One Apocalypse down, onwards to the next. Escaped one Apocalypse without saving the world, The Umbrella Academy time travels back to the past, where another one is waiting for them. Will they ever learn?
Where did they end up and when
When they time travel to the past, they don’t end up together, but scattered throughout different years. They all end up in the same back alley in Dallas Texas and each one of them is being seen by Elliot who lives across the alley and begins to form his own alien conspiracy theories.
Klaus and Ben
They end up in 1960, February 11. When Klaus is thrown out of a diner, he lands before the feet of an elderly lady who takes him in. With the help of Ben who can touch him and vice versa, he puts up an act performing as a psychic and starts a new cult with Klaus as the prophet, traveling through the country in a bus, ending up in San Fransisco.
She ends up in 1961. She is suddenly confronted with segregation and is being chased by white men. She still can’t speak and flees into a hairdresser’s for black people where she is taken in and finds a job. She also meets Raymond Chestnut whom she falls in love with and marries. They both are fighting for the Civil Rights of black people. All the more for the upcoming parade with John F. Kennedy November 22, 1963.
He ends up in 1962 and finds work as a bodyguard and fighter under the name King Kong, for Mr Jack Ruby, the gangster and nightclub owner who shot Harvey Lee Oswald (the presumed killer of JFK) two days after he was arrested.
He ends up in 1963, September 1. He immediately helps a woman whose purse is being stolen, but due to his vigilante ways and his superhero complex he soon ends up in the psychiatric ward at the hospital where he meets Lila.
She ends up in 1963, October 12. When she stumbles out of the alley she is hit by a car and loses her memory in the process. The woman who hit her is called Sissy and she and her son Harlan drive her home to the farm. Vanya stays with them, while she tries to find someone who knows her. But Vanya and Sissy fall in love, which is noticed by husband Carl. Harlan is a troubled boy who probably has autism and when he is upset he runs away. Vanya and Sissy go after him, but Vanya is afraid he has drowned in the pond. She then uses her powers to rescue him and to bring him back to life, accidentally transferring some of her power into him.
He ends up in 1963, November 25. The day the Apocalypse is about to happen and three days after the assassination of JFK. He has landed in a war zone. He sees all his siblings fighting in the street against the Russians and sees nukes flying overhead. Suddenly Hazel shows up and travels him back 10 days earlier, just as Five sees his siblings being killed in the blast.
Finding each other
So they have taken the Apocalypse with them. It’s again up to Five to find all of his siblings and to stop the Apocalypse or returning back to their time, which maybe also stops the Apocalypse from happening. Just before Hazel can explain everything, he tells him he had twenty wonderful years with Agnes before she died of cancer and that she wanted him to help the siblings. He gives him a tape and is then being shot by The Swedes, assassins sent by the Commission.
So Five first gets back to the alley, notices Elliot and makes his apartment his base of operation, with an excited Elliot, willing to help. But it’s not that easy to convince everybody to help him stop the Apocalypse or to find a way home. Only Diego is eager to escape but mainly because he wants to prevent the assassination on John F. Kennedy. So Lila helps him escape and they go to Elliot’s apartment.
Finding Sir Reginald
Five watches the tape Hazel slipped him. It’s a tape from the couple Ethel and and Dan Frankel at the parade watching Kennedy driving by. This is a take on the real existing Zaprunder Film, a home video that recorded the assassination. On the Frankel tapes Five sees a man standing on the grassy knoll, wearing black and holding a black umbrella. That man is Reginald. Fun fact is that this “Umbrella Man” did exist as well and spins his umbrella when the motorcade drives by and the shot is taken. So is Reginald responsible for the assassination? Earlier when Five worked for the Commission he was ordered to shoot JFK, but instead jumped back to the funeral of Reginald to start the adventure in season 1. And does this mean that the assassination has something to do with the Apocalypse?
So Five decides to track down Reginald who turns out to be a member of the Majestic 12, also a supposedly real secure organization. But when they finally all meet up, the whole Hargreeves family together sitting round the table, Reginald is not impressed by their skills, disappointed even and he is of no help to them.
Later on we also see that Reginald didn’t approve of killing JFK and quits the Majestic 12 by revealing himself being an alien and kills them all.
Grace and Pogo
We also learn more about Grace and Pogo. Grace was a real person a scientist who dated Reginald and who trained a chimpanzee to go into space. The robot Mom was therefore made in her image. But in space something went wrong and when Pogo returned he was more dead than alive. Reginald saved his life with a serum that probably contained human DNA, which made Pogo for the ape-human who he is now.
The Handler and Lila
Maybe the Handler can help. She was shot by Hazel but saved by the metal plate in her head. Lila turns out to be her adopted daughter but Lila doesn’t know that the Handler ordered Five to shoot her parents so she could raise Lila as her own. It is later revealed that Lila was also born on October 1 in 1989. She is one of the 43 children. She has the power to copy other powers but only one at the time. She was ordered by her mother to help Diego and to keep Five alive. The Handler also has control over the Swedes, three brothers who get fake messages from the Handler, instead of the Commission. This also causes The Swedes killing Elliot, taking revenge on Diego for the murder of their brother, which was a setup by the Handler, for both Diego and the Swedes.
The Handler needs Five to kill all the members of the board of the Commission so she can take over. He then could serve as a scapegoat. In exchange for the massacre he gets a briefcase that will transport them all back to their own time, where the Apocalypse didn’t happen and also will prevent this new Apocalypse from happening. The Handler is planning to take over the Commission, but there’s a resistance lead by Herb and a few others.
But it turns out there is a time limit on the briefcase and only Klaus and Luther make it, while Five is waiting. Klaus almost didn’t make it because of Ben being in love, and Klaus wanting to save Dave and warn him not to go enlist in the army. Allison has told Ray everything and wants to take him with her. But they are held up by the Swedes. Allison uses her power and turns one brother against the other, killing him. Vanya wants to take Sissy and Harlan but are stopped by the police and Vanya uses her powers but they manage to arrest her. And Diego is knocked out by Lila who introduces him to her mother as her boyfriend at the Commission in 1955 and wants him to join.
So it’s Diego, with the help of Herb, who finds out what or who causes the Apocalypse, by looking at all the monitors. It turns out that JFK isn’t shot, but there was an enormous explosion at the FBI building that caused the motorcade to drive away fast, saving JFK. Diego takes a briefcase and finds his siblings to fill them in.
What causes the Apocalypse now
The cause of the explosion was non other than Vanya. Being held prisoner on suspicion of being a Russian spy, she is tortured. This not only triggers her memories but also her powers. And nothing that happened in the first season is processed or dealt with and she’s feeling all of it again.
So it’s up to the siblings to save Vanya. While Allison, Diego and Klaus and Ben try to stop and save Vanya, it’s eventually Ben who can push through the massive energy field and possess her to talk to her. After their emotional talk, Vanya calms down and Ben finally can let go and dissolves, going to the afterlife.
Meanwhile Five and Luther set out to find Five’s younger self in an older body who’s in Dallas to assassinate JFK. He has a briefcase that they can use. Five and Five first talk, then fight, and finally our Five opens the portal and throws his younger self through where he ends up at the funeral, giving him the right equation so he can arrive with his old body. We don’t know if that worked out. But the briefcase is destroyed in the process. So they have saved the world, but still can’t go back to their own time.
What about Harlan
But when all of this was happening to Vanya and she became a bomb again, something was also happening to Harlan. But before that Sissy and Harlan were being threatened by Carl and Carl wanted to shoot Sissy, but Harlan returned the bullet, using Vanya’s powers and killed Carl. Vanya feels something is wrong with him and has to go see him and they all go with her to Sissy’s farm. Harlan has a massive energy field around him and Vanya goes through to calm him down.
Meanwhile this doesn’t go unnoticed by the Handler and she has brought Lila and a whole army of the Commission, to kill the siblings at the farm. Vanya uses her powers and destroys the whole army of the Commission. Lila has made a forcefield around herself and the Handler protecting them and uses all of their own powers against them. That’s when they find out that Lila is one of them. They try to reason with her and Lila confronts Five who admits killing her parents but also tells her that the Handler was with him and gave the order to kill her parents so she could raise a special child herself and turn her into a powerful ally and assassin. Just like Reginald used them, the Handler used her.
The Handler comes in and shoots everyone. But Five is still alive and goes back in time just a few seconds and manages to save them. The Handler is shot by the Swede who tracked them down and wants revenge for his brothers while Lila takes a briefcase and flees. The Swede leaves and after the big battle, Herb shows up. He gives them a briefcase to travel back to their own time, safely without any Apocalypses waiting, now the Commission is in save and conscientious hands.
But when they return to the mansion at the Umbrella Academy, the Sparrow Academy and Reginald are waiting for them…
Vanya will always be the bomb…
History repeats itself, as is shown in this second season. While everyone is scattered through time and ends up at different places, and they can freely start over, they actually don’t. They still behave in the same patterns they used to right before the pending Apocalypse and after they had learned the traumatic truth about Vanya. They behaved in a non-helpful way, and instead tried to contain her and her powers, not confronting what has been done to her and deal with Vanya’s traumas.
Luther has been working for a dominant authoritative wealthy father figure, not being able to shake his daddy issues. Although he tries to apologize to Vanya.
Diego immediately acts as a vigilante which only causes him to end up in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. Where he meets Lila, who soon steps in to take charge, which he is accustomed to and falls for her charm. Still unable to think for himself.
Allison couldn’t speak for a long time, but when she finally could and did, she didn’t use her powers. Still she used her words and foreknowledge to help the black community give them a voice of their own. Her growth and insight is the biggest.
Klaus not an alcoholic drugs abuser anymore, still needs his high and a cult provides that for him, giving him a natural high. He acts as a prophet who only uses his foreknowledge to enrich himself, also mentally.
Five does what he always has been doing ever since he got back, trying to save the world from a pending Apocalypse and more importantly save his siblings. He doesn’t need to change, he has had a life time to establish himself as a person and puts that to use to be an anchor for the others.
Ben is more visible than ever. He is psychical to Klaus and he can even possess him. While the others have learned nothing and sauntered on very much the same way, he is the only one who can get through to Vanya. Because he as an adult had nothing to do with Vanya’s trauma and he is very neutral to her, while she hasn’t seen him for 16 years. He can’t be blamed and better yet, he knows how it feels to be ignored and being invisible, unimportant.
Vanya is the most complex character and she should have been dealing with a lot of hurt and anger. While her siblings are scattered they can’t find her and therefore cannot help her. Vanya without her siblings would be a great danger to everyone and herself. This problem is solved by Vanya getting hit by a car and losing her memory. So in that way, she also stays the same. Not knowing who she is, not knowing she has powers, or what she did, or knowing about her traumas, that now have disappeared to her. So she doesn’t get to deal with it. When they finally find her and all is revealed to her, it still doesn’t feel like it’s her life. It’s been told to her and not relived, so this prevents her from dealing with it in a right way and her siblings to reckon with her.
In this way, history repeats itself. Unless…
Vanya will always be the bomb as long as her siblings and she herself don’t reckon with it and don’t deal with it. Although not dealt with at the moment, mostly avoided by her family and the plot, it has to be dealt with somewhere and somewhen, to prevent it from happening again. Her anger and hurt and now also guilt don’t magically disappear.
They have to face what they each did, what parts they each played to cause Vanya to emotionally explode. They have to deal with her trauma, but the traumas are only piling up. Diego being betrayed by Lila. Klaus not being able to rescue Dave. Allison who now fully understands what it was like to be black in the sixties. And of course all being rejected in a very harsh way by their father who thinks now even less of them.
It’s not the writing that is reluctant or failing Vanya, it’s just life that happens and stands in the way to process something so awful in a delicate way. Just like in our world, traumas aren’t always fully attended to, or processed or even recognized. Traumas are difficult to face for everybody involved, and that’s just what this season shows us.
Unlike in our world, it ends with an Apocalypse again and again. So eventually the Hargreeves have to find a way to fully heal and be a functional loving family again. It’s a matter of life and death.
But it seems that now The Sparrow Academy stands in their way. A new Academy that Reginald founded when he found out in the past that his future children were failures and no use to him at all.
Fun fact is that there are 43 sparrows hidden throughout the 10 episodes of the second season. Can you spot them all?
Read more about The Umbrella Academy:
- The Umbrella Academy season 1 review
- The Umbrella Academy season 1 explained
- The Umbrella Academy season 2 review