I thoroughly enjoyed nine of the ten episodes in Netflix’s new show The Umbrella Academy

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This week I watched Netflix’s new show: The Umbrella Academy. And I would have quit after the first episode if it wasn’t for the fact that I was planning to write this review.

The show has a slow start; however, the first episode is far unlike the following nine episodes, which are packed with mind-bending twists and turns, action, and a certainly unique group of siblings. By the tenth and final episode, I was deeply invested in the lives of the Hargreeves siblings, but I never would have expected that based on the first episode.

I’m not entirely sure what it was about the beginning of The Umbrella Academy that I disliked so fervently. I think it may have been in part due to the fact that you really have to see the siblings’ pasts to understand where they are at now. If you don’t know enough about them, they seem like a group of deranged, dysfunctional, and emotionally stunted siblings— words which don’t really encompass the complexities of their situation.

The Hargreeves siblings were born on the same day at the same time exactly all around the world and all with extraordinary powers. They weren’t the only ones; but, they were the only ones Reginald Hargreaves (Colm Feore) was able to adopt. Once adopted, they were trained mercilessly by their cold “father” and taken care of by their rather unique “mother,” a robot named Grace.

Ironically, there is an anomaly among this group of anomalies: Vanya Hargreeves/Number Seven (Ellen Page). Vanya was born on the same day at the same time but without a drop of power. She can’t see the dead like Klaus/Number Four (Robert Sheehan). She can’t jump through time and space like Number Five (Aidan Gallagher).

Vanya was the first, but not last, to leave The Umbrella Academy.

And they likely never would have come back together if not for the death of their father.

The reunion of the siblings couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, though, because Number Five has just returned from the future and warns that the apocalypse is coming, and soon. The plot then follows the siblings through stages of denial, disbelief, and every other emotion and reaction you would expect when your brother, who has been missing for years, comes back and says you’re all going to die.

Likely my favorite part of The Umbrella Academy would be the high level of character development in just these ten episodes. Both positive and negative. The show is very real in how it portrays people and their genuine feelings; that is in large part why I now find myself invested in their lives. Like any good TV show, it gives you characters to root for, characters to love, and characters to hate. But even the bad guys, the ones you’re rooting against, experience development. The lack of “absolute evil” in people, is a testament to how truly real and raw The Umbrella Academy is.

Another element that enhances The Umbrella Academy is the fluidity of time within the show— a necessary feature when one of the main characters can move through time and all of the other characters are struggling with demons from their past (not literally). The show highlights important parts of the siblings’ past, shows moments of the future that Five has seen, and even bends your mind with a dash of alternate timelines.

The twists and turns aren’t just pertaining to time; the ending is an unexpected whiplash-inducing turn of epic cliffhanger proportions which leaves me curiously awaiting the next season.

So, do I recommend The Umbrella Academy? Yes, as long as you live by the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” (or its first episode).