I liked this episode a lot. It pulls the story threads together, has a couple of great action scenes, and ends the season off in a decent way.
As a season finale, it’s fine but if the series hadn’t been picked up for a second season and this had been the series finale it would not have been fine. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t binge through this series before the second season was announced because I would not have been happy with this ending.
But we’re getting a second season so I can abide the final five minutes of this episode knowing the story will continue.
Episode specific thoughts below the cut
What is this beginning? A woman dies while rocket ships take off and the Professor lets sparkly lights out of a jar. Then he arrives in a city and buys an umbrella factory. (None of this comes up again in the episode.) In a season finale, that is already shorter than most other episodes, wasting time on backstory that doesn’t reveal anything about a character that has been dead for the entire season is bad storytelling.
I’m not a fan of the weird contacts and pale makeup? they’ve put Ellen Page in for this episode. It’s a look that doesn’t have story logic. The eyes especially don’t make sense from what we’ve seen of Vanya’s powers. I would have preferred just a white glow which may have been what they were going for with the pale skin but it just ended up looking like bad makeup.
In the elevator ride up, we again get the creep child versions of Vanya that again don’t make sense.
The destruction of the academy on the hand was great storytelling. Showing Vanya’s memories of her brothers and sister pushing her away from them helped to ground the destruction in her feelings.
The bowling alley fight was fun. One of the constants of this series is good fight scenes set to interesting music choices.
Okay, so Vanya wanted to be special at something and decided to become a violinist because the Professor had a violin that belonged to the dead woman from another planet that he had on display. All of that to give a backstory to the violin. Since he knew what her powers were, I feel like he might not have wanted her to learn how to use a musical instrument. Also, the Professor’s tiny little smile does not excuse years of gaslighting about her being ordinary.
Klaus fully using his new power to make Ben visible and solid enough to fight off the Commission’s soldiers was glorious. It’s a little funny how fast everyone went from not believing Ben was around to including him in decisions about time traveling.
Vanya’s power up scene was beautiful. It looked like she made the rest of the orchestra keep playing at one part but I’m not sure if that was actually her power making them or just them being too scared to run away at that moment. I loved that they didn’t do the comic’s costume for the White Violin. Having the black suit and violin bleached white by her power was a great way to show her power was reaching a new level.
I do feel a little iffy about Vanya holding her brothers up in the air and sucking their life force? out of them.
Allison firing the gun next to Vanya’s head to deafen/shock her was good. What wasn’t good was the apocalypse happening anyways.
I feel like I mildly cursed myself by saying, “Overall I’ve really liked the series up to this point. It’s going to take a real stinker of an ending to change my mind.” in my last review. I understand wanting to subvert the comic’s ending but, for me at least, it’s unsatisfying to end on a cliffhanger. I thought the season would end with the apocalypse stopped but with a sequel hook to lead into a possible second season.
While I still like 99.9% of the season, I really don’t like a cliffhanger ending that leaves the main plot of the season unresolved. It feels too uncertain especially for a series like The Umbrella Academy that doesn’t seem to have super broad appeal.
But we are getting a second season so crisis (but not the apocalypse) averted.