The Umbrella Academy is back, and it is better—and weirder—than ever. Picking up mere moments after season two ended, season three ushers in a new group of super-powered people with The Sparrow Academy, and gives the family a chance to work through their issues. At times inconsistent and with a bit of a slow start, this is some of the best the series has ever been, delivering meaningful growth to characters known for being a dysfunctional mess.
The world is very different from when we last left it with Season 2. Now back in the present, the original The Umbrella Academy are finding they no longer have a place in the world. Their more famous and successful replacements seem to have the act of saving the world under control, and they have no home in the academy anymore.
This change in the world also gives the series time to explore the many complex and problematic relationships between the siblings. Starting with a bombastic fight sequence and musical number, the series gears down in subsequent episodes to explore the issues the characters face. While the rivalry between the Umbrellas and Sparrows is always present, the series gives personal stories the time they need, especially with the large cast at play in this season.
“Season 3 is The Umbrella Academy at its very best.”
This is a season filled with revelation and payoff, with many mysteries sitting at the back of the series since season one finally getting answers during the runtime of this outing. No sibling is left out, diving into the many traumas and struggles they have faced over their lives under Reginald Hargreeves. The Umbrella Academy has always been an ensemble cast, with the show getting it’s strange from the different personalities playing off each other, and that has never been more true than with Season 3.
There is a lot to explore with the Umbrella Academy siblings, but Five (Aidan Gallagher), Diego (David Castañeda), and Klaus (Robert Sheehan) are all allowed to explore their characters and the place they have in the family. Gallagher further explores his place as someone who has seen everything and is over the superhero life; Castañeda delves into the prospect of being a father.
Perhaps the most fun exploration is that of Klaus, getting time with his father in a way he never thought possible in his previous timeline. Sheehan plays him with such enthusiasm, there is never a dull moment when he is on-screen, and while it may feel detached from the main narrative at times, the show manages to bring it all full circle in a truly memorable way.
Perhaps the most memorable, and heartbreaking at times, storyline is that between Viktor and Allison. Elliot Page and Emmy Raver-Lampman deliver some of the most intense and relatable performances this season, building on their bond and potential issues that lay just under the surface. As Allison spirals with everything she once loved now gone, Viktor finds himself coming out as transgender and exploring what it means to love the skin they’re in. It is a great contrast and helps build the complex bond that, while it can be supportive, can also be complicated and tragic at times.
In the Sparrow Academy, on the other hand, beyond Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez) and Ben (Justin H. Min), most of the characters feel one-dimensional, giving little sense of what their life was like in this new timeline. With so many characters and a limited amount of time, things had to be cut, but it would have been nice to get a bigger picture of this new group of kids and what life in the Academy was like before the Hargreeve siblings crashed the party.
This is a season that takes time to focus on character development, so the action takes somewhat a backseat to the narrative and plot. With the end of the world at the centre of the story, there are still plenty of fun moments when the different superhero siblings go all out. The new locations are a great staging point for the action, with the wacky concepts and oddball antics seem right at home in this unique and stylish hotel and slowly crumbling reality.
Season 3 is The Umbrella Academy at its very best. Taking the time to explore characters and the world they live in, this is the season that finally answers some of the most burning questions and does so in a genuinely wild way. If you have been on the fence about the show or did not know if it could keep the momentum going into the third season, rest assured there is plenty to ensure here. Whether you like sibling drama, wacky hijinks or superhero action, The Umbrella Academy delivers in all the ways that count.