting its due. And the opening shot of the first episode did just that!

I’ll try not to spoil the debut. I promise, but it may be a tad bit impossible.

The opening sequence is a visual feast; a smorgasbord of cinematic gold, throwbacks to the early days of sci-fi, and a homage to Black heroes without capes. I literally had to catch my breath when they panned out so we could see just what was going on. Trust me there was a lot! I was reminded of War of the Worlds and even Avengers: Endgame. And then for us to see him again, half-way between the dreaming and waking world, I found myself looking at a character that was sooo familiar. He was a blerd! Bespectacled and black. Passionate about storytelling. That’s me, y’all. That’s you.

But seeing him in the back of the bus for “coloreds only” rudely brought me back to his reality. A reality that makes up a great deal of this nation’s history. “Good riddance to old Jim Crow” indeed. Sobering still when the bus breaks down and he and another passenger had to walk to the next town. The visual coupled with hearing my elders saying “we have a long road ahead of us” was not lost on me.

But let’s discuss this enchanting cast:

Atticus Freeman played by Jonathan Majors:  Okay, I knew Majors was talented when I first saw him in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. I don’t know if it’s because he is a method actor (I’m just assuming) or what, but he brings this magnetic energy to Atticus. The nerdy “boy next door” who is back home, a soldier, but still very much a dreamer. He said “stories are like people. Loving them doesn’t make them perfect. You just try and cherish ‘em, overlook their flaws.” There is a profoundness to that quote. One might think it could be applied to America… I loved that he was fearless in time when fear was used to control African Americans.

Letitia Dandridge played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell: Like Jonathan, Jurnee always brings this light to whomever she portrays. There is this infectious quality she possesses. Her take on Letitia is spunky, free-spirited, and just what this heavy show needs. Whether it’s her dancing on the stage or looking over her shades at  the gawking white woman, Letitia steals every scene.

George Freeman played by Courtney Vance: I’ve always loved Courtney. He always seems so poised and educated that it is impossible not to be taken in by it. That and the cadence of his voice. I love love love how he loves on his wife Hippolyta! #BlackLoveGoals! Their relationship is full, full of good, wholesome things, and you see just how protective he is of her. He seems protective of as his family as a whole.  It’s also clear that he loves his nephew, but skeletons in the family closet caused for an unexpected, emotional scene. And in that split second before the scene ended, you saw the look on George’s face that made you feel for him. HE BETTER NOT DIE IN THIS SHOW.

Hippolyta Freeman played by Aunjanue L. Ellis: I liked her. Another great actress. You can tell she is a dedicated and loyal wife and a loving mother to her daughter Diana. Wait…Hippolyta AND Diana? Surely that is no coincidence. If so, that would be…wonderful. I definitely want to see more of her. Especially since we see that she is interested in astrology.

Diana Freeman by Jada Harris: I really enjoyed this character and her artistic ability! I love how she was drawing comics and seemed a tad bit tomboyish. I’m sure that set her apart from what was socially acceptable back then even in the black community. But seriously though we can I find the first issue of her comic?

Another thing I found intriguing was the importance of the “Green Book” or “The Negro Motorist Green Book”. For those who do not know it was a travel guide for African Americans to travel safely during the Jim Crow era. It was considered a bible for black travelers. This, of course, is an integral theme during the course of the pilot episode because Atticus is searching for his father in Lovecraft Country. And when you watch Atticus, Uncle George, and Letitia on those winding, lazy roads weaving through America’s heartland, you also see signs proudly announcing unapologetically racism and bigotry. One such sign presented as a billboard said for black people not to let the sun set on them in that particular town.

It also made me think about just how pervasive, far reaching, and, well, traumatizing that was for the black community as a whole. Especially in the Midwest and South. Fear is a weapon. Fear is a net. Fear is a poison. I remember as a child my mom telling us to come home at sunset. I never understood why the urgency. I’m having fun so why should I be home when it starts to get dark?  I think she was just saying because she heard it from her parents. Then I remembered: my grandparents are both from the Deep South. They were young adults during this horrible era. I even recall my grandfather telling me he saw a man lynched when he was a just a kid. Sundown towns are no joke. And they STILL exist!

The cinematography was breathtaking. The juxtaposition between a line of black people on what I assume was a bread line against the mural showing a happy white family traveling on the road was stark and unsettling. I did love when Atticus bought the flower from the struggling mother. Support Black-owned businesses!

But let’s get to the fun stuff, right? Or at least the part where sh*t really got real! The slow car chase in Devon County hit differently especially with Letitia’s almost foreboding “we can outrun blob” comment fresh in your mind. I think that in all my years watching car chases on the big and little screen, this was arguably one of the most intense but definitely the most original ones whether seen on movies or tv shows! You could almost taste the fear and desperation as they tried to leave the sundown town with literally minutes to spare with the racist sheriff behind them. And then that was amplified when the monsters came….and, man, were they terrifying! In truth, I don’t know who terrifying—the corrupt police or the ravenous sharp teethed creatures was more. I can assure you there was a difference.

In closing, I think this show has such tremendous potential.  I’m a sucker for a period piece so seeing a sci fi story set in the racist 1950’s was a visual and occasionally disturbing treat. The unseen monsters are a perfect metaphor for America’s own dark history. Trust me, they are still there in today’s age, emboldened by their orange king, but now they are out in the open. Brazen. Strong and wrong. And that’s fine. We are out in the open too. And we will fight this by any means necessary.

Oh, and one last thing: whatever happens in Denmark Vesey’s Bar stays in Denmark Vesey’s Bar! Cheers!

TV Review: Stargirl E113 Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two

Stargirl

The first season of Stargirl wraps up in “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E.” part two that has the Justice Society taking on the Injustice Society in hopes of thwarting their plan. The opening of the episode is pretty solid with some nice sci-fi aspects as the plan is put into motion and we see its impact on the people around town. We also get some fun teasers for comic fans in the form of movie posters around the theater.

From there, the episode shifts into battle mode. It’s a knock out drag out fight that has the two teams battle. And it’s a hell of a battle with some solid action and the reveal of Solomon Grundy. There’s also some shocking twists that keeps viewers on their toes. There’s some truly unexpected moments which is impressive for a show like this.

And surprises, there’s a lot of them. There’s surprises including who lives and who dies and who does the killing. There’s some moral debate in the episode which makes certain moments quite shocking.

But the episode’s most interesting aspect is how it makes the villains somewhat sympathetic. Grundy is treated more like an animal unleashed. Icicle’s motives make sense and he there’s a case to be made about his actions and reasoning.

But what’s fascinating about the episode is… the body count of the series. Bad guys. Students. The series has quite a number of dead. But there’s always an explanation. And the finale kind of winks and nods at the silliness of such a major event just being explained away by the rest of the country.

It’s a cute finale with a final five minutes that’ll put a smile on your face in a Disney-ish sort of way. The finale also sets up a very intriguing second season.

And that kicker!

Stargirl’s first season finale is exactly what one would expect. It’s full of sacharine moments and a sweet innocence that has filled up and been a hallmark of the series. It’s one that, despite the body count, is full of positive energy and a demeanor that makes it a live action superhero series that can be enjoy by the whole family.

We’re already counting down for the second season of Stargirl and hopefully, it delivers the positive entertaining hour the first season pumped out with every episode. A fantastic finale for a hell of a debut season. A crown jewel in DC’s live-action offerings.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Stargirl E112 Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One

Stargirl

Stargirl‘s first season begins to wrap up in the first of a two-part season finale. The Injustice Society is on the trail of Courtney, Pat and the team regroup to figure out their next steps. Meanwhile, Rick makes a breakthrough, and the team prepares for a showdown with the ISA.

The episode opens up with a bit more as to the plan of the ISA. It not only involves taking over the mind of a large chunk of the country but also build a country of their own. The picture is much clearer as the plan had been mentioned a lot but never what the real goal was. We knew the ISA wanted to make these folks see their views but for what purpose? It makes much more sense now until later in the episode.

The episode has the family scrambling as to what to do about the ISA hunting them and sort of addresses the fact that Pat’s son Mike doesn’t know what’s going on.

But, the action picks up quickly as Sportsmaster and Tigress are on the hunt to take out Pat, Courtney, and the family. It’s interesting and a bit mixed as far as a story goes. There’s some solid humor between Pat and Sportsmaster but why send only one villain to take them on? There’s a whole ISA to choose from and they don’t commit the resources they have. It’s a little frustrating but we get to see when the backup ISA is called in to help Tigress and Sportsmaster. Maybe that’s why they seem to go solo so often?

But, what the sequence really does is give a chance for Barbara to see Courtney in action and Mike to find out the truth about his father. It’s a nice natural way for both things to happen and gives that “wow” discovery aspect to both. It reminds us the viewer as to how special and awesome they are.

But all of that really is to get to that predictable moment of the story when both sides rally their sides and prepare for a final battle.

But, what’s really interesting is the last 5 or so minutes when exactly what the ISA wants to do with their nation is revealed. And… it might be good? Renewable energy. Universal healthcare. Eliminating racism and discrimination. But, there’s a catch, of course, there’s going to be a lot of dead bodies lying in the wake of the plan. It’s an interesting twist as to what the evil folks want and makes them not totally bad? The ISA wants to create paradise it sounds like but doing so in a beyond evil way.

Will they succeed? We’ll have to find out as Stargirl has just one more episode to go before the first season wraps up!

Overall Rating: 8.15

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.

UMBRELLA ACADEMY S2E9 “743"

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.

UMBRELLA ACADEMY S2E8 “THE SEVEN STAGES”

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.

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