The Umbrella Academy season 1 premiere recap: We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals


The Umbrella Academy kicks things off with a funeral.

Based on Gerard Way’s Eisner Award-winning comicThe Umbrella Academy has the benefits of looking like it was ripped straight from the pages despite the comic’s unique artwork. Unfortunately, the premiere feels a little stretched as “We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals” attempts to introduce the six Hargreeves children and their underlying trauma all in one episode. Thankfully, the fantastic cast and overall entertaining feel to the premiere will keep viewers hooked for the rest of the season.

Minor Spoilers for The Umbrella Academy Comics Below

Kicking things off, the series takes us back to October 1, 1989. Around the world, forty-three women inexplicably give birth despite not being pregnant. We only get to see a young woman in Russia, but it’s safe to say the incident is traumatic for all of the new mothers. Enter Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), an eccentric billionaire with a great interest in the children. It’s important to note, he doesn’t have much affection when meeting the first child. In fact, he immediately asks “how much do you want for it?” when meeting the Russian mother. It gives the audience a great feel for his character because it’s clear he only views the kids as possessions rather than his actual children.

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Throughout the episode, The Umbrella Academy paces out some flashbacks of the kids during their childhood. As the paintings shown at the beginning, Reginald adopted seven gifted children but only considered six of them “worthy”. Over time, we can see six become five as one member, Ben (known as Number Six), passed away due to mysterious circumstance. Soon five became four, as The Boy (Known as Number Five) disappeared without a trace.

We get a quick montage of the adult children at the moment when they discover their father’s death. Number One, Luther (Tom Hopper), is living on the moon in a self-imposed exile.  His hulking form makes it obvious something happened to him, and some jibes from his siblings hint that he used to be much smaller. Number Two, Diego (David Castañeda) or The Kraken, is saving a family from a home invasion with excessive force. He’s gifted with his knives, which he throws with terrifying accuracy.

Photo Credit: The Umbrella Academy/Christos Kalohoridis, Netflix Image Acquired from Netflix Media Center

Number Three, Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) or The Rumor, is on the red carpet with an adoring crowd of photographers. Number Four, Klaus (Robert Sheehan) or The Séance, is just leaving rehab but immediately goes to score some drugs following his exit. The front desk guy even promises to “see him soon”, which makes it likely Klaus is a regular offender. Finally, we get Number Seven, Vanya (Ellen Page), the only member of the family with no gifted abilities. She’s talented with her violin, and it’s revealed in the premiere she wrote a scathing autobiography which infuriated her siblings.

The only member of the family Vanya feels any connection to is Pogo (Adam Godley), a chimpanzee and the family’s version of Alfred Pennyworth. He tries to see the best in everyone and appears to be more of a father figure to the children than Reginald ever was. To round out the family, there’s Grace (Jordan Claire Robbins), known as Mom to all of the kids. By the end of the episode, it’s revealed she’s some kind of android which Reginald created to offer the children a form of affection. In the comics, Grace is a plastic mannequin which can move, feel, talk, etc. but feels great discomfort attaching her limbs every day. It doesn’t seem like the show will be using this version of the character, which is a shame however, it makes sense logistically.

As all of the remaining Hargreeves children gather at the house, tensions rise. Luther thinks there was foul play with their father’s death because his monocle was missing. He brings his suspicions to the rest of the group despite Diego’s insistence it was just heart failure. Ultimately this reveals Luther’s true secret: he thinks one of the siblings did it. Clearly, Luther had a better relationship with his father than the others because no one else actually seems to care he’s dead. In fact, Klaus was trying to loot his office before even saying hello to his family.

Naturally, the siblings don’t react well to Luther’s accusations and head off to grieve in their own way. Vanya reflects on her isolation in the house and missing her brother, Number Five. She used to leave snacks out for him and make sure the lights were on in case he ever chose to return, hinting he may have been one of her closer siblings. Allison is still adapting to single life since her husband filed for divorce eight months ago and won full custody of their daughter, Claire. Meanwhile, a high Klaus is desperately trying to commune with his father since that’s his ability.

Photo Credit: The Umbrella Academy/Christos Kalohoridis, Netflix Image Acquired from Netflix Media Center

The Umbrella Academy gives us a fun dance scene which highlights the family’s inability to connect together. We also get to see a flashback to their first mission as a team when they stop a bank heist. Luther has super strength and enhanced speed, Allison’s “rumors” all become true, Diego’s knives move where he wants them, and Number Six or Ben (Ethan Hwang) turns into some kind of monster which kills all of the remaining robbers. Poor Vanya watches her siblings from the rooftop of a building, sadly wondering why she can’t play with the others. Her father tells her she’s not special before proudly heading to the bank to announce his new team to the press.

In the present day, the family is interrupted by some kind of wormhole appearing in their courtyard. Klause hilariously throws a fire extinguisher at it since he doesn’t know how to stop it. In the wormhole, we can see an old man who ages down to Number Five (Aidan Gallagher). Turns out he traveled to the future and wound up getting stuck there. Mentally, he’s a fifty-eight-year-old man but physically he’s back in his thirteen-year-old body. He spent forty-five years in the future living out his usual life until he could send his mind back.

With Number Five back, the family gathers for a makeshift funeral in the courtyard. No one in the family has anything to say which forces Pogo to step in with some kind words. Eventually, Diego steps in to say their father was a monster who didn’t love any of them. Naturally, Luther doesn’t take to this well and the boys begin to fight. It doesn’t end until Ben’s statue is accidentally destroyed and Diego manages to cut Luther, who flees from a minor injury.

Desperate for a good cup of coffee, Number Five heads out to Griddy’s Doughnuts, the local restaurant. The waitress thinks he’s just a cute kid but Five makes it clear he’s just there for some coffee. He even bonds with the middle-aged man next to him and gets an address he needs. Unfortunately, his coffee is interrupted by a squad of soldiers who need to bring him in or kill him. Five easily murders the whole team, and we’re beginning to wonder what he found in the future. Nevertheless, he takes the tracker out of his arm and heads to Vanya’s.

Photo Credit: The Umbrella Academy/Christos Kalohoridis, Netflix Image Acquired from Netflix Media Center

At her apartment, he reveals that the world had been destroyed when he traveled forward. He has no idea what happened or how to stop it but she’s the only one he can trust. Vanya can only shakily offer to brew some coffee as the siblings begin to figure out what to do.

Meanwhile, Klaus and Diego take off from the Academy as well. The Umbrella Academsets up another mystery by showing us Diego has Reginald’s monocle! Did he kill his father or just take it for sentimental value? In the car, Klaus hasn’t been able to call up his father but does have an adult-aged Ben sitting next to him. We don’t know the full extent of his abilities, but a silent and creepy looking Ben doesn’t feel right.

Ultimately, we do get a good feel for many of the characters right off the bat. Allison’s experience with her divorce has left her shunning her powers and shining in the spotlight to make up from the loneliness. Diego, always furious to come up as Number Two, now angrily fights his way to the top as the true hero. Klaus suffers from drug addiction to try and keep the spirits away. Vanya has an inferiority complex, made worse by her constant exclusion from family activities. We don’t know what happened to Luther yet but Number Five has become a cold-blooded killer.

In the flashback, there are various instances of parental neglect from Reginald’s part. Clearly, he wanted the children to become focused on the mission rather than caught up in “family”. He forces everyone (except for Vanya) to get a tattoo umbrella despite the children’s cries. When Grace lets the kids in to say goodnight, he doesn’t even lift his head up to look at them. Basically, he’s a pretty terrible father and his detachment left his kids with a myriad of problems.

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Right away, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher leap to the front of the pack with their excellent performances. The rest of the cast is also impressive but Sheehan supplies most of the comedy while Gallagher is given the most ambitious task of all. We could watch an entire episode of Klaus’ antics though and Five is already one of the most intriguing characters on the series.

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