Hilarious family banter. Another killer soundtrack. Deliciously creative action scenes. Netflix has delivered once again with season two of its popular original, The Umbrella Academy. And boy, is this eccentric family of misfits as addictive as ever. The live-action series, a loose adaptation of the Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá Dark Horse Comics, continues where season 1 left off: preventing global catastrophe.
In an attempt to save the Hargreeves siblings from the apocalypse, Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) leverages his time-traveling powers to teleport his brothers and sisters back to the ’60s. In classic Five fashion, his abilities don’t quite deliver on their intended results – scattering his family across the first few years of the decade. Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Ben (Justin H. Min) arrive in 1960, Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) lands in 1961, Luther (Tom Hopper) is transported to 1962, Diego (David Castañeda) appears on September 1, 1963, and Vanya (Ellen Page) arrives on October 12, 1963.
The small redeeming factor here is they all land in the same alleyway in Dallas, ensuring they remain relatively close to one another (despite their inability to track each other down right away). So, what about Five? He arrives a mere three days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 25, 1963. Oh, and as he arrives, the apocalypse is underway once again. With the help of Hazel (Cameron Britton), he’s given some footage to put him in the right direction. Five quickly jumps back 10 days in hopes of rallying the troops and putting an end to the apocalypse once and for all.
Season Two Soars to New Heights
While season one had its kinks – i.e a few pacing and story structure issues – the second season seems to nail every single frame from the opening sequence to the last episode. With all the absurdities this world brings, timing, performance, and individual plotlines are everything.
The first huge improvement was Diego – he was arguably the most underdeveloped member of the Hargreeves family. While he still bears the occasional “Batman knockoff” dig from his siblings, the show beautifully deconstructs his character this season, giving him some much-needed time in the spotlight.
I also felt the same way about Allison. The dehumanizing complexities of being thrust into a tone-deaf era surrounded by “Whites Only” signs is…
…Eye-opening. Heartbreaking. Anger-inducing. Thought-provoking. Educational. Really, a profusion of emotions all interlaced into a dynamically distressing, yet timely, story. The prevalence of this plotline against today’s Black Lives Matter movement is incredibly powerful and provides a real human element amid the show’s many absurdities. The strength Allison shows is nothing short of admirable. All of the subplots this season were woven together seamlessly – without feeling forced or preachy, leaving viewers with impactful takeaways that I hope will help further progression.
Is There Room for a Number 8?
Seriously, I want in. The energy, off-beat superpowers, and unforgettable dance moves of The Umbrella Academy are one-of-a-kind. Even the concept of exploring an alternate history is fascinating. The richer storytelling speckled with more emotional depth and gripping action sequences makes for one satisfying watch.
I love that the writers chose to explore some of the more surreal aspects of The Umbrella Academy. For instance, being introduced to the inner workings of The Commission (the world’s timeline preservation agency), or delving into Ben’s point of view and his ghostly existence.
Let’s not forget about the epic music. In its freshman season, The Umbrella Academy had “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany and a slew of other ear-pleasing melodies. I’ll admit, a piece of me feared season two would fail to live up to its predecessor’s success as a musical masterpiece. Welp, fears assuaged. We have another memorable soundtrack to be thankful for. I mean, I could barely keep it together when Ben (while possessing Klaus’s body) imparted the following words of wisdom on one of Klau’s cult members:
“Oh my God, we’re back again. Brothers, sisters, everybody sing. We’re gonna bring the flavor show you how…” Because if you want some sage wisdom, who better to deliver enlightenment than the Backstreet Boys? Also worthy of a shout out: Swedish cover of Adele’s “Hello” by My Kulsvik, The Interrupters’ rendition of “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish, and Daniela Andrade’s version of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
Improved Family Dynamic
It’s amazing to see how much the Hargreeves family has grown. Season one placed a large emphasis on how fractured and damaged relationships between siblings were. Season two, however, the eccentric family began the healing process – supporting and appreciating each other, exercising kindness (albeit Five’s knack for threatening to kill everyone), and showcasing an unbreakable bond that had formed between them.
Many of the characters displayed a healthy dose of humility, especially when it came to Vanya. With Vanya’s amnesia, she was able to live free of her childhood neglect, no longer shouldering the burden and guilt of losing control of herself (a.k.a ending the world). Even when she is reintroduced to her family and told what had happened, the siblings pull her close rather than pushing her away.
Klaus starting a cult and building a massive following using song lyrics, like TLC’s “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls,” is reason enough to watch season two of The Umbrella Academy. But, in reality, the series really brought it’s A-game this season. From the witty sibling banter to the plot twists to the character development, the show stays true to its wild and weird personality while building upon its foundation – delivering an even better season this time around. Oh, and it ended on a serious plot twist. Gahhh.
The Umbrella Academy Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix. Go. Watch. It. Right. Meow.