‘The Umbrella Academy’ season 3 not quite as fresh, but still lots of fun

I’ll never forget what it felt like to discover the first season of The Umbrella Academy. I was stuck at home too sick to go into work, and just kept watching episode after episode on Netflix, completely entranced. 

The show was hilarious, wonderfully weird, and also deeply moving, and I fell in love with this family of dysfunctional misfit superheroes. I’d genuinely never seen anything like it. 

While I enjoyed the second season of the series in 2020, it felt like a little of the newness had worn off, and the show’s follow-up wasn’t quite as inventive. Or maybe season one was so exciting and mind-bending that it was an impossible act to follow, now that I wasn’t as surprised by what I was seeing. 

I feel much the same way about season three. While I adore all these characters and intend to keep watching the show as long as Netflix keeps releasing seasons, it took me at least halfway into season three to really get sucked into the story.

By this point in the saga, the apocalypse has become common-place, and the Hargreeves siblings are, once again, trying to prevent the end of the world. This time, their adversaries are the members of the Sparrow Academy – an alternative universe version of the Umbrella Academy’s own superhero team. The Sparrow Academy presents a much more unified and competent front – at least on the surface. But there’s still plenty of drama going on behind the scenes, and there’s a mystery surrounding what family patriarch Sir Reginald Hargreeves is really up to. 

If you haven’t watched any of The Umbrella Academy yet, I highly recommend you check out the first season. It’s great geek television, and if you end up enjoying it as much as I did, you’ll definitely want to keep watching to see what happens to the characters (just keep in mind that the plot may get a little weaker as you progress through the seasons). 

If you HAVE seen all of The Umbrella Academy seasons, feel free to keep reading, because I’m going to start getting into spoilers.

The stars of the show continue to be Aidan Gallagher as Number Five and Robert Sheehan as Klaus. These characters are just so much fun, and you can tell the actors are having a blast being in this show. While other characters get some interesting moments of development this season, I feel like I’ve always been the most invested in what happens to Five and Klaus. 

Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) goes to some really dark places this season – and I really do mean dark, including murder and mind control. She gets a moment of redemption in the last episode, but I feel like there are still layers of emotional baggage to be unpacked in future seasons. 

Poor Luther (Tom Hopper) has had a rough go of it, so it was nice to see him find love with Sparrow Academy member Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez). Maybe some might find their relationship annoying, but I thought they were adorable together. I really enjoyed the “Wedding at the End of the World” episode, and I thought it had some of the better “quieter” moments of this season. 

I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Viktor (Elliot Page) and Harlan – the young boy Viktor befriended in season two who’s now an old man. Viktor had compassion for Harlan’s struggles to control his powers, and Harlan’s death was a heartbreaking moment, because Viktor feels responsible. There’s definitely still more fallout to come between Viktor and Allison over that incident in coming seasons. 

Diego (David Castañeda) may not be the most cunning strategist, but I adore him just the same, and his love-hate relationship with Lila (Ritu Arya) has been fun to watch. It will be interesting to see him as a parent, and I’m rooting for him to find freedom from his dysfunctional past and be the sort of father his own dad failed to be.

Seeing all these characters again and watching the next chapter in their journeys was definitely my favorite part of season three. As for the rest of it, well…

To be honest, I’m not sure how much of the whole timey-wimey, universe-destroying kugelblitz plot would actually make sense if you sat down and tried to puzzle it all out, so I didn’t even try. There’s a lot going on – including portals, white buffalos, mysterious guardians possessed by cockroach-like creatures, and a universe reset button. Maybe the show will answer all those questions, or maybe it won’t. 

This season ends on an intriguing note, with the Umbrella Academy members now without their powers and living in a world remade by Reginald Hargreeves. Will there be another apocalypse in season four? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Although I didn’t like this season as much as the first one, I didn’t feel disappointed, per se – I just wasn’t as “wowed,” and it felt like the story took longer to really get going. I’m still glad I watched it, and as I mentioned earlier, I love these characters so much that I’m happy to keep watching, even if the story itself is starting to feel as if it’s been stretched a bit thin. Apparently season four is supposed to be the finale, which feels about the right amount of time to spend with these characters. Plus, the universe is probably ready for a break from the constant threat of destruction!

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