Ah yes. Our favorite dysfunctional, apocalypse-causing, and time-traveling family is back at it again. At last, the Hargreeves siblings are finally back in their true timeline! Or so they thought. After humiliating themselves before their father (Colm Feore) in the 60s, he decided to adopt a different set of babies on October 1, 1989. And thus, we are introduced to the Sparrow Academy, much like the Umbrella Academy, but, you know, better.
While much anticipated since the start of its promo in late 2020, season three of The Umbrella Academy was met with mixed receptions from its audience. The season has a 55% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and while this isn’t absolutely awful, it is a substantial drop from the 85% and 88% audience ratings of the first two seasons. Some fans say the time-travel escapades are getting overdone and tricky to follow, some say the doubled cast size is hard to keep up with, and some may just be shitting on it out of sheer unchecked transphobia. However, this critic loved every second of it. Well, most seconds, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
The two superpowered families make for hilarious laughs, unexpected twists, heightened drama, and much more confusing time-travel antics. With seven new cast members it may seem like a lot to keep up with, but the show is carried along perfectly by the phenomenal writing, character development and performances by our new additions. Honorable mentions being newcomer Britne Oldford who plays Fei (easily my personal favorite of the Sparrows), and Justin H. Min who returns to his role as Ben, albeit a much more arrogant and rude Ben, who is also actually alive this time, in the flesh, as a Sparrow.
During the gap between seasons two and three, Elliot Page came out as transgender and began to transition. And so, Viktor Hargreeves was brought to light. Thomas Page Mcbee, a trans writer, was added to the writing team for this season. Together with Elliot, the two were able to handle the transition from Vanya to Viktor with thought, care and intention. While this was understandably a small part of the small show, and tackled much earlier on (there were a great many moving parts this season), it’s a part that’s worthy of note.
The soundtrack, cinematography and set design were all phenomenal. Every location is stunning, and the music is cause for nonstop foot-tapping as you’re pulled deeper into their insane world. Everything works together to create the fun and playful yet edgy essence which The Umbrella Academy is made of. Unfortunately though, it may seem the visual effects budget this time around was slashed in favor of Stranger Things 4, and they focused all that was left on the design of Pogo. Some things could definitely look better, especially scenes involving the use of their powers. However, while these moments can be pretty hard to look at and take us out of the story, they tend to either not last too long, or be overpowered by the superior sets, music, camerawork, story, and acting.Overall, this season was pretty good. I find the story engaging, and hilarious, and yes, sometimes confusing. But perhaps a little bit of confusion is appealing. The season finales always seem a bit repetitive, and this time was no different, but the ending was one that leaves a lot of room for a very unique and intricate story to come. As much as I love The Umbrella Academy, I’m very much thankful that the next season will be their last. There’s only so long a TV show can last before it loses its vision, and I fear that if we push it any further, everything may fall apart. I will definitely be tuning in to season four, and I think that season three is very much worth your while.
Ruth Ayambem is a Freshman Emerging Media major who is open to joining either the Umbrella Academy or Sparrow Academy, whichever is hiring first. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art by Ruth Ayambem.