Created by Steve Blackman
Starring Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher
Our favourite bunch of rag-tag superheroes are back and dysfunctional as ever! Season 2 is loosely based on the second volume of the critically acclaimed comic-book series, The Umbrella Academy: Dallas by Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance fame) and Gabriel Bá; an epic story beginning with an altered timeline, yet another near-apocalypse looming, and the constant (if not obsessive) need for Diego (David Castañeda) to save President Kennedy before his untimely assassination.
The introduction of episode one is the strongest I have seen in ages; dynamic, gripping, and action-packed. It sets the scene, mood, and brevity for the remaining series; a cornucopia of chaotic energy that encircles the Hargreeves at every point. The series deals with many themes including time travel, politics, 1960s America, and the implications of power, family, and obligation – whilst The Umbrella Academy’s brightest (and not so) tackle the good fight, and stumble along the way.
The characterisation, dialogue, and storytelling are heavy hitters, from start to finish. Kate Walsh as the Handler, delivers elegance, mystery, and cunning in her performance as the “Quirky Villain” (with enviable fashion sense) we know and love. Amazing costumes and bright colours make the season a pleasure to the senses – including the special effects from Klaus’ (Robert Sheehan) undead festivities, to Vanya’s (Ellen Page) sonic shockwaves.
The plots intersect, and complement each other, in a way that removes the slow-burn of so many other Netflix Originals. Each episode is immaculately used to further the story and character development, punching humour and heart along the way. A 10 episode season, there is no room for questions, until the finale where a doozy of a cliff-hanger proves that – even with their best intentions – the Hargreeves might need another class in the space-time continuum.
The season finally sees the family come together, despite a few heated discussions, and embrace one another. Vanya’s redemption arc is a roller coaster of tears, love, and acceptance – bringing themes of queer love to the table. Witnessing the black lives matter movement in 1963 hits home, as hard as Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) striking a racist and throwing him out on the street – season 2 is peppered with triumphs, empathy, and the inspiration for courage, loyalty, and acceptance – all attributes we nee to see more of today, and to inspire in others.
No matter your poison, The Umbrella Academy delivers throughout. Season 3 will hopefully see the Hargreeves get on the strait and “sparrow”, but until then, all bets are off! If you’re yet to see the first season, there’s no better time to binge both than right now on Netflix.
JOSHUA HALL HAINES