Umbrella Academy Season 2 Ending Explained-Bootstrap Paradoxes, The Sparrow Academy, Harlan, And Season 3
Netflix’s Umbrella Academy Season 2 is everything we loved about Season 1 combined with everything we hoped we would see more of.
Starting right where we left off, The Umbrella Academy Season 2 begins with 5’s semi-successful teleportation of his family through time following the catastrophic events of Season 1’s finale. All of the siblings were unceremoniously dropped off between 1960 and 1963 Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, none of them know where the others are initially. Allison found herself in the middle of the burgeoning civil rights movement when she was dropped in a whites-only part of town. Klaus and Ben, who’s perpetually along for the ride, find themselves creating leading a cult because, of course. Luther is hired muscle for mobbed-up, strip club owner Jack Ruby. Diego is locked in a hospital for the mentally ill, and Vanya got hit by a car, lost her memory, and started working as a nanny for an autistic boy.
Texas in the early ’60s is not a great place to be a person of color or queer, which puts three of our heroes in terrible danger. Those real issues are what holds all of The Umbrella Academy Season 2 together. Our world is made up of very real people, and they have struggles independent of supernatural comic book heroism. Allison, in particular, gets something very relevant to chew on when she comes to terms with what it means to be a hero. Sometimes it has more to do with showing up when the odds are stacked against you then being able to control minds. Season 2 is a more cohesive set of side plots held together with incredible performances and, of course, an excellent dance montage.
Better than Season 1, the stories are much tighter and revolve around each other even when they don’t seem too. Every interaction with the exemplary new cast members, namely Ritu Arya(Lila), Yusuf Gatewood(Raymond Chestnut), and Marin Ireland(Sissy), provides context to the story as a whole and deep emotional beats for our group to grow from. These are people who are made better by the relationships they form.
When the credits roll, our group has saved the world again, twice in Season 2 alone. They are back in 2019, where brother Ben is very much alive, and Daddy Hargreaves doesn’t seem to know who the rest of them are. The Handler is dead twice over, and Harlan(Justin Paul Kelly) and Sissy are traveling to her sister. Harlan has powers of his own and is beginning to control them. Lila has escaped somewhere in time with a new-found knowledge of her adoptive mother’s betrayal and an icky feeling that she may have slept with her brother(yikes).
In the last several episodes of The Umbrella Academy Season 2, there were more than a few twists and turns. Every character comes to a major revelation and several of the new additions get expanded backstories that will surely have lasting impacts. Here is everything broken down about that explosive ending and what it means for Season 3.
5 Finally Learned To Control His Time Jumps, Maybe.
I love all of our heroes, especially Klaus and Ben, but if I’m honest, 5 is easily the most competent of the group. Yes, he’s an adolescent boy complete with all the obnoxious sarcasm and egotism, but he is also the most experienced. 5 ps after all a late 50’s dude instilled with the lifetime of experience that affords. He has knowledge of the Commission, experience, and a kick-ass ability that he has had a lifetime to perfect. There really is no one else who could save the family. When he successfully reset time several seconds before The Handler shot everyone dead, he was able to turn the tables on her and save everyone. This includes Lila, who will absolutely be back to raise Hell in Season 3. She could easily be a member of the Sparrow Academy.
Is Ben Dead Or Alive?
Our Ben that we have followed since the beginning courtesy of Klaus has moved on. Klaus believes he has gone to Heaven, and Ben seems to think that is where he was going as well. These last 17 years, Klaus felt he selfishly kept Ben from going into the light, but Ben, in his final moments with Vanya, tells her to tell Klaus he shouldn’t blame himself. Ben was too afraid to be alone and stayed out of the light with his family out of fear not the obligation to Klaus.
Whether it is entirely accurate or not is open for debate but leave it to selfless Ben to know precisely what Klaus needed to hear. Spirits and guilt have always plagued Klaus. Ben could at least absolve him of one of those. At the very end, the gang lands April 2, 2019, where another version of Ben is alive in the Umbrella Academy. This Ben is harder and doesn’t recognize any of our gang. Klaus is going to go way off the rails.
Ben Did Not Commit Suicide.
Finally, the long-debated question surrounding Ben’s death is answered. He did not commit suicide, as many speculated. The sweet-tempered boy did not like using his gift; however, the horror of having to use his power did not drive him to end himself. He died during a mission, and everyone blames themselves for his death, except for Vanya, who wasn’t present. Who got the jump on the Eldritch Terror master we don’t know, but Reggie blames the children for not watching each other’s backs. There is still the slimmest possibility Ben suicided by execution and was incompetent by choice. Ben is a sweet soul and it isn’t all that hard to believe he would have chosen to die in battle than continue fighting. The conversation, however, makes it sound as if he died in service rather than by accident.
What Happened To The Handler?
She is a victim of her own greed and arrogance. The Handler never cared about the Commission and their purpose only in power and control. She hunted down Lila killed her parents to get her hands on a deadly weapon. She also went after Harlan for the same purpose. Assuming Lila doesn’t travel back in time and save her mother, The Handler is gone for good. She has blood dripping from her mouth in the final shot, so an armored vest is out of the question. Plus, she really thought she had absolute control over the situation. It is too bad, though, because Kate Walsh has been deliciously awful as the overly coiffed villain.
Bootstrap Paradox And Harlan’s Future.
There are so many bootstraps in Season 2 I/m not sure where to start. The idea behind the theory made popular by Dr. Who, is if you go back in time and take someone’s novel to them before they wrote it, who is the actual author? Recently Netflix’s Dark Season 3 used it to explain how the whole alternate universe times three problem started. If Bootstrap Theory is accurate everything Ray learns from Allison should propel him forward in his quest for civil rights. It should also significantly alter the landscape od society and politics in a positive way.
On a personal note, Dave should know Klaus when he sees him again in 1968 unless Klaus never goes to 1968 in the past. Our Klaus does and is forever haunted by it so he must at some point. If Dave knows Klaus when he meets him in 1968 how does that change their love affair? Old and new 5 should be in 2019 with some of the same memories especially of 1963 Dallas, and Klaus should be able to talk to any dead Sparrow Academy members now. What may they have to say? Harlan is a living bootstrap. If Vanya had never gone to 1963 and met Sissy he would never have been resurrected by Vanya giving him his power. What he does with his power in the future is anyone’s guess.
Lila And Diego Are Potentially Siblings.
This is going to make for a very awkward reunion. At the end of Season 2, Lila believes the group about The Handler and her genetics. She grabs the suitcase and runs though because she still can’t trust them. I can’t say I blame the girl. Her mother and her biological family have all been lying to her. The Hargreaves didn’t lie on purpose, but it is still a hard pill to swallow. Will she be one of the Sparrows? She is more potent than all our heroes put together so she could be a great ally but also a fantastic Big Bad.
What Is The Sparrow Academy?
The Sparrow Academy appears in the graphic novels The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion. The title has recently been leaked as the fourth installment of the novels. When the group arrived back in 2019, they find things are not how they left them. Ben, who’s alive with a super emo haircut, is the new Number One. It is his picture over the mantle, not Luther’s in the Sparrow Academy. The rest of the Sparrow Academy is shrouded in shadows. Hargreaves doesn’t recognize any of the Umbrella Academy, so the Sparrows are all unknown family members. There were 43 total messiah children born. Seven, of course, we know, and Lila. That means there are 35 unaccounted for. Another intriguing thought is Harlan would be mid-sixties in 2019. He should still be kicking and could have given birth to equally gifted children. Maybe he has a brood of his own?
Is the young 5 who appeared to our group at the beginning of Umbrella Academy Season 1 the same as our young 5?
Yes and no. Old 5 was outsmarted by our young 5 and pushed into the portal to our original group in 2019. The clothes are the same as the view from 1963 so we know this was the same scene from Season 1 Episode 1. Knowing every change affects everything around it, the 5 that came through the portal should create major shockwaves. The young 5 was older and wiser than old 5, but both share the same basic knowledge of time and the Commission. The old 5 who came through the portal had no memory of any world-ending events in either 1963 or 2019. It is impossible for the 5 that came through in Season 1 who is young 5 to be the same as the old 5 who was pushed in Season 2.
Our 5 got stuck in time and aged normally as the years progressed. The same is true for old 5; however, he had not gone into the portal to 2019 voluntarily in contrast to our young 5. What does all that mean? It hurts my brain to think about it. When young 5 returns to 2019, old 5 should already be there. This should lead to a massive amount of itching, farting, and raging. What happened to change the timeline from the one we saw in Season 1 and the Sparrow Academy? Where did old 5 go? Did the Commission send someone to get him back home to his correct time? Did something happen to alter the timeline well before the events on the day Kennedy was assassinated making the old 5 travel to the Umbrella Academy Season 1 null and void?
Where Do We Go For Season 3?
The Umbrella Academy Hotel Oblivion is the third series in the graphic novel. The fourth installment yet to be released is called The Sparrow Academy. At the very end of the finale, Reggie Hargreaves or The Monacle says they are in the Sparrow Academy, not The Umbrella Academy. Season 3 should see most of the significant characters reeling from personal losses. Allison and Vanya will be grieving the loss of their loved ones. Diego will be dealing with more than a little betrayal and concern of incest.
The Ben from our group’s timeline is very different in this one. This Ben doesn’t have any of the familiar connections or the sweetness. Klaus should have the hardest time with this, and it will hurt the tender-hearted sad boi more than even Ben’s loss. 5 is his usual sarcastic, obnoxious self, so at least some things never change. There is no way the name drop at the end of Season 2 coinciding with the news of the next graphic novel installment is a coincidence. Season 3 will focus on the Sparrow Academy, Ben, and his unknown siblings. Whether they are friends or foes remains to be seen.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.