Drama, dance numbers and a boat full of dysfunction are back with a vengeance. The Umbrella Academy The third season arrives on Netflix starting June 22.
Just returned from a past filled with conspiracy theories, world-altering murders and seriously unresolved family issues, things are definitely out of order. With the whole family gathered to take on an eclectic mix of umbrella wannabes, the first episode soon turns to carnage. These enhanced suitors battle our bruised and battered veterans in this boldly inventive opening that combines ingenious visual effects, terse intros, and adequate amounts of small talk.
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Vanya (Elliot Page), Luther (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castaneda), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) waste no time in getting things off to a good start.
Embracing adversity alongside diversity, the dynamics among this long-suffering group of malcontents are not the only thing that is changing.
In the past, an old catalog of ill feelings and ill will came to define this incompatible group of scoundrels, who spent their time intentionally ignoring each other. With some able to control free will through the spoken word (Allison), while others spent time trapped in adolescence laden with an old soul (Five) – this show has never been conventional.
Each season – created and started by Steve Blackman – has been quick to separate our umbrella alumni from one another for plot purposes, even as the death of their father figure Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) has brought them together.
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From drug addict Klaus, forever haunted by the death of his brother Ben, to Vanya, who only knew how to play an evil violin at first, this hyper-stylized adaptation of Gerard Way’s (My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Ba’s Dark Horse comic has always been a tour.
With an abundance of attachment disorder, an immaculately conceived entrance and a grumpy billionaire recluse, The Umbrella Academy it was playfully defined by the flaws of those who live within it. That’s something that continues in this third season, which opens at the end of season two, introducing The Sparrow Academy, a by-product of their time-traveling antics after a quick departure from Dallas circa 1963.
What follows is a season where an impending apocalypse isn’t the only talking point our alumni can muster. Allison and Vanya team up, Luther takes her ass early on before Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez) steals her heart – while Five gains a new ally. Not to mention the fact that Diego finds a serious amount of responsibility, which means that in one way or another, everyone grows up as a person.
As fans of the show would expect, there are punches and floor fillers, combined with slow-motion standoffs and a cinematic tip of the hat to at least one famous Indiana Jones opening sequence. Along with tangible character progression and necessary time-travel puzzles, this season of The Umbrella Academy also takes time to welcome back some old friends.
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Familiar faces from previous seasons appear, proving to be instrumental in solving the latest issue to face our battle-hardened group. From the opposing team of sparrows, standouts include a adapted Ben Hargreeves (Justin H. Min) who many thought bit the big one during the season two finale.
Alongside Alphonso (Jake Epstein), who proves to be especially troublesome as his gift allows him to reflect his abuser’s punishment, even if he needs an inhaler afterwards.
As the self-appointed number one on hold, Ben is ignorant of the backstory that intrinsically ties him to his umbrella opposition, while Alphonso proves to be a smart and strong adversary with ample amounts of knowledge to spare. Side by side, these alternate versions of superpowered civil justice tread a fine line between Titans and the old school Minute Men, with flashes of the X-Men and watchmakers Combined.
However, aside from their cosmetic differences, this season is all about blurring that distinction as these two surrogate families have to find their own way out of this particular pickle. A concept that is easier to sell to the public, when all members of the veterans hit a home run in terms of performance, taking this opportunity to expand character arcs and employ nuance in their interactions.
That means when events start to escalate, as per every other season with an apocalypse, this feels more like a family than it has in a while.
With a thoughtful narrative nodding to previous seasons that seamlessly tie the room together, alongside Aidan Gallagher in consistently first-rate form, The Umbrella Academy Season three feels like the most cohesive addition to Netflix’s arsenal so far.
3rd season of The Umbrella Academy is streaming on Netflix from June 22. Recap the series below.