TV SHOW REVIEW - The Umbrella Academy: Season 2
By The Masked Medic
It’s been a while since I made my way through a TV show and I was contemplating what to watch because I have so many shows in the pipeline that I have to review. However, after some persuasion from a few people, I decided that I would return to a series that I had quite enjoyed. Netflix’s ‘The Umbrella Academy’ was a fresh take on a sort of comic book story, but ran more in the vein of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ rather than a number of the superhero shows we have around!
Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy sees our eccentric family of misfits just about escape the apocalypse started when Vanya blew up the moon. How quaint? However, Five’s time jump this time with his siblings leaves them stranded in the ’60s in Dallas but each one in a different year. Five travels the furthest where he stumbles upon another apocalypse, once again caused by these Hargreeves’ siblings. Whilst Five attempts to locate and reunite with his family, we see what each member is unto. Luther had started working for a local businessman at a local club and was involved in an underground ring that was winning money for his employer. Allison found her voice again and had gotten married to a civil rights activist. Klaus had very aptly started a cult and was battling with notions of finding his sweetheart, Dave, and preventing him from going to war and dying there. Diego ends up in an asylum after he tells people that John F Kennedy is going to be assassinated and that he can stop that from happening. Vanya, however, had lost her memory and had no recollection of her previous life, became a nanny to a young boy, whose family took her in after her accident. As Five sets about to get his family back to the modern-day in one piece, he comes up against his nemesis, The Handler, who is back for revenge and has set in motion several different plans to finally off her former employee. Can the Hargreeves siblings reunite and stop another catastrophe? Or will their presence in the past only set about further discord to the potential future they may return to?
So, the first season of this show caught my attention fairly rapidly. It was quirky but still very interesting and the characters were so likeable. The second season for me was good, but I felt like the plot could have been better. That’s not to say that it was boring, I breezed through the middle of the season in a few days, but the more I watched the more I felt like the story was a bit of a repetition of the first season. An apocalypse is seen by Five and needs to be stopped collectively by the group. However, it’s not all criticism. There was a lot of character development and I think I ended up feeling for each member of the Academy a lot more, especially Vanya and Diego. The fact that the Commission was still a part of the show, but taken over by the Handler meant that there was a decent level of continuity, but going forward I think the show needs to introduce better villains because this season felt like the Umbrella Academy were just fighting chance. The three Swedes, who were sent to kill them, felt like side characters and not part of the main fabric of the story. The last episode, which I won’t spoil, was the only one that left me excited for the future of this series!
Much of the cast of the show remained the same. As per season 1, I thought that excellent performances were put in by Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher as Klaus and Five respectively. Tom Hopper and Emmy Raver-Lampman as Luther and Allison were also good and the layers that they added to their characters were much welcomed. In terms of the villains, however, I did say that I felt like the characters could have been more appealing, and part of that I think goes with the acting. I can’t say any of the actors that played the Swedes were remotely memorable. Kate Walsh did a decent job as the Handler and the nuances of her performance added to the instability of her character. However, in this season there were two actors that I thought stole the show. Firstly Elliot Page, as Vanya. Vanya was a pretty complicated character in the first season, but Page’s performance in this season upped the ante. And finally, David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves was my favourite character. David’s skill clearly showed in the first few episodes of the season where Diego was in an asylum and his performance has led to Diego becoming my new favourite member of the Umbrella Academy!
Netflix shows usually have excellent budgets and naturally, the second season of the Umbrella Academy stepped up in terms of its cinematography. Firstly, when it came to the CGI, it was markedly improved from the first season and some of the scenes of the heroes using their powers were awesome. I also felt that in some senses there was a lot more violence and not only were the fight scenes choreographed better but also there was a lot of gore and blood, which I guess does appeal to some people. Not me though. When it comes to the soundtrack of this season, however, I have to say I have no complaints. Some really good songs were used and in some of the flashback scenes, the music was extremely apt. So good job on that front!
Overall, Season 2 of the Umbrella Academy gives us much of the same material as the first season. It is entertaining, quirky and highly watchable, there’s no question about that, but a part of me finished the season wanting more. I think the writers will need to do something pretty unique in that next season to not make it feel like a deja vu, but given that finale, I think we’re in for something special!
Integral vs Filler Episodes: ★★★½