Not every show can get weirder with each successive season and still retain everything that makes it wonderful. Netflix series The Umbrella Academy is one such show, and it proves it with a fantastic third season that raises its already high bar for weird but satisfying storytelling.
Created by Steve Blackman and based on the comic book series of the same name by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy chronicles the adventures of a dysfunctional family of adopted siblings with superhuman abilities. Following her time-consuming adventures in the show’s second season, the third season of The Umbrella Academy has the family return to the present, only to find that their past actions have dramatically changed the world they left behind.
Series regulars Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher and Justin H. Min return as the seven siblings of the Umbrella Academy, along with Colm Feore, who reprises his role as their cold, enigmatic adoptive father repeat father, Reginald Hargreeves.
While Season 3 includes many additional recurring characters, it also introduces a new team of sibling superheroes: The Sparrow Academy. The alternate universe team is portrayed by Justin Cornwell, Britne Oldford, Jake Epstein, Genesis Rodriguez and Cazzie David, with Min portraying an alternate version of his character Ben Hargreeves from the first two seasons.
The cast of The Umbrella Academy has always been crowded, but the series strikes a good balance even in its third season with all its colorful characters. Various members of the teams are teamed up, pitted against each other, and otherwise mixed and matched throughout the season, creating opportunities to interact with one another in interesting ways.
Every season from The Umbrella Academy has had some standout performances, but Aidan Gallagher – who portrays the teleporting “five” Hargreeves – continues to cement his status as one of the series’ premier assets across all three seasons. As a grizzled, cynical 60-year-old assassin trapped in the body of a 13-year-old child, Gallagher never wavers in his performance, which transcends precocity and gets better — and more entertaining — with each season.
Gallagher’s role isn’t the only highlight of the season. In one of his first appearances since his transition, Elliot Page finally gets a chance for his character Victor (formerly Vanya) to take on a more assertive role in the family in Season 3. Page carries the weight of Victor’s new role as the family hitter, and his character’s arc delivers equally powerful emotional beats and visually stunning action sequences.
After their debut in Season 2 of The Umbrella AcademyRitu Arya also gets more time in Season 3 to develop her character Lila. Her portrayal of the unpredictable former lover of Diego Hargreeves (David Castañeda) is a welcome addition to the family dynamic, and she and Castañeda continue to have a fun, entertaining chemistry in the show’s third season.
Strong performances from the rest of the main cast (particularly Robert Sheehan, who manages to steal every scene he is in), as well as many of the season’s newcomers, make a good season even better and let every character in The Umbrella Academy to feel unique in an otherwise large ensemble.
Without giving too much away, Season 3’s story offers plenty of twists and turns for the characters, as well as some surprising revelations that hark back to the team’s origins and bring back nearly every character introduced in previous seasons. It’s an ambitious narrative, but Blackman and the rest of the series’ creative team manage to give all of the season’s interconnected storylines the individual attention they deserve.
At this point, Apocalypse cancellation has become business as usual for The Umbrella Academy, and despite another extinction event looming in Season 3 of the series, the show still finds a way to make the stakes seem high. That the characters are also willing and sick of making fun of how many times they’ve faced the end of the world adds just the right amount of self-assured humor to the mix.
As the season draws to a close, the finale strikes a nice balance between fully explored storylines and new opportunities to take the characters in new directions. That’s a good formula for success when it comes to ongoing sagas like this and every season of The Umbrella Academy So far it’s worked surprisingly well, weaving increasingly wild storylines in a satisfying way while also teasing intriguing developments in the characters’ futures.
In most series, family dysfunction heats up The Umbrella Academy might feel a little repetitive after multiple seasons, but it’s a testament to the creative team and cast of the show that it isn’t The Umbrella Academy. The characters and their world become more intriguing with each season as they grow and evolve, and a new season gives them countless opportunities to clash in new ways.
At this point in the life cycle of most series, one often wonders when the characters’ adventure will end, but The Umbrella Academy always finds ways to reinvent itself and lets you hope that the end isn’t coming anytime soon. Season 3 of the series might be the strangest yet, but it’s also one of the best – which is saying a lot.
Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy Premieres June 22 on Netflix. For more new shows on Netflix, check out this list.
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