I really enjoyed the first season of Umbrella Academy, but after a disappointing second season for Altered Carbon I was worried about this follow up. Turns out I didn’t need to be because Umbrella Academy Season 2 was great, a perfect follow up that develops its core cast, gives them a new setting and still manages to keep the sense of fun alongside the drama. Let’s take a closer look!
After escaping Armageddon, Five’s time travel goes awry as his siblings end up in different years in 1960s Dallas. Five arrives on November 25, 1963, to find his siblings battling against Soviet soldiers just before a brand new apocalypse happens, the cataclysmic event having “followed them” down the time stream. The struggle to save the Earth begins anew…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
I’d make a “lots of people in a lift fart gag” reference, but that’s actually what happens in the show, so…
The basic set up, at least for teleporting and time-travelling Five (Aidan Gallagher) is the same as last time: trying to prevent the apocalypse, though now it happens in the 60s and its due to nuclear war between the US and Soviets thanks in part to a living President Kennedy. He has to find his siblings who ended up in the same alley in Dallas, but in different years, so by the time he finds them they’ve all had to adjust to life in the 60s for varying amounts of years. Half-gorilla Luther (Tom Hopper) has become an underground fighter employed by future Oswald killer Jack Ruby, skilful knife thrower Diego (David Castaneda) is in a mental institution due to his insistence that the President is about to be assassinated, mind-controller Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) ended up marrying a man named Raymond Chestnut (Yusuf Gatewood) and getting involved with the Black rights movement, Klaus (Robert Sheehan) ends up starting a cult while still dealing with his ability to commune with the dead that’s allowing his deceased brother Ben (Justin H. Min) to lecture him, and finally Vanya (Ellen Page) gets hit by a car and becomes amnesiac, which is handy because it means she doesn’t remember ending the world by via her newly awoken powers and instead lives on a peaceful farm with a couple and their autistic child.
So the first half of the series is seeing these separate story threads come together, starting with Diego escaping the asylum with a woman named Lila (Ritu Arya) and Luther losing a fight after his distracted by the news of Allison’s marriage and being sacked leading to the three and Five to seek refuge in the flat of nerdy conspiracy theorist Elliot (Kevin Rankin), meanwhile Allison’s marriage comes apart when she uses her powers to stop a cop from beating her husband and everyone thinks the only way the cop would stop is if she was on the government’s side, Klaus’ cult becomes a nuisance so he sets himself a new goal of stopping his old love interest Dave from signing up to fight in the Vietnam War, and Vanya falls in love with the wife of the family she’s living with, Sissy (Marin Ireland), which eventually doesn’t go down well with the admittedly harsh and uncaring father/husband of the group.
They’re part of the bad guys, in case you can’t tell by the way they dress…
During all this we see that things at “The Commission”, the group dedicated to fixing the timeline at all costs, are going equally as smoothly, with The Handler (Kate Walsh) ousted from her position by a fish in a suit, then eventually manipulating Five to kill all the board so she can take over the organisation. It’s also revealed that Lila is The Handler’s “daughter”, though she adopted her after she ordered her parents killed, not that Lila knows that. Throw in lots of other little twists and fun scenes often involving either a trio of Swedish assassins that slowly get picked off, Umbrella Academy founder Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) potentially being involved in the plot to assassinate Kennedy (and apparently being some sort of alien?) or Five having a duel with a younger version of himself (that looks far older) in hopes to change events and its generally a really fun time. We soon find out that Vanya is once again the cause of doomsday as she is captured by the FBI and in the current timeline her powers go out of control and the resulting explosion is mistaken for a Soviet bomb attack on the Kennedy motorcade.
Allison, Diego and Klaus arrive at the building but are powerless to stop Vanya, so Ben, who at this point has discovered he can possess Klaus’ body, moves towards Vanya and projects himself into her body instead, sitting down and talking to her sister within her own mind and telling her, basically, that it isn’t her fault she keeps causing doomsday, it’s their father’s for suppressing her power rather than having her learn to control it. Vanya accepts the truth but notices Ben is beginning to break apart into blue light, leading to her deceased brother telling her that it was finally his time to leave. This all end up with a lovely scene where everyone supports Vanya as she heads back to the farm to help the autistic boy Harlan (Justin Paul Kelly) as he’s accidentally been given some of her powers, but it ends up in a massive showdown between the Umbrella Academy gang and The Commission, including the reveal that Lila is one of the special children born at the same time like them and her power is to copy the ability of whoever she’s facing.
The Three Swedes were fun regular villains, but not quite as interesting as Hazel and Cha-Cha from the previous series.
It all ends with Lila finding out that her “mother” was behind the deaths of her real parents before every one of the good guys being gunned down by The Handler… apart from Five, who manages to rewind time by just a minute and stop that from happening. The Handler is killed by the last remaining Swede and that’s that! Everyone says their goodbyes to the 60s friends they’ve made and head back to 2019 where they find the original doomsday has also been prevented, allowing them to relax for the first time in a long time… except they walk into the living room to see their father no only alive but fronting a different group of crime fighters that includes a living Ben! To be continued indeed…
It’s such a great season, and once again makes me really excited to see what happens next!
Not a thing. It’s perfectly written, both funny and dramatic, high production values and great acting all around.
Believe it or not, this screenshot comes in the middle of a musical sequence!
The Umbrella Academy – Season 2 is a perfect follow up to a great Season 1 in that it’s equally great. The mix of humour and drama is great and the storylines and acting top notch. Can’t recommend it enough!