Review: The Umbrella Academy, season 2

Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Aidan Gallagher, and Emmy Raver-Lampma in The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy is SO GOOD in season 2. The pacing is perfect – never a dull moment. The special effects are well done. The music is wonderful. The twists and surprises are always fresh and never expected. The actors are brilliant. From start to finish, season 2 is a joy and a delight.

Where in Dallas? Or should I say when?

Aidan Gallagher in The Umbrella Academy
Still working on getting those time jumps right.

The Umbrella Academy begins in an alley in Dallas. It’s the early 1960s, but not every member of the family landed on exactly the same date. Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) whisked them all from the apocalypse, but hasn’t mastered the timeline quite yet.

The Dallas that Number Five lands in, just a few days after November 22, 1963, is in a full out nuclear war with Russia. Cripes, Number Five has to save the world from another apocalypse!

Ellen Page and Marin Ireland in The Umbrella Academy
These two get to enjoy a sweet love story. And neither of them dies.

Vanya (Ellen Page) immediately is hit by a car when she pops into Dallas. The driver, Sissy (Marin Ireland), helps Vanya, who has no memory of anything. Sissy gives Vanya a job as live-in nanny for her autistic son Harlan (Justin Paul Kelly). Vanya and Harlan share a special bond.

With no memories, Vanya doesn’t remember her traumatic childhood, or the rage that led her to break the moon into bits at the end of season 1. She’s free to just be her natural self. As such, she gets to have a love story in season 2. Sissy is married to a man, but Vanya and Sissy fall in love.

By the time the Umbrella Academy family is back together and Vanya’s memories return, Vanya and Sissy are truly in deep.

David Castañeda and Ritu Arya in The Umbrella Academy
Funny story, but we met in the crazy bin.

Diego (David Castañeda) arrives in Dallas just days before November 22, 1963. He starts stalking Lee Harvey Oswald in order to slice off his trigger finger so he can’t shoot President Kennedy.

Diego gets arrested and thrown in the mental hospital for telling everyone something must be done to stop the President from being killed.

Diego meets Lila (Ritu Arya) while in the hospital. Diego also falls in love. He and Lila escape together. The relationship between them lasts throughout season 2, but changes in significant ways as we learn more about Lila. Lila is a terrific new character – I’m hoping to see her in season 3.

Diego meets the Hargreeves’ mom, Grace (Jordan Claire Robbins). She’s a real woman, not an AI, and she’s in love with Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), who might be planning to shoot Kennedy.

Emmy Raver-Lampman in The Umbrella Academy
First stop, a whites only restaurant.

Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) thumps into Dallas to find herself unwelcome in whites only locations. She runs until she finds a black owned beauty shop, where she is safe.

She joins the community around the beauty shop and becomes an activist fighting for civil rights. She falls in love, too, with another activist, Ray (Yusuf Gatewood). They’ve been married almost a year when the members of the Umbrella Academy start to locate each other.

Robert Sheehan, Tom Hopper, and David Castañeda in The Umbrella Academy
Hmm, I think your hair is longer now . . .

Klaus (Robert Sheehan) has a cult following. He wows them by quoting song lyrics from 90s pop tunes. Klaus can still talk to the ghost Ben (Justin H. Min). Klaus meets the man he fell in love with in Viet Nam. He tries to keep him from enlisting.

Ben falls in love with a member of Klaus’s cult and chats with her by inhabiting Klaus’s body. I enjoyed the special effects for this body snatching bit, and Robert Sheehan was amazing at it.

Luther (Tom Hopper) has a job as a bare knuckle boxer working for Jack Ruby. He thinks Jack Ruby is an okay guy and makes him a lot of money by suckering other fighters.

When Luther finds out Allison is married, he’s pretty broken up about it.

All Here?

Okay. The gang’s all in Dallas, and gathered into the same moment of the timeline because Number Five wants to prevent another apocalypse. It’s just days before the Kennedy assassination.

They take over the eccentric Elliott’s (Kevin Rankin) place, because it’s next to the alley where they all landed in Dallas. They all have their own story arcs going and getting them to give that up to help Five save the world isn’t easy. There’s a lot of arguing during the business of making a plan.

Troublemakers

A shot to the head isn’t fatal under the right conditions.

The Handler (Kate Walsh) only seemed dead at the end of season 1. She’s back. And she’s filled with ambition and a thirst for power. She uses it to manipulate the various members of the family and the commission in charge of the timeline.

Kris Holden-Ried, Jason Bryden, and Tom Sinclair in The Umbrella Academy
The Swedes are after you in their milk truck

Other villains in season 2 included three brothers known as The Swedes: Kris Holden-Ried, Jason Bryden, and Tom Sinclair played them. These guys almost never spoke and attracted cats like flies on honey. They took over the job of attempting to kill various Hargreeves, depending on what The Handler needed at the time.

I loved seeing Kris Holden-Ried in this. He never said a word until episode 5 or 6 and then he mostly spoke Swedish.

The Swedes were dangerous but humorous. The scene in the sauna when The Handler came to give them orders and they all spoke Swedish while naked was funny.

Overall

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, everything about season 2 of The Umbrella Academy hits 100% all the time. Season 1 had to introduce the characters and build the world. Season 2 just takes off running and never stops. The characters grow and the cast is superb, every single one.

This group of siblings were raised with abuse, derision, trauma, and a distinct lack of affection. I thought season 2’s love stories were such an most important thematic element. The characters find someone who validates them as worthy of love. It was exactly what they needed. Especially Vanya, who was so mistreated and abused as a child.

The ending of the season and the pathway into a 3rd season gets us ready for another volume in the comic book material the series is based on.

Steve Blackman created the series. Women directors in season 2 were Amanda Marsalis and Ellen Kuras. Women directed at least 4 of the episodes.

The Umbrella Academy 2 poster

Here’s a preview of the action.

Did you watch this yet? What did you think of it?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

7 thoughts on “Review: The Umbrella Academy, season 2”

  1. Vanya finally finding real love from someone who knows and appreciates her for who she is and her family finally showing her the love and respect they should have been giving her all along felt so amazing and even though her relationship wasn’t made to last, it was still special and it made me so happy, especially after how abused she was last season.

    1. It was a good lesson in the difference that childhood abuse can make vs. being accepted and loved. I think about things like the children and babies locked in cages in immigration centers and how that will affect them as adults. They may not make the moon explode like Vanya did, but they can still be full of rage and hurt.

      Marin Ireland was a great choice opposite Ellen Page. They were totally convincing.

  2. We just finished watching last night and as usual, your review was spot on. It’s rare an American movie has such a great plot.

    Adian stole the show and the series in my estimation. How are they going to keep him from aging without stunting his growth for another season? is what interests me because he is pretty skinny, malnourished and could do with some professional fitness guidance.

    Ellen Page isn’t much better. She always looks wasted to me. I don’t mean with drugs either. She is skin and bones. Completely in character as a result.

    1. I’ve wondered about Aidan Gallagher and his growth, too. He’s grown up so much since season 1. He has the “old man” posture and attitude down so well you almost don’t realize that he’s turning into an adult. I wondered if that is why the 58 year old Five made an appearance this season.

Comments are appreciated!