The Umbrella Academy: I Heard a Rumor

If the last few episodes of The Umbrella Academy have left me feeling the bad kind of conflicted, then it could be said that 'I Heard a Rumor' leaves me feeling the good kind of conflicted, if one is willing to believe that there is such a thing.

To start off, in flashback-fashion, the opening gives us an in-person glimpse at one of the instances Allison had hinted at earlier in the series where she makes use of her ability to put her daughter to sleep. It's unknown if this was the first case in which Allison's power is exploited in such a manner, or a subsequent one further down the line. And I'll be honest, the way Allison talked about this to Luther made me envision a more hysterical and frantic youth beyond normal parental control instead of the mildly frenzied girl wanting to hear more stories about Allison's siblings we saw in this opening. Perhaps maybe we're led to believe then that among Allison's flaws is also the fact that she's an unreliable narrator.

In the present, as Allison continues investigating the residences of Harold, it's shown that Harold himself will be the receiver of the prosthetic eye that Five has been hunting down throughout the series, and is also responsible for hiring the three truckers that roughed him up last episode. By now, enough of the cards have been dealt for the audience that we can begin to piece together how a theoretical apocalypse might come to fruition, and it seems to not involve just Harold working by his lonesome, but perhaps Vanya and her potential for destructive capabilities related to her newfound ability that has inadvertently killed two of the three truckers. And as I also hinted at in my last review, Sir Hargreeves' revelation and Pogo's confirmation that daddy dearest conducted his own death in and of itself doesn't help our heroes get any closer to stopping that apocalypse, and in fact, we've reached a unique type of juncture where the audience happens to now be on the same page as the Hargreeves siblings; like we all have, Five also surmises that their father must have known somehow that the apocalypse was going to happen at one point, but that's as far as he, or any of the siblings for that matter, ever gets.

Klaus now begins making a final venture to get the team working in a cohesive manner. It's a tad surprising that Klaus seems to be quite forgiving of Luther in light of all things too. Luther's constant references to his solitude on the moon by this point seem almost comical and satirical of someone going through grief, but after Diego, whose been given the means by a colleague of Patch to escape prison, gives him the word that Allison went after Harold alone, it finally snaps Luther back into the action, setting the stage for the boys to save their sisters. While the pep talk does finally inject some more momentum into the story, we now are left to question Luther's morality and ethics for the remainder of the season, as it's clear he cares more now about protecting Allison then he does saving the world. This is not meant to be an absolute criticism as love can be a fine motivational factor, but it does mean Luther has potentially disqualified himself in the eyes of the audience as the apex, altruistic leader.

While at first glance it seems there's little left to mull over with 'I Heard a Rumor', this is easily forgiven in light of one of the more crackerjack and organic twists of the entire series. It was through reading Sir Hargreeves' journal that Harold learned about Vanya's dormant powers; they didn't just pop up one day out of the blue, but in truth, they have always been within Vanya. Just like her siblings, Vanya was trained at a young age to try and harness her talent for controlling vibrations and tremors in the air. And when Vanya could not be properly trained to do so, she was isolated in a chamber below the mansion, and had her memories wiped by Allison, thanks to her own knack for altering reality. Once present-day Allison catches up with Vanya and everything comes out in the open, Vanya rebuffs any effort by Allison to rejoin the academy and fight against Harold, and slits her throat purely through manipulating aerodynamics. Harold finds Vanya and flees with her in tow, while the boys are left to discover Allison bleeding out.

Momentarily, this turn of events has directed Vanya's wrath now onto the entire academy, and specifically on Allison for her deceit and secrecy. We've yet to know just how much the other siblings knew about Vanya's true past, so it's a bit worrisome right now as well as to whether or not Vanya will be going after the boys too once she has her bearings straight. My gut tells me this won't be the case as Vanya's grief at the episode's end indicates her attack on Allison was more just impulsive then it was premeditated. This is also where my internal conflict of positive connotation comes into play; it's an incredibly bold move for a series to bring one of its center protagonists so close to death's door, and if it follows through, it will be enough to set the stakes and tension into place for the final conflict, likely between Vanya and the boys. That being said, it would also be at an unfortunate cost too simply because Allison is a character I'm hoping we won't have to part with. Whatever may be come next episode, I'm certainly ready to let the dice fall where they may.

Name That Tune:

Hooverphonic's biggest worldwide success 'Mad About You' closes out in the episode is quite the ominous fashion as the boys are left to grieve over Allison.

Hargreeves Humor:

Klaus: "Whoooh! He popped his cherry! Now you're gonna have to marry her!"
Luther: "Would you keep your voice down?"

Five: "Get up. We're going."
Klaus: "Where?"
Five: "To save the world."
Klaus: "Oh, is that all?"

Aaron Studer loves spending his time reading, writing and defending the existence of cryptids because they can’t do it themselves.

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