Review: The Umbrella Academy’s second season is even stronger than the first

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Image: Mo Baldwin

The Umbrella Academy is back and better than ever! Netflix released the second season of the superhero series July 31, 2020.

The series immediately began where it left off from the season one finale, with the six siblings, along with Ben’s ghost, jumping back in time in a second attempt to prevent the apocalypse, only for the siblings to end up stranded alone across the span of several years in the 1960’s. Number Five, who ended up the latest year in 1963, once again encounters the apocalypse and his siblings’ deaths. With the help of former assassin Hazel, Five travels back ten days to try and stop the apocalypse for the third time. Unfortunately for Five, finding his siblings, who were all unable to find each other and forced to adapt to the new time period they were stranded in, is only the beginning of his struggles.

The second season of the Umbrella Academy takes the best parts of the first season and builds on it. All of the siblings are given important character development throughout the season and grow both as individuals and as a family. A far cry from the distant and hurt siblings from the first season, the Hagreeves siblings are all given separate and unique plotlines that allow them to shine. Their development is all natural and leads to many heartwarming moments as they begin to heal from their respective traumas and find themselves as a family again.

Season one had a heavy theme of family, but the second season builds on it into a much more functional direction. While the predominant familial relationship in the first season was the highly dysfunctional Hargreeves, the second season shows the siblings developing into supporting one another and working together. The series also takes advantage of another familial relationship to contrast with the siblings’ improving relationship, which plays a heavy role in the latter half of the season.

Speaking of relationships, a criticism from the season one review was the clumsy romantic relationships. Thankfully, it does a much better job the second time around. The uncomfortable Luther/Allison romance was put to rest while the other burgeoning relationships were given time to develop naturally. Even Allison’s marriage, of which the original development is shown through flashbacks, is a high improvement compared to the first season’s handling.

The plot raises quite a few more questions about the history of the Umbrella Academy, Sir Reginald Hagreeves, Grace and so much more about the world, without answering most of the questions that the first season raised about those things. They’re definitely shaping up to be part of a series-wide mystery, but it’s also frustrating for the second season to ask more questions without answers. The primary plot, however, is handled well and much more straightforward than previously. The characters’ subplots are also interesting to watch and most are given consistent time throughout the season. 

The new characters are all fantastically unique, well-acted and interesting. The characters that won’t return for a third season finished out their roles in arcs and it made sense as to where they ended up and where they were heading. Some will most likely return for a third season and play an interesting role in the events. Hopefully, a third season will also be able to address past characters that the second could not, such as Patches and Cha-Cha, whose fates will likely have changed with the aversion of the apocalypse.

While a third season of the Umbrella Academy hasn’t been confirmed, its success and finale’s cliffhanger makes it probable. Until then, if you’re wanting a show with strong character development, familial relationships and fun moments, the second season of the Umbrella Academy is a great choice.