Time travel, nuclear armageddon, and superpowered siblings make for a great combo.
If The Umbrella Academy season one left you wanting more weird and wonderful superpowered action, then season two happily gives you more, staying true to its signature style set by its predecessor, and delivering on all fronts as a fun, interesting, wacky, and occasionally, musically accompanied joyride.
The plot never strays from its trademark persona and wacky charm, as it is clustered with its musically backtracked action sequences, a top notch soundtrack, charming sense of humour, and even a trio of strong but silent Swedish hitmen hunting the family down. Its enough intensity and excitement to keep you watching episode after episode, without ever feeling like too much. From the minute the season starts the show makes it clear that it doesn't intend to deviate from its distinctive style and personality as we see each member of the Hargreeves family dropped randomly across different points in 1960's Dallas, thanks to another botched time travel attempt, courtesy of youngest and oldest sibling, Five. The families separation is the least of their concerns though, as once again they seem to be part of another doomsday event, where they may be both the cause, and the only way of stopping it. While the premise is more or less the same as season one, its oddly welcome. The fact that no matter where the Hargreeves family goes a world ending event follows, feels more like a testament to the shows absurdity and how dysfunctional the family is, rather than sloppy writing.
It also stands out from its first season thanks to the various story arcs belonging to each character, as they all find ways of integrating into a regressive cold war America. Luther ends up working as muscle for a mob boss; Allison marries a civil rights organiser, which leads to some very timely social commentary; Vanya can't remember who she is and becomes a nanny on a farm; and Diego is locked up in a madhouse for trying to save president JFK, several days before he is to be assassinated. By far the stand out of the group however, is once again Robert Sheehan's, Klaus Hargreaves, who finds himself dropped into the 60's first, giving him plenty of time to form a doomsday cult who worship him as some kind of prophet; a prophet, whose words of divine wisdom are simply song lyrics that hadn't been written yet. Klaus proves once again to be the shows comedic gem, whether it be through his antics with his cult, or his unwillingness to shape up in dire situations.
It's important to note that season two does well to better flesh out many of the original characters, in ways that are not only interesting but engaging. David Castaneda's Diego, is more than worth a mention, as he's given a significant portion of the spotlight throughout the season. We get a better look into how the Umbrella Academy and absent father has had a lasting effect on Diego, as his plan to stop the assassination of JFK, is revealed to be less like a simple idea to do some good, and more the result of a misdirected hero complex, fuelled by his need to prove something to, and be seen by his emotionally absent and cruel father. Additionally, the outstanding rapport between the cast members is perfectly demonstrated throughout the season, as we see the members of the Hargreeves family reunite and interact with each other in fun and interesting ways; whether it be Klaus, Vanya and Allison getting drunk and talking about their love lives, or Luther watching Five to make sure he doesn't enter a homicidal rage. In this sense, the show does well to demonstrate how the family has changed, moving on from the conflictual and reluctant siblings of season one, and showing them as appreciative and united brothers and sisters, an aspect of the season that brigs with it a lot of heart. The interactions between characters is electric, and the way each cast member perfectly inhabits their role helps provide a better look into how each family member thinks and feels, bolstering what was already a well defined and fleshed out cast of characters.
There's even an intriguing amount of social commentary throughout the series, related to the setting of 1960's Texas. Allison becomes a very active civil rights campaigner with her husband, organising a sit-in at a 'whites only' diner; a peaceful protest that soon turns sour. Even Vanya's arc explores how the perception of gender roles at the time, could mean that getting married left women feeling trapped in their role as a wife and mother, without any real opportunity to express themselves, while the man took on the role of the 'breadwinner'. Both plots offered a level of depth to the show that not only wasn't expected, but also never felt forced, making it a great addition to an already great show. However its still aware that it doesn't need depth to stand out, taking clichéd subjects like the nature of time travel and a secretive love interest, and makes them its own, proving that it doesn't need to be more than it is to be one of the most entertaining shows out right now.
Umbrella Academy season two is captivating in its own unique way, investing you in its diverse and charming characters, drawing you in with its kickass action, all the while delivering a bonkers plot with enough intrigue to keep you glued to the screen. It's a show that not only excels at living up to its predecessor, but is also an experience unique to itself that will have you wanting more, even after the final credits roll.
You can watch both seasons of The Umbrella Academy now, only on Netflix.