Season Two of The Umbrella Academy Is More Than Just A Family Affair
The new season hits the ground running, hurtling forward at a pleasant binge-worthy speed until the last second of its 10-episode order
How many super-powered weirdos does it take to mess up the timeline? In this scenario, it’s all seven of Sir Reginald Hargreeves adoptees, who, back in season one, ended up triggering the very apocalypse—all eyes on you, Vanya—they were trying to stop. Five, the resident grade-A expert in all things doomsday, figures they might just have a chance to right whatever went wrong, and uses his powers to go back in time. It’s a bit of a special occasion this time, as his siblings come along for the chaotic ride.
Each member of the Umbrella Academy is unceremoniously time dumped into the exact same alleyway in Dallas, Texas in the early 1960s. The pressing issue? They all drop in at different times, and are forced to navigate this strange new reality on their own. Five, who is the last to arrive, witnesses a series of unfortunate events that lead him to realize they’re in for another major uh-oh that may or may not have ties to the JFK assassination, among other things. It feels like season one all over again, but with slightly different stakes.
Luther/Number One (Tom Hopper) is still Super Strong and Super Lonely. From being marooned on the Moon to getting stuck in 1960, things haven’t been easy for Spaceboy. Diego/Number Two (David Castaneda) is still Super Bitter—leave it to The Kraken to find new ways to be bitter—and Super Sharp, but there’s no fun to be found where he wound up. Allison/Number Three is (Emmy Raver-Lampman) still Super Famous, though in a completely different capacity. And this time, she isn’t Super Over It. Klaus/Number Four (Robert Sheehan) is still Super High and Super Unpredictable, which has proven both advantageous and detrimental to… whatever mess he’s gotten himself into. Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) is still Super Old and Super Lethal no matter which time period he’s in. Isn’t it comforting to know some things will never change? Ben/Number Six (Justin H. Min) is still Super Dead and Super Stuck With Klaus. Vanya/Number Seven (Ellen Page), is, however, no longer Super Ordinary. Not that she ever was.
It’s a treat to see how time travel and separation have affected each of the siblings, but Allison’s season two plot, in particular, strikes a chord. Showrunner Steve Blackman took certain liberties with the characters and the storyline; casting Raver-Lampman, a multiracial actress, in the role allowed him to tackle the rampant racism that was so prevalent in America in the 1960s. Allison suddenly finds herself faced with a different sort of threat that she can’t just rumor away, and this inspires her to join the civil rights movement in hopes of turning things around for the African-American community. On the heels of the public outcry surrounding George Floyd’s death, the ongoing pursuit of justice for Breonna Taylor’s murder, and the outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, such a story could not have been more relevant
Based on the comic series created by Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance fame) and illustrated by Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy revolves around a dysfunctional family of superheroes trained to save the world from an unspecified threat. Adapted for television for streaming giant Netflix by Blackman, it was a crowd favorite from the get-go, certified 75% fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes, and enjoyed by longtime franchise fans and casual viewers alike. The new season hits the ground running, hurtling forward at a pleasant binge-worthy speed—this is its hold over its predecessor—until the last second of its 10-episode order. In a way, the shackles are off: less time is spent on exposition and more on expansion. Benefitting from shorter runtimes, tighter and highly relevant storytelling, and the same old band of weirdos we’ve grown to love, The Umbrella Academy’s second outing is every bit the action-packed and compelling watch audiences have long been waiting for.
Lead photo from Netflix