The Umbrella Academy has finally returned to our screens with it’s highly anticipated second season. The show is based off the comic-book series created by Gerard Way and it has been translated to television thanks to Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater. After a massive cliffhanger, we find the dysfunctional family scattered through 1960’s America. Faith or in this case, Five will bring them back together to stop another catastrophic event. The show stars Ellen Page, Aidan Gallagher, Robert Sheehan, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampan, Tom Hopper and Justin H. Min.
Truth be told, I only finished the first season of The Umbrella Academy last month. I had watched a couple of episodes back when it came out but for some unknown reason, I never bothered to finish it. Having seen it, I actually liked it a lot, it did have its fair share of cliches but it brought something unique to the table. I am loving this trend of superhero shows with new takes on the genre. Shows like The Umbrella Academy, The Boys and My Hero Academia are what’s keeping the genre fresh and unpredictable.
To describe the second season of The Umbrella Academy is a task far too tedious to accomplish. I finished the season the day it came out, so about three weeks ago. I am still having a hard time collecting my overall thoughts on it. I wrote some notes but they’re more focused on specific aspects rather than an overall critical assessment. The way this season unfolds is not pretty unusual so it took me off-guard. When the show tells the story of its many characters, it sometimes feels crowded. While entertaining to watch when it comes to reviewing it, it’s pretty overwhelming because there is so much to talk about. This season depends solely on character building and there is a ton of that going on. The show’s linear structure is sacrificed so that we can explore what these characters would realistically do given this situation. All of this being said, I think the writers did a wonderful job finding a balance between who needed more screen-time than the others. The first half is pretty much setting up the dominoes that will eventually fall in the intense plot-driven second half.
With a charismatic cast, insanely clever writing and great pacing, the second season of The Umbrella Academy proves to be a consistently entertaining binge which will leave you begging for more. It opens with an insanely awesome action scene teasing X-Men level action and high stakes and while it never reaches that thrill again, it gets close many times. The use of time-travel enables the show to not only explore unfortunately relevant topics like racism and homophobia but to reintroduce characters through their younger selves. The way every little detail and line falls into place is overwhelmingly clever. The show uses small scenes from its first season and makes them have a bigger meaning this season. It’s almost as if they knew they were going to use it again. If that is the case then I applaud the writers for thinking that far ahead. The second half of the season is obviously more entertaining as it brings us what we have been waiting for, the build-up is slowly paying off and it all results in an unbearably intense second half which will make you want to scream at your screen. The overall scope and ambition reminded me a lot of Stranger Things, it seems The Umbrella Academy is anything but a one-trick pony.
The cast of this show returns and gives an overall even better performance this time around. Standouts Aidan Gallagher and Robert Sheehan return to once again steal every scene they’re in. I really have to applaud Gallagher who even at a young age can command the attention and be taken seriously even in a team of adults. I really do think it’s an adult stuck in a teen body whenever Five is on screen. Ellen Page is also great as Vanya, I really hope she gets to do more next season as so far she’s been used as a plot point and not really be able to be a true member of the team. It’s only teased in the final episode. Emmy Raver-Lampman and David Castañeda have much more to do this season and I am so happy to say that I have grown to love Allison and Diego. I already really liked Allison but I wasn’t a big fan of Diego in the first season, I love both now! Sadly I cannot stand Luther, I really cannot, Tom Hopper does a great job with the pathetic, clueless version of him this season but I have yet to forgive him for what he did last season. We literally wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t a jerk. Justin H. Min gets to do a ton more and has one of the emotional scenes in the entire show. I really loved what they did with him. The supporting cast is great, I loved pretty much everyone, I can’t mention the new characters due to spoilers but the newcomers all did a wonderful job.
Weirdly enough after I finished the season it wasn’t on my mind at all afterwards. To be completely honest, I did immediately jump to another show so that could be why but also I feel like there’s another reason. Since so much happens and predicting is basically useless when it comes to this show, there was not much left for me to really think about. It left me wanting more and I know it’s going to be tough for next season to get made with our current situation.
Overall The Umbrella Academy‘s second season is a consistently entertaining, intense and emotional binge which improves significantly over it’s previous entry. The brilliant writing and character development allows for some true growth and includes powerful and unfortunately relevant scenes. Because of how many characters there are in this show, it can feel overwhelming and crowded but that’s not to say it wasn’t written well. The charismatic cast is once again a prime factor in why this show works so well and with writing as clever as this, it really makes me excited for the future of this show.