Warning! Slight spoilers ahead!
Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy returns with a second season that, in this viewer’s opinion, is much better than the first season’s effort. While the writers and producers of the show bring back many of the elements that made the first season so enjoyable, they improve upon said elements and add others to make this season even better.
One thing that season one got right was the cinematic fight scenes in every episode. Each scene was perfectly choreographed with the right amount of violence while adding a background song that fit just right- something that season two got just as right if not better.
Picking up right where season one ended, season two sees all the Hargreeves siblings being scattered across time in early 1960s Dallas, Texas. Set to Maxine Nightengale’s “Right Back Where We Started”, not only do you get an upbeat (and situationally humorous) song to set the tone for the upcoming season, but it also subtly reveals the entire underlying plot as well; trying to stop another doomsday apocalypse from happening. Something the Hargreeves hoped they left back in 2019. This time, the apocalyptic event is somehow tied to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. How’s that for a plot twist?
Besides killing off my favorite character of season one within the first ten minutes of the episode, I love the opening sequence and was immediately hooked. If this isn’t enough to get you interested in the show, the opening scene in every episode should help to rectify that.
The soundtrack of season two continues to impress. Throughout the season, we are given an eclectic mix of hits mostly from the 1960s with a few modern hits thrown in here and there. Nearly every song choice is expertly placed and helps narrate the action that is happening on screen.
My personal favorites of the season include Boney M.’s “Sunny” in episode 3, Styx’s “Renegade” and KISS’ “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” in episode 4, Generation X’s “Dancing With Myself” in episode 9, and of course “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys in episode 7. We also get a Swedish cover of Adele’s “Hello” in episode 5, so there’s that. The budget for this show must be huge, with a good chunk rightfully going to the musical selection.
What’s nice about shows that enter into seasons past the initial one, is that the writers and producers do not have to spend a lot of time developing backstories for their characters. Instead they can spend time deepening the preexisting stories and relationships. Even though there is a need to reintroduce the Hargreeve’s in the 1960s, we are treated to some stellar opening episodic sequences verses full blown episodes.
Klaus is a perfect example. We know that since his arrival in Texas, he has gone on to become a false profit, specializing in using song lyrics from the future to amass a huge cult following. We get one awesome opening sequence and that’s all we need. Each sibling gets their time to shine and it is just enough to provide what we need as viewers.
What we didn’t get enough of, however, is the relationship between Ben and Klaus in the three years before Number Five’s return. Netflix, if you ever want to jump on the spin-off bandwagon, I could really go for one with just Klaus and Ben and their world-traveling experiences as a profit. I can only imagine the hilarity that happens on those ventures and I need to see it.
Klaus is already a stand-out character in season one, and he continues to be in season two. Every time he is on screen, he easily steals the show. This just goes to prove how strong Robert Sheehan is in this role. Give the episode three opener a look as evidence on just how captivating he can be.
Klaus isn’t the only standout character of the show as each sibling has their moments of glory. Diego (David Castaneda) really grows on me this time. Not only did he have one of the more serious roles of the series, he also shows a softer, more vulnerable side of the character that we really didn’t get to see much of in season one.
Diego’s relationship with his mother was an early highlight of season one and her death tore my heartstrings. I’m still upset that he had to be the one to pull her plug, literally, even though I knew deep-down it had to be him to do it. I was, however, not prepared for him to see his mom in the flash back in 1960s Dallas, Texas.
His whole world lit right back up when he sees his mom for the first time since her death in 2019 and it is an underrated beautiful moment in my book. We also see Diego get verbally berated by his father later which brings back the stutter he worked so hard with his mother to get rid of. You almost forget how poorly Mr. Hargreeve’s treated his adopted children until that moment. Another solid performance here.
Hazel and Cha-Cha were the main bad guys in the first season and were so good at their role, you almost couldn’t fault yourself for rooting for them. They were so complex and great that I was hoping to see them reappear in season two. However, that is not the case. I get the whole ‘new season = new villain’ trope, but the Swedish triplets just aren’t as captivating as Hazel and Cha-Cha. They try, but it just didn’t do much for me. One of the few negatives of the season.
What isn’t a negative, however, is Allison’s character arc. Getting dropped in the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement, Allison is soon actively involved. The writers shine a light on many of the issues that are happening and made it into one of the most compelling side stories of the entire season. I won’t go into much details here as I don’t think I can do it justice, but trust me, there are moments that I was holding my breath.
I could go on and on forever about everything that is right about The Umbrella Academy’s second season. The ten episodes flew by and are chock-full of humor, tension, and emotion in the perfect balance. One moment you’re laughing and the next you’re ready to punch a wall. Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy’s season two is excellent, and with the cliff-hanger ending, I am positive we will get a third season that is just as good.
You can watch The Umbrella Academy season 1 and 2 on Netflix.