Umbrella Academy season 3 ending, explained

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for the season 3 timeline of The Umbrella Academy. You probably knew that, but if not, look out!]

Just when the Hargreeves kids thought they had a handle on the space-time continuum, they’re thrown for yet another loop — or, rather, into another loop. In the finale, the members of the Umbrella Academy find themselves in an alternate reality where their father Reginald has his name on a lot of buildings, and they have no powers (and they’re not the only ones).

What is all this mean for the big scheme of things? Umbrella Academy? That’s a complicated question, really. Netflix hasn’t renewed the series You can still get it!, but the idea of not having a season 4 is tough to imagine, especially since there’s a whole lot of other balls still in the air for the series beyond just the jump to a different timeline.

Allison looking angry

Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

Was Allison a traitor to the Umbrella Academy in the end?

Allison beat Reginald in the face, and then she gets to work with his machine. Viktor, despite trying to stop her from the Hargreeves, lets her go. He even said that he would. Does trust her — only for her to push the button everyone else didn’t want pushed.

It’s unclear if what Allison did was actually something she fully understood. After all, it seems unlikely that Reginald would’ve programmed her a world in which she had the family she wanted. Even so, she at least has come out on the other side with not only Claire by her side but Ray, a choice that actress Emmy Raver-Lampman tells Polygon will probably haunt her: “I think there’s bound to be an immense amount of guilt that’s going to affect her at some point. She got her happy ending, but at the sacrifice of everyone else that she loves.”

Why don’t they have powers? Sloane where are you now?

I’m not an expert on futuristic, possibly alien technology. But is the world that Reginald’s machine threw them into — where the remaining Hargreeves children had no powers, and also Sloane was gone for some reason — where he intended to land?

Reginald seems to be even more of a captain in this new world. This new world could, possibly, be a testament to what he could accomplish with no super children at all, or — maybe? — had he channeled all their powers into some other alien scheme entirely. They could have been isolated from the machines that led them to where they are now (Allison Sparrow Ben and Luther. Klaus, Viktor. Five. Diego.

Luther and Viktor standing and looking at something off-camera

Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

Aidan Gallagher, (Five) believes that everybody will adjust to this brave new world without the help of any powers. “As far as Five goes, I think he’d make do,” Gallagher tells Polygon. “It’s tough, though, because he’s no longer relying on his powers to sort of make up the physical difference between what he’s used to and what his body and reflexes think he can do versus what his body has actually been trained for. So he might have to be a bit more clever in future seasons.”

Ritu Arya, who plays Lila, isn’t quite so optimistic for her character: “[Lila] wouldn’t know how to function. This power is what I believe gives her her bravado and confidence. So I don’t know how she’ll be able to live. Maybe she’ll be really clumsy.”

Reginald is the one who is at the window.

From what it looks like, the woman next to Reginald is the same woman who’s always been by his side, one way or aNother: Alice, his wife and basis for the “Mother” robot he kept around the Umbrella Academy (and the Sparrow Academy, although she was not known there as “Mother,” you perv).

In the flashback to Luther’s time on the moon, we see that original-flavor Reginald had been keeping Alice in cryogenesis on the moon. Perhaps he could save Alice by saving her in this new world, where Reginald has more capital?

What the fuck is Reginald’s deal though?

Reginald looking into a case held out by his robot wife

Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

Although he towers high over the Umbrella Academy and its proxy, The Umbrella Academy), we know very little about Reginald’s whole thing. He had a great interest in magically adopting these children. Born to 43 women at 12:01 p.m. on October 1, 1989. The inventor and eccentric billionaire, pilot of Umbrella Academy tells us Reginald was uniquely suited to “resolve to adopt as many of the children as possible.”

It was also vital for him, as we know from the conclusion of season 3 Seven children for… whatever that machine was he had at the end of the season. And also, he’s an alien, which might account for some of his flair with technology. At least once, Pogo was sufficiently well-connected to allow him to navigate the same paths as those in shadow who planned the attack on JFK. Pogo, in season 3, was afraid of the potential dangers he might cause and instructed his children to take a pill daily. In the season 4, his name appears on almost every city skyscraper.

It’s not exactly easy to look to the comic book for answers here — the story has deviated almost entirely, and in the book Reginald is introduced as an alien within a few pages. After three seasons, it’s past time we get a little bit more insight into exactly what his endgame is (in any version of reality).

How did the Jennifer Incident happen?

Ben’s death has repeatedly been linked to the “Jennifer Incident,” with little more discussion from the Umbrella Academy members at all. Even Sparrow Ben doesn’t seem to be interested in digging deeper into the events that took place to his alternate self. But what exactly does the incident mean?

After season 3, we still don’t know. Some folks have theorized that Ben died by suicide, since the plaque at the manor reads “May the darkness within you find peace in the light.” But Gerard Way, who co-wrote the comics, told Forbes that it’s a mystery that (at least in the comics) he hasn’t answered fully. “I originally just wrote the character to be dead, that was his function. I always knew I was going to resolve it,” Way said. “The thing about The Umbrella Academy, it’s almost like improvisational jazz. You’re just making it up as you go along.”

justin h. min as ben

Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

The show may still answer it, especially since it’s never been particularly loyal to its source material and there’s already been a few clues strewn about the show, like Viktor noticing a Jennifer sketch in Ben’s room. Plus Sparrow Ben seems like he’s around to stay, so he seems like a logical entry point.

Why does Harlan’s briefcase say Lester Pocket?

Is it meaningful that Harlan’s briefcase says “Lester Pocket”? So many things. Umbrella Academy, possibly! He uses this name quite often as the camera continues to focus on him. Considering there’s a minor character named Lester in the comics, it could be another “Jennifer Incident,” something that is meaningful or suggestive in a way not totally clear yet.

Why didn’t the future Five want Five to save our world?

In a twist on a twist, Five finds that the phantom founder of the Time Commission is actually… Five! And once he’s encountered his older self (in a paradox-proof panic room), Older Five tells him “You don’t. […] All that will be left is… oblivion.” He cautions Young Five that “this” — a lost arm — “is what you have coming.” Then he sends a darker warning: “Whatever you do, don’t save the world,” before his machine powers off and he dies.

Ultimately he was right; Five loses his arm in the final fight against Reginald’s machinations. But in the park where they ended up in the new reality, Five’s arm is returned. Along with the questions around his siblings and their powers, it’s unclear if Older Five was only warning about the Hotel Oblivion showdown, or if they’ve accidentally triggered something far darker. (Knowing the Hargreeves… yeah, probably!)

Grace believes the Kugelblitz to be God.

Grace, Ben, and Fei look at a glowing kugelblitz

Photo: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

This is most likely a reference the comic book in which Vanya, as the character in the comic is known, notices Robot Mom with a cross-shaped necklace. When she asks about it, the mom takes her to Norway, where she’s introduced to the Sparrows.

Given how much the show has deviated from the books, it’s likely that this is more of a way to mix in some of the same themes, plots, and imagery without directly remaking it.

What, no one actually died?

Short answer: Both yes and no. Harlan did — off screen, apparently at the hands of Allison — as did Klaus and Luther, who were each killed by Reginald. As for any of the other siblings who got Kugelblitzed, like Marcus… it’s unclear.

In the scheme of things, the timeline is irrelevant. Once again reset? It’s possible! Luther and Klaus seem to be back completely, with no damage done and even without a gorilla body. Whether Harlan, Pogo, or any of the other folks who got killed off in that alt-original-alt reality will return — well, there’s nothing the Umbrella Academy loves more than a remix.

Petrana Radiovic provides additional reporting.

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