The Umbrella Academy proved to the world that you don’t need Marvel to create compelling superhero dramas. This show took the world by storm with its eccentric family dynamics and bizarre concepts. The second season of the show takes us back to the 1960s where the Hargreeves siblings find themselves scattered through time as they look to stop the apocalypse that decimates their world. It’s a season that vastly builds on the success of the first, producing plenty of hilariously heartfelt moments that further endears you to the characters. It’s not without its faults though as convenient plot tropes are ineffectively utilised, recycled plotlines, and some members of this ensemble still don’t fully connect with viewers. However, the overall execution of the second season proved to be a fun ride through the 1960s, giving our characters plenty of agency as they race to stop the apocalypse and return to their timeline. Here are some of the highlights from the second season of The Umbrella Academy.
A dysfunctional family at their best
The heart of the show has always been in the chaotic dynamic between the Hargreeves siblings. While the first season saw a fragmented family, the second season succeeds in creating an overlap in their individual and family arcs. As predicted, these plot threads range from the bizarrely wonderful to the emotionally charged, but equally as compelling. All 7 siblings get their chance to shine, but it’s when these siblings come together that they’re really at their best. Season 2 takes its time to explore the ever-changing dynamic between these characters as they adapt to their new circumstances and learn from their past mistakes. We are treated to some heartening moments between siblings, like Luther apologising to Vanya, that strengthens that seemingly fragile bond between them. Sure, they fight, as most siblings do, but even when those personalities clash and punches are thrown, they still actively choose to protect one another. Nothing demonstrates this more than the actions of the final two episodes as Vanya once again finds herself on the brink of losing control, only to have the most unlikely saviour make that heroic stand, paving the way for the siblings to take that final stand as a united team to take on the Handler and the Commission and make the journey home.
As with every season, new faces are introduced to the story that can either enhance or hinder the story. Lila Pitts is a welcome addition to the show and credit must be given to Ritu Arya for giving us a character that perfectly meshes with the already eccentric cast. Lila is the definition of a wildcard. To start, viewers come to know her as Diego’s friend on the psychiatric ward, but nothing is ever that simple. Lila is a woman with many motives and surprising connections, but her relationship with Diego sees her teeter the line of friend and foe. The dynamic between her and Diego was endearing because, underneath her eccentric charm, she’s just another lost soul that found purpose in order. Her part in this tale is not over, but time will tell if she’ll be a friend or foe to the Hargreeve siblings.
Humour and Heart
The Umbrella Academy has always managed to balance the humour with heart. Neither one dominates the other and they work in tandem to create a relatable atmosphere that connects us to the humanity of these characters despite their superhero abilities. Season 2 ramped up the humour, and because the chemistry between the cast is brilliant it never feels forced. Klaus has always been the most eccentric member of the family, and only he could get transported through time and start a cult giving us some brilliant moments between Klaus and Ben. Some may not agree with this statement, but the humour is also quite subtle, stemming from simple gestures like Luther’s facial expressions, the hilarious family banter, and the pure absurdity of their circumstances. The cast uses the humour to bring out the smiles, but there’s also a level of relatability to it since it’s so often tied to the various sibling dynamics. It’s not just about the humour though as The Umbrella Academy has plenty of heart to go around, further endearing you to these characters and again grounding them in their relatability. This is clearly highlighted in Allison’s newfound love with civil rights activist Raymond Chesnut. The 1960s were fraught with racial tensions and discrimination and, through Allison, we explore the ever-present social and political climate of racism and segregation. However, it’s in this conflict that we get to explore the tender relationship between Allison and Ray and the struggles they face along the way. In many ways, this is where the show truly defines itself because, in the chaos, we get to explore real and relatable issues that torment these characters, and the cast is sincere in the way they convey these struggles.
The Heroic Dead
The second season created an even playfield for the siblings as they all get enough screen time to tie us to their characters. However, we can’t just talk about the living members of the family when the dead had just as much an impact. Justin Min was a highlight in season one, despite his limited screen time, and the second season made sure we got to see more of Ben, the deceased sibling that is given more agency this time around. Once again, Ben is tied to Klaus’s arc, acting as his moral compass when he slips off the rails. However, this season we also get to see Ben’s longing to be seen. He is the constant unseen force that longs to actively be more than just Klaus’s companion. Min wonderfully conveys this longing as he emotionally displays how much he misses his family. When the time comes, Ben refuses to be sidelined, especially when the lives of the siblings he holds dear is at stake. His heroic actions prove how vital he is to the family.
More questions that need answers
We’re still only two seasons into the show, so we have plenty of time to unravel the secrets behind some of the more mysterious elements of this show. Reginald Hargreeves is at the centre of most of these unanswered questions. You would think his impact on the season would be minute at best. However, as the siblings once again set to stop the apocalypse, Hargreeves presence is a constant source of tension and mystery on the show. While it’s clear that Hargreeves is not from this world, viewers are still in the dark about his motives. The fallout of his interactions with the siblings in this 1960s timeline clearly shapes the trajectory of the third season, with plenty of questions that demand answers.