Netflix’s quirky superhero show, Umbrella Academy, is back for a third season, which maintains most of its charm but gets lost in the weeds with too many ambitious ideas.
Netflix’s quirky superhero franchise, The Umbrella Academy, is entering its third season, where it is primed to introduce another team of heroes, the resurrection of a long-dead character, and yet another universe-ending, time-traveling catastrophe. Following the events of Season 2, the Umbrellas have found themselves back in the modern day, but their home has been taken over by an alternate version of them–the Sparrow Academy–brought into existence by a paradox created by their father, Reginald. To make things worse, the paradox that replaced them is very rapidly spinning out of control, threatening the universe in a series of escalating disappearances that will eventually consume reality itself.
Put plainly, Umbrella Academy Season 3 has a lot going on–and while the higher concept sci-fi conceits are certainly par for the course in the show, there’s more of them overlapping than ever before, and there are more characters in play to keep track of this time around, making this season feel bigger and busier than ever. Unfortunately, this new size and scale also means that Season 3 has a few too many ideas, and no real way to pay them all off.
On the positive side, Umbrella Academy’s secret to success has always been its cast–and every major player has returned. The Hargreeves family, Luthor (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castañeda), Viktor (Elliot Page), Five (Aidan Gallagher), Klaus (Robert Sheehan), Ben (Justin H. Min), and Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) are all back, alongside Season 2 newcomer Lila (Ritu Arya) and their adoptive father, Reginald (Colm Feore). The dysfunctional family dynamic has served Umbrella Academy in the past, and it continues to do so now–unsurprisingly, the chemistry between the cast has only gotten stronger and the performances have only gotten better. Alongside the Hargreeves troupe are the newly introduced Sparrows, a brand new crew of superheroes with bizarre powers. Ben, interestingly enough, is one of them, following his recent resurrection (long story) giving Min a chance to shake up the audience’s expectations for his character, who until now, has been a very put-upon ghost only Klaus can see.
The Sparrows themselves are all immediately interesting, but the vast majority of them are wildly underserved by the story. Only Ben, the crow-manifesting Fei (Britne Oldford), the gravity-manipulating Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez), and a fully CGI cube who speaks in wingdings named Christopher get any real screen time–and of this group, only Ben and Sloane carry any real narrative weight. The Sparrows are the first and most obvious casualty of Umbrella Academy’s overwrought ambition this season, which is really a shame, considering how engaging and funny they are from the jump…