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R29 Recaps: Every Episode Of Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy Season 1

Refinery29 logo Refinery29 7/05/2021 Leah Marilla Thomas

What if your overbearing parents were superheroes? That’s the question the new Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy decided to ask. It’s based on a graphic novel by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, about a family of superheroes who got powers in 1929 and have been defending the country and planet from supervillains ever since, aging very slowly in the process. They seem to exist in the present day in a state of perpetual middle age. This team of heroes, who call themselves The Union, live by a very strict moral code: they never kill bad guys. They inspire instead of lead. These squeaky clean values don’t work for the next generation, their kids and also their legacy, who already struggle with the pressures of having super-powered and super famous parents. 

At the head of the table is Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel), aka The Utopian, his wife Grace (Leslie Bibb) aka Lady Liberty, and their kids Chloe (Elena Kampouris) and Brandon (Andrew Horton). There’s also Uncle Walt (Ben Daniels) aka Brainwave, and Fitz (Mike Wade) aka The Flare… and many, many more superheroes and villains that seem to have popped up over the years. While we see how both generations of heroes navigate family dynamics and solve a classic comic book mystery with more than one looming Big Bad, flashbacks to 1929 reveal how the OG group came together in the first place. 

Now would be a good time to state that this show feels weirdly conservative. Not the kind of conservative that would storm the Capitol wrapped in a Confederate Flag or anything, but the kind that retorts that “All Lives Matter” and won’t let you wear shorts to school if they fail the finger-tip test. Even the ideals that are presented as progressive within the context of the show are moderate, at best. While there are no actual baby boomers on the show — the parent generation was born at the turn of the century and, for reasons that are not revealed in the first season, they all decided to procreate in the ’80s and ’90s. Basically, Jupiter’s Legacy has Baby Boomer energy. It’s like The Boys meets Veggie Tales

Duhamel’s character does pop off about the gap between the rich and the poor and active shooter drills at one point. Later, he makes a comment about how “they’re Nazis no matter what they call themselves” that’s begging to be memed, but then (much like certain members of Congress) he isn’t willing to do anything about it. Sure, it would be wrong IRL if a few people with freaky abilities who haven’t been elected by the American people dictated political policy… but superhero stories are supposed to be aspirational. They’re fantasies about what would happen if those with power were actually worthy of it. This show seems to have forgotten that. 

So, not only will we be recapping the events of Jupiter’s Legacy by decade, but we’re also going to point out the moments (every last one) that feel a wee bit out of touch. 

Volume 1, Episode 1: “By Dawn’s Early Light”

a man wearing a costume: JUPITER’S LEGACY (L to R) JOSH DUHAMEL as SHELDON SAMPSON in episode 101 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. ADAM ROSE/NETFLIX © 2021 © Provided by Refinery29 JUPITER’S LEGACY (L to R) JOSH DUHAMEL as SHELDON SAMPSON in episode 101 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. ADAM ROSE/NETFLIX © 2021

Approximately 2010 

The series opens with three children playing superheroes in the woods. When the boy playing “villain” insists that he beat the girl hero because she “missed” her imaginary shot, the girl — who we later learn is named Chloe — gets angry and uses actual superpowers to blast him away. He runs away, leaving Chloe and Brandon to face their father, a superhero named Sheldon “The Utopian” Sampson. He shames Chloe for using her powers and tells her about The Code, which his superhero team “The Union” abides by. 

We’re supposed to allude from this that Chloe is the bad sibling and Brandon is the good sibling… but if you’re a girl and a boy ever told you that you missed while you were playing outside as kids, you might be inclined to relate to Chloe more than the scene intended. Just sayin’.

Modern Day

Flash forward to today as Brandon, who we really learned nothing about in the flashback, is working as a superhero in The Union under his parents’ shadow. He fails to stop a woman villain (see: pink Iron Man in a trench coat) from robbing a bank, and Sheldon has to swoop in and clean up his mess.

That evening, Sheldon and his wife Grace cook dinner and discuss the different ways their children are disappointing them. Brandon is on the roof, using his superpowers to listen in on their conversation. He’s “thinking and drinking,” obviously, because that would be depressing for any of us. In flies his Uncle Walter, who has the ability to read minds. At dinner, Chloe rolls up looking like Alice Cullen and everyone is very patronizing to her about being scantily clad in a recent photo shoot. She’s modeling now, because that’s apparently what the bad kids do.

Chloe storms out and takes a bottle of wine with her. She and Brandon fight on the lawn about symbolism — I mean, what their parents represent. She tells him to stop trying to impress their dad. Then, Brandon goes to a club to get drinks with another young member of The Union named Barry, who also tells him to enjoy life and… stop trying to impress his dad. It’s a theme!

Sheldon and Walter visit their old superhero headquarters, hint at some past drama with a member of their group named George aka Skyfox, and debate whether or not their Code applies. The debate is interrupted by news that supervillain Blackstar has escaped jail. 

Cut to big superhero fight! The old and young members of the Union team up to fight Blackstar, and we get to see all kinds of cool powers in action. But it’s fruitless. Even when Walt uses his psychic abilities to trap Blackstar in his own brain while the others beat his body up, The Union still ends up almost losing. Barry and two other young superheroes are killed in battle. Fearing for his father’s life, Brandon kills Blackstar — which, in case you missed it, is against the Code. So Sheldon immediately berates his son, who has just saved his life. Brandon loves his father so much, that he willingly disappointed him, and like clockwork, gets the disappointed parent treatment. But that’s not all! Turns out, that wasn’t even the real Blackstar. So they don’t know who attacked The Union or why, and now, we have a real mystery to solve.

The 1929 Origin Story

We meet the younger version of Sheldon and Walter Sampson at the end of the roaring ’20s, as two brothers who run a successful steel business in Chicago. We also meet their rich friend George (Matt Lanter) — who has major Gatsby vibes — and then the Stock Market crashes. Like, literally that minute. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Sheldon and Walter’s father (and boss) jumps off the roof of their building and dies by suicide. 

The Most Okay, Boomer Moment

Episode 1’s has to be Sheldon and Grace reminiscing about Elvis “the King,” talking about how it was a shame he was an addict, and then using that as an excuse to pivot to discussing their 20-year-old daughter’s lifestyle. That, or when 1929 Sheldon points his finger (rude) in his Black employees’ faces and insists that they call him by his first name. It’s the kind of thing that someone might think is so nice, but it actually comes across aggressive and condescending. 

Volume 1, Episode 2: “Paper and Stone”

Leslie Bibb et al. posing for the camera: JUPITER’S LEGACY (L-R) LESLIE BIBB as GRACE SAMPSON, JOSH DUHAMEL as SHELDON SAMPSON, and BEN DANIELS as WALTER SAMPSON in episode 2 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. STEVE WILKIE/NETFLIX © 2020 © Provided by Refinery29 JUPITER’S LEGACY (L-R) LESLIE BIBB as GRACE SAMPSON, JOSH DUHAMEL as SHELDON SAMPSON, and BEN DANIELS as WALTER SAMPSON in episode 2 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. STEVE WILKIE/NETFLIX © 2020

Modern Day

The second episode picks up right where the first one left off, with the “real” Blackstar examining the fake Blackstar’s body from inside the prison. At a press conference, Grace expresses regret on her son’s behalf that “the life of a hostile combatant was lost regardless of the circumstances.” That’s an oddly passive way to say her son killed the bad guy — one that feels all too familiar. A reporter then claims that 78 percent of the country supports executing supervillains on sight and calls “just tossing them in prison” an “old-fashioned ideal.” 

I’m sorry, what. This is certainly an alternate universe, because in our world people are protesting lethal force in law enforcement and support for the Death Penalty has been dropping, and opposition rising, over the last decade. One of the anti-superhero protest signs even says “No Justice, No Peace” —  a Black Lives Matter chant and slogan. Hey, writers, are you sure that’s what you want to have that represent a group who is pro-execution? 

No time for that question, because we have to watch are two father-daughter conversations back to back. First, Fitz and his daughter talk about fear, then Sheldon visits Chloe at her apartment in California and asks her to show up for her brother at his friend’s funeral… which turns into another conversation about her choices and unwillingness to abide by the family code with lots of insults about her skirt length and her partying.

At the funeral for Barry and the others, Barry’s wife Karen asks Brandon if his uncle would be willing to erase her children’s memory of seeing their father die on television. Brandon tells her no, and then a cop comes up and thanks him for killing Blackstar and making it easy. Again…the messages on this show are, shall we say, mixed. We’re supposed to believe that the majority of the country agrees with that guy?

The 1929 Origin Story

Back in time, Walter and Sheldon prepare for their father’s funeral. Sheldon goes to a newsroom to confront young Grace, a sassy reporter with a flapper bob, and accuses her of lying about him and his father in the press. (While we know they end up married, at this point, he’s engaged to someone else.) He goes absolutely bonkers, actually, calling Grace and her fellow reporters “rotten little Marxists” and reminds them that “capitalism made this building” and his father built those things and those reporters are “lurking behind their ink” and ruining good men like him. Excuse me while I lurk behind my MacBook and say, Calm down, Draco Malfoy

Suddenly, his notes starts bleeding and he has a prophetic dream with very specific instructions: “Find the boat. Gather your crew. Sail to the island and save America.” What. It would seem we’ve got an adventure ahead of us. 

The Most Okay, Boomer Moment

It’s a tie between the weirdly pro-cop press conference and Sheldon’s rant about capitalism. Ironic, isn’t it, that he ended up forming a superhero team called The Union?

Volume 1, Episode 3: “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine”

Josh Duhamel et al. standing in front of a mirror: JUPITER’S LEGACY (L-R) JOSH DUHAMEL as SHELDON SAMPSON in episode 3 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. MARNI GROSSMAN/NETFLIX © 2020 © Provided by Refinery29 JUPITER’S LEGACY (L-R) JOSH DUHAMEL as SHELDON SAMPSON in episode 3 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. MARNI GROSSMAN/NETFLIX © 2020

Modern Day

Meet Hutch (Ian Quinlan), the son of George, and his crew of hipster super criminals: Gabriella (Humberly Gonzalez), Jacinda (Jess Salgueiro), and Jack (Morgan David Jones). Hutch does not appear to have powers, but is aided by a cool glowing stick that allows him to teleport. Their heists are not going well, and bigger criminals are breathing down their necks. 

Then, at the end of a particularly bad night, they crash their van into Chloe, who fights them before running off with the drugs they stole. More on that later. 

Later, Hutch threatens some of the lackeys that were after him and uses the teleportation stick to do a little murder. Afterwards, he goes to a secret lair and starts tinkering. “Almost there, Pops,” he says, as the camera pans to an old-timey newspaper photo of George. Mysterious.

The 1929 Origin Story

This flashback centers on George and the decline of his lonely little rich boy lifestyle after the Wall Street Crash. He’s so extravagant that he asks for 99 eggs to be prepared at increasing degrees every morning and chooses one to eat based on his mood. Walter and Sheldon’s fiance Jane interrupt his breakfast to tell them they’re worried about Sheldon. George and Walter do not get along, but he seems to really care about Sheldon — whose visions of his dead father, a mysterious windmill, and an even more mysterious island are getting worse. 

George talks to him, and at a social club later tries to make sense of Sheldon’s doodles to the point where he too starts to become obsessed. (He even brushes off his blonde twin girlfriends. That’s how you know he’s serious.) It does kind of make sense that helping Sheldon would make George feel useful, if his wealth is dwindling and his life is spiraling out of control. When he returns, Sheldon is lucid and seemingly doesn’t need him any more… until the drawings trigger another vision. 

The Most Okay, Boomer Moment

The dude threatening Hutch in a public bathroom does not use soap to wash his hands and absolutely does not scrub for the length of two “Happy Birthdays”… in this climate? And because this show continues to deliver more than one contender, I’m also going to include the fact that, so far, the burden of LGBTQ representation rests on the criminals in Hutch’s crew. Which is not ideal. 

Volume 1, Episode 4: “All The Devils Are Here”

a person in sunglasses sitting in a parking lot: JUPITER’S LEGACY (L to R) ELENA KAMPOURIS as CHLOE SAMPSON in episode 104 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. STEVE WILKIE/NETFLIX © 2021 © Provided by Refinery29 JUPITER’S LEGACY (L to R) ELENA KAMPOURIS as CHLOE SAMPSON in episode 104 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. STEVE WILKIE/NETFLIX © 2021

Modern Day

Chloe’s at the club, trying to have a nice night, when a man named Nick (Franco Lo Presti) shames her on the dance floor for not being a hero like her parents. Is this negging, or is this just regular rude? Whatever the case, she and Nick then run into some of her super friends, who are all in the Union, and they — you guessed it — shame her for “showing her ass on a magazine cover” instead of helping them fight bad guys. After he reveals himself to be a superhero (he currently goes by Nick of Time since he can, you know, stop time), Chloe takes Nick home, only to discover after they hook up that he’s hoping she’ll put in a good word with her dad so that he can join the Union too. Oh, and he also mansplains an on-ramp to her as a means of justifying yet another of his terrible alias options. If this is Chloe’s villain origin story, her future misdeeds are extremely warranted.

She shows up late and hungover to a photoshoot, which is unprofessional and that is wrong of her. But then her own publicist demands that she do a nostalgic hero pose “for corporate” and says “if you can’t be a real superhero, you can at least pretend for five minutes” and throws in a jab about her cocaine use. It’s just endless shaming for Chloe. What if, as an experiment, someone — anyone — tried being nice to this girl? In response, Chloe does the hero shot and lifts the car she’s supposed to be selling over her head, but only so she can throw it across the studio. After leaving the shoot, she is dropped by her agency, and that’s the call she’s fielding when she walks right into the van and Hutch’s crew, who hit her in the previous episode, revealing that this has all been somewhat of a flashback. 

Chloe takes Hutch’s drugs home and has a party with the same people she was trying to escape at the club. Her landlord comes up and he takes a turn wagging his finger at her, because that’s what everyone does. Chloe’s childhood friend Janna (Kara Royster), who is the only person so far that’s been genuinely nice to her, stays behind. But for some reason Chloe has trouble accepting that Janna actually cares about her, and those suspicions are proven correct when Janna whispers “you’re better than this” and leaves. Truly at a low point, Chloe takes more drugs and overdoses. Then, lo and behold, Hutch shows up. Boom. End of episode. 

The 1929 Origin Story

Sheldon is on a journey to the Dustbowl to find the images in his prophetic visions. He helps a family with car trouble in exchange for a ride, buys a phone call from a man with an out of business soda shop, and eventually gets directions from a conveniently informed young girl to a spooky farm with the windmill he keeps seeing. A spooky farmer (played by Eric Foreman’s dad from That ‘70s Show) tells him a spooky tale of his crew who got spookily attacked on the open sea. Then the farmer shoots himself in the head right in front of Sheldon. Spooky. Sheldon goes down to the farmer’s basement and finds the farmer’s literal skeleton crew. It seems pretty clear that the guy killed them. 

This nightmare triggers another vision of five people: Sheldon, Walter, George, Grace, Fitz, and a fifth man who’s yet to be identified. Sheldon also hears the farmer repeating numbers 32, 49, 28, 34, 47,16. Any Lost fan will tell you to take note when numbers enter the scene. Sheldon stumbles out of the farm house to find Walter waiting to take him home, but this journey is far from over. 

The Most Okay, Boomer Moment

It has to be the scene in which a man boarding up his business refers to the men and women waiting for bread in the unemployment line as bums looking for a handout. For context, this is from the Great Depression flashback. As in, the moment in time when a bunch of capitalists sent our entire country into economic turmoil, and those “bums” were simply casualties of rich mens’ choices. 

Volume 1, Episode 5: “What’s The Use?”

a person in a striped shirt: JUPITER’S LEGACY (L to R) LESLIE BIBB as GRACE SAMPSON in episode 102 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021 © Provided by Refinery29 JUPITER’S LEGACY (L to R) LESLIE BIBB as GRACE SAMPSON in episode 102 of JUPITER’S LEGACY. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Modern Day

The episode opens with what looks like a little recap, but turns out to be Sheldon recounting the events of the last few days to his therapist. Heroes in therapy are all the rage these days — shoutout to Marvel’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Sheldon is still haunted by his father, the one person he was unable to save, almost 100 years later. 

Meanwhile, Chloe wakes up in the hospital recovering from her overdose, with Hutch at her side, and Brandon has been sent to witness the fake Blackstar’s autopsy. That’s the guy from the first episode that he killed in the heat of battle. They find technology inside the copy that Walter, Grace, and Sheldon later determine could only have been built by George.

Sheldon goes to confront Hutch and get any information about George’s whereabouts. 

Hutch insists that he doesn’t know where his father is, and then goes back to Chloe’s apartment. They’re hooking up now, obviously. Maybe we love this journey for them. Maybe it will end in world domination and destruction. Can we trust Hutch? Probably not, because of the tinkering he was doing in episode 3, but overall Hutch seems more like an antihero than a villain.

At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Sheldon’s therapist is a supervillain Dr. Jack Hobbs, who’s serving a life sentence in jail, which is incredibly cool for a show that can get kind of dorky and moralistic. Sheldon even says that his former nemesis is the only one who understands him. It’s like Batman and The Joker meets Hannibal. This also adds another potential antagonist to the rogue’s gallery. There’s the real Blackstar, who is in prison; George aka Skyfox, who hasn’t been seen for years; and now Dr. Hobbs. 

The 1929 Origin Story

Back at home, Sheldon tries to focus on planning his wedding, but with the voices of both his father and the farmer in his head, he now knows he needs to put together an expedition. He robs his father’s grave, taking the old man’s watch for himself. He goes with George to recruit Grace, who has just been fired at the newspaper. They then go to recruit Fitz, whose father convinces him to take the opportunity. 

It seems like everything’s coming up roses as the team starts to form, but it’s not. Walter is mad that Sheldon abandoned him at a board meeting, and gets in another fight with George. Jane also calls off the engagement when she gets Sheldon to admit she’s not in his visions. 

The Most Okay, Boomer Moment

I’m going to have to go with the time when Grace yells that she’s been fired because she’s a “dame in a skirt and not some sap with a penis to swing around” and George says “debatable” because… she’s angry? And that makes her a dude? Bad, sexist joke.

More to come.

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