So much swimming, only to die on the shore.
That expression is the most appropriate to describe the feeling of reaching the end of the third season of “The Umbrella Academy”, whose 10 episodes have just premiered on Netflix. Dark Horse Comic’s graphic novel adaptation keeps finding clever ways to recalibrate its core concept. Which dictates that the new episodes continue to have the titular superhero family trying to figure out how to stop an apocalyptic event that could destroy the entire universe. However, on this occasion, the journey to the climax is much more interesting than the way in which the main conflict is resolved. Before that, the series distinguished itself by making full display of its black and sardonic humor and finding ways to further develop its central characters.
In this third season there is not much that can be classified as new, although the writing team of the series definitely tries. After stopping an apocalypse in the sixties, the Hargreeves brothers jump into a future where their mothers do not exist and where their adoptive father trained another group of gifted children that I name this time as “The Sparrow Academy”. The clash between the original group and the new one would seem to be the main hook of this season, but this is quickly pushed to the background. The presence of Allyson (Emmy Raver-Lampman,) Luthor (Tom Hopper), Klause (Robert Sheehan), Vanya (Eliot Page), Diego (David Castalleda) and Five (Aiden Gallagher) in this reality creates a paradox that puts at risk the existence of the universe. From that point forward, the rest of the episodes deal with how each of the central characters grapple with the possibility of the end of everything.
There are those who find their destiny and cling to it, like Luthor and Diego who are respectively comfortable in the roles of romantic partner and father. And there are those who refuse to accept his fate, like Allyson, who lives the bitterness of being in a reality where his daughter doesn’t exist, and Five, who can’t resist trying to stop a disaster. While the light touch of the series is manifested in seeing how Klause continues to try to heal the wound caused by the traumatic childhood with her adoptive father.
Eventually all these stories are tied to the event that points to what could be the fourth season. The reason this is frustrating is because the climax isn’t the most dazzling moment of the season and because it looks like we’re going to see these characters again in another altered reality where another apocalypse is just around the corner. Perhaps two or three episodes of watching them on vacation or solving a simpler mystery will give this series more fertile creative ground.