Season 2, Episodes 1-10
Review by: Brendon
Long over due.The Umbrella Academy makes a triumphant return with its second season. Picking right up on the cliff hanger of season 1 with Number 5 (Aiden Gallagher) transporting the rest of the Hargreeves siblings and himself to an alley way in Dallas Texas. Spreading them across time between the years 1960 to 1963.
With each sibling isolated for vast amounts of time this season really gives each member of the family time go grow into there own vibrant personalities. Each with time to shine through personal story arks as well as much needed familial bonding opportunities.
One of my main qualms about the graphic novel and a major distinction from the show is that in the graphic novel none of the characters are particularly likable. YES as aesthetically pleasing as the book is. The characters are negatively contrived in personality and aggressively take personal issues out on each other and tend to take it out on Vanya the most.
The show distances itself from its comic counter part on so many levels and one of those positive changes is the actual attempt to humanize these characters as a family and interact as such.
Season 2 breaks away from the cold city and halls of the Academy. Giving us a colorful and vibrant period piece set in 1960’s Dallas Texas. Filled with grandiose architecture and wardrobes.
Each episode flushes out more of the world. Giving us a glimpse into how each character independently interacts with the time period and its very real historical events. Such as racial segregation, forced closetting of sexuality and of course Kennedys assasination.
Kennedys assasination which was Number 5’s original mission in season 1 was seemingly botched which in turn caused a nuclear winter. Leaving Number 5 to once again retread through time to piece together the cause of this catastrophe as well as attempting the reunite his family before the seemingly inevitable apocalypse.
This season does a great job of showcasing each member of the Academys abilities. Throwing the right amount of action, gore and humor to keep the plot going at a pace that doesn’t become dry or under bearing. But with plenty of plot twists and curve balls to break any monotonous repetition from season 1.
Klaus ( Robert Sheehan) through out the 1st season had the most visible character progression. Evolving from an unstable substance addict using anything he could to suppress his powers. To a war torn veteran who’d lost the love of his life. Giving Klaus incredible emotional depth past the first half of season 1 which made him to be whiny and shallow.
Unfortunately his character does regress in certain aspects but makes up for it in the anecdotal hijinx between the deceased Ben. His glowing moments with his sisters and becoming the accidental messiah of a cult by using the quotations of pop songs like don’t go chasing waterfalls.
Diego (David Castenida) grows past just a predictable Rorshache/ Batman street vigilante archetype to a likably imperfect character. That see’s the very flaws his father instilled in him at a young age and must confront them head on.
Luther ( Tom Hooper) through season 1 & 2
never really seems to catch his pacing as a leader of the group or as a main focal point of the story. But for once not making the big strong super hero type the main attraction is rather refreshing. It gives leverage for other characters to take main focus.
The real spotlight through the second half of the season really shines on Vanya (Ellen Page) and Allison ( Emmy Raver Lampman). There relationship seems genuine and heartfelt as Allison is finally given a chance to make up for lost time with Vanya and actually treat her as a sister.
This relationship is rather non existent in the book and creates a rather bitter hostility by most of the members of the academy so the room for emotional growth in the characters. Gives the series much more life then the emotionally stiff comic panels.
From scenes of fun quirky dancing segments in barber shops to dealing with the 3 new hitmen on there tail so aptly named ( Huey, Dewey and Louie) from the adjustment bureau. Season 2 truly makes the members of the Umbrella Academy come together not only as a team but a family.
The Umbrella Academy has done something that only rarities like Hellboy and The Mask have achieved.
It took the characters the scenery and plots bare bones and made a completely different but utterly fantastic beast.
Too some that may upsetting but what I see is a story crafted around representing its uncanny cast of characters with flaws and human emotions and respecting them in a way that shows from page to screen just what they can be in the best ways possible.