There’s something weird, wacky and wonderful about a series that doesn’t pull its punches. The Umbrella Academy introduced us to a misfit family of people adopted and brought together for their special powers to try and stop the end of the world. Season 2 which has just landed on Netflix has us following the Hargreeves family as they try to once again stop another doomsday.
After using Five’s (Aidan Gallagher) ability to jump through time and space to escape the complete annihilation of the planet, the Hargreeves siblings find themselves stranded in different years of the 1960’s but all in the same location, Dallas Texas. Five arrives last on 25 November 1963 only to be warned by an elderly Hazel (Cameron Britton) that the apocalypse is going to occur in ten days and that he needs to stop it. But first he has to find where the rest of the Umbrella Academy have ended up.
Luther (Tom Hopper) winds up in an underground boxing fight club and playing bodyguard to notorious mafia man Jack Ruby. Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) has married civil rights activist Raymond Chestnut. Diego (David Castaneda) winds up in a mental asylum in his attempts to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Klaus (Robert Sheehan) along with the ghost of his brother Ben (Justin H. Min) end up starting a cult. Whilst Vanya (Ellen Page) has amnesia and after almost being hit by a car, ends up as a live-in nanny with a married couple and their special needs son.
The Umbrella Academy gets to merge the superhero genre with the drama of a dysfunctional family against the constant impending doom of an oncoming apocalypse. Season 2 sees the siblings once again arguing, this time turning on Five since he stranded them in the 1960’s. Each of them having started new lives, though not entirely without their own individual problems. The series gets to focus on various issues, through each of the individual siblings’ stories. Including segregation and equality and the Black Lives Matter movement, cults, obsessive behaviour and depression. Whilst the recurring theme throughout the series is that no matter how many mistakes you make, your family will always be there for you.
We still get to see each of the characters show off their various powers, but a highlight is the expansion of Justin H. Min’s character of Ben. This time he plays more of a role in Klaus’ journey and also has a crucial moment with Vanya that proves to be a turning point. The time travel aspect also sees the family reuniting with their father Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) that ends up being equal parts frustrating and confusing.
Stylistically the show refuses to tone down its quirkiness. From talking goldfish, to three apparently mute Swedish assassins, to conspiracy theories about alien invasion. The show embraces its weirdness and runs with it. The soundtrack this time around prefers to take nods from the 60’s with the occasional alternative cover versions thrown in which always help add to the mood.
Fans of the first season will enjoy the continuing adventures and exploits of the Hargreeves siblings. Those who aren’t familiar with the show can get a fast recap of season one before launching in to the new series. There is not really a whole lot that you would need to know that carries across in to this season so if you’d like to jump on board it’s accessible. Just be prepared for a weird and wild ride as these misfits try once again to save the day.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Umbrella Academy is now streaming on Netflix.