The Umbrella Academy season 3 is fun, overstuffed and watchable

Dropping on Netflix after a two-year hiatus, the third season of The Umbrella Academy is ready to cast its shadow on the streaming platform. What are you getting into? Let’s discuss season 3 of The Umbrella Academy.

First, a synopsis: After saving the world back in 1960’s Dallas (though still letting JFK get shot, which means Lyndon Johnson becomes president, which means Nixon, so… mixed bag there in terms of world saving), the Umbrella siblings return to the present to find the world is yet again on the brink of destruction. Oh, the curse of being a hero: the world can never truly be saved.

This time, annihilation comes as a result of the Umbrella siblings meddling with time, and the present they return to is not the one they left. In this alternate world, their adoptive father Reginald is still alive and patriarch to an entirely new team of superhumans: the Sparrow Academy. Oh, and there is a time vortex cooking in the basement.

However, we’ve got a whole 10 episodes to fill, so we explore a great many side-stories while the main conflict bids its time. This is where I’d like to compare The Umbrella Academy to Doom Patrol, which have similar seasonal structures. You have a main threat that concerns all the heroes, but the characters are prone to dividing themselves into groups or wandering into more personal adventures. The conclusions of those solo stories set up the dominos for the main story. All fine and well; However, I have some problems with how Umbrella Academy pulls it off this season.

For one, I find the storylines to be too fragmented, which results in a lot of juggling as a viewer. Doom Patrol had a bit of this problem too, but not nearly so bad because in that show there are only five heroes to follow. In Umbrella Academy You’ve got six, in addition to the seven counterpart heroes they face off against in this new season. The spotlight is very crowded, but the show handles it well enough so as to not be confusing, but falls short of being smooth.

The Umbrella Academypredictability, human and you

Clarity in writing is one thing, but originality is another. Some of the plotlines offered this season are just too predictable for me to get into. For instance, Umbrella Academy #1 golden child Luther starts a romance with Sparrow #5 Sloane (the writing indicates this with a blink-and-you-miss-it love-at-first-sight exchange of smiles, my most hated trope) . Naturally, they grow to like each other, much to the chagrin of their feuding families, and the typical complications follow. In another story line, Umbrella #2 Diego gets a 12-year-old child dropped on his lap by Lila. And of course at first he doesn’t want to take care of him, but low and behold, with enough time he learns to adapt to fatherhood and comes to like his newly discovered son.

To be fair though, there are some storylines I really like, such as Umbrella #3 Allison’s struggle to cope with the fact that her family does not exist in this new timeline. The show follows this story down a dark and interesting road.

The humor was halfway working for me. Sometimes the show would surprise me with a good joke, other times the comedy is rather tired (a Nigerian prince email joke is among the most topical and biting examples).

Same with the action: some works, some doesn’t. There is a lot of fighting, which one would expect and even want from a superhero show, but some of the fights are blatantly pointless. They don’t have a grander purpose other than entertaining the audience, as is clear when the characters in the fights will stop and be like, “K, that’s enough. Let’s work together now.” Overall I’d say this season relied a bit too much on spectacle. But, again, superhero show. What can you expect?

To say one positive thing about this show, it has great taste in music. And by “great taste,” I mean it has my taste. The songs they chose match pretty well with the theme of the scene over which they are played, but they don’t do much more than sett the mood (with the notable exception of the Footloose sequence, which I’ll fully confess to enjoying). Thank you, Guardians of the Galaxyfor your permanent contribution to the blueprint of the modern superhero genre.

And those are my thoughts on season 3 of Doom P– I mean Umbrella Academy. The main storyline was interesting enough, but the season gets a bit too bogged down for me with all the individual journeys the characters go on. Overall, if you enjoy superhero shows, I don’t see any reason you wouldn’t enjoy Umbrella Academy.

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