The Umbrella Academy season 1, episode 8 review: I Heard a Rumor


Powers and relationships are tested in episode eight of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. Spoilers ahead.

Last time on The Umbrella Academy, we discovered Vanya’s boyfriend, Leonard, is actually Harold Jenkins, the man Number Five believes to be responsible for the upcoming apocalypse. And while saving Leonard/Harold’s life, Vanya discovered her power and just what she is truly capable of.

Another revelation came in the form of Klaus solving the mystery behind the group’s father’s death. After conjuring Mr. Monocle, his deceased father told him that he committed suicide to bring the group back together.

Finally, Luther found himself in a deep state of depression after discovering his father sent him to the moon for absolutely no reason, Diego was arrested for Detective Patch’s murder, and Allison was left all by her lonesome to find and rescue Vanya. Does she succeed? Read on to find out.

Rumor has it

This episode we get a late in the game, in-depth look at Allison and her abilities. Until this episode, we’ve only gotten a brief overview of Allison and her powers, so it’s nice to finally see some focus on her. We are even treated to a flashback of exactly what happened that broke up her family.

While on the road, she thinks back to when she told her daughter Claire a bedtime story, played out on-screen as a visually captivating storybook-style animation, about one of the adventures of The Umbrella Academy. Claire is so enchanted by the story she wants to hear more of them, but Allison tells her it’s bedtime. However, Claire pushes the issue so much that Allison decides to use her powers on Claire to make her go to sleep, and is caught by her husband Patrick, thus ending her relationship with him and losing Claire.

After not finding anyone at the cabin, Allison is driving around when she comes across the scene Vanya and Leonard/Harold fought at, which is now a crime scene. When Allison wants to take a closer look, the cop at the scene turns her away until she takes her sunglasses off and he recognizes her. She hears over his walkie-talkie that one of the suspects woke up, so she uses her fame to get a ride with him to the hospital, pretending to be doing research for a role.

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At the hospital, Allison and the cop talk to the sole survivor of Vanya’s blow-up. It turns out Leonard/Harold paid him and his friends to beat him up in front of Vanya. Before they get a chance to ask him more questions, he’s taken away for testing, and never comes back. Allison, as a last resort, shows a picture of Vanya to the nurse who tells them they were there that morning. She figures out they are staying at the cabin and was just gone when she was there. She needs to go back and save her sister.

Hurricane Vanya

Vanya is definitely in need of saving, but not the kind Allison thinks. Vanya, reeling from the fact that she has powers and she can’t control them, is upset to learn that she killed two of those men in the fight last night. To Leonard/Harold’s surprise, she is none too happy to discover she has these powers because they’re so destructive, so Leonard/Harold is going to teach her to control them.

All he needs is the information in Mr. Monocle’s notebook, which we see contains information showing that Mr. Monocle had known all along that Vanya had powers. In flashbacks, we see him try to help four-year-old Vanya control her powers. But once he gets wind of just how powerful she is, he decides she’s too powerful for her own and the world’s own good. He ends up locking her in a secret chamber until he can get her under control.

After a few practice sessions, Leonard/Harold and Vanya nail down just what her powers are. She is like an amp that can take sound waves and turn them into extremely powerful energy waves and blast them outward. Leonard/Harold thinks this is awesome, clearly living vicariously through her, but she’s not as excited as he is. He’s angered that she doesn’t appreciate her powers more, so after she steps outside to practice, he leaves.

Allison goes back to the cabin where she sees Vanya using her powers, and this leads us to the biggest sibling showdown of the show so far. A lot of built up jealousy is surfaced here, along with a new feeling of ill-timed confidence from Vanya. Vanya, having remembered what her father did to her, is very upset, making everything in the vicinity of the cabin shake. Allison tells her the truth

about Leonard/Harold, and it’s hard for Vanya to take in. The situation escalates when Allison has a flashback remembering visiting Vanya in the chamber. Allison was told to use her powers on Vanya to make Vanya think she’s just ordinary. Allison didn’t understand why then, but she does now.

Allison is really brought to the crux of her issues with her own powers here, as she sees how her ability is capable of causing as much emotional destruction as Vanya can cause physical. As Vanya starts letting loose with her powers, angrily blaming Allison for all of her issues (which doesn’t seem warranted considering it was her father that was behind it), Allison, trying to calm her down, makes the difficult decision to once again use her powers, which ironically may be the final time she can. Vanya slits her throat on accident with a flying glass shard before Allison can finish speaking. Vanya is remorseful but still leaves Allison to bleed out on the floor when Leonard/Harold comes back and drags her out of there.

Number One is Number Done

In the previous episode, we saw a new side of Luther. While up until this point he had been the rock of the group, the leader, the one who is always fighting to save the world and do the right thing, after learning that his father isn’t the man he thought he was, all of that fell apart. Everything his father shaped him into was destroyed. It’s interesting because Luther was always the first one to defend his father, but that’s because Luther was the one who was treated with the most respect, or so he thought. Now that he’s just like the rest of his siblings, damaged by his father’s actions, he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

His disillusionment with his father extends to the only other important older male figure in his life, Pogo, when during a family meeting consisting of himself, Klaus, and Number Five discovers that not only did his father commit suicide but Pogo and his mother were in on it and kept it from him. This sends him on another spiral of depressive drinking.

But that all changes once Diego gets out of prison and gathers Number Five and Klaus to go get Luther so they can all go save Allison and Vanya. When Diego reveals Allison is in danger, Luther is ready to put the beer aside to go save her. But, they may not have gotten there soon enough. When they arrive at the cabin, Vanya is gone, and Allison is bleeding to death on the floor.

Why would anyone do that to a perfectly good donut shop?

The show manages to squeeze in a little bit of Hazel and Cha-Cha time in this packed episode. They’ve both gotten a bulk of the screen time this season, which in my opinion, has taken too much from the storylines of other characters. Hazel and Cha-Cha feel more like side characters, and as such, should only be getting a bit of the screen time. If they were cut down more like they were this episode, then we would probably be getting more necessary development and screen time of the actual members of The Umbrella Academy.

Hazel and Agnes are trying to get out of town but are stuck in traffic. Hazel, knowing the apocalypse is coming, feels guilty about the fact that Agnes thinks they have all the time in the world. Guilty enough that he tells her to go to the sanctuary without him because he has to take care of something. Meanwhile, Cha-Cha has escaped and goes right to the donut shop, hunting down Hazel. She finds a map telling her they’re going to the bird sanctuary, so that’s where she’s headed next. But before she does, just because she can, she blows up the donut shop.

Next. Who (or what) are the Umbrella Academy?. dark

The show gave us a much-needed focus on Allison and Vanya this episode, but it almost feels like too little too late. The show has been extra crowded with characters, leaving little time for each one to get their proper due. The same can be said for each character’s relationships with each other. We’ve gotten a little bit of Allison and Vanya and plenty of Allison and Luther, but otherwise, most of these characters are on their own separate journeys and so when they come together, their dynamic as a group almost feels disjointed. You could argue that’s the point, they’ve been separated for so long that they don’t know how to be a family anymore, but by episode eight they’re not even close to working on that and I think they should be.