‘The Umbrella Academy’: Welcome Back to the End of the World (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 1, “Right Back Where We Started.”]
It’s the end of the world as the Hargreeves siblings know it, and, as usual, they’re not fine.
Five (Aidan Gallagher)’s time-traveling sent them all back to ‘60s era Dallas — yes, even the long-dead Ben (Justin Min). But instead of bringing them all to the same destination, they landed years apart, and those spans of time have led to some pretty significant changes.
Allison (Emmy Raver) is married and leading a civil rights movement. Luther (Tom Hopper) has left the past — or is it technically the future? — behind, and now works as a bouncer and a boxer for a pretty shady boss. Klaus (Robert Sheehan) is a cult leader in desperate need of a break from his adoring followers. Diego (David Castenada) has wound up in an asylum after doing the most Diego thing possible: trying to kill Lee Harvey Oswald before he assassinates JFK. And after suffering head trauma as a result of a car crash, Vanya (Ellen Page) doesn’t remember anything about her family or the part she played in the apocalypse.
But they’re all going to have to reunite soon, because the apocalypse is still coming in a matter of days, and they’re still the only ones who can stop it. Same family. New setting. Same problems?
The bulk of the plot’s forward movement this episode happens in Five’s timeline, as he crashes in an alleyway in Dallas on November 25, 1963. A headline reads “Soviets Attack U.S.,” and after reading it, Five witnesses the end of the world — again. His siblings fight valiantly, but their powers are useless against nukes. Thankfully, Hazel (Cameron Britton) is there to pull him back in time a few days and explain he now has 10 days to restore the timeline and save his family. Oh, and Agnes died of cancer several years earlier, in case you needed your heart broken today.
Restoring the timeline is tricky enough, but Five will have extra complications in the form of the Swedes: a trio of silent, silver-haired, Swedish, Commission-sent assassins meant to kill him and his family. He escapes them (unfortunately Hazel doesn’t, but he slips a tape into Five’s pocket before the Swedes shoot him), and he takes shelter with a conspiracy theorist named Elliot. Thanks to his teleporting powers, Five convinces the guy he’s an alien: that works to his benefit, because this dude has been snapping photos of his siblings as they each landed in the same alleyway behind his apartment, years apart. Thanks to Elliot, Five figures out where he can find Diego, and he goes to see him.
Diego Makes New Friends
Diego lands, superhero-style, in 1963, 75 days earlier than Five. He immediately saves a woman from being robbed, but his penchant for heroism is perceived as insanity when he tries to kill Lee Harvey Oswald for a crime he hadn’t yet committed. Thus, stuck in an asylum, he wastes his days away, sulking and brooding. A quirky woman named Lila (Ritu Arya) takes a liking to him, but he continually pushes her away.
There’s one person he can’t push away, though: Five. He’s not too stunned to see his little brother — “that’s the kind of s**t you pull,” he says — but he agrees to help Five stop the apocalypse if he can save Kennedy. Five, unwilling to further change the timeline to suit Diego’s hero complex, leaves him in the asylum and lets the guards know his brother is planning to escape. They, in turn, restrain Diego and sedate him.
He’s super loopy when he comes to in a padded room, but he still manages to break out after finding a pen in his pocket. Good thing, too, because the Swedes are after him. He and Lila narrowly escape, thanks to a few well-thrown punches from the latter, who says she learned how to fight from her mother.
Klaus’ Grand Theft Auto
It’s 1960 when the time-travel vortex deposits Klaus in Dallas, but years later, he’s in a broken-down Polara with Ben, who he deems his “ghost-b**ch” (Ben previously tells him his new beard “doesn’t make him interesting.” Gotta love the Klaus and Ben relationship!). Ben doesn’t want to go back to Dallas, but Klaus has a plan… a plan that requires a car. Through a string of events that involves a bar, a game of poker and Ben throwing Klaus under the bus for his rudeness, Klaus ends up stealing a truck from a very, very angry redneck. That gets him his getaway car… and it also gets him arrested.
Vanya’s New Home
The White Violin lands in 1963, too, but on a different date than Luther: she’s in October. She’s started a new life with Sissy, the woman who hit her with her car, her son Harlan, and her deadbeat husband, Carl. She doesn’t remember anything and doesn’t think anyone’s looking for her, but she’s perfectly happy in her life… unlike Sissy, who’s stuck in an unsatisfying marriage with a man who ditches her under the pretense of “working late” to head out to the bar. There’s some serious sexual tension between Vanya and Sissy — they’re pretty darn good for each other!
Allison Fights for Civil Rights
She lands in 1961, but in the present, she’s happily married to Raymond Chestnut (Yusuf Gatewood), and they’re staging a sit-in at a diner to draw the cameras when Kennedy comes to town. Apparently she’s not totally over Luther, though, because her hubby notes she has a penchant for staring at the moon; that’s why he gives her a copy of Jules Verne’s From Earth to the Moon. She hasn’t shared anything with him about her former life, it seems.
She goes to meet with her fellow sit-in organizers, but they’re interrupted by an extremely rude (and racist) man who baits Allison into shoving him to the ground. For the moment, all is well, but it seems likely there’ll be consequences for her actions.
Luther’s… Done With it All?
Luther lands a year after Allison, in 1962. In the present, he’s the star of an underground fighting ring and the bouncer for his boss’s shady club. That’s where Five finds him as the episode ends, and he gives his brother the usual spiel: “the world ends in ten days, and I have no idea how to stop it.” Instead of jumping into action, Luther tells his brother, “I don’t give a s**t.” How very un-Number One-like of him!
The Umbrella Academy, Season 2, Now Streaming, Netflix