The Umbrella Academy: Right Back Where We Started

Another season, another apocalypse. The Hargreeves family members are back and forced to face another doomsday, in a new setting and in a different year. Netflix’s show brings back all the strong features of the first season and improves them, renewing all the weirdness and the emotional moments that distinguish The Umbrella Academy world. (Potential SPOILERS coming!)

Right back where we started: The Umbrella Academy is back on Netflix, and it seems as if season 1 never really left us. Everything is back to the starting point: the members of the Academy need to face a new doomsday-level threat, that “followed” them straight back to the 1960s with all their quirky situations and eccentric ways. Just like season one, the Hargreeves special siblings are separated by the time-jump that saved their lives in the cliffhanger that kept us craving for more, until now. The expectations were definitely not deluded, as the series based on Gerard Way successful comic books manages to improve what it started a year ago.

After introducing the characters and the universe around them with some (even if sporadic) dead moment, this second season is fast-paced, more cohesive and even more insane in some situations, but that doesn’t mean that the emotional moments that we learned to love are taken away: on the opposite, this season is packed with a lot of such moments, that build up the tension in a great way between a funny moment and the other. Every single member of the Academy is deepened and the change of scene represented by Dallas forces them to live a span of their life in the past (for some of them longer, for some other shorter) and makes them grow even further.

Starting with Luther, who is suffering with depression due the failure of saving the world: his development process is quite similar to the one Thor goes through during Avengers:Endgame, after failing in his attempt at stopping Thanos. The #1 of the Academy, indeed, feels the weight of the world and its fate on his shoulders, falling into a spiral of indifference that initially makes him reject the idea of putting himself on the front line to save the world. During the episodes Luther will manage to overcome his condition, and he will even stand up against his father for the first time ever in his life, in one of the best character evolution of the series so far. Same can be said for Diego, victim of the hero complex inculcated in his life by Reginald, that this time is pushing him over the edge, in his attempt to save the life of JFK: despite failing in doing so, he will finally be able to content his desire to be a hero, by contributing to save the apocalypse.

The rest of the Academy members go through a parallel and constant process of evolution, too, that will lead all of them to master their powers and abilities even further, including Vanya, who will finally be able to use her powers for the right cause. Despite everybody else did nothing to lay low as much as possible to not alter the timeline (Diego with his obsession of saving the president, Klaus starting a cult, Luther working for Jack Ruby and Allison involved in racial rights fight), Vanya is still the bomb, the cause of the apocalypse that need to be stopped, even though unawares this time.

Through family reunions, wacky situations, emotional struggles and difficulties, the season revolves around the ultimate coming together of our eccentric heroes, which will finally be able to set aside their differences and stand next to each other in the moment of need, which will come just in time to face the ultimate threat: Lila, a new character introduced this season, which will be revealed to be one of them and that has the ability of mirroring any of their powers.

The season, as already mentioned, is set in the sixties and because of this scene it deals with sensible topics such as the racial fights of the american black community and the homophobic ideals that in those years were even more widespread than nowadays. These topics prove themselves extremely current and remind us all that these battles are not over: even after sixty years the situation didn’t change much despite it should be so, considering the level of evolution the world communities have reached nowadays.

The season finale shows us that not everything eventually leads to a happily ever after, as all our heroes are forced to say goodbye to everything they had found during their time in the sixties and Dallas, as they do not belong in that period and they must return to 2019: it’s the end of something. The start of something new: their actions in the past radically changed the future and their present, and now all of them find themselves facing a completely different situation in their own mansion: the Umbrella Academy doesn’t seem to exist anymore, and there is only The Sparrow Academy. With another cliffhanger, the series ends and it still leaves us all craving for more and more.

Thanks to a rummy soundtrack, action-packed episodes, countless wacky situations and a story that keeps you glued to the screen until it ends, The Umbrella Academy fills extremely well a summer that is lacking superheroes-themed material, and in the process it even quotes some of its “competitors”, such as DC comics and Marvel: the moment when Five quotes the now iconic catchphrase of Steve Rogers “I can do this all day” is the perfect example of it (and let’s admit it, we all got excited when we heard it…).
I watched it twice in a week and the second time was as good as the first one, if not even better: it is impossible to get bored watching this show, which is definitely a must-watch for the fans (and not) of the genre.

Final vote: 8.6/10

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