The best part of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy is undoubtedly its rowdy, off-beat, and deliriously loveable cast of superhero characters. There’s the flamboyant cult-leader Klaus (Robert Sheehan), the stoic and tortured Luther (Tom Hopper), and of course, the “old and weary time traveler trapped in the body of a teenager,” Number Five (Aidan Gallagher). But my personal favorite of the bunch is Diego Hargreeves (David Castañeda), aka the Kraken. Diego is the only Hargreeves sibling who not only actually seems devoted to the superhero lifestyle, but tortured by its demands. Brooding, jealous, loyal, and armed with some truly sexy knife-throwing skills, Diego is the unsung hero of The Umbrella Academy.
Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy is based on the Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá comic book series of the same name. Moody, off-beat, and darkly hilarious, the series soon became a cult hit amongst comic book readers. The show is built around the dysfunctional Hargreeves family: seven superpowered beings who were adopted by the enigmatic Reginald Hargreeves as infants and raised to be the world’s saviors. At the beginning of The Umbrella Academy Season 1 we learn that sibling rivalries, personal trauma, and Daddy issues had left the now grown up Umbrella Academy members scattered, shaken, and out of the superhero game. With one exception: Diego Hargreeves.
Even after his siblings gave up the mask to live lives of their own making, Diego kept up the vigilante lifestyle. As “The Kraken,” he spent his nights tracking down criminals and running afoul of the official police department. His nature is different from that of his siblings. While they all fret over their own personal issues, Diego remains fixated — with an almost hilarious level of obstinance — on being a hero.
Which is why it makes such beautiful sense that in The Umbrella Academy Season 2 — which sees the Hargreeves siblings stuck in 1963 Dallas after causing the apocalypse in 2019 — Diego sets his sights on stopping the Kennedy assassination. Disillusioned Luther uses his super strength as a cage fighter and fixer for mobster Jack Ruby, Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) puts aside her powers as The Rumor to use her literal voice to organize a civil rights group, and Klaus installs himself as a cult leader in San Francisco. But Diego tries to save the day… and he gets himself locked up in a mental health facility for his troubles.
Look, I love all my bizarro Umbrella Academy babies equally, but I do have a soft spot for Diego. Luther gets to be in charge, Klaus gobbles up the most attention, Number Five has the most darkly comic edge, and poor Ben (Justin H. Min) steals our hearts as a ghost. Meanwhile sisters Allison and Vanya (Ellen Page) get to be both the romantic and tragic anchors to most of The Umbrella Academy storylines. Meanwhile, Diego embraces the shitty parts of being a superhero: the long nights, rough fights, and truly doomed dating life.
There’s a dogged determination to Diego that really hits me in the heart. Not everyone gets the acclaim they deserve in life and Diego’s whole place in the Hargreeves family is emblematic of this. As “Number Two” he’s lived his life in Luther’s shadow. This jealousy is a key to understanding him as a character. Ironically, I sometimes think it carries over to the show’s publicity. However, there it is Robert Sheehan’s super charismatic Klaus who gobbles up the magazine covers and online memes.
I just really dig Diego. I like a hero who actually shows up for heroics. I adore a tough of Byronic brooding in my protagonists. And okay, it’s super hot when he flips around in the air and manages to curve the flight of a dagger with his mind. That’s hot. But my own tastes aside, Diego is the glue keeping The Umbrella Academy together. He’s the guy who’s there to remind everyone that they’re there to save the goddamn day.
Watch The Umbrella Academy on Netflix
Source: New York Post
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