The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8 Review: The Seven Stages

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Well, Plan A didn't work out (or was that Plan B?).  Five and the rest of The Hargreeves siblings have to find a new way to get home and stop the apocalypse.

In The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8, Five comes up with a very risky plan, the Chestnuts move a body, Vanya has a hard time, and Diego does some investigating.

Five resigns himself to the last resort: finding himself and getting the briefcase to go home.

Seven Stages - Tall - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

Five's last mission with The Commission before he broke his contract and returned home was to go to 1963 and make sure the president was assassinated. So, he knows another version of himself is in town. Finding himself, though, comes with a few risks.

Techically, you shouldn't exist in close proximity to yourself in the same timeline, or else you could experiene the seven stages of paradox psychosis:

  • Denial
  • Itching
  • Extreme thirst and urination
  • Excessive gas
  • Acute paranoia
  • Uncontrolled perspiration
  • Homicidal rage

Luckily, Luther comes along to monitor the situation. However, it doesn't seem to work out too well after Luther tells OldFive what happens in the 2019 apocalypse.

OldFive has been obsessed with finding out what caused the apocalypse and finding a way to prevent it ever since he got stranded. So why did Luther think it a good idea to tell OldFive what happened?

Luther with Fives - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

Forget about the little jerk-off’s plan. It’s way too complicated. A much better plan is for us to travel to 2019. All we have to do is make nice with Vanya. Stop her from destroying the world. Easy-peasy.


Hello, Luther. Your only job was to make sure Five doesn't go crazy so he successfully secures the briefcase. You had one job! 

Now both Fives are experiencing paradox psychosis and OldFive wants to kill Our Five. Good work, buddy.

Back at D.S. Umbrella Mfg. Co, some snooping is taking place.

After that disastrous family dinner, Diego seemed to have gotten into Grace's head about Reginald. So much so, that she's resorted to sneaking around Reginald's office, looking for anything to maybe ease her mind (or prove her suspicions?). 

Unfortunately for her, though, Reginald caught her.

Reginald Catches a Spy - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

Grace: Are you involved in something nefarious?
Reginald: Quite often. Did you have something more specific in mind?

She tried to ask him for details about why he had plans regarding the President's visit, but forever the mystery, he stayed elusive. He asked her to just trust him as he can't always talk about his work, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. This appears to be the way the original Grace and Reginald break up.

Speaking of breakups, Diego was pretty sure he and Lila were over until he wakes up at The Commission with a new job, thanks to her. 

The Handler was not at all impressed by the decision.

Lila: I can’t do this job if you don’t trust my instincts.
Handler: Sweetheart, your vagina needs glasses. He is not worth it.

Lila, however, correctly intimated The Handler is not well-liked around The Commission. She needs her own people within the organization who will be loyal to the new regime. She has a point, but we all know that's not the real reason she brought him in.

Liego at Commission - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

Lila just wants to have her cake and eat it, too. Despite wanting to prove to her mother she can put The Commission first, Lila truly cares for Diego and regrets lying to and hurting him. She would not have gone through the trouble of seeking him out if that weren't the case. 

Lila truly is delusional. She thought she could just bring him in as a new recruit, declare him her boyfriend, and everything would be all peachy keen. No ma'am.

Lila: You still mad about that big baby?
Diego: No, I love being drugged, kidnapped, and threatened with murder.

Sure, Diego says his loyalty is to himself only, but no matter how much he would like to fight it, his true loyalty is to his family and being a hero. No way he just goes off to The Commission without finding out what happens to his family or JFK. 

Luckily for him, he finds a friend on the inside.

Herb - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

Diego and Herb don't necessarily get off on the right foot, what with Diego putting a knife to his throat during their first introduction and all. But things look up when Herb starts to fanboy over him.

Herb: It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Hargreeves.
Diego: You know me?
Herb: Everybody knows you! I mean, you’re Number Two. You’re legend!

Together, Diego and Herb utilize the infinite switchboard to find out what really happens on November 23, 1963.

What they find is not at all what they expected.

Footage of JFK's motorcade shows the FBI building blowing up behind the motorcade. Nobody ever shot JFK.

Herb and Diego - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

This sets off a chain of events that will eventually lead to the doomsday Five witnessed when he first arrived in Dallas. 

Although they deny involvement, the Soviets will be blamed for the explosion, and a nuclear war commences. It all starts with that one explosion.

When Herb and Diego review the footage, they see none other than Vanya floating out of the building, going full nuclear. The jokes that have been made all season long seem to come true. Vanya is the cause of this one, too.

Vanya is the bomb. She will always be the bomb.


But is she, though? It's most definitely not that simple.

FBI Explosion - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

Thanks to Carl, Vanya has been arrested. Suspicious of her sudden arrival in Dallas only a month ago, and her convenient amnesia (save her name), the FBI is convinced Vanya is a Russian KGB agent.

Unfortunately for her, when he spoke to her in Russian, she responded in Russian, both surprising and incriminating herself. She had no idea she spoke the language and has no explanation.

The FBI decided to utilize LSD in their interrogation methods to get answers out of her. This was a great callout to The Cold War. During that time, the CIA believed LSD could act as a sort of truth serum, which is why he expected Vanya to answer his questions after dosing her.

For Vanya, though, the drug conjured up a familial hallucination.

Eat your Brain, Vanya - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

In the dream, Vanya is sitting at her dinner table with all of her family, including Grace and Ben. Notably, she hasn't seen those two since her amnesia. This is partly a real memory of hers, and how she will get the rest of her memories back.

Reginald is trying to force feed her a brain. Actual brain. The brain, however, is a metaphor for her memories.

Vanya: I’m not pretending.
Reginald: Of course you are. You choose to live in a fantasy, a land of make-believe where you don’t have to face who you really are. Rather than face the complexities of your own existence, you choose to hide inside someone else’s. A silly life on a silly farm. That’s not meant for you.

The FBI agent made a good point. How is it that she can remember her name, but nothing else about herself? Dissociative amnesia, that's how.

Finding out you've been drugged up, manipulated, and lied to your entire life can be jarring enough. Add onto that the fact you were so upset and out of control that you slit your sister's throat and blew up the moon, causing an apocalypse. Yes, that might be traumatic enough to block out.

Dream Sir Reginald - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

The Reginald hallucination, however, was able to break through the walls she put up and make her face herself. The memories came flooding back.

The only problem is, it seems young Harlan remembers too.

Vanya performing CPR and saving Harlan's life established a connection between the two of them. While she was being tortured, he felt her pain. As she stated "I remember," he did, too (which is the first time we've ever heard him speak, by the way). 

This poses an entirely new question: what is the extent of Vanya and Harlan's connection? Is it solely due to the incident at the lake or was it something deeper? These are questions that need to be answered in these last two episodes.

After Diego and Herb find out the truth, they take a briefcase and pop into Allison's living room, where she, Raymond, and Klaus are getting rid of a dead Swede.

Diego meets Raymond - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

Raymond has had a lot of excitement in this past week. I'm sure he didn't think marrying Allison was going to lead to so much drama.

Nevertheless, Diego introduces himself and then quickly gives a rundown of how Vanya is about to start yet another apocalypse. 

Allison: Ray, Baby. Are you okay?
Ray: No, no I’m not okay. First of all, this son of a bitch beams into our living room with yet another one of your brothers, and he’s talking about stopping one of your sisters from blowing up some buildings, and I got a dead man wrapped up in my best rug, babe.

Ray is me. I am Ray. Like I said, a lot of excitement.

Vanya is unfairly about to be accused of causing a new apocalypse because she can't control her emotions. The situation is a little more nuanced than that, though.

Harlan - The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8

First, the FBI is torturing her. She's hooked up to electrodes and undergoing pharmacological torture. Anything she does is in self-defense. The drugs are likely also having an effect on her control. 

Secondly, there's Harlan to consider. Is it possible her connection to him is what is causing this to be so destructive?

Finally, saying she caused the apocalypse is wrong. Technically, she just caused a little explosion at a building she was being held at against her will. JFK is the one who started nuking people.

In the comics, Five is actually tasked with carrying out JFK's assassination himself. Perhaps The Commission knew along that if the assassination didn't happen, a nuclear war would. There are so many possibilities.

Over to you, Fanatics! What are your theories about the war? 

What about Harlan and Vanya's connection? Sound off in the comments and share!

The Seven Stages Review

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Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (13 Votes)

Berea Orange was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in November, 2020..

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The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 8 Quotes

There is a giant, dead, white boy on our couch.


Screw everybody! I was better off on my own in the apocalypse!