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Kris Holden-Ried, Jason Bryden, and Tom Sinclair in The Umbrella Academy (2019). Photo by CHRISTOS KALOHORIDIS/NETFLIX/CHRISTOS KALOHORIDIS/NETFLIX - © 2020 Netflix, Inc.

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New Apocalypse, New Problems, but the Same Dysfunctional Family: A Review of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Season Two

This article contains spoilers from season two of “The Umbrella Academy”

 

Everything is the same, except for new timelines, new enemies, new problems and a new apocalypse…

Our beloved yet dysfunctional family are back once again to save the world! Season One of The Umbrella Academy ended with the Hargreeves siblings just escaping the apocalypse. The trailer then hinted that the family had landed in the 60s and had moved on with their lives. Turns out, this wasn’t quite the case! In fact, Five made a mistake and each member of the family landed in a different time period (thankfully all in the 60s). I think this addition in the storyline was done very well. Not only do the Hargreeves have to adapt to the new timeline and its expectations, but they also have to struggle to find each other along the way.

Onto the story-line. This was extremely well done this season. Alongside facing the struggles of a new time-line, the Hargreeves now had to face a new set of enemies. For example, the Hargreeves had both The Handler back (which was a nice surprise) and a new enemy from the commission, being The Swedish Brothers. This made the success of stopping doomsday just a little harder for the Hargreeves, but perfectly added some excitement and tension to the season. Furthermore, within the story-line, there were a lot of unexpected twists and turns! For example, in the case of Lila, I did not anticipate that she would be The Handler’s adoptive daughter. Her character had so many different unexpected layers, that allowed the series to be even more interesting and surprising.

Moreover, within the story-line, there were unfortunately a lot of deaths (no thanks to the Swedish Brothers)… More disappointedly, the characters that were killed were ones that the audience had just started to grow to love. This included Hazel, Elliot and Ben… I felt that there was so much more potential and character development that could have taken place with these characters. Each were lovable in their own manner and yet each died way too soon! Despite this, the writer’s did well in adding new lovable characters continuously throughout the seasons. I’m already growing fond of Herb- though be sure not to get too attached, as we never know who’s dying next…

 

 

There were many areas of this season that I loved. Quite like the first season, the show did amazing well cinematographically, musically and within the areas of acting and script-writing. I must say I loved the colour palette change in this season, though I wasn’t quite expecting it. Season One was coated in blues, purples and dark colours, which added to the super-hero, futuristic feel of the season. However, the colour palette in season two took a dramatic turn. In this season, we are met with a bright and cheerful colour palette, arguably fitting very well with the 60s theme.

Furthermore, I loved how well the dialogue shows that the characters are siblings. Throughout the show there is constant bickering between the Hargreeves. Despite this, when challenging times are faced, the siblings are quick to defend each other. For example, with Five being older and holding so much arrogance and annoyance upon his siblings, he is the one determined to save them at all costs- even at the extent of murdering the board to give his family one last chance.

From watching season two, I still stand by the view that Five is one of my favourite characters. Yet again, Aidan Gallagher does an amazing job at portraying a 50 year old man within a little boys body- arrogance, stubbornness, maturity, formal gestures and no time for stupidity. Moreover, Klaus’ humour and quirkiness work perfectly in lightening the show’s darker themes. Also, I loved how this version of Vanya was more accepted- a second chance if you will for the siblings to accept her, or at least some. However, it seems that Vanya will always be a link in causing the apocalypse, but once this came into understanding the siblings did well to prevent it.

This season was so entertaining and action packed, but there are areas of improvement that could be made. For starters, I had really hoped Dr Reginald Hargreeves would be explained more this season. Yes, more elements of his life were explored, for example, how he created Pogo and who Grace really was. However, in season one, it hinted that Reginald wasn’t quite from Earth. The only link back to this in season two was that upon his disagreement with the 13, we see a hint of an alien-like element to him. Due to this not being explained fully, I guess we’re just going to have to wait for another season to gain more understanding of what and who Dr Reginald Hargreeves really is…

Another area of improvement would be the most obvious love triangle there. I feel that since the relationship between Allison and Luther was set up so strongly, the love triangle should be more impactful after finding out she was now married. Yes, there was a bit of carrying, but I thought there would be a greater emphasis on the conflict and resolution. For example, the love triangle between Vanya, Sissy and Carl had the right amount of conflict, which Allison and Luther’s lacked. Despite the extent of emphasis, the writers did resolve the issue, just not as dramatic as I was hoping for.

Now onto music… This is an element that the first season did very well. They did an amazing job with the score, filling it with a bunch of classic and quirky covers of new songs. However, I was a little disappointed in the lack of music by Gerard Way. As mentioned in previous UA reviews, Gerard Way is the writer of the UA graphic novels and the producer or the series. Aside from this, he is a well known singer of the rock band, My Chemical Romance (recently reunited). As a result, many Gerard Way fans would have been delighted to hear more of his music, but there was only a little feature at the end.  Nonetheless, if all goes well, we may enjoy more of his music in coming seasons.

The season ends with the siblings officially preventing the apocalypse and returning to 2019- the day after the original apocalypse. The siblings were successful in ending both apocalypses… However, they weren’t quite successful in every department. Firstly, the ending shows that Harlan in fact still holds some of Vanya’s powers, clearly setting up some future conflicts. Second of all, when the Hargreeves return to the academy they find a not-so-dead Reginald Hargreeves and Ben… but it’s not the Hargreeves that raised them or the Ben they know and love! No, The Umbrella Academy has messed with the time-line and this time it means they, in a way, cease to exist… In this new time line, Reginald never invented The Umbrella Academy, but The Sparrows Family…once again the Hargreeves siblings are in unfamiliar territory and are facing a new set of problems in the next season.

Overall, I think The Umbrella Academy did yet another amazing job at telling a story about a dysfunctional superhero family. When describing the series to friends and family, I never really sell it as it should. It really is one of those shows that you just have to watch to get a taste of how credible it really is. Season two was yet another delight to watch and I share that view with many others. Reaching between 8.4-9.4/10 on IMDb, this season did very well to please its audience. After season one’s apocalypse, I wasn’t so sure as to how they were going to continue. Nonetheless, I was surprisingly delighted with how the story-line turned out and there is little that I would change. However, season two undoubtedly left us with a few questions that have to be answered next season:

  • Who and what really is Reginald Hargreeves?
  • Where did Lila go and will she join the family?
  • What happened to the timeline and will The Umbrella Academy cease to exist?
  • What happened to Grace that made her turn into a robot initially?
  • Will we see Pogo again?
  • What will happen with Harlan and his new powers?

Season three of The Umbrella Academy is yet to be announced. Nonetheless, with the so far success of the show, I am sure the show will be renewed for another season. For the time being both season one and two are available to rewatch only on Netflix.

Featured Image via IMDb.

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