Image courtesy of RottenTomatoes.com
By Kat Kaderabek
As one of the most anticipated shows of 2020 given the cliffhanger to the first season, season two of Umbrella Academy has finally been released on Netflix. This season seemingly progresses even more quickly than the first, as it is one of the easiest shows to binge-watch on the streaming platform. The plot is incredibly addictive and even creates a sense of time-urgency that inevitably leads to binge-watching the entire series. In addition to the plot, the series is addictive because it elicits a sense of paranoia within its viewers, about time, the world, and even the people we love. Nothing is untouchable in the Umbrella Academy series which takes quirky superheroes to the extreme.
The beginning of season two follows the time jump from the end of the world in the finale of season one; each of the beloved Umbrella Academy heroes lands within a different year of the 1960s, alone. Without anyone else to cling to, each of the characters starts their own life during a new decade. Klaus forms a cult while Luther joins a mobster as his new muscle. Allison discovers how difficult life was for African American women in the 1960s and joins the civil rights movement while vowing never to use her powers, which had caused so much trouble in season one. Vanya, who is hit by a car, suffers from amnesia and lives a quiet life with her rescuer family on a farm. Diego, after trying to convince the FBI of Kennedy’s assassination, is shut away in an asylum. With Number Five being the last one to arrive from their time jump, only ten days before the next apocalypse, he must find his siblings, stop the apocalypse, and defeat the creepy and diabolical Handler that traumatized all the unknowing characters in season one.
Since the previous season premiered in February of 2019, it is beneficial to watch a short refresher video in order to remember how the quirky and dynamic main characters ended up where they do at the start of the very first episode of season two. The story does not waste time reviewing the events of season one; instead, it immediately opens up to the events unfolding in the 1960s and how the main characters intend to stop them.
Characteristic of the Umbrella Academy series, the soundtrack to every episode is phenomenal and full of throwback songs that fit seamlessly into the plot and scene. The series is praised for the quirky dynamic between intense, violent scenes and the upbeat music that plays during them. There is much more of this dichotomy in season two, making even the most gruesome of scenes more enjoyable or laughable. This season, the soundtrack includes hits like “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, “You Only Want Me When You’re Lonely” by Jim Boyd, and even “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by The Backstreet Boys. A compiled playlist can be found and enjoyed here.
Unlike many TV shows, Umbrella Academy is incredibly unpredictable. Each episode ends with a new twist or jinx in the plan and will leave viewers puzzling the characters’ problems themselves. The beauty of the plot is that no one ever knows what will happen, who to trust, or what to do when things go wrong. The show can be described as “messy” at times, because the plot, characters, and even the location can be hard to follow. Some of the more idiotic scenes are juxtaposed with tragedies that leave characters and viewers feeling a senselessness to life. This is not a happy series, but it is a rather entertaining one.
There is not much character development in this season, as each of the Umbrella Academy heroes retains their sense of self and powers. Instead, this season focuses more on the development of minor characters and the world of the 1960s. Each character still retains their essence as the junkie, the muscle, the mastermind, the weaponizer, the depressive victim, or the strong independent woman;while maintaining their respective roles, the characters apply those personalities to the livelihood of the 1960s.
The series ends yet again on a cliffhanger, though this one is not as drastic as the first season’s end. However, it does leave the characters and viewers feeling nostalgic. Umbrella Academy is worthy of praise simply for the emotions it evokes within the viewers themselves. It is highly recommended for film-lovers, fans of the unexpected and peculiar, and die-hard old music junkies.