When I watched the first season of The Umbrella Academy, I compared it to The X-Men if The X-Men grew up disenfranchised with Professor X and their comic book shenanigans. Basically, a group of people who have been traumatized and abused by an emotionless taskmaster posing as a father figure. Through this lens, we were privy to a set of adventures that showed these characters trying to work through or run from their traumas, escape assassins, come to terms with who they are… and then they accidentally destroyed the world.
This begs the question: Once you’ve destroyed the world, where do you go from there?
Five has sent the entire family to the past where, thanks to his time traveling, discovers that they are destined to be the catalyst for a cataclysmic invasion of the United States by the Soviet Union. Seperated from each other by literal years, the Umbrella Academy must slowly drift back together after having make lives for themselves in the 60’s, figure out what they’re about to do wrong, and go head to head with their deceased father who is not dead anymore because they’re in the past.
Also, the time traveling Agency is back in the picture and under new management and that management does not like the Umbrella Academy one bit.
Season Two of this show is basically what you would expect. It’s wild, irreverent, bursting with style, humor, and music. The emotional high notes are hit just right, each character is given a lot to do, and the actors are all likeable and charismatic.
What I enjoyed most of all is that throwaway joke characters like Klaus are actually given incredible character moments. You can tell that something he encounters in the 60s which I will not spoil deeply affects him emotionally, bringing extra weight to the person that Klaus is.
Ben is also given more screen time than usual and it leads to a wonderfully weird subplot where he learns to possess Klaus and feels for the first time in 17 years. I thought the scene was magical and it was great seeing Robert Sheehan effortlessly handle playing two different characters.
Allison is given a pretty substantial storyline as, in the years that she was alone in the 60s, she fell in love with an married a civil rights leader. Although the plot for her veers dangerously close to preachiness a time or two, I did enjoy the fact that the series took the time to acknowledge that, not only did these things happen, but they were important. For a series that reminds me so much of The X-Men, I thought that was incredibly appropriate.
While I love Ellen Page, Vanya was an incredible drag this season. Every scene she was in was punctuated with mopiness and melodrama and it’s more from the writing than the acting. I don’t know, the entire series was such a load of fun, but every time Vanya appeared on screen, the fun screeched to a halt and I thought, “Well, I guess we’re doing this now.” Would it kill the writers of this show to make her as fun as everyone else?
Also, Luthor and Diego are there.
Season Two is definitely on par with season one. It matched the tone, it matched the energy, it doesn’t take any huge risks, but given that the show is already whacko-bonkers anyway, I’m not sure what kind of risks they could have taken.
The season was full of twists, turns, and cleverness and I do enjoy it when time travel shenanigans aren’t weighted down with philosophical lessons about preserving the time stream and not interfering… There are opportunities presented, and the team goes for them, consequences be darned.
Extremely enjoyable, irreverent, and fantastically fun if somewhat flawed… The Umbrella Academy is bingable and addictive, a show you should be watching.