The Umbrella Academy: Season Three
June 23, 2022 10:15 AM - Season 3 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The dysfunctional family of superheroes returns to tackle the mystery of the Sparrow Academy, the enigma of the Hotel Oblivion, and the upcoming Kugelblitz that threatens to swallow all of time and reality.

A Netflix original series.
posted by DirtyOldTown (40 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm only through the first few episodes, but the characters are jaw-droppingly stupid to this point.

[Emerging from time travel during which they knowingly changed the timeline]
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyy... are things... DIFFERENT?

[Facing off with another group of similar heroes in their own home in said changed timeline]
How could other people possibly be here?
and also
Our team has ended and saved the world twice. Kicking this similar team's ass should be easy.

[During battle]
I can make explosions of energy, but how about I either fistfight or ramp my power up so comically slowly that it's mostly useless?
and also
This guy is the rubber/glue of fighting and whatever we do to him, hurts us instead. How about I hit him even harder instead of using my cool knife throwing ability?
and also
Sure looks like my family is going to be killed. I probably shouldn't use my superpower, which is as easy fucking speaking.

[After having it explained to them that in the altered timeline, their father never adopted them and their lives are completely different]
Whatever. I'm going to go visit my spouse and child now.
and also
How--in a substantially altered timeline--could my family possibly not be home? I mean, other than its central, defining throughline, everything else should be identical, right?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2022 [18 favorites]

Allison wasn't there when Five was telling Diego, Klaus, and Luther not to interact with their doppelgangers - she had already headed out when that happened.

I finished the third season last night - a friend and I binge-watched it. I had hoped we'd get some mistaken identity comedy with the other versions of themselves, but the Grandfather Paradox was great.

I was very happy to see Harlan again, though less pleased that he still doesn't have much in the way of agency - in the second season he's basically there for abled people to react to and thus reveal their character and has no agency of his own - kind of a "sexy lamp" of disability, and then this season he's there to take the fall for Viktor's mistake.

I was delighted that this season confirmed that part of Klaus' power is that death just doesn't really take with him, and really happy with the various musical selections - the Footloose dance-off was fabulous!
posted by bile and syntax at 12:31 PM on June 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm not irritated with Alison for potentially meeting a doppelganger. I'm irritated because "Well, the whole world changed such that my dad didn't adopt me, my siblings aren't my siblings, and I didn't grow up in my own home anymore, but I def still met and married the same guy and have the same kid, riiiiight?"

It's like no one on this show has ever seen, read, heard of, or imagined a time travel story before. And even as the ramifications become clear to them anyway, they keep shaking them off and proceeding like it's inconceivable.

Also: the second episode... I read a fair bit about how the showrunners spoke extensively to Eliot Page about how to handle his transition and hired at least one trans masc writer to their staff to make sure they got it right. All of those things are great ideas.

It is not for me, a cis person to evaluate how well they handled this, and there are eight more episodes I have not seen in which they could do more.

But at this point, it boils down to: revisiting Sissy Cooper's talk about being in a box; Vanya talks things over with Alison; Vanya gets a haircut, and says he's Viktor now; brothers say "Ok, cool." Maybe that's awesome, maybe that's how it ought to be. Or maybe it's step one and many more will follow. But for a substantial life change, it was like the C plot, which surprised me.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:38 PM on June 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

Allison has been desperate to get back to Claire since the start of the first season, and she wasn't thinking about it logically. It's obvious to us as the viewers that she's making a stupid mistake, but it's not consistent with who she is to not try to get to her kid, and she's increasingly breaking down as the season commences. It's not a rational decision, it's an emotional one - she can't not look for Claire.

On an unrelated note, looking back at the whole series I'm curious how Klaus managed to stay dead in the apocalypse when he otherwise can't die. I'm guessing that the official explanation is the same as why Five couldn't time travel back from there - he needed the rest of their cohort to boost his powers, but it still bothers me.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:56 PM on June 23, 2022 [4 favorites]

DirtyOldTown, trans femme me and my trans masc partner were both teary over how Viktor came out and how the writers made it simple and direct without a big hullaballoo. I'd say they did it well.
posted by kokaku at 5:20 PM on June 23, 2022 [19 favorites]

I appreciate that feedback. I'm only coming at this from a place of hoping they do right by my trans friends. Every when you tell me they've done well so far, I hope there's more.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:52 PM on June 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

On an unrelated note, looking back at the whole series I'm curious how Klaus managed to stay dead in the apocalypse when he otherwise can't die.

This is a much better question than my question, which is where do they keep getting wardrobe changes when they showed up at the Obsidian with only the clothes on their back and not a dollar to their names,
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:31 PM on June 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

shopping must be easy when you hear a rumor that those clothes are already paid for
posted by kokaku at 2:38 AM on June 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

shopping must be easy when you hear a rumor that those clothes are already paid for

Much like Alison, I forgot that they could do that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:42 AM on June 24, 2022 [11 favorites]

Sigh. I want to like this show, but the writers are incredible lazy.

Obviously, Hargreaves will be the villain next season, because the kids will need reset thing to Luther's love back. This explains why the whole romance arc was jammed in. Of course, there will be a big conflict with Allison, because now she has her perfect life back.
posted by KaizenSoze at 4:19 AM on June 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

DirtyOldTown, trans femme me and my trans masc partner were both teary over how Viktor came out and how the writers made it simple and direct without a big hullaballoo. I'd say they did it well.

This. I appreciated having a trans character played by a trans actor and for that not to be a primary focus of the story.
posted by Pryde at 1:29 PM on June 24, 2022 [13 favorites]

I almost admire how much they flaunt the family drama in this show. Like when they first discover the buffalo room, they forget to investigate it because family drama. Then the door opens and they ignore it because family drama. Then they get to the other side and have some family drama before they look around. I don't think I'd say it's lazily written; it seems like a lot of work to turn that crank.

The one thing that got under my "it's a knowingly dumb show just roll with it" armor is when the Sparrows did their thing in the Hotel Obsidian, and were about to kill them (Ben tells Christopher to kill them IIRC), then Harlan kills Roughalo and Spit-Girl — no one defends Harlan, or checks Sloane with like, "YOU were about to kill US". That fact, which seems really important! to dealing with the morality of it all, just doesn't seem to register with anyone at all.
posted by fleacircus at 10:00 AM on June 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

I was also annoyed by the extremely long time it took Allison to figure out that if her life had been completely different in this timeline, the odds of her having had the exact same child were vanishingly small. It felt as if this was dragged out unnecessarily just so that we could have the Big Dramatic Reveal with the completely different kid in her ex's house -- it seemed very forced.

I also found the resolution with the machine at the end to be very unsatisfying. So Reginald is twiddling knobs and pushing buttons, doing something that nobody else can understand, and Allison can see that he's killing everyone else to make the machine work, so -- she makes a sudden, dramatic decision to sacrifice the "fixed" timeline that she was promised in the deal, to save her siblings' lives. Cool! Except... it means nothing, because it looks like he was basically done anyway, and then Allison pushes the big red button despite having no idea what state the machine is in and what will happen, and then the timeline is successfully restored. This all seemed very random and arbitrary, and rendered Allison's choice completely meaningless.

Buuuuut despite these complaints I enjoyed watching this, and hope there will be another season. I enjoyed seeing both Callum Keith Rennie and Julian Richings -- they're among my favourite "it's that guy!!!" actors.

What happened to Stan?! I hope that Stan is OK.
posted by confluency at 4:17 AM on June 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm only just into episode two, but the family stuff is kind of the point, isn't it? Everything else is just narrative kinetics, surely? They're a lot more fun now they're getting along, at least for a couple of episodes. Anyway, we'll see.

All I really want from this is fun, really. And I hope the pug comes back.
posted by Grangousier at 2:25 PM on June 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

I loved the Footloose dance-off, and was really annoyed at the boring standard punch-em-up after.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:36 PM on June 26, 2022 [7 favorites]

I'll chime in as another trans person happy with how Viktor's transition was handled. My favorite part was the look on his face when Diego tells him about Luther wanting to throw him a party.

Sure, they could have had some drama in there. One of the siblings could have had trouble with it, and eventually come around, but I'm glad they didn't. I think it's okay to occasionally just model good behavior. Maybe a few cis people walk away with the impression that, hey, if this group of screwups can handle their sibling's transition without drama, maybe I can, too.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:45 AM on June 27, 2022 [7 favorites]

I loved Luther's "Should we do something?" moment of indecision and the unanimous "It's all good. Don't make it weird." reaction to that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

This is the show that suffers the most from the binging release schedule

there are a lot of callbacks and repeat gags that feel like they were written to be watched week to week, when remembering things about the show is not so much a given, and the characters are more symbolic or representational, like with an older type of show.

i feel like it really drags on if i watch a few episodes at a time, and i get impatient to have this or that plot line resolved--i am forgetting that the plot is not really the center of this show, no matter that I do enjoy it. I often see the plot tricks way ahead of time, and I forget that the strength of this show is the character interactions, rather than figuring out the mystery.

Certain things, like the Viktor - Allison relationship, alternately saving and trying to kill one another, are viewed in their best light as 'this eternal tension and conflict between these kind of family personalities' rather than 'these yo-yoing relationship beats happened over the course of actual lived months where the characters underwent tens of life events in a short period while being in a constant state of culture shock from time travel'
posted by eustatic at 10:24 AM on June 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm left wondering why Hargreeves resurrected all the Umbrella Academy peeps but didn't bother resurrecting the Sparrows and left out Sloane?

I'm guessing that Allison made a deal to keep her siblings alive no matter what? And they still would have been alive in the new timeline even if they died to create it?

Still doesn't explain why Sparrow Ben is there at the end; should have been OG Ben if Alison made a deal.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:16 PM on June 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine and I discussed how they might handle Elliot Page's transition, and we came down (well, they convinced me) that it could be done somewhat off the cuff, since it's not even the 20th hardest to believe thing in comics. And, I like it. The Umbrellas got to be affirming, and Viktor got to establish his identity, and... come on, it's an ensemble show with, like, 30 characters. What were they going to do? Have a Very Special Episode (as pointed out above) or make a BFD about Page's personal life? I thought it was good.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:33 PM on June 28, 2022 [2 favorites]

Enjoyed the season generally, though I didn't enjoy the character arc for Allison, especially when she rumored Luther - that was horrendous and she didn't have any real consequences from that.

Loved that Five tried to retire and the development of Klaus' power.

I was also wondering where these broke people got so many changes of clothes.
posted by Julnyes at 12:25 PM on June 29, 2022 [4 favorites]

I heard a rumor the writing of this series was incredible, made perfect sense, and definitely couldn't have been told better with half as many episodes.
posted by gwint at 6:35 AM on July 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

What was the significance of the version of Ben we see on the Korean subway? A Ben who grew up normally, existing in addition to the Sparrow Ben? I take it that in this rebooted universe none of the 1989 kids got any powers, so they should have grown up in their respective countries (although just not being born at all seems more likely).

Anyway, none of that made any sense, but was entertaining enough to turn in for Season 4.
posted by skewed at 10:16 PM on July 1, 2022

Showrunner Steve Blackman said in an interview that it was Sparrow Ben.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:23 AM on July 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I continue to love the characters and the vibe. The plot holes are a little more glaring than they used to be, but not enough to derail my affection for all of them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:47 PM on July 2, 2022

So I just binged this and here are my thoughts:

-that moment when Luther asked Viktor to be his best man was just so sweet, he was able to "do something special" but not make it weird

-the luther/allison incident was awful and it's never actually dealt with except for her fake apology-it was a really disturbing scene and that the characters just shrug this off and don't remotely deal with it is reaaaalllllyyyyy gross

-what about the adoring fans and hero worship that all suddenly vanished? I expected as people began to vanish there would be people outside the sparrow academy begging for help or the news caster saying "and no word from the sparrow academy about how they plan to stop it" but the hero worship was dropped very quickly after being introducedI can buy people would care less about heroes dying/vanishing as the world vanished around them but in the very beginning there should have been some sort of outcry

-my speculation about Sloane is she chose not to go with the rest of the team-to her Luther is dead and she doesn't want to live without him-this would fit in with what the ending theme of romantic love at any price-Hargreaves is willing to get his wife back at the cost of ALL his children and Allison is willing to bargain with him to get Claire back-Sloane choosing to not join the team would explain sparrow ben and fit with that theme that she would rather be with luther in that eternity (not knowing that he would be reset as well)-but now we have the tension of some characters being happy with their lives (Hargreaves, Lila, Diego, and Allison) while now others are still deprived of the life they desperately want-so that will be interesting

-Allison/Viktor-one thing that pisses me off still is Allison doesn't accept that Viktor ALSO lost a life he desperately wanted and then had to deal with the child he essentially abandoned telling him the price of that abandonment-Allison consistently acts like she is the only person who lost her life instead of being able to identify with Viktor's loss at all and that rankled me-her character overall just pissed me off this season

-in terms of plot I just gave up trying to follow and focused on the character dynamics-the show kind of works like a giant rube goldberg machine that way-the creativity of this completely silly show in which characters barely manage to avert the apocalypse as many times as they accidentally cause it is about using ridiculous scenarios as a backdrop for these characters and their dynamics-I'm still entertained by Klaus bitching about pineapple pizza in the afterlife and luther asking "why do you hate tiny sandwiches" and five's continued world weariness-I did totally tire of Allison's crap but aside from that the show continues to entertain me with the talent of the actors and the snarky dialogue -while I wonder how long they can keep going, I'm pretty happy with it right now
posted by miss-lapin at 4:19 AM on July 3, 2022 [5 favorites]

I figured that at the end Sloane was just in Paris or something seeing the world just as she always wanted to. Reg gave everyone improved versions of their lives which will make it that much harder for them to give that all up to go after him next season. As the universe has been reset I wonder if that means that Hazel and Cha Cha can return, maybe living happier lives themselves.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:28 PM on July 4, 2022

Finished watching this last night. I found the whole season really unsatisfying. Over and over again, consequential things were happening for reasons that were poorly explained, if at all. Starting with the fight in Ep 1—why do the Sharks and Jets Sparrows and Umbrellas need to fight at all? Allison turned straight-up evil. That seemed unearned. And so on. At the end, Allison slices Sir Reg's head in two to stop him, and then pushes the Big Red Button that ostensibly he was about to push anyhow.

Also, maybe I saw it incorrectly, but the head that Allison sliced in half looked like a robot head. ???
posted by adamrice at 10:40 AM on July 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

This show is like latter-era Orphan Black for me now: the plot has simply stopped making sense but unlike in some shows (coughStrangerThingscough) where that is happening, I'm not upset about it somehow. I'm happy to enjoy the vibes, moments, and characters.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:49 AM on July 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

But for a substantial life change, it was like the C plot, which surprised me.

And then they immediately went back into arguing about the show plot. Oh, Umbrella Academy.

Things I like about the show: the actors in general, the snarky lines, the razzing on each other, the sort-of-less-awful-at-times Hargreeves this season. Luther's just sweet. Klaus is a hoot, as ever. On the other hand, I'm less clear on the plot, but I'm always less clear on the plot, so.... what DirtyOldTown said, really.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:01 PM on July 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just finished binging all 3 seasons over the last month, and over the last few episodes I kept thinking of this Simpsons clip from the 138th Episode Special.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:20 PM on July 23, 2022

OK, I remember the scene that really bothered me: when Reginald teaches Klaus how to control his resurrections.

So, Reggie drives him a short distance* outside of NYC -- which is currently ground-zero for a slow-mo cosmic implosion -- to what appears to be a rural area in Iowa or something, on a country road with CLEARLY no traffic in either direction.** Yet every time Dad throws Klaus a ball, 1-3 cars apparently materialize out of nowhere, traveling at high speeds directly towards Klaus. Not only do none of the drivers appear to make any effort to swerve away from Klaus (who, after all, is standing in the middle of the road on a pristine day*** with clear visibility for miles in every direction) -- on top of that, NO ONE STOPS OR EVEN SLOWS DOWN despite having just slammed into an adult human, sometimes causing visible damage to their automobiles in the form of massive dents or smashed windshields. And even though a car appears every time Klaus steps into the road, there are no OTHER cars besides those that hit Klaus, so not even any witnesses to call the cops or stop to see if Klaus is OK. Oh, and the montage suggests that they did this all day, at least a couple dozen times?

WTF? I mean, it was an amusing sort of dark joke, fitting with the overall tone of the series, and it set up Klaus fondly reminiscing to Luther about playing "bus ball" with Dad, which was a funny moment, BUT NONE OF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE IN ANY SORT OF UNIVERSE! The writers couldn't have come up with some other humorous multiple death scenario? Maybe he keeps getting hit on the head with things. Maybe he keeps accidentally eating something poisoned. Anything, really, that doesn't implicate a bunch of unseen innocents in the act of homicide!

*Reg says something about it being 22 minutes since he killed Klaus and stuffed him in the trunk. Also, they are close enough to drive back to Hotel Oblivion just in time to avoid the destruction of the rest of the universe.

**The camera shows absolutely no one in either direction on the road multiple times before the first bus comes out of no where to kill Klaus.

***Given how close they are to NYC, shouldn't there be some visible evidence of the Kugelblitz?

Ultimately, the Kugelblitz story reminded me of the Flux story from Doctor Who a couple years ago. Flux was way worse, but it is still isn't a flattering comparison.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:23 AM on July 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

Also, did anyone else feel like the families (especially the Umbrellas) were total dicks about Harlan? I mean, he was a non-verbal autistic child, traumatized by his encounter with the Umbrellas & the Commission, cursed with Viktor-level powers but absolutely no instruction on how to control them. And everyone is like, "MAYBE HE IS AN EVIL VILLAIN LET'S KILL HIM JUST TO BE SURE."
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:28 PM on July 25, 2022 [4 favorites]

I was also super uncomfortable with the way the families treated Harlan. It was hard to watch.

Something I've been wondering about. They made a fairly big deal out of Allison gaining the ability to use her power without saying "I heard a rumor," but the only time I remember it coming up after that was when she tried to use it against Reginald at the end, and that time it didn't work. Was there any time where she subtly directed someone to do something *without* the obvious special effects telling us that she was using her power? That would have been cool, I think, but I don't remember if it actually happened.
posted by esker at 9:28 AM on August 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Well, I think some of that lays at Viktor's feet, no? I don't know how much he really explained to the rest of the Umbrellas about his life with Sissy and Harlan and such? But yeah, Allison's constant MY child MY husband MY life YOU ruined it! got a little tiring. On the other hand, she was probably the only Umbrella with a reasonably nice baseline life in the first season - married with a kid and was famous, etc etc. Luther was stuck on the moon, Klaus was drugging himself into oblivion, Vanya was the forgotten Hargeeve, Diego was doing.. uh. something? And Five was off with the commission. So the armageddon-related effects to their lives were more neutral?

I think this show is sort of a ech for me. I love the setpieces, the odd little throwaway stuff, the fully gonzo world that they inhabit, and the family drama is mostly ok, but the overarching plot blocking and stupid ball passing that needs to happen to let the actual threat take a season to build up is a little exhausting. I agree - this should should really be on a weekly release schedule. Only watching an episode a night mostly defuses the OH GOD JUST GET ON WITH IT.
posted by Kyol at 9:44 AM on August 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Also, I assume that since it's a netflix show and it's had 3 seasons, we've seen all we're going to see, but I'd be more than happy for another season.
posted by Kyol at 9:45 AM on August 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Was there any time where she subtly directed someone to do something *without* the obvious special effects telling us that she was using her power?

She yells "stop" at Harlan and when it works she says something like, "wait, how did I do that?" But it was not subtle - there were still the special effects of her power.
posted by joannemerriam at 2:15 PM on August 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm happy to roll with the ridiculous, unmotivated, and self-contradictory. In general the show has enough panache and the characters are amusing enough that it's still fun. But with Allison they really screwed up. It's the sort of mistake that often happens in narratives where the writers don't quite know what they're doing: they try to make an anti-hero, but accidentally overshoot, and lack both the writerly and moral acumen to realize that they've made this person irredeemable. It somehow leaves my annoyed on Allison's behalf that they treated her so badly here, and didn't seem to really notice. Killing various people and laughing it off is one thing, but deliberately killing the autistic stepson of your brother, in cold blood, and then arguing interminably that everyone should get over it, is irredeemable. And then, in short order, sexually assaulting your other brother. They don't seem to understand that these are unfixable crimes, that all the interminable dialogues between Allison and Victor are pointless because Allison is hopelessly lost -- or at least, the kind of redemption it would take would amount to decades of work, far beyond anything this show could imagine. But mainly I just feel the urge to defend this character -- one of the only remaining women and the only remaining Black character -- from having been so ill-served by writers who don't know the difference between ridiculous violence that you can laugh off, and the kind of violence you can't. I think I managed to enjoy the season despite that, but I'm not sure.
posted by chortly at 11:05 PM on November 17, 2022

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