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The Umbrella Academy built a good foundation with its premiere season. The premise was familiar yet with enough twists to feel fresh, and the characters and their actors made a strong impression. However, the dour nature of season one left a lot of viewers feeling some tonal dissonance with the material going in to The Umbrella Academy season 2.
Season two of The Umbrella Academy has clearly learned some valuable lessons from its inaugural outing, and this entry has a firm grasp on its tone. The writers have figured out how best to utilize the show’s wacky ensemble within the context of a larger narrative. The story in The Umbrella Academy season 2 has the entire gang time-traveling back to the early sixties. Naturally, the apocalypse that they stopped in the present has followed them into the past (now it’s in the form of a nuclear holocaust).
Granted, this does make the start of season 2 feel like well-trodden ground, but The Umbrella Academy knows it and throws some curveballs along the way to keep audiences on their toes. Most importantly, the mood of the whole endeavor is much more in sync than it was in season one. That doesn’t mean everything has become a joke. Setting the show in the early sixties and leading up to the assassination of President Kennedy means The Umbrella Academy season 2 has some heavy stuff on its mind, including a spotlight on a Black equality movement that is sure to get folks talking. This season is not sacrificing dramatic weight for goofball good times. Instead, there is simply more harmony between the dramatic and comedic elements of the show.
If you enjoyed season one because of its cast of lovable misfits, you’ll get plenty more where that came from in The Umbrella Academy season 2. The cast is as endearing as ever, and the entire ensemble seems to have become even more comfortable in their roles. The writers have fine-tuned their ability to balance storylines for each of the characters, and it gives the actors plenty of opportunities to shine without becoming scene-stealers.
If there is one critique of The Umbrella Academy season two that needs to be addressed, it is that the first few episodes do fall victim to some unavoidable table-setting. Things are propulsive and entertaining, but a narrative device that separates the family at the beginning of the show seems to exist solely to drag out the process of getting them all back together again. On a plotline-by-plotline basis, it’s not a big deal because each character’s individual stories are compelling. But, it does give the start of the season a slight bit of lag.
Other than that, The Umbrella Academy season two is everything you could want out of the second season of a show. It saw what worked in the first season, fixed what didn’t, and marched forward with confidence in itself. If you liked the show but felt turned off by the morose cloud that hung over such an invigorating premise and cast, you need to give season two a shot. There’s no doubt that it will scratch your superhero itch with a big heaping help of kooky fun.