WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Umbrella Academy Season 1, streaming now on Netflix.
The Season 1 finale of Netflix's The Umbrella Academy subverts expectations for not only superhero fare but for the source material. In the Dark Horse comic series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, the apocalypse is averted at the last minute by a gunshot from Number Five, and an impressive display of telekinesis by Klaus Hargreeve, who stops a chunk of the moon from striking Earth. Not so on the live-action adaptation.
In the season finale of the Netflix drama, "The White Violin," it's Allison Hargreeve (Emmy Raver-Lampman) who stops her sister Vanya (Ellen Page), but not before she releases a beam of destructive energy that strikes the moon, ushering in the end of the world. It's a significant departure from the comic, whose first volume concludes relatively happily. It leaves even longtime fans of the source material wondering what comes next.
The Final Moments
In the Season 1 finale, Klaus manifests a previously unseen superpower that's critical to saving his family from hordes of attacking temporal assassins, but would be useless in trying to prevent chunks of the moon from raining down upon, rapidly transforming Earth into a fiery hellscape. With time, and options, running out, Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) proposes he uses his time-travel abilities to transport his five adoptive siblings (six, if you count the spirit of his late brother Ben) into the past, in hopes of saving themselves and the Earth.
"The apocalypse will always happen," Five explains, "and Vanya will always be the cause, unless we take her with us and fix her."
But such travel is fraught with risks, as Number Five demonstrated first when he became stuck in a post-apocalyptic future, and then when he miscalculated and returned in his 12-year-old body. We see echoes of that as the blue light swirls around the Hargreeves siblings, who are last seen in their 12-year-old forms.
Although the first season of the Netflix series more or less follows the storyline of the 2007 miniseries The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, it weaves in elements from the 2008 sequel Dallas, most notably with the introduction of assassins Hazel and Cha-Cha (Cameron Britton and Mary J. Blige), the flashback to the JFK assassination, the journey by Klaus (Robert Sheehan) to the afterlife, and a trip through time to the Vietnam War. It's a remix of the material that contributes to the audience's uncertainty about what comes next.
Dallas deals with the ramifications on the Umbrella Academy of the near-apocalypse and Pogo's death, with Allison left without a voice, Vanya bedridden following the gunshot to the head, and Luther eating is way into a stupor. But the driving force is the pursuit of Number Five by Hazel and Cha-Cha, and other temporal assassins, already introduced in Season 1.
Of course, between the end of the world and the escape through time by the Hargreeves children, the season finale upends much of that. Number Five's comments, about fixing Vanya to ensure the apocalypse never materializes, provides the best clue as to what to expect in the second season.
The Commission, known in the comics as Temps Aeternalis, is devoted to maintaining the integrity of the time stream and guaranteeing the apocalypse occurs. That places the enigmatic organization, with its seemingly endless supply of temporal assassins, at odds once again with the Umbrella Academy. It will also undoubtedly place former partners Hazel and Cha-Cha on opposite sides once more.
However, the wild card isn't Hazel or even The Handler, who presumably is alive in the past or outside the time stream. It's that the Umbrella Academy may emerge in the past as their 12-year-old selves. While it's virtually impossible to imagine Season 2 focusing primarily on the children, we could very well see that in the premiere, with Number Five forced to make another calculation, to reunite with his siblings in their adult forms.
But we shouldn't necessarily expect the Umbrella Academy to have jumped just 17 years into the past, during which much of Season 1's flashbacks take place. More likely is 1963 Dallas, around the time of the John F. Kennedy assassination, which would not only tie into the events of the second volume of the comic, but also Number Five's activities for the Commission in the first season.
Streaming now on Netflix, The Umbrella Academy Season 1 stars Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, David Castañeda, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton, Mary J. Blige and Colm Feore.