Umbrella Academy Season Two Review

by Nick Devonald on July 27, 2020

** Minor spoilers ahead – But nothing which isn’t revealed in the trailer **


After the climatic season one finale our heroes have jumped back into the 1960s to escape the apocalypse of their making, only to bring the apocalypse with them. Split up over three years, Five is the last to arrive, in time to witness another apocalypse. In a similar fashion to the first season he then finds himself with ten days left to stop the apocalypse. Again.

Photo Credit: Netflix

Repeating the same plotline of the first season but in a different time is a bold move. It runs the risk of feeling like it’s retreading old ground and has lost the insane originality that the first season had in bucket loads. Showrunner Steve Blackman manages the impossible and makes this repeated plotline feel fresh and exciting.

The first ten minutes of the second season manage to set this storyline up in a fantastic fashion, viewers will find themselves drawn back into this crazy world like they’ve never been away, the story racing from the conclusion of the last season straight into the new scenario the Academy have found themselves in.

By separating the siblings over a three year time period they’ve all found themselves isolated from one another and forced to start new lives.


The second season of The Umbrella Academy is once more based on the Dark Horse graphic novel, this time focusing on the second story arc, Dallas, which revolves around the assassination of President JFK. Written by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance fame, and illustrated by the talented Gabriel Bá, the comics have won Eisner awards.

In a similar fashion to the first season it is a loose adaptation, while certain plot lines are lifted straight from the pages of the comics most are tweaked, some slightly, others almost unrecognisable. Most of the changes serve to ground the series in a little more reality than the comics, but with the second season Netflix have decided to embrace some of the wackier elements of the comics, perfect case in point is Carmichael, a Shubunkin goldfish inside a robotic body. In the comics he was the head of the Temps Commission, who sent the time-travelling assassins Hazel & Cha-Cha after Number Five. Again, it’s a brave move, but it works wonders and fits in with the insanity and weirdness which is The Umbrella Academy. It has the effect of capturing the spirit and energy of the comics whilst having its own identity as well.


The original seven siblings return for the second season, and each actor manages to bring that same energy and chemistry that they did in the first season. Robert Sheehan and Justin Min as Klaus and Ben manage to have a hilarious sibling rivalry which conceals the deep love between the two characters, probably the most normal relationship between all of the siblings. Both of them went on a bit of an emotional story of discovery in the first season, with Klaus, in particular, changing throughout the season. That story is continued in an unexpected and touching way in the second season.

Aidan Gallagher as Five is such an incredible piece of casting, he manages to have the presence of an old man in a child's body which is simultaneously hilarious and completely believable. Both David Castañeda and Tom Hopper are still suffering from their Daddy issues from the first season, which has manifested in them both in vastly different ways but continues to be a key motivator for their characters.

Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison gets a real opportunity to shine in this season. The 1960s is notoriously famous for its prejudices against people of colour, and while this has been explored in numerous time-travel stories over the years it manages to still feel like a new take on it. Similar to how Steve Blackman manages to make the prevent the apocalypse storyline feel fresh and exciting he manages to explore the racism inherent in 1960s America without feeling like he’s retreading old ground. This introduces new character Raymond (Yusuf Gatewood) who accompanies Allison on her journey of fighting for her rights.

With the second season Ellen Page continues to have a vulnerability about her as Vanya which makes it easy for readers to sympathise with her. While she might have been responsible for the apocalypse in 2019 she never feels evil, rather she’s just lost and alone. With the second series she’s struck up a close friendship with newcomer Marin Ireland as Sissy, which will have viewers deeply invested in her story and caring how she turns out.

One of the best new additions to the cast is British actress Ritu Arya as Lila. She manages to steal the scene from her first appearance and makes an incredible duo with Diego. There is a chemistry between Arya and David Castañeda which is a real delight to watch on the screen. Just as messed up and as crazy as the Umbrella Academy siblings she fits in well with the cast, and her origin story and role become even more important as the season progresses.

Photo Credit: Netflix

The only other new casting of any note are the new villains of the piece, the three Swedish assassins that The Commission have sent after the Hargreeves. While they don’t have the same presence and character that Hazel & Cha-Cha had in the first season there is a relentlessness to them which makes them a credible threat to The Hargreeves.


One of the strengths of the first season was the soundtrack, a trend which continues into this second season. On paper the music choices must sound insane but instead serve to give the show its own character and feel. It makes the well-choreographed fight scenes not only unique but quite often hilarious as well. The soundtrack ends up being one of the more memorable parts of The Umbrella Academy. After all, how many fans, after hearing “I Think We’re Alone Now”, end up picturing that scene from the first series?

The trend continues into the second season, with an equally inspired musical score. There are Backstreet Boys and TLC references which are guaranteed to get a laugh.


The superpowers or the apocalypse aren’t what make this series such a success, rather its’s the dysfunctional family relationship that makes this series such compulsive viewing. It sounds an insane premise, yet thanks to incredible casting, inspired musical choices, and not being afraid to adapt some of the more outlandish elements from the comics it is compulsive and fantastic viewing. At times it is absolutely hilarious and is filled with lots of little touches to keep the viewer amused. It's always a delight to see the new and creative ways the Umbrella logo is introduced in each episode.

In similar fashion to the first season, the second season manages to not only conclude the main story of the season but set up the next seasons as well. As the season has progressed it’s shown that there are still plenty of secrets and mysteries to be unveiled, and fans will be crying out for a third season.

Fans of the first season won’t be disappointed. Netflix have taken everything which worked about the first season and improved on it, leaving viewers with another incredible season that deserves to be renewed for a third season. The first ten minutes hit the ground running and set up the premise for the rest of the season, and the action doesn’t relent until its action-packed finale. Make sure you keep July 31st free, you’ll want to binge this series as soon as it’s released.


Photo Credit: Netflix



Photo Credit: Netflix