DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Umbrella Academy episode “The Seven Stages” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, super weirdos! The Umbrella Academy showcased the mid-20th century’s collective fear of communism in episode eight of Season 2. Vanya was interrogated by an FBI agent for going Super Saiyan on some highway patrolmen. Additionally, she was accused of being a Russian spy. Of course, it didn’t help her case any when she responded to said FBI agent in perfectly fluent Russian. Five and Luther met another Five and there was loads of flatulence. Itching. Homicidal rage. Those are just three of seven stages of Paradox Psychosis. Diego didn’t finish his training for the Commission security team. He was on a 90-day probation period anyway.
Ready to delve into “The Seven Stages?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Vanya (Ellen Page) being interrogated by an FBI agent. If you recall (and you do), last episode Vanya unleashed her powerful abilities on a horde of highway patrolmen, subsequently killing most of them. This haughty FBI agent accuses Vanya of being a KGB agent. He even notes how her name is Russian. He asks her a question in Russian and she responds with perfect fluidity. Naturally, since she’s still bereft of memories, Vanya is taken aback as to how she knows Russian.
Suddenly, Vanya’s rage takes over. We see her utilize her power on the FBI agent. His features hollow out as his skin almost caves in. However, before she can enact any more damage, the nurse within knocks her unconscious.
Meanwhile, Five (Aidan Gallagher) is a mite irate with his siblings for screwing up the time jump window to 2019. He storms off and Luther (Tom Hopper) chases after him. The lone Swede, still mourning the loss of his two fallen brothers, notices that the missions he’s been receiving can be traced back to The Handler. Speaking of which…
Back at the Commission, Diego (David Castañeda) has been enlisted to join Lila’s (Ritu Arya) security team. The Handler (Kate Walsh) insists that Lila will be solely responsible for her little boyfriend. If he steps out of line, it’ll be Lila’s job to kill him. Standard operating procedure, folks. “Fall in line or die” sounds like the Commission’s mission statement. Now, Lila must take Diego to his training day. What fun!
Then, we see Mama Grace (Jordan Claire Robbins) is snooping through Daddy Hargreeves’ (Colm Feore) office. DH barges in and questions Grace. Grace believes he’s involved in something nefarious, but Daddy Hargreeves refuses to divulge anything. She’s starting to find the truth in what Diego warned her about. She repeatedly inquires if he’s planning on doing anything unspeakable…like assassinate the president. However, he remains stalwart in his decision to not share. Grace, furious, storms out. Secrets don’t make friends, Daddy Hargreeves.
Next, Five and Luther debate their next move. Five ruminates on whether he can find himself in this particular timeline. You know, find the older looking Five before he tried to jump back to 2019 last season. Before he botched up the math and remained permanently stuck in a pubescent body. Perhaps they can intercept the other Five and snatch up his briefcase. However, Five warns Luther that Paradox Psychosis could set in for either of them. Technically, you’re not supposed to be in close proximity to yourself in the same timeline. Time gets all timey wimey and such.
So, what are the seven stages of Paradox Psychosis? Denial, itching, extreme thirst and urination, excessive gas, acute paranoia, uncontrolled perspiration, and homicidal rage. That last one’s a bit extreme. Luther vows to help keep his brother(s) in check.
Meanwhile, the FBI agent decides to utilize electroshock therapy on Vanya. He starts out on a low voltage and for every question she refuses to answer he’s going to kick it up a notch.
Now, Vanya appears to be perpetually stuck in her mind. She’s donning her Umbrella Academy uniform. We see her enter the dining area at her curmudgeonly father’s request. Her siblings are also sitting around the table.
Later, Five and Luther waltz into an Irish pub. They find an older looking gentleman sitting at the bar with a briefcase underneath his feet. The Fives come face-to-face. It starts to get sweaty. And itchy. Well, that’s not good.
Then, Lila escorts Diego to his orientation. It’s a six-hour long antiquated video on a projector. The minute Lila leaves, the supervisor on hand falls asleep. Diego seizes the moment to make his escape. He sneaks into one of the control rooms and begins curiously unplugging things, pushing buttons, etc. That’s why training is important! Herb finds Diego mucking about and offers to help him…after some coercion courtesy of Diego’s knife, of course.
Next, Herb finds footage from the Kennedy assassination. We see the presidential procession going through Dallas as normal. Suddenly, the FBI building explodes and is shrouded in blue light. Vanya emerges, levitating above the ground. Eyes glowing and such. Her usual apocalyptic self. That’s when Diego realizes that Vanya tiggers the apocalypse. Kennedy may have been spared in this version, but now the US accuses Russia of incinerating the FBI building. Thus, World War III commences.
Meanwhile, Five and Five are at each other’s throats. Our Five asks the other Five for his briefcase. In exchange, our Five will show the other the correct math so he can travel home in his own body. Luther plays mediator between the two.
Then, we’re back inside Vanya’s mind. Daddy Hargreeves is relentlessly ridiculing her in front of her siblings. Well, the other Hargreeves aren’t helping things either by contributing. Each person has a brain on their dinner plate. Everyone eagerly digs in except Vanya. However, after some heavy coercion from Daddy Hargreeves, she finally takes a bite.
Later, Klaus (Robert Sheehan) arrives at Allison’s (Emmy Raver-Lampman) and Raymond’s (Yusuf Gatewood) house. He plans to help the couple dispose of the dead Swede. Diego and Herb arrive from the Commission. That’s when Diego reveals to those present what he learned with the help of Herb. Allison attempts to quell Raymond’s nerves. But now that she knows Vanya’s the one behind this new (old) apocalypse, she has to tend to her sister. Allison, Diego, and Klaus make a break for the FBI building.
Next, Vanya takes an even bigger bite of the brain on her plate. We see Harlan, Sissy’s son, is reacting to everything Vanya’s encountering. Every jolt of pain she feels, he also feels in tandem. Almost as if they’re linked somehow. After chomping on that brain, a rush of memories return to Vanya in full-force. She remembers everything, including that she was the one behind the apocalypse in 2019.
Now, Diego, Klaus, and Allison are at the FBI building. However, Vanya’s powers are currently out of control. She instantly killed the FBI agent interrogating her and pretty much everyone on that floor. The Hargreeves trio are brainstorming on how best to get to Vanya without dying. We see Vanya’s and Harlan’s eyes open simultaneously. They’re glowing white. Uh oh. That can’t be good.
Sh*t is being relentlessly pelted at the fan at this point. It looks as if the apocalypse is already starting. While I still think episode seven is my favorite thus far, “The Seven Stages” struck the perfect balance of comedy and tragedy. Just enough funny to bring levity, with just enough macabre drama to remind you that the world is ending. But will Vanya really end it all, or will our protagonists find a way to stop her?
The Umbrella Academy Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
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