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Review: The Umbrella Academy

Two weeks ago, in 1989, 43 women from all over the world simultaneously gave birth. They were not pregnant when the day began. A mysterious billionaire named Sir Reginald Hargreeves immediately set out to adopt—well, more like buy—each of the children, somehow knowing that these children had superhuman powers. He got seven of them, and thus, the Umbrella Academy was born.

If you’re looking for a complicated superhero show about competing worldviews, a plotline that answers your questions with more questions, a talking monkey, a robot Mom, a few trips to the moon and an epic violin solo, then we’ve got you covered. Well, Netflix does, but we’re here to tell you all about it.

Warning: there are some spoilers ahead. But I promise not enough to ruin the show for you, just enough to give you some background. Still, go watch it!

Based on a collection of graphic novels and comics by lead singer of “My Chemical Romance” Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy has only been on Netflix since Feb. 15, and fans are already asking for a season two and some answers.

Okay, when I said things were complicated, I meant it. Here we go.

Remember the seven children? Sir Reginald Hargreeves, their new father, never gave them names and referred to them in the order of their superpower. Luckily, Hargreeves couldn’t be bothered with actual parenting and built a robot mom for the kids, who gave them real names. Basically, Hargreeves: bad, mean and mysterious. Robot Mom: good, kind and motherly, but still definitely a robot. Okay, let’s meet the kids.

Number One, called Luther, also known as Spaceboy, has super strength and lives on the moon for some reason. He’s jacked. Like, unbelievably ripped. It’s a little scary. And the moon bit makes sense later—well, kind of. Just go watch it.

Number Two, called Diego, also known as The Kraken, is specially skilled in knife throwing. He’s crazy accurate and basically emo Batman, and yes, I know Batman is already emo, so this should tell you how emo Diego really is—pretty emo.

Number Three, called Allison, also known as The Rumor, has very convincing powers of persuasion. When she says, “I heard a rumor…,” however she ends the sentence becomes true. Also, I heard a rumor she has relationship issues and can’t see her kid; it’s sad, actually.

Number Four, called Klaus, also known as The Séance, can commune with the dead and is drop-dead funny. Though he abuses substances to numb the voices, he’s the comic relief of the show, something the creators have done without throwing his character away. His character development, in my opinion, is the most believable and heart wrenching of his fellow siblings. And he does it all while making me laugh and cry. It’s amazing; he’s amazing—can you tell he’s my favorite character?

Number Five is just called Five—a terrible name, I know, but it grows on you. He’s also known as The Boy and goes missing at thirteen. But he comes back in the first episode in an epic way, but we’ll come back to him in a second to explain his powers. He’s also super aloof and doesn’t like stupid questions.

Number Six, named Ben, also known as The Horror, can basically turn into a giant squid and really mess some people up. Sadly, he died during his teen years in a horrific accident that isn’t really explained but whatever.

Number Seven, named Vanya, also known as The White Violin, has no powers. She spends her entire life on the sidelines, watching her siblings get notoriety from the public and attention from their father. She’s not special, a sentiment reiterated about a thousand times throughout the season, but that’s important information, too, don’t worry.

Okay, there are the children, forced to become superheroes at young ages and are now emotionally-stunted adults due to lack of love from their father and artificial love from Robot Mom. Now, let’s get back to the story.

After Mr. Hargreeves mysteriously dies, the children band together after years on their own to figure out what happened and possibly avenge their father. But before the investigation can really begin, Five shows up out of thin air. Literally. Remember how I didn’t explain Five’s power? It’s teleportation and time travel. And remember how I said he disappeared when he was thirteen? Yeah, he time traveled too far and couldn’t get back.

But now he’s back and claims the world is ending. In one week. No time to avenge Dad, boys and girls; the apocalypse takes priority. Oh, and something called the Commission is after me, so if you see people in masks, shoot on site, ya feel? No questions, no answers, only save the world.

Overall, the show is fast-paced and playful, despite its world-ending premise. In dark moments, the offset of upbeat music serves to intensify the moments rather than distract from them. I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense, the concept and the lack of unnecessary, true-to-hollywood sex scenes, and I’m very excited for season two. Sadly, it’s not scheduled for release yet, but as of Feb. 26, it’s definitely happening.

In one of the many iconic moments, Five tells Klaus, “Get up. We’re going [to save the world.]” To which Klaus sarcastically replies, “Oh, is that all?” Whether you have superpowers or not, strap in with these misfit heroes and watch as they try to save the world.