Warning: Slight spoilers ahead!
After two long years, Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy returns with bang for a solid third season effort. The writers and producers found a way to balance the elements that fans of the series expect from the first two seasons while also injecting a new energy to keep the series fresh and exciting.
One of the best things from the first two seasons, were the random choreographed dance sequences that provided a pause in the drama to let the characters show a different side of their personality. Picking up right where the second season ended, we as viewers were treated to a new dance sequence minutes into the first episode. While this dance sequence might not hit the heights of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” from the first season, Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” still gives us three fun-filled moments. The instant chemistry between the Umbrella and Sparrow Academies was evident from the beginning and would continue to carry on throughout the season.
Another element from the first two seasons that always hit the right note was the expertly done fight sequences — everything from the music to the action to the lighting and camera work was almost always perfectly done. Each fight sequence added a dose of adrenaline to each episode and were constant highlights. The same can be said about the fight sequences in the third season as well, even if they were more spaced out. The initial Umbrella vs. Sparrow encounter and supermarket fight scenes were easy standouts.
While the dance sequence was excellent, the opening scene was just as good. Taking a cue from the first season, we were introduced to the Sparrows in the same fashion. In fact I thought I had accidentally restarted the first season. Much like the first two seasons, I was hooked, again, almost instantly. I am a firm believer in if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and I am so happy that the producers of The Umbrella Academy are sticking to what made the show successful in the first place.
While many of the positives have stemmed from traditions and tropes established in the previous two seasons, there were also some additions unique to this season that warrant discussions. The first, and probably most prominent, is how the show addressed Elliot Page’s recent announcement of being transgender. Ever since Page’s announcement, I was curious how the show would handle such a life-changing moment and in my opinion, it was done as perfectly as it could be.
Once the Umbrella Siblings had returned to the present and had a moment to slow down, Vanya (Elliot Page) took it upon herself to remove herself from the ‘box’ she felt that she was trapped in. A new haircut and heartfelt moment with sister Allison later and Vanya was now Viktor. It was truly heartwarming to see the transition happen on screen so seamlessly and the automatic acceptance from Viktor’s siblings brought a smile to my face.
Credit really needs to be given to the entire Umbrella Academy crew for how they handled such a serious situation. I only wish it was this easy in real life for those people who unfortunately feel just as trapped today. Acceptance should be as automatic for those people as it was for Elliot Page/Viktor and hopefully one day we will see that happen.
I mentioned in my review for the second season how it is nice in later seasons of a show that the writers no longer have to spend time developing background stories and can focus instead on advancing their characters. Diego (David Castaneda), Klaus (Robert Sheehan), Luther (Tom Hopper) and Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) all grew in different and unexpected ways throughout the season that added much needed layers to their characters. I would say that Ben’s (Justin H. Min) character had some development, but I would argue that he was almost an entirely different character instead.
Diego, who normally is the lone wolf — the one who goes off on his own and takes care of himself first is immediately thrust into parenthood when girlfriend Lila (Ritu Arya) shows up and drops a kid at his feet. While initially hesitant, Diego proved to be a great father which made Lila’s announcement of her pregnancy even more powerful. In just a few episodes, Diego transitioned from being all about him to now having a family to worry about. Seems subtle at first, but looking back, David Castaneda portrayed this expertly.
Luther found love in this season of The Umbrella Academy and was able to dive deeper into the trauma put onto him from his father. For the first time, he didn’t feel alone. I don’t think as a viewer we truly understood how much Luther’s character just wanted to be a part of something until this truth was explored in this season. This character went from one I really didn’t care about to one I was fighting for in the end.
Klaus has always been a favorite of mine and this season continued to solidify that. He is such a quirky and over the top character that it is almost impossible not to love him. He is also responsible for the majority of the laughs and humor found within the show.
The montage of Klaus’ reincarnation training with his father had me belly laughing and I have watched that at least three times as of this writing. While he may not have developed as much as the other characters personality wise, we finally see how powerful his abilities can be. This was just as exciting to see and I can’t wait to see it explored further.
Allison, for the second season in a row, had my personal favorite development. At the end of season 1, she had to leave her daughter Claire behind and at the end of season 2 she had to the same thing with her husband Ray. After returning to the present, she is immediately faced with the truth that her daughter no longer exists in this timeline.
It does not take long for Allison to become overwhelmed with her anger, frustration and hurt, especially when she discovers Viktor is helping the person responsible. In every scene, in every interaction you could feel every emotion Allison felt and you couldn’t help but be on her side as she takes the actions she takes. Emmy Raver-Lampman should get way more credit than she does as an actress for her portrayal of this character.
The Umbrella Academy is and continues to be one of Netflix’s best offerings. This show provides something unique that is missing from other series. There’s humor, there’s drama, there’s action, and there’s a sense of urgency. There is also a sense of true chemistry between all cast members.
The cinematography is excellent, the writing is smart, and the soundtrack is superb. You laugh. You cry. You get angry. You get sad. You laugh, again. The characters and motivations make sense. The storyline makes sense yet also has plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing. And don’t get me started on the cliff hanger ending.
In a word, this show is excellent and well worth a watch. Here’s hoping The Umbrella Academy is rightfully renewed for a fourth season (and we don’t have to wait two years for it to air).
The Umbrella Academy’s full third season is now streaming on Netflix.
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