Umbrella Academy Season 2 Appreciation


Welcome to my Umbrella Academy Season 2 Top 10 list. Sort of, but not really. I’m not much for lists, especially not top 10 lists. However, I wasn’t sure what to do about this article. Originally, I was going to have it be a review. The problem with that is (and I know I’m overwhelmingly positive to begin with) there wasn’t much that I didn’t like about the show. So, instead of calling it a review, I figured I’d just list everything I love about the show and this season.

I could have just cheaped out and listed all of the characters as 1-7. But, I respect you all far too much to pull that kind of nonsense.

I do love this show. I’ve watched Season 1 three times. I think I might have fallen asleep at times during the first viewing (mind you, that’s not an indicator of the quality of the show, just that I was working 60 hours a week and very tired) because I saw things the second time around that I’d missed. Then, I watched again because I thought that Aiden would enjoy the show. Spoiler Alert: He did.

And, so, we continue our travel through retro articles for the anniversary of the page with a brand new television show. Hey, I said I respected you too much to phone it in. I never promised that we’d actually stick to the topic at hand. Do stay tuned, though, because retro content is coming. I know I said this week. But, it’s getting pushed to next week. For now, let’s discuss Umbrella Academy Season 2!

The Hargreeves

I never read the Umbrella Academy comic. I never even knew it existed until I saw it on the Netflix menu. So, I took a chance on it. Completely sight unseen. I told everyone I knew about it after the first two episodes. I described it as a f***ed up X-Men. And, who are these f***ed up X-Men?

They are seven children, adopted by an “eccentric billionaire” shortly after they are born. They all have powers that are revealed through various vignettes and flashbacks in the first season. Moreover, they are all richly entertaining characters by themselves and in their interactions with one another.

At different times in the first season, I had a different favorite. As with most of you, I’m sure, number five remains my absolute favorite even if he was way more of a dink in the second season. However, I loved Klaus’ Vietnam story. I relate far too well to Diego as the one who always has to clean up the mess. Luther’s and Allison’s romance was great in the 2 “Days” episodes. Ben provides much needed comic relief and Vanya steals the show at the end.

Umbrella Academy Season 2 gives us more of all of it. Ben plays a huge role and gets one of the most emotional send offs I’ve seen in a television show. Vanya gets to be happy. Allison gets the socially aware storyline of the season. Diego is still cleaning up after everyone. The only stories that had minor quibbles with are Luther and Klaus. Especially Luther. I feel like he got robbed this season. Maybe he will get redemption in Season 3.

The Setting

My lifelong obsession with the Vietnam war and an appreciation of the hippie movement plus enjoyment of the music all notwithstanding, I’m not as much of a fan of the 60s as a decade. I mean, they’re better than the 80s and I liked the 90s, which were basically the 60s redux. Okay, maybe I like the 60s just fine.

However, I was born in the 70s. So, I guess it makes sense that I relate more to that decade than the 60s. Growing up, I loved Saturday Night Fever and I railed against anyone who would listen that disco wasn’t dead. 90s rap vindicated me on that one a bit when they sampled many disco beats. Speaking of retro, I also like 80s and 90s video games better. What do you mean they didn’t have video games in the 60s?

What’s the point? Who the hell knows anymore? Oh, right, the choice of the 60s as the setting for season 2. If I had any questions about the setting, I was wrong. For the most part, the stories were fund and entertaining in spite of the fact that they were simply trying to stop the apocalypse again. Heck, they even made the “Save JFK” story entertaining even though it’s been done many times before.

The Stories

So, other than JFK, what are the stories? Well, without going into too much detail, Luther is an underground fighter with ties to the mob (that already gives away a lot if you know history), Five is still dealing with the commission (and if you remember season 1, very familiar faces from the past/future/both?), Klaus is a cult leader, Ben learns that he can possess people, Vanya is working as a live in babysitter (it’s more interesting than it sounds), Diego finds love in the nut house (again, there’s more to it, but that about covers it), and Allison…

Allison finds herself in the middle of the racial strife of the time. Again, this isn’t a particularly original story. But, given the current political environment, it hit me pretty hard. Even Aiden said, “Why are people so dumb?” And, I never have an answer to that question.

I mean, I understand racism from a “scientific”point of view. However, I will never understand how things break inside of people’s brains and make them so angry, bitter, and hateful. Actually, that’s not entirely true. What I don’t understand is why people can’t change their beliefs when presented with contradicting evidence. No, wait, I get that, too. If I’m being honest, even though I understand each component individually, I don’t actually understand any of it. Does that make any sense? Probably not. Then again, neither does racism.

With all of that being said, the story was interesting. And, if can help some people learn that racial injustice didn’t start in the last year, or decade, or even century, then that can only be a good thing. I don’t know if a super hero show on Netflix can have that kind of impact, but I remain hopeful.

The Villains

Spoiler alert? Perhaps not because nobody is ever truly dead in a show like this.

One of the great things about this show is the moral ambiguity of many of its characters. You don’t truly know who is a hero and who is a villain in most cases. Sure, a guy like Diego runs counter to this theory. But, there will always be exceptions. What about someone like Hazel? Is he a villain because he is a hit man? Is he a hero for giving all of that up to be with the woman he loves?

Even one of my favorites, Number Five. He’s on the side of the heroes most of the time. However, he does fall in with The Commission and becomes one of their best assassins. Plus, as I said earlier, he’s just a dink overall. Some of that can be attributed to time travel “madness” or whatever, I suppose.

The point of it all is that characters that I would universally define as a villain like our lady friend that I used as an example up there are still compelling and worth watching. Yes, she is detestable. She is manipulative. Her only agenda is herself. And, yet, when her fate is revealed in season 2, I cheered because I genuinely like having her around. Maybe that says something about me as a person. But, admit it, you cheered, too.

The Verdict

Umbrella Academy Season 2 is an absolute success. Someone asked on Facebook if it was better than season 1. I responded that I wouldn’t say better, but a different energy and still fun. I haven’t watched it a second time to see if I missed anything. But, winter is coming and coronavirus has halted all production, so season 3 won’t be around for a while now. I have time to watch a second, third, and then binge the whole series a 4th and 5th time if I want.

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