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Why Alphonso From The Umbrella Academy Season 3 Looks So Familiar

The second season of The Umbrella Academy, the superhero TV series adapted from a comic book written by My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way, was released in its entirety by Netflix in July 2020. Only a few months later, in November of that year, Netflix announced that it had renewed The Umbrella Academy for a third season.

Following news of the series' third season was an announcement in January 2021 of several actors who would be joining its central cast as the Sparrow Academy. At the end of The Umbrella Academy's second season, the titular group of heroes encounters an alternate reality version of themselves. Thus, each member of the Umbrella Academy is set to have a counterpart in season 3. Those are the members of the Sparrow Academy team.

Alphonso is the member of the Sparrow Academy who corresponds to the Umbrella Academy's Klaus. Though Alphonso is essentially an alternate reality version of Klaus, their powers do not necessarily correspond to one another. Klaus can speak with the dead, whereas Alphonso's scarred appearance and comic book source material suggest he will have voodoo-based abilities.

Jake Epstein is the actor who has been cast to play Alphonso. If he looks familiar, it's likely from one of the following roles.

Jake Epstein played a musician in Degrassi: The Next Generation

In order for Degrassi: The Next Generation's 14 seasons about a high school and its students to make sense, different series leads were ultimately cycled in and out of its central cast over the years. Jake Epstein played one of the show's numerous central characters, a musician named Craig Manning. Epstein's career includes a few stints on Broadway, so his real-life musical abilities were helpful when it came time for him to portray a musician on TV.

Craig was ultimately featured in Degrassi: The Next Generation's cast from its second to fifth seasons in addition to a return to the role in its eighth season. In a fashion befitting Degrassi's signature melodramatic flair, Craig's storyline from throughout his tenure on the show featured romantic affairs, a pregnancy, and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Epstein appeared in 91 episodes of Degrassi in total, so fans of the series, and especially those who watched it in his early days, are likely already familiar with Epstein as a performer thanks to his time on the iconic teen drama.

Jake Epstein played a recurring role on Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor aired first on ABC for two seasons and then on Netflix for its third before the streaming service canceled the series in 2019. Its central story conceit revolves around a stipulation that, should the president of the United States die, their line of succession includes a "designated survivor." That role is essentially someone chosen to not be present during major events which the president and other key officials must attend.

In Designated Survivor, Keifer Sutherland played the titular role, stepping into the presidency following a disaster that kills everyone before him in the presidential line of succession. Jake Epstein, meanwhile, played Chuck Russink, an analyst for the FBI. While Chuck wasn't one of the series' primary characters, he nevertheless served a recurring role in its first two seasons. In total, Epstein appeared on Designated Survivor for 28 of its 53 episodes.

All three seasons of Designated Survivor remain available to stream on Netflix, so viewers of the series in its original ABC run and on Netflix alike will recognize Epstien in his upcoming appearance in The Umbrella Academy, also on Netflix.

Jake Epstein starred in the Lifetime original movie Mistletoe & Menorahs

In 2019, the Lifetime channel aired an original movie titled Mistletoe & Menorahs. Numerous Lifetime movies of years past have revolved around Christmas, but Mistletoe & Menorahs is one of the few to include Hanukkah as a holiday central to its story, too. Essentially, a woman who normally celebrates Christmas every year has to learn about Hanukkah from a Jewish man who likewise has to learn about Christmas for the first time. The reasonings behind both of their predicaments are suitably sappy and unimportant.

Beyond being one of a small number of Lifetime original Hanukkah movies, Mistletoe & Menorahs is one of a few films in which Jake Epstein played a leading role. In the film, Epstein portrayed Jonathan Silver, the habitual Hanukkah-celebrator planning a Christmas celebration for the first time in his life.

Most viewers would likely consider Lifetime original movies to be in a different tier of entertainment than The Umbrella Academy. However, the contingent of crossover fans of both sappy TV movies and bingeable superhero action series should remember Epstein as the face one of the Lifetime channel's most notable Hanukkah evangelists.