The Umbrella Academy S3

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Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves.
Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves.
Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

SHOW:

The Umbrella Academy S3

WHERE TO WATCH:

Netflix

OUR RATING:

4/5 Stars

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

After putting a stop to 1963's doomsday, the Umbrella Academy return home to the present, convinced they prevented the initial apocalypse and fixed this godforsaken timeline once and for all. But after a brief moment of celebration, they realize things aren't exactly (okay, not at all) how they left them. Enter the Sparrow Academy. Smart, stylish, and about as warm as a sea of icebergs, the Sparrows immediately clash with the Umbrellas in a violent face-off that turns out to be the least of everyone's concerns. Navigating challenges, losses, and surprises of their own – and dealing with an unidentified destructive entity wreaking havoc in the Universe (something they may have caused) — now all they need to do is convince Dad's new and possibly better family to help them put right what their arrival made wrong. Will they find a way back to their pre-apocalyptic lives? Or is this new world about to reveal more than just a hiccup in the timeline?

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

(Warning: This review contains spoilers)

Hot on the heels of Stranger Things' best season yet, Netflix strikes again with a new season of one of its other hit shows - the hilariously dark misadventures of the Umbrella Academy. This show has always been a weird one, based technically on superhero comic books but far removed from the glitz and glam of the MCU. At its core, the show has always been more about dysfunctional families and the complicated relationships we have with our siblings and parents - although few are as demented as the Hargreaves family, and this time there are even more of them to mess everything up.

In real-time, it's been two years since we last saw our favourite misfits, but in the story, no time has passed since their time-travelling antics in Dallas, and they ended up back at their family home in 2019. Here they encounter their replacements - the Sparrow Academy. You definitely need to watch at the very least a recap video of season two as the story jumps right back into its aftermath. Barely surviving a fight with the Sparrows, the Umbrellas go to Hotel Obsidian to lick their wounds and figure out how to fit into this new timeline of their own making - but some cope better than others with the new changes.

While season three doesn't top the previous seasons (though I don't think anything will ever top the first season), it still maintains the show's incredibly high standards with clever writing, in-depth character developments and perfect casting. Old and new mysteries continue to unravel along an ever-widening spiderweb of intrigue, although the last episode left me more confused than ever, and I am not completely satisfied with the lack of clarity given to the audience in those last moments. It has set up many narrow goal posts for season four, which by all accounts should get greenlit, and I hope it doesn't lose its way trying to string everything back together.

As for the newcomers - the Sparrow Academy - they weren't all extremely likeable, even in the villainous sort of way. Ben, having not died, is an unnecessarily over-the-top jerk, trying a little too hard to be the opposite of kind and gentle Ghost Ben in the previous seasons. Four of the Sparrows were just background fodder and completely forgettable, with only two that really stuck in mind outside of Ben - Fei and Sloane - though, to be fair, they had the most screentime. Fei had the potential to be a great villain character, but she still made you like her with her no-nonsense attitude and wit. On the other hand, Sloane was a sweet spot even among the Umbrellas, and you're just stressed the whole way that the writers are making us love her just to kill her off in some brutal way. The Sparrows could have made a much bigger impact on the show, but they were rather just used as MacGuffins to keep the story moving forward without leaving any solid effect on the audience.

It's clearly still very much the Umbrella Academy show, and our 'heroes' have grown and changed a lot since the first season, most notably Vanya-now-Victor. The character change reflects the real-life transition of its actor - Elliot Page - and I applaud the show for handling this with great care and love both in their writing and the other characters' reaction to it. It even fits in perfectly with Victor's story arc as they struggled since the first season with being placed inside a box by other people and now takes final ownership not only of their power but also their identity. The rest of the Hargreaves family continue on their set trajectory, with One/Luther having completely let go of pleasing his father, Two/Diego finding meaning in something other than fighting and Four/Klaus starting to embrace his past and powers more emphatically.

Five is still his best grumpy self, this time attempting retirement, and once again proves that it's a travesty that Aidan Gallagher still hasn't received any nominations for his phenomenal performance in the difficult role. But the one with the strangest and the most surprising story arc is Three/Allison. Her fragile moral compass completely breaks in this season, and she makes an almost complete villain turn, with the writers having her make some insanely questionable mistakes. Many fans are upset with this direction, and you don't feel like what happened to her justifies what she does in the slightest. Her writing, though not the acting, felt the wonkiest of everyone, but it has some payoffs in the end when you see what the writers were trying to build up to in the climax.

As for Sir Reginald Hargreaves, we are still no closer to figuring out what his deal is. Except that he's still the worst father in the world.

Despite some of the finer details, Umbrella Academy's third season still delivers the expectations built in the previous seasons, complete with Hargreaves mishaps, although this time, they are a lot more cognizant of how much they mess everything up. You'll probably laugh a lot, cry, and completely be immersed in this messed-up universe that the showrunners have created. It's chaos at its best, and I will be glued to my seat for season four.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

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