While the first season of The Umbrella Academy brought all the siblings together by the first episode, the second season displaces them across different points throughout the early 1960s, convincing each person the others are long gone.
While some adjust to their new surroundings — like Allison, who’s happily married and at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement — others, like Diego, who’s taken it upon himself to save President John F. Kennedy from being assasinated, have not.
Klaus Hargreeves falls somewhere in the middle. He’s not bent on hunting down would-be assassins, but he may have accidentally started a cult. Klaus’ accidental cult was something the writers and actor Robert Sheehan had conceived very early on in the process.
“It had been percolating for some time,” Robert Sheehan, who plays the character, tells Polygon. “The idea of Klaus using his 21st-century charm to manipulate the naive and well meaning [people] of the early ‘60s.”
Klaus lands at the earliest point in time, finding himself in 1960, which means for three years he’s convinced his siblings are dead and gone. But when the Hargreeves siblings finally reunite, they’re all ecstatic to see one another, reconciling with hugs and a general shared goal of stopping the end of the world and returning back to 2019.
It’s a stark contrast from last season, where intersibling conflict and reconciling with childhood trauma often prevented the Hargreeves from even being on the same page about the apocalypse. But Sheehan doesn’t think the siblings are totally without strife.
“Some of us haven’t seen each other for years. But with any family absence makes the heart grow fonder, doesn’t it?” Sheehan says. “It’s easy to see your family over the holidays. You haven’t seen them for the last three months. It probably makes you friendlier.”
The friendly siblings bring a new dynamic to the show, fully explored by diving into different relationships. Showrunner Steve Blackman says that finding new combinations of character dynamics was something he aimed to do this season. Last season, for instance, Klaus spent a lot of time with Five and Diego. Sheehan missed working closely with David Castañeda, but was pleased to find that Allison and Klaus shared a lot of scenes together this season.
“I had a lot of fun with Emmy [Raver-Lampman] this new season,” Blackman says. “Klaus drifts into her life and she becomes temporary shelter for him. That was nice. You discover a lot of charming little things between actors.”
But there’s one pairing that remains constant and close: Klaus and dead brother Ben (Justin H. Min). Klaus is the only member of the Hargreeves family that Ben can actively communicate with, which is endlessly frustrating to Ben who has to put up with Klaus’ erratic behavior.
At one point in this season, however, Ben realizes he’s able to possess Klaus and begs his brother to let him use his body so he can flirt with a girl. For an episode, Ben is in Klaus’s body, which means Sheehan was playing Ben. There’s a difference in how his possessed character moves — in Sheehan’s words, Klaus is more “flaily” — and Sheehan studied his co-star’s movements, perhaps with more commitment than necessary.
“[I] got [Justin H. Min] to do videos on repeat,” explained Sheehan, true to his character. “Annoyed him. Impersonated him. Followed him around. Appeared as he least expected it — for example, when he was on the latrine.”
The second season of The Umbrella Academy is now streaming on Netflix.