Season 2 of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Returns Bigger and Better Than Before – Review
Season two of The Umbrella Academy is right around the corner. I might be getting a little ahead of myself, but I’m so happy to report that it is an incredible new season.
This review will have spoilers from events that took place in season one, so if you haven’t watched the first season yet, get out of here and go watch it! It will also have light spoilers that have been shown from the trailers and footage we’ve seen thus far.
This season picks up right where the first season left off; Five (Aidan Gallagher) warned his family that using his powers to escape from the apocalypse that Vanya (Ellen Page) caused would be risky. Well, he was right–the time jump scatters the siblings in and around Dallas, Texas, in various times. Starting in 1960, some of the Hargreeves have built lives and moved on, having been stuck in the past for years. They believe they’re the only ones who survived the time jump.
Five is the last to land, smack dab in the middle of a nuclear conflict, which is the result of the group’s disruption of the timeline. The Umbrella Academy must find a way to reunite, figure out what caused doomsday, put a stop to it, and return to the present timeline to stop that other apocalypse. As if they didn’t have enough to handle, they are also hunted by a trio of ruthless Swedish assassins.
I was so blown away with how amazing this season is from start to finish. Showrunner Steve Blackman adapted elements of The Umbrella Academy: Dallas with changes made to make it adhere and fit with the live action adaptation and with what was set up from the last season. It also sticks to Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá vision.
One main difference between the graphic novel and the show is that the team had been scattered across different times in the same place. Blackman’s choice to scatter them and tell a non-linear narrative worked perfectly. It allowed the characters to find themselves in different ways making the journey that more satisfying.
The strongest element of the show is easily the cast. Season one did a great job of laying the groundwork for each of these characters and the follow up just kept the ball rolling. Every member of the family has their own individual story arc, their own agency and everything felt important to the overall story itself.
Allison’s (Emmy Raver-Lampman) arc incidentally is very timely. Allison is the only Black member of the family, so her being dropped into the 1960’s had the biggest impact on her whereas the other Hargreeves aren’t dealing with racial prejudices like her. Allison lands at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, and is thrown into a segregated and racist American south. In addition to the racist environment she has landed in, she must deal with the loss of her voice and being separated from her siblings.
As her time in Dallas progresses, she finds new purpose in the fight for justice. With protest and sit-ins demanding justice for the countless murders of Black people in America due to police brutality and systematic racism, her story is timely and raw. I’m glad they didn’t shy away from the realities of the situation. Lampman did a brilliant job of handling such heavy material and the progression of her character.
Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Ben (Justin H. Min) had the longest to adapt to their new life over the course of 3 years. What does Klaus do with his time in the 60’s? Starts a cult. Sheehan brings impeccable comedic timing while still having some very emotional and heartfelt moments–not only with Ben but the other family members and characters we meet in the series, just as he did in season one.
Ben and Klaus’ dynamic throughout season two is definitely another highlight. I know a lot of fans (including myself) wanted more Ben and this season certainly delivers on that. Min capitalized on every scene he was given this season by delivering outstanding acting. You can tell Sheehan and Min worked hard on their on screen dynamic because their dialogue was hilarious. As Klaus’ sobriety and growth as a person continues, his powers become stronger thus allowing Ben to do more things that he normally couldn’t do.
Vanya (Ellen Page) and Five (Aidan Gallagher) both land at different times in 1963. Although Vanya became somewhat of an antagonist by the end of season one, due to the time jump her memory is completely wiped and the only thing she remembers is her name. From finding out she has powers to being manipulated by her ex-boyfriend to getting locked up by her siblings, it’s safe to say Vanya was on an emotional roller-coaster throughout season one. The last time we saw her we witnessed her release a lot of energy, emotions, anger, and trauma.
With her memory wiped it almost felt like we were reintroduced to a new version of the character when the show starts in season two. This Vanya is happier, more connected with her emotions and she is introduced to a family that she has created a bond with.
I loved seeing her rebuild her relationship with her siblings, especially with Allison and Luther. Page did a phenomenal job of portraying this new version of Vanya, her character goes through a wide range of emotions of the course of these two seasons and it is a pleasure to watch Page portray that.
Five is one of the most crucial parts when it comes to saving the day in season two because of his time traveling/teleportation powers, which means that a lot of his individual character arc was tied to the main story. Gallagher does a great job of acting as an old man in a young kids body. His new dynamic with The Umbrella Academy was cool to see progress and grow over this season.
Diego (David Castañeda) also lands in 1963 but is locked up for delusional claims about JFK being assassinated. He breaks out of the hospital with his new friend, Lila who I will talk about more a little later. In usual Diego fashion, he wants to save both the day and the president all on his own to prove to the family he has worth and can make a difference in the world. Diego’s arc was another highlight of the season. No matter what timeline Diego is in, he always wants to do good and Castañeda does a good job of portraying that optimistic yet tortured hero.
Last but not least in the Hargreeves family is Luther (Tom Hopper) a.k.a. Number One. Luther found out his father was sending him up to the moon for no reason but to just keep him busy. It’s safe to say that all the kids have daddy issues (not their fault, Sir Reginald Hargreeves was a monster) but it is even safer to say Diego and Luther are battling it out to see who has the bigger daddy issues. So, when Luther lands in 1962, he’s lost and ends up working as a driver for the owner of a burlesque bar, who becomes a sort of father figure for him.
I know some people were mad at how Luther handled the Vanya situation. I think Hooper and the writers did a good job of addressing the ramifications of his actions and redeeming the character. As the season progresses, Luther becomes a much more likeable character. Seeing him build a new relationship with not only Vanya but also Five was very interesting to watch.
Last character I will briefly talk about is Lila (Ritu Arya). Lila was such a perfect addition to the cast. Without spoiling anything and from what we’ve seen in trailers I can say she shares a decent amount of scenes with Diego and their banter was so much fun to watch. A surprising pair up that wound up being one of the best relationships of the season. Not only is she a badass, but her comedic timing and the way she delivered her lines were the best. I won’t talk much about her character because of spoilers, but I will say that fans will absolutely love her once they watch the series.
Season two meant higher stakes, bigger fights scenes and of course more powers. The fight scenes throughout this season were stellar. In season one, some of the family members didn’t get to utilize there powers as much because of different circumstances. This season everyone gets to use their powers. Blackman really leaned into the superhero element when telling this story. The show is at its best when the family is together or when they are paired off together and thankfully that happens throughout most of the season.
The show starts off with everyone thinking the rest are dead. Throughout the season the Hargreeves family bonds are tested and strengthened. They do not feel like allies forced to come together to save the world, instead they feel like a family with issues. Their time apart allowed the characters to grown in interesting ways that felt authentic to the characters we met in the first season.
The first season was about the family learning to come together to be a team, this season is about a reunited family becoming stronger together then they ever were apart. You can see they appreciate that they have each other because at the end of the day and no matter what timeline they’re in, they’re all they have.
Overall, I cannot praise this season enough. From the storytelling to the character arcs to the fight choreography to the visual effects and more. Netflix has struck gold with adapting this graphic novel, by allowing Blackman, Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá to tell the story the way they want to, they have created something special. I hope they continue to expand on the success and allow Blackman and the team to return for a season three and beyond. I can’t get enough of the show and season two was amazing from start to finish.
The second season of The Umbrella Academy hits Netflix on July 31!