Stream it or Skip it: The Umbrella Academy Season 2

With a gripping storyline laced with multiple plot twists, the highly anticipated second season of the Netflix action-superhero show “The Umbrella Academy” looks to surpass the wild success of its predecessor. 

Based on the comic book series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, “The Umbrella Academy” follows the tumultuous lives of seven superpowered adoptive siblings in their young adult lives. The seven include hulking strongman Luthor (Tom Hopper), knife-throwing marksman Diego (David Castañeda), verbal mind-controller Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), addict and seance Klaus (Robert Sheehan), teleporting time traveler Five (Aidan Gallagher), deceased tentacle wielder Ben (Justin H. Min) and suppressed telekinetic Vanya (Ellen Page).

These seven are only a portion of the 43 children born on October 1, 1989, to mothers that became spontaneously pregnant. However, they were the ones that eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) adopted and trained.

At the end of Season 1, Vanya discovers her powers of telekinesis and sound wave manipulation. Having not learned how to control her powers properly, she loses control, destroying the moon and starting an apocalypse. This forces Five to bring the members of The Umbrella Academy back in time to stop the apocalypse.

At the start of Season 2, a botched attempt to time travel sends the siblings into various years in the 1960s in Dallas. They futilely search for each other before beginning their new lives: Luther as a boxer, Diego in a mental institution, Allison as a civil rights activist, Klaus as a cult leader and Vanya as an amnesiac caretaker.

However, Five immediately encounters another apocalypse, this time caused by a nuclear war between the Russians and Americans. Armed with the knowledge that the JFK assassination will play a role in the new apocalypse, Five jumps backward another ten days to rally the Umbrella Academy once more.

The acting is executed admirably, with each member of the Umbrella Academy showcasing their unique quirks while also fitting into the Hargreeves family. For instance, Luther presents a powerful authority figure, but is actually extremely sensitive and relies on his relationship with Allison for support. Meanwhile, Five adds an element of humor which, though sporadic, is of a witty, sarcastic variety. However, the true marvel is the setting’s clever details. From the timing of Klaus’s freedom-loving cult to “Star Wars” references that fall on deaf ears, there is nary an element overlooked by the producers.

The timeline-monitoring Commission from Season 1 is also involved in Season 2, sending the silent triplets “The Swedes” to hunt down members of The Umbrella Academy for attempting to alter the timeline. Unfortunately, these triplets are lackluster compared to Hazel and Cha-Cha, a pair of Commission assassins from Season 1. Instead of providing a calm, controlled contrast to the chaotic Umbrella Academy, The Swedes add unbridled violence and nothing more.

In addition, the episodes employ music to great emotional and dramatic effect, from Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” during a slow-motion, bullet-flying fight scene to a Swedish cover of Adele’s “Hello” by My Kullsvik during a funeral pyre. Some songs amplify powerfully emotional and frenetically energetic scenes, while the ever-present background music enhances nearly every other moment of the show.

The writers also use Season 2 as an opportunity to further develop comparatively obscure characters from Season 1. Diego is practically a side character in Season 1, playing a small role equivalent to Ben, who isn’t even alive. However, in Season 2, a love interest and some tough choices earn him more screen time as he finds his way. Ben also comes to the limelight, gaining a corporeal form and just a hint of romance as well.

Each of the 10 episodes of Season 2 are between 40 to 50 minutes long, 10 minutes shorter than most Season 1 episodes. While this translates to around six and a half hours of watch-time, “The Umbrella Academy” is still easily binged due to the flawless cliffhangers and transitions.

Through masterful writing, natural acting and thoughtfully chosen music, Season 2 of “The Umbrella Academy” proves to be a captivating show for all audiences.