Umbrella Academy is back and more dysfunctional than ever

Netflix’s superhero saga is bogged down by frustrating writing choices in a new season that still manages to make some great moments.


Written by Valerie Ettenhofer · Published on June 22, 2022

Welcome to Previously On, the column that gives you a rundown of the latest TV. In this release, Valerie Ettenhofer reviews the third season of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy.

Umbrella Academy It would make a great musical. Netflix series about former young superheroes turned frustrated adults is at its best when it’s in the gruesome action. Each season, the characters find excuses to color them in or make out a song. Even their fight sequences are often punctuated by infectious needle droplets. When the music is on, the Hargreaves siblings are in the area, and the show is fun to watch. After playing the last note, things fall apart.

Hargreaves’ siblings – ape-man Luther (Tom Hooper), Guardian Diego (David Castaneda), mind-controller Allison (Amy Raver Lampman), necromancer Klaus (Robert Sheehan), time traveler Five (Aidan Gallagher), and powerful Victor (Elliott Page) ) – She’s been flawed by design ever since Umbrella Academy seem. However, in the third season of the show, an infighting began between them. Gone are the elegant summer days of their journey back to the ’60s in the show’s excellent second season. Instead, the group bounces back into a modern day form, where they encounter a new group of heroes called The Sparrows.

The Sparrows, a group of surrogate heroes brought up by a version of their stern patriarch, Sir Reginald Hargreaves (Colm Feore), includes a host of new characters and someone who looks exactly like Hargreaves’ long-dead brother, Ben (Justin H. Min). The new season ties itself into narrative knots to pit the Sparrows and Hargreeves against each other, though it seems like they could get along just fine. The manufactured drama is just one of this season’s overall plot points, as the group also finds itself closer to a true apocalypse than ever before.

The end of the world in the third season of Umbrella Academy It looks more realistic than the ones that preceded it, as is the nihilism that begins to devour our heroes when the doomsday clock begins to appear again. For all its flaws — and it has plenty — the new season, presumably written during the COVID-19 pandemic, has gained some depth. The show hasn’t forgotten its past, even as the band once again sits on the brink of oblivion. The writers are more interested than ever in mining the modern and profound trauma affecting each of the series’ protagonists. only lo Umbrella Academy The main characters can mature along with their plot lines.

The Umbrella Academy members may be trying to shake off their trauma, but that doesn’t make them any less chaotic this season. The show’s scripts are littered with frustrating and baffling character choices, from one sibling’s annoying and bizarre transformation into aggression to another’s strange childlike response to a major reveal. Sometimes watching this season feels like watching a horror movie whose protagonist has you screaming on screen, just six heroes instead of one.

Oftentimes, siblings do serious harm to each other, and then hang out again moments later. In fact, the series appears to have developed a problem in portraying vaguely realistic responses to almost any situation. The biggest shocks and upheavals, including gross betrayals and character deaths, are often met with mind-boggling indifference from most members of the group. If it is a stylistic choice meant to signal their complete lack of interest in each other, it is an ineffective one. Instead, it feels like a strange oversight, as if someone simply forgot to write half the group’s reactions to any given narrative rhythm.

On an official level, at least, Umbrella Academy It maintains its taste. The show has a knack for creating single scenes, often episode openings, that are stand-alone delights. It has a great sense of visual tone, conveyed through hilarious camera shots, impressive choreography, and all the moments of a well-timed soundtrack. The staff also continues to impress them despite the highly inconsistent materials they have been given. Gallagher continues to appear as a grumpy old man trapped in the body of a teen, and Sheehan brings the series a simple comedic relief as the queer bohemian Klaus. Oftentimes looking at the show’s most boring plots, Hopper’s Luther is having some fun this season, too.

Page, whose character shifts to match the actor he’s playing, handles some delicate material well, but the series falters with some finer points in Viktor’s plot lines. Meanwhile, charming and natural in their roles, Castañeda and Emmy Raver-Lampman are given the season’s most eccentric plots. Allison, in particular, is down a very frustrating path that at first seems to come from a place of reflection but quickly curdles into something inappropriate and inappropriate for the character.

At its lowest, the latest installment of Umbrella Academy He feels dysfunctional as a symptom more than Hargreaves as a family. Bickering is exhausting and useless, characterization is baffling, and not every great narrative swing works. But at its best, the show retains some glimpses of its exciting second season, with individual moments to shine and a third act sharpening his focus. If you don’t get stuck on the bumpy road during the middle season extension, its last few episodes are surprisingly rewarding. But that’s how Hargreaves rolls, isn’t it? Always collect it at the last possible minute.

Season 3 of Umbrella Academy is currently streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer here.

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Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, television lover, and mac and cheese lover. As a major contributor to Film School Rejects, she has covered television with regular reviews and her frequent column, Episodes. She is also a voting member of the Television and Documentary Chapters of the Critics’ Choice Association. Twitter: Tweet embed (she/she)

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