Netflix recently released the entirety of The Umbrella Academy season 3, and I have some thoughts to share, including a few mixed feelings about it. See if you agree or not. Either way, let us know what you think about the series in the comments or on Twitter.
[Warning: MAJOR Spoilers for The Umbrella Academy season 3 discussed below!]
Apocalypse now, again!
It seems as if the Hargreeves only manage to make things worse, every time. This go-round they have now managed to create a new timeline. One where they don’t exist and have been replaced by a different roster, the Sparrow Academy. Further complications arise when a new version of Justin H. Minh’s Ben steps forward, radically different from the caring and lovable Umbrella Ben. For starters, he’s elevated in his position as Number Two versus his lowly Number Six. His attitude is also a huge departure from what audiences grew attached to in the first two seasons.
The actions of the Hargreeves in Dallas paid more than one price, Colm Feore as Sir Reginald took his encounter in the 60s with his first class as a sign to adopt different children. The dismissal scene with Pogo absolutely devastated me, and the handing of pills from Pogo to Jake Epstein’s Alphonso was a second dagger to my heart.
Facing all the ghosts
Robert Sheehan as Klaus continues to carry more than half of the emotions of this show single-handedly. Between a hilarious “wreck” of a training montage in mastering his powers, to his conversation with Stan where he has the greatest self-realizations, I thoroughly enjoyed the moments between Klaus and Reginald which helped him in the literal sense of overcoming ghosts in a graveyard.
Harlan now aged-up and motherless (Callum Keith Rennie) makes a significant reappearance and is a literal force to be reckoned with. This felt like a huge distraction and the story lingered for too long. Having Viktor (Elliot Page) once again be the cause of even more destruction felt tiring. Which is made worse by shifting the guilt onto Viktor about Harlan accidentally taking out the Umbrella Academy’s mothers.
In a couple of mentions and a desk drawing, there is the topic of what happened to Umbrella Ben and the vagueness gives little insight into what the “Jennifer Incident” was. All we know is their different handling gave us two outcomes, a dead Ben and Sparrow Ben (alive) who feels some guilt and may have received his demotion to Number Two in that “failure.” I doubt we get a full answer on that mission soon, but finally mentioning it was a nice nod to the comics.
The heart makes the brain numb
Although Luther (Tom Hopper) and Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez) have a sudden entanglement after their first couple of meetings, it’s a bit infuriating seeing Luther useless yet again. The lovable idiot trope is about as tiring as having another apocalypse to face. We don’t even see him show his abilities this season, except in the first tussle with the Sparrows. After falling head over heels for Sloane, he’s reduced back to the same hopeless character from Season 1, but at least he’s not alone. It was rather touching to get a glimpse into his time on the moon, but ultimately this season did not do him any justice.
Equally, Viktor’s regret and focus on rectifying leaving Sissy and Harlan behind felt like a really soft serve. At the same time, you have an unfocused Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) who seemed to have learned NOTHING from her time in the 60s and is now acting unhinged. It was actually disheartening to see her many actions this season and yet she ended up with the most gain after the universal “Reset” that she staged with Reginald secretly.
Silver linings ahead
Even if I have little to love about this season’s plot, a few things remain unchanged. Aidan Gallagher as Five still continues to be the best part of this show, putting on one hell of a performance throughout the entire season. Having to bear the weight of the knowledge passed from himself and also finding out he created the Commission he hates so much was brilliantly played out by him.
David Castañeda’s Diego and Ritu Arya’s Lila individually and together were the other characters that powered me through the middle episodes. Seeing Diego mature and surprise Lila in his action to protect an unborn child was also slightly commendable. Their relationship is catastrophic but always enjoyable. Javon Walton’s Stan was quite enjoyable in his scenes with Diego, and they even snuck in a comic version of Diego onto the Slurpee cup he drops when taken by the Kugelblitz.
Reginald himself also impressed me with the range he displayed and his determination to bring the best out of Klaus. His friendly facade at the wedding while engineering another plan behind their backs was predictable but welcome for his character. Also, he sang ‘Ride Wit Me’ with a “dead” Klaus in the trunk, which gets 10 points from me by default.
Put the umbrella away
Most of the Sparrow Academy did not impress me much, although I mark that up to the extensive Netflix marketing I saw in the lead-up that posed them as the villains. Having all but Ben eliminated (it seems) wasn’t that unfortunate as it was hard to get attached to any of them.
I felt the same way when Klaus and Luther “died” just to come right back. The post-credits scene showing ANOTHER Ben was a bit of a head-scratcher that I have no idea how it might play out!
The final shot of Reginald reunited with a wife that only got a quick camera pass in an earlier episode was not my favorite ending. Even though we know he always works in his own interests, it felt like this change in motivation was too fast on the viewer’s end. The whole Guardians sequence was just so cheap to me, to have a generic tiny chink in the armor just for Diego and Five to regenerate their limbs shortly after.
If and when The Umbrella Academy comes back, I will have so many questions going into it. Going into a new timeline again with a third Ben is becoming messier than just letting the Kugelblitz roll into itself. Now with powered-down Hargreeves that have separated for their own agendas, and a Reginald at the top, what is the actual threat? What happened to Sloane? How did Five and Diego get their arms and digits back? How did Reginald manage to give Allison both Ray AND Claire?
Overall, I felt a bit disappointed in the plot and its progression. I did however enjoy the sets inside the Hotel and just how large it felt with its large variety of rooms. The development of a few characters felt fantastic and others left me sorely disappointed and baffled. I was happy that we got another dance sequence even if it was rather sudden and quite extensive (although they have definitely gotten some practice in, everyone was gliding!).
Arguably the best episode was “Wedding at the End of the World” if only for the many conversations between siblings and the fantastic speech from Reginald. I’ll continue watching, wanting those questions answered, but with the pace of the show already overtaken the comics, we are going further into unknown territory.
The Umbrella Academy is now streaming all 3 seasons on Netflix.