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The Umbrella Academy: Marigold

Pogo: “It was a kamikaze mission. He was preparing the Sparrow children with the expectation they might never return. That's why I gave the children those pills, to keep them safe from him.”
Five: “Well, my drŐ˝g brother just got him sober. Go figure.”
Pogo: “Then Project Oblivion is starting again, and you are all in danger.”

Does the title "Marigold" mean flower power? Sort of. Anyway, we discover what happened to Pogo, and Allison takes a decisive step.

The episode starts with Pogo training the Sparrows. This is the Pogo we remember from season one, capable and sophisticated. The training of the Sparrows in a flashback gives us glimpses of those who were killed earlier in the season. Gosh, Marcus is easy on the eyes, and Alphonso’s appearance is greatly improved by a less puckered face.

Reggie has a mission planned for the Sparrows, one Pogo thinks will get them killed. Because of his attitude, Pogo is kicked out by Reggie, but before he goes, he hands Marcus a box full of drugs that they use to sideline Reggie. Reggie gave Pogo only an hour to pack his things, so that means that Pogo has had this box full of drugs for a while – pills he knows will work on an alien, which Reggie is. When he hands it to Marcus, he does not say how to use it. Marcus apparently knows, which means they’ve spoken about this before.

We don’t see how Pogo went from being a fixture at the Sparrow Academy to a tattoo artist for a biker gang; I guess Pogo is a chimp of many talents. Still, it would have been fun to see that transition. Because of his current situation, we get a wonderful motorcycle chase with Pogo and Five. Pogo now lives in a trailer, with a human female, who is protective of him.

This episode has wonderful, revelatory exchanges between Lila and Diego. When Stan goes missing, she lets slip that Stan was never his son after all, only a kid she borrowed from a friend. Still, they search for him through a mystery tunnel that leads to a mirror world (I love the white Buffalo butt trophy on the wall). And then, in a sick but defying expectations bit, Diego loses part of two fingers. Ugh! They get back to their version of the universe only to find that Stan wandered off to get snacks – then, before his eyes, he gets kugelblitzed, which is now doing duty as a verb as well as a noun, but a kugelblitz takes over everything, even all parts of grammar.

Luther has never been accepted as Number One by the Umbrellas. In many ways this is his own fault. No matter how tall and good-looking he is – and it’s a truth that the tall and the good-looking are often chosen/accepted as leaders – in his nature, he’s really a follower. Still, it must be painful, to be rejected like this.

Ben’s offer of a Sparrow costume to Luther is not what I was expecting – OK, I don’t know what I was expecting – but the move on Ben’s part makes good sense. Not only is it a gesture of good will, but it increases the number of the Sparrows while decreasing the number of the Umbrellas, in case that matters. And Luther, after traveling from the space-time of Dallas 1963, probably really needs a change of clothes (I hope the Sparrows supply fresh underwear). Besides, the Sparrow Academy offers him gravity sex and cashew butter. What’s not to like?

Harlan manages to give Viktor back his powers. There’s some moderately interesting conversation about everyone and everything having their own vibration, and I think it’s a nice reversal that Harlan, who was once Viktor’s charge, is now the teacher, which makes sense after living with their powers for decades. Still, I’m sorry; even if the special effects were fantastic (I don’t think they were), I don’t find two actors staring at each other as they’re supposedly zapping each other with whatever powers interesting. Anyway, after Harlan completes the transfer, he’s back to being a normal boy, and then he casually mentions to Allison, so sorry for killing all your mothers. Information that Allison did not know, and without his powers, Harlan is now vulnerable. Given the fact that Harlan is responsible for the paradox, the fact that the Sparrows have demanded his dead body for cooperation, and Allison’s simmering anger with everything at the moment, it’s no surprise that she kills him.

Title musings. “Marigold” is the title of the episode, and it refers to the power Harlan describes to Viktor, the power they have within. I liked the discussion of how flowers attract bees. There were also bits of gold that I noticed after explanation, too. Also, the title is a tribute to Harlan, which makes sense as he dies in this episode. Nevertheless, it seems like a stretch, so I’m not crazy about the title. If anyone out there has another interpretation, please post a comment.

Bits and pieces

I like how Sloane doesn’t need a breakfast tray but just floats everything from the kitchen to her bedroom.

I really love how Fei reminds Sloane they share a wall. Luther’s secret visits have not been secret.

Ray Chestnut appears again. I think he’s going to have a bigger role.

Boredom with staring at each other while zapping is my reaction in other shows, too, such as Supergirl and Stranger Things. However, I do recognize that in some cases, you’ve got to beat up the bad guys to win.


Luther: The only thing we really have in common is childhood trauma. I just... I'm not sure if that's enough to keep us together anymore, you know?

Lila: D'you think he went in there?
Diego: Yeah, of course he did. No warm-blooded 12-year-old can resist a mystery tunnel.

Klaus: Yeah, yeah, different timeline, I get all that stuff. But you're still him though! You look like him, and you act like him, only—
Reggie: Only what?
Klaus: You're so much nicer than the other one.

Harlan: I... I called it marigold.
Viktor: Like the flower?
Harlan: You know how bees find pollen? Bees have a positive charge, flowers have a negative one. The bees use the hairs on their body to detect the interaction between the fields. They can hear the pollen.

Diego: Wait, hold up. You bo-- Lila, did you kidnap a kid?
Lila: She went on holiday, and he needed some fun, and I wanted to see what kind of dad you'd make. You know, stress test. Kick the tires.
Diego: Are you insane?!
Lila: Uh, we met in an asylum.

Harlan: I... thought Viktor told you. About the mothers.
Allison: It was you. You're the reason they're all dead.
Harlan: It was an accident. I didn't mean to hurt them.
Allison: You're the reason Claire's dead.
Harlan: My powers spilled over. Got in my head.
Allison: And the reason the whole world is ending!
I like how Allison thinks about Claire before she thinks about the rest of the universe.

Overall rating

Defied expectations is what we expect from The Umbrella Academy! Although the staring contest between Viktor and Harlan was boring, most of this was entertaining, and the parts between Diego and Lila were especially good. Three out of four white buffalo butts.

Victoria Grossack loves math, birds, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

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