The following contains spoilers for both The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and The Umbrella Academy comic series.
The Umbrella Academy has both a very conclusive ending and no ending at all. The finale features a pretty finite conclusion for literally all of Earth, R.I.P. us, but also a very open ending for the surviving Hargreeves children. So as we like to do, let’s break down the ending of The Umbrella Academy and see what we can explain.
For starters, The Umbrella Academy finale’s opening scene may be more confusing than the closing scenes. We open on “Long Ago” (and if that doesn’t start playing Gerard Way’s other gig’s My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” in your head, then we can’t be friends). Sir Reginald Hargreeves a.k.a. The Monocle is tending to a dying woman. He brings her a beloved violin. “Find someone who will love it as much as I have,” she says. We then are able to see out the window and witness shuttles leaving a dying world, Krypton style.
Here we have belated confirmation of something that comic readers have known for a long time. Daddy Hargreeves is a space alien. Of what significance is that? Virtually nothing at all! The comic series mentions it only briefly during Hargreeves’ introduction and it’s never been addressed again. What it does for the show, however, is present Hargreeves as a more sympathetic figure. When we see him arrive in the New World (presumably on Ellis Island), we can now appreciate just how foreign this all must be to him.
Thankfully, Reginald immediately finds a home in what was once an umbrella manufacturer. Even more importantly, he’ll find a home for that violin, when a young Vanya meekly asks if she can start playing it. Looks like Ol’ Reggie was more of a softie than we realize.
But Reginald is obviously very much dead still and the finale has the living to concern itself with. There is a spot of bother at Umbrella Academy mansion. Poor Pogo and Grace don’t make it out of Vanya’s rampage alive. Vanya blows up the Umbrella Academy manor with her truly awesome power. Number Five recognizes the wreckage of the mansion from his time in the future and makes an unnecessary proclamation: “Vanya causes the apocalypse.” We know, dude.
After the gang gets back together at a bowling alley, they realize where the newly unleashed Vanya must be heading. She is the first violin in her orchestra after all and tonight is her grand performance. “Vanya causes the So Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, and Number Five head to the Icarus to confront their sister.
Here is where a couple of interesting things happen. The first is the sudden presence of masked goons that comic book readers will recognize as agents of The Temps Aeternalis. Basically this is just the same timey-wimey organization that The Handler (Kate Walsh) runs. Number Five has always had a proclivity for easily killing the highly trained temporal agents, and here they go down faster than a bunch of red shirts in a bomb factory. Their exit from this plane of existence is hastened by the sudden emergence of a new power for Klaus.
Back when he was briefly dead from a nasty fall, Klaus was told by his “father” that he’s been holding himself back – he’s more powerful than he realized. In the comics that meant that Klaus had the ability of telekinesis so powerful that it could stop the actual moon at terminal velocity. Here, it’s a bit subtler. Klaus is able to harness the power of the dead people he is able to communicate with. In this instance, that means using his dead brother, Ben’s power. Ben’s power was to be able to conjure monsters from other dimensions out of his own body – usually manifested by terrifying Lovecraftian tentacles bursting out of his chest. So for those trying to track the science of all this, Klaus is enlisting people in the realm of death for power, who are in turn reaching out to different dimensions. THERE’S LAYERS TO THIS.
The Umbrella Academy kids are able to handle the agents fairly handily, and Diego even makes Patch proud by refusing to kill Cha-Cha (she’ll die momentarily when the Earth explodes naturally). But they’re still unable to stop their sister’s destruction. In fact, Vanya becomes so powerful that she goes full “White Violin” in appearance, better matching her comic counterpart.
Thankfully Luther Hargreeves is Number One for a reason, and that’s because he can come up with plans like “Idk man, let’s just rush her.” So Luther, Diego, Klaus, and Number Five all run at their sister onstage. Vanya easily restrains them and suspends them in mid air. But Allison approaches her distracted sister from behind with a gun in her hand. Allison is unable to shoot her sister so instead she fires the gun next to Vanya’s ear, incapacitating her. The distraction of the shot causes Vanya to fire an errant bolt of destruction into the sky, which eventually strikes the moon. A huge chunk of the reigns down from space and bears down on Earth to destroy it.
The Hargreeves kids are naturally pretty bummed about not being able to prevent the apocalypse their father brought them together to prevent. But then Number Five has an idea: he can time travel after all. Number Five posits that if they all join hands he thinks he can get them back in time and give them another shot to prevent all this.
Traveling back in time is much more difficult than traveling forward in time according to Number Five. The murderous young boy was trapped in the future for 30 years for a reason – and that’s because he couldn’t figure out how to get back. Apparently Number Five has cracked the time traveling conundrum and cracked it in a big way. He successfully disappears himself, Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, and the unconscious Vanya just as the apocalypse wipes away the Icarus Theater.
So, the only question that remains now is where…or when is The Umbrella Academy headed? That’s anyone’s guess but naturally we have some guesses of our own. Read on here.