We are in the swinging sixties! A timeline that makes a lot more sense for ‘The Umbrella Academy’, versus season one, which was spent in a weirdly backward 2019 – no cell-phones, no social media. If you recall, season one ends with the world going to shit; the Hargreeves superhero siblings escape their deaths by a whisker, thanks to their time-traveling brother Five. They all hold hands and do a time jump. Only problem? Season two starts with each sibling falling into different dates and years between 1960-1963. Uh-oh.
Also Read: The Umbrella Academy Season 1 Review
Things might be screwed for the Hargreeves siblings, but it’s pure entertainment for viewers, we get a bangin’ episode 1, with Five falling last – only to find out the Umbrella Academy brought the apocalypse back with them. The Soviets go to war with the U.S and nuclear weapons result in an earlier destruction of the world. So, Five travels back 10 days, to gather all his siblings and hopefully succeed in saving the world, unlike their total failure in 2019. While there are a lot more interesting stories in this installment, again, the one hour long episodes eventually get lengthy and tedious. To make things worse, since Hazel and Cha-Cha are dead, The Commission sends a Swedish trio to kill the Hargreeves siblings, so that they do not tamper with the time-line. Most of Swedish trio parts are fast-forward worthy, they don’t inspire an iota of interest .
Okay, let’s just talk about the good things now, like Aidan Gallaghar who plays Five – that little dude is a total firecracker! Episode Seven titled ‘The Seven Stages’ has him at his absolute best, where he makes a desperate risky attempt to save the world and must fight his own self. It’s hard to imagine any other teen actor portraying a sarcastic world-weary 58-year-old contract killer with such finesse and confidence. And yes, it’s pretty easy to think of a bunch of actors who could’ve pulled off the roles of Allison, Luther, Diego and those Swedes with ease. Others characters, not so much. Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves’ continues to be my second favorite, with a fun sub-plot to himself – while he is no longer on drugs, he is a part of cult. L-O-L. Sheehan is a blend of hilarity and vulnerability as Klaus, making him the most lovable Umbrella sibling. Elliot Page finally gets a decent story as Vanya AKA Seven, and her talents are better utilized in season two, with more character development. Kate Walsh as ‘The Handler’ gets upgraded to a bigger villainous role and is absolutely delightful. She plays this eerily cheery villain, who is fiercely ambitious and will do anything to climb ranks at The Commission.
While Luther (Tom Hooper) and Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) were the least likable characters in Season One (even Hazel and Cha-Cha had better personalities), they get a better graph in Season Two, and make lesser terrible decisions. Luther had the weakest/blandest sub-plot, except for the bit where he tries to make contact with his dad Reginald Hargreeves in the 60s, and has his heart crushed; he is the poster-child for ‘Daddy’s Boy’, a giant ball of mush who looks up to his father a little too much. Allison on the other hand has the toughest time in this retro era, just minutes after she finds herself transported to a street in Dallas in 1961, she stumbles inside a cafe and is greeted by a sign that says “Whites only”. Not only does she have to start over a new life, she also has to battle blatant racial discrimination and live in constant fear. Yusuf Gatewood gets to play her new partner and civil rights activist Raymond Chestnut. The African-American civil rights movement is seamlessly woven into the story and adds a lot more substance to the show. Allison-Raymond make way more sense as a couple than Allison-Luther.
One of the best relationships in the show however is the love-hate bromance between brothers Klaus and Ben. Justin H Min gets a more prominent role as the ghost of Ben, but for those hoping to see a flashback explaining his death will be left disappointed. Anyway… the sibling bonding scenes are so much better this time around, there’s a super-sweet dance number with just Vanya, Allison and Klaus waltzing around in a parlor, it’s one of the most fun sequences of the season. David Castaneda’s character Diego is in his own bubble, he first lands himself in a mental health institution in 1963 and is convinced he needs to thwart the plot to kill U.S President John F Kennedy. Cuckoo indeed. Diego also gets a new partner in crime, Ritu Arya plays Lila Pitts, who helps him escape the institution but has her own nefarious agenda.
Since this is a apocalypse themed show with superheroes, it is but obvious to expect gritty action sequences, explosions, blood, deaths, gore, and even though there isn’t a LOT of that happening, there’s enough to keep action fans invested. Aidan Gallagher’s Five goes on a sinister killing rampage in Episode six, after striking an unfortunate deal with The Handler to get everybody out of the mess they are in. The Hargreeves’ bunch even reach out to their dad, who refuses to believe he adopted 7 kids in his future. Colm Feore as their eccentric billionaire father Reginald is the highlight of the series… he is an asshole, sure, no doubt about it, but a wickedly intelligent one at that, without him, there would be no umbrella academy.
Overall, Season Two is quite entertaining, and the Hargreeves’ siblings begin to really grow on you. The season ends with a very “what the hell just happened?!” kind of climax. Creators Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater wrap up the installment in a way that fans wouldn’t want to waste a second before streaming season three. It’s a 7.5/10 from me.