‘The Umbrella Academy’ Review

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‘The Umbrella Academy’ Review

By Shruthi Kumar, Staff Writer

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My story of finding this particular gem goes like any other: I was scrolling through Netflix, desperately searching for something to fill the void of my procrastination when I stumbled upon ‘The Umbrella Academy.’ I saw one of my favorite actresses (Emmy Raver Lampman from Hamilton!) and immediately clicked play, and I was not disappointed.

‘The Umbrella Academy’ is based on a series of comics, but isn’t like the stereotypical hero-shows, like ‘The Flash’ or ‘Jessica Jones,’ In fact, each of the characters’ powers are seen later on, given to us in short clips. For the most part, the story surrounds a mysterious plot and characters, which leaves the audience to piece together things by themselves.

After a freak accident, forty women gave birth to children without having been pregnant before. Intending to study the phenomena, billionaire Hargreaves adopts seven of them. But, when the children manifest powers, the billionaire trains them to be an elite crime fighting force known as ‘The Umbrella Academy.’ However, when the series opens, the audience doesn’t see any of the cohesive team that should have been; instead, we see a dysfunctional family, split and only reuniting after their father’s untimely death. Each character is cloaked in mystery. Luther seems to be uncomfortable with being on Earth, Allison refuses to talk about her powers and child, Diego seems to be nursing an alter-ego, Klaus is dependent on his fill of drugs to stop seeing spirits, and Vanya is uncomfortable with being amongst her siblings since she had been shunned by them when she was younger. Additionally, the characters reveal that two of their siblings are gone: Number Five, who teleported into another branch of time, and Ben, whose disappearance is never discussed. On top of their sketchy relationships with each other, the Academy is being hunted by a secret society.

What I appreciated the most about the series was the diversity of the characters and the plot. Each of the characters have a different personality that is discovered before their powers are revealed to the audience. For example, Luther, the family’s head, is seen to be fiercely protective and loyal, developing his character before his power (super strength as the result of a mutation) was revealed. Even Vanya, known as number seven and said to be “ordinary” goes through significant character development before understanding her hidden powers.  This is a contrast from other superhero shows, where character development only comes after powers are received. I also enjoyed that there was no stone left unturned. Five’s mysterious disappearance is explained, and the deceased Ben plays an important role, recurring in the oddest way.

The team doesn’t melt into the smooth dynamic of a cohesive, well-oiled team immediately. Actually, the team doesn’t work together fully at all, whether it’s the reason of traumatic childhood memories or differing perspectives. This characteristic is a fresh addition, capturing the true essence of siblings with a realistic view.

And just how the show covered all plot holes, it left enough of a teaser during the season finale to keep audience on their toes and looking out for season two. I, for one, can’t wait until the new season releases, and I can see if all the fan theories that I’ve been reading comes true or not.

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