More dysfunctional family fun: Umbrella Academy S2 Review

by Jam Bufi
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“What the hell did we do now?”

The Hargreeves siblings were the center of the 2019 apocalypse and it looks like they brought it with them to 1963.

The first season of Umbrella Academy frankly deserved its hype last year by giving a quirky and unique energetic twist to the superhero genre. The highly anticipated second season has more of the same but even better and we can’t get enough of it! Believe us when we say that a talking fish residing in a robot body and smoking a cigarette is not the most bizarre thing you will see this season.

Without further ado, here is our High Five spoiler-free (well, almost!) review of the second season of Umbrella Academy.

A treat for history nerds

If you are a history buff, you will most likely enjoy the second season of Umbrella Academy as it takes place in the 1960s, which was a decade of social movements and change that greatly shaped our society today. Early on, we learn that Klaus has started a cult, which was prevalent in the 60s. A huge part of Allison’s storyline this season is her involvement in the civil rights movement, which was the fight of Black Americans for equality. Although he was not mentioned in Umbrella Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. was very prominent in the 1960s until his assasination in 1968.

One of the focal points of the second season is of course the assasination of John F. Kennedy, which was a highly significant moment in U.S. history. It is also interesting to note that season two occurred during the Cold War, which, although there was no actual fighting, was a time of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and their allies from 1947 to 1991. So, the idea of the apocalypse being caused by a nuclear war was actually grounded on reality. In fact, several nuclear war scares did occur throughout the 1960s that evoked widespread paranoia.

 

The soundtrack was on point

Umbrella Academy is really good at picking the right song for every scene. Sometimes the variance between the song’s tune and the scene’s atmosphere is jarring, but somehow Umbrella Academy makes it work and only adds to the endearing quirkiness of the show. The very first episode of this season uses Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as the soundtrack during a war battle scene, so from here we already know that we can expect the same thing for season 2. Several songs, both old and new, made appearances in the second season from “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys and a cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” by The Interrupters, each one successfully amplifying each scene they were featured in.

The character additions were excellent

While we definitely miss Hazel and Cha-Cha, the second season introduced some very interesting and complex characters to the show. The first ones we meet are the Swedish triplets who, while barely saying a word throughout the whole season, made an impression on the audience with their eerie and intimidating silence. Each of the Hargreeves siblings also meet new people during their stay in the 60s who will forever change them. Diego meets a feisty and enigmatic woman named Lila, a character you should definitely watch out for. Vanya is taken in by Sissy, who lives with her husband Carl and her son Harlan, and comes to care deeply for her. Lastly, a surprising reveal in the first episode is that Allison has fallen in love and is married to a man named Raymond, who she joins in the civil rights movement.

 

The show portrays relevant issues

Allison’s time in the 1960s led her to join the civil rights movement, fighting for equal rights of Black Americans. Watching Black Americans be treated with such outright hostility just for the color of their skin was infuriating to watch.

(minor spoiler) Meanwhile, Vanya develops a romance with Sissy, the woman who took her in after she accidentally hit Vanya with her car. When presented with the prospect of living a life together with Vanya, the despair and resignation Sissy felt was the reality for the majority of LGBTQ+ individuals back then and it seemed unfair that, as Sissy described, some people can’t live the life they want. (end of spoiler) At some point, Klaus was also called a “queer” as an insult, as LGBTQ+ acceptance was barely existent at that point..

While all these events transpired in the 1960s, it is disheartening to realize that these social issues are still very much prevalent almost 60 years later. But at the same time, we are reminded of how much progress we have achieved in the past decades. The world still has a long way to go, but this progress is enough to give us hope. In the words of Allison in the last episode, “The fight for a better world is never over.”

SEA Wave Umbrella Academy

It gave us a stronger Hargreeves siblings

This season gave us a more unified Umbrella Academy. After all, this is still a show about a family, albeit an unusual one. In the second season, each of them undergo their own journeys. Luther learns to trust himself again, Diego learns how to be in a pack, Allison uses her voice in a different yet more powerful way, Klaus comes to terms with the fate of his lost love, Five literally confronts his past, and Vanya deals with her being unable to control her immense power and causing the apocalypse. Even “super dead” Ben undergoes an emotional journey of his own. But when the siblings are reunited, they develop a deeper bond and learn to work together better, making the Umbrella Academy or Team Zero as Diego calls them, a formidable group to go against.

However, the siblings didn’t just grow emotionally but also in terms of their abilities. We see a new aspect of their powers that we weren’t able to explore as much in the first season, especially with Diego and Allison. Vanya also gains more control over her power, which can be attributed to the fact that she has finally been accepted by her siblings and is now surrounded by people who love her.

Umbrella Academy Season 2 was chaotic, fun, energetic, funny, intense, and even heartwarming at times. Unsurprisingly though, it ends with a major cliffhanger and leaves us with more unanswered questions than we had before going into the season – (minor spoilers) How did Grace become what she is today? Where are the other 35 children? How did Ben die? What is the Sparrow Academy? Who really is Reginald Hargreeves? (end of spoilers)

While we wait for news on Season 3, we’ll be making ourselves busy rewatching all two seasons and forming theories for what’s next for the siblings.

What was your favorite moment in the season? Share them with us in the comments below.

 

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