The dysfunctional superfamily is back for another exhilarating season even more impressive than the last. Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy is filled with action, laughs and a clearer message. The way I see it Season 1 was the origin story, now we’re getting to the good stuff.
The Umbrella Academy is based on the collection of comics created by My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way. 43 infants are born randomly on the same day to women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven of these kids are adopted by a billionaire, Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) who turns them into superheroes to save the world. The show follows what happens when these kids grow up and the effects their traumatic and highly unstable childhood has on their personalities as an adult. After causing the apocalypse in season one, we see the Umbrella Academy travel back to the past to try and stop the mess they made again. But of course, nothing goes to plan and instead, the family bring the apocalypse to the past. To the 1960s.
The setting for this season was perfect in the reflection of what is going on in the world right now. It fits as a call back to 5’s (Aidan Gallagher) time as an assassin for the Commission, an organisation that oversees the space-time continuum but also fits in highlighting societal problems which are as much of an issue today as it were in the 1960s.
While most of the gang are off trying to use their abilities for their own gain creating a cult, joining the mafia, and trying to stop JFK’s assassination, Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), without the use of her powers, decides to become an ordinary hero joining the Civil Rights Movement. This part of the storyline really hit home for me because this is one of the few times you see a person with abilities trying to fix society the human way instead of just saving the world from major threats. Allison knows she can tell people do whatever she wants but chooses to try and appeal to racist people’s better nature. It was always an interesting choice that they made Allison the only member of the family who chooses not to use their abilities except in dire circumstances but in this season it makes sense. While this story arc kind of gets side-tracked by the overall story of stopping the apocalypse, it was great to see the growth of Allison realising she can still make a difference even when she is not using her abilities.
Speaking about growth, we see most of the Umbrella Academy become more likeable characters having overcome part of their childhood trauma, ignoring Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Ben (Justin H Min) who, I think, everyone has loved from start to end. Luther (Tom Hooper) tries to move away from being the hopeful do-gooder and Vanya (Ellen Page) learn to accept who she is (in more ways than one) and her abilities. The only character who seems to not change at all is really 5 depicted by the fact that he still hasn’t picked his own personal name and wears the same schoolboy outfit throughout. This makes sense as he has continually been fighting since he was a child, never being able to stop and find himself a role in the real world but I hope we get a little bit more in the third season.
The plot twists are predictable but that doesn’t make it just as exciting. What really makes the series work is its wackiness. There is no real explanation for limits to abilities, allowing their powers to be useful and not useful whenever the writers deem necessary. As we can see at the beginning of season 2, they have the potential to use their abilities almost like an Avengers supergroup but we don’t see this synchronisation and level of ability for the rest of the season. While this might mean the plot doesn’t make complete sense, it keeps the story fun and interesting.
The season ends on a poignant cliff-hanger in relation to a sacrifice made in the final episode and definitely leaves the audiences wanting more. We are still left with as many questions as the first. Who, or what is the adoptive father of the Umbrella Academy, Mr Hargreaves? What is his plan? Where did their abilities of the seven come from and what happened to the other kids born with extraordinary abilities? Judging by the end of the season, I sense that some of these questions will be answered in season three.