How Season 2 of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Improves Upon Season 1

Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy’s premiere season debuted to primarily positive critical and audience reception. Its unorthodox take on a soiree of superheroes — all siblings battling with identity crises and traumatic childhoods — made for an inventive and humorous response to the over-saturated genre. Yet, the first season was not without its flaws. 

While succeeding in strong character development, a perfectly-picked soundtrack to coincide with the various scenes, and strong thematic elements, it was, at times, tonally incongruous. Not to mention, the plot was predictable…very predictable. In short, there are two primary reasons that season 2 boasts a 91% critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, while season 1 sits at a 75%. 

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Robert Sheehan, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Ellen Page, Aidan Gallagher and Tom Hopper attend Netflix’s ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Screening | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

Season 2 of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ is less predictable than its predecessor

The Umbrella Academy’s premiere season presents a family of super siblings all adopted by the same billionaire industrialist with questionable scientific inclinations. Yet, one of the seven apparently has no powers: Vanya (Ellen Page). 

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Within the first few episodes, it becomes clear tha Vanya will not stay powerless; it becomes evident that this major actress will have a role more substantial than the red-nosed reindeer who doesn’t get to play in all the other reindeer games. 

Why waste an actress of Ellen Page’s caliber? And, why not detail what causes the apocalypse a bit earlier? The predicability was a major drawback in the first season. While the character relationships and the fun shtick made up for the subpar plot development, it wasn’t enough to raise the TV show to unforeseen heights. 

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In season two, without giving away too much detail, the twists are substantiated but not evident. They are purposeful and grounded, yet not “in your face.” The story unfolds in a way that is both inevitable and surprising; meaning, there’s a logical sequence of events, but it’s not a plot-driven season with a singular, all-too-apparent climax and falling action. 

Season 2 of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ keeps it light, augmenting its pivotal strengths from season 1 

The Umbrella Academy confronts some harsh human experiences — unrequited love, drug and alcohol addiction, parental negligence, sibling rivalry, and more. Yet, the first season would often abruptly switch between a light and airy delivery, and a darker more unsettling vibe. Thus, the tonal shifts made for a bit of an inconsistent experience. 

In season 2, humor prevails. The show maintains a focus on its funny bone. Yet, that doesn’t mean that more sincere moments do not prevail. Rather, humor, a great soundtrack, and amusing (yet broken) family dynamics take center stage. The season takes all of its strengths from season one and goes full-throttle. Thus, it’s mostly funny, action-packed, and full of heart! The tone is consistent, for darkness remains a bit absent, yet sincerity is still ever-present.