The Umbrella Academy has just dropped on Netflix and the show expertly captures the source material in several ways that make it a thrilling journey from beginning to end.
But who are the Umbrella Academy and what does the show’s ending mean for the cast of characters going forward? Well throughout this article I’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about the show as well as it’s ending. Make sure you read till the end for my predictions on Season 2, as well as my review of the entire run.
There will of course be heavy spoilers here, so if you don’t want to know anything about The Umbrella Academy then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
The Umbrella Academy Plot Synopsis
The Umbrella Academy was adapted from the Dark Horse comic of the same name from Gerard Way. Similar to the source material, we follow a group of unwitting superheroes left to deal with the upcoming apocalypse that must stop it before it comes to fruition.
After a group of 43 women mysteriously fall pregnant without the babies, being conceived, Sir Reginald Hargreeeves adopts a group of them and trains them to become Superheroes. Their training is pretty grueling and brutal and due to it, the cast becomes very dysfunctional and not really the types of personalities that you would expect to become superheroes.
The Umbrella Academy Heroes
The heroes themselves were numbered from 1-7 by Hargreeves which kinda hints at exactly just how much he objectified them. He really sees them as the weapons that he will use to save the world and because of this completely they suffer.
The characters themselves of course don’t want to be labeled as just numbers so they begin to carve out their own identities.
Number One, or Spaceboy as he prefers to be called is the leader of the team. He’s your strongman type archetype, possessing super strength and he’s the real driving force of the team. After being heavily damaged the character is injected with a serum that turns him to a Gorilla like hulk of a man.
If Spaceboy is Superman, then Number Two, The Krakken is definitely Batman. This dark and Brooding figure is an expert in hand to hand combat and is sort of a badass that’s definitely my favourite out of the bunch.
Number Three is The Rumour and she’s very much your Scarlett Witch Archetype that can alter reality by lying about it and due to this she’s one of the most dangerous out of the group. She became a celebrity but through this lost her child and husband.
Number Four is The Seance, a character cursed with the ability to talk to the dead and due to this he spends the majority of his time trying to be as zoned out as possible.
Number Five is a time traveler that’s stuck in the body of his younger self and he is the real driving force behind the family that brings them together after warning of the coming apocalypse. He disappeared for years and due to this they all separated so his return kind of becomes the glue that mends them.
Number Six is Dead and Number Seven, Vanya, played by Ellen Page has been ostricised by the family after writing a tell-all book on just how bad her childhood was.
The Umbrella Academy Ending Explained
Now onto the show’s plot and ending which is a hell of a lot of fun. Vanya is an expert violinist and the first season really focuses on how her ostracization as a child leads to her eventually becoming a supervillain known as The White Violin. Whilst she is labeled as super ordinary we quickly see through glimpses at her childhood that this isn’t the case and she makes mincemeat of her nannies and more until she is unable to kill one due to her invulnerability.
Imagine The Dark Pheonix times ten with a talent for tunes and a huge chip on her shoulder and you kind of understand her arc as well as why Hargreaves realised she was far too powerful to let loose on the world. This, of course, isn’t revealed till the later episodes but early on we get several hints that this may have been the case.
Episode one opens with the death of Sir Hargreeves and the team are united at his funeral after news of it breaks across the world. We get the impression early on that one by one the academy left their childhood home through various means and it seems like all of them are mentally scarred for a number of reasons.
When Number 5 returns and warns of news of the apocalypse, you really get the feeling that in attempting to stop the apocalypse, they cause it.
Vanya slowly uncovers her past and learns that she was put on pills by Hargreeves in order to quell her abilites after he feared that she wasn’t strong enough to control her abilities. All Vanya ever wanted to be was loved and eventually, this suppression leads to her rediscovering her darker side. After almost killing Alison she goes on a path lead by fear and manipulation of those around her who attempt to shout her down and claim that she is ordinary but this backfires massively.
Eventually, after murdering her friend Harold Jenkins, Vanya goes on the run and the group discover his body. Number 5 has been carrying around an eye for the majority of the show and after realising it fits the victim they mistakingly believe that they may have stopped the apocalypse.
However, this is quickly rumbled when Allison awakens Vanya to reveal Hargreave’s final secret about her abilities, which is confirmed by Pogo. Unfortunately, Allison can’t talk anymore so her powers are no longer able to stop Vanya. Like all great supervillains, she has a real duality to her and it’s clear that her spiral out of control is full of remorse when we see her breakdown over Allison’s admission that she wasn’t really there for her.
Upon returning home she is betrayed by Spaceboy who makes her lose consciousness and locks her in a cell that Hargreaves had built to contain her. She breaks and decides that she won’t be pushed out anymore and finally embraces who she is. It’s a real tragedy as had the family and Hargreeves not alienated her then she probably would have grown up to be someone who could change the world for the better but instead she becomes it’s ultimate enemy.
She breaks out the cell and as we head into our finale she finally steps into the role of The White Violin. Walking through the house she recounts all the unhappy memories of her childhood and it’s one of the best realisations of a supervillain that I’ve ever seen put to screen. Eventually, she kills Pogo and I dare any of you to not cry over the best death of a Monkey since Caesar.
The Academy is destroyed and she heads out into the world which is when the rest of the family regretfully realise that they must take her down once and for all to stop the apocalypse. They head to her concert where she plays a beautiful song on her violin and brings the house down literally.
The group bands together and with help from The Seance and The Horror are able to stop the mysterious SWAT team that show up trying to kill our heroes. They realise that The Violin is Vanya’s lightning rod and that in stripping her of it before she finishes the song that the world will be saved. They rush her but she catches and suspends them before beginning to drain them of their life force. Allison sneaks up behind her and shoots her which is when a white beam shoots out of her and to the moon. The moon explodes which hurtles a giant meteorite towards the earth and it seems that the apocalypse hasn’t been averted.
Number 5 says that using their time travel ability they can go back in time to Vanya’s childhood and repair the damage that they did, otherwise the Apocalypse will forever play out. They are returned to their younger bodies and then disappear just before the fire hits them, showing that they have gone back in time.
The Umbrella Academy Review
The Umbrella Academy, when created as a comic was originally crafted to be a deconstruction of the genre that showcased that people we idolise may not exactly be happy to be in that position. Naturally, the show expertly depicts this too and the Netflix Ten Episode Run perfectly showcases that with great power comes great psychological problems.
These are guys who’ve had their moment in the spotlight and since their fall from grace have really struggled with self-esteem issues that this inevitably leads to.
Similar to The Haunting Of Hill House, the season beautifully uses the past and present to paint out just how damaging events from earlier in our lives can be and unlike most Netflix shows, no episode feels like it’s been needlessly put there to stretch out the run time.
As a big comic book fan myself I found a lot to love here and think that this really has something for everyone which makes it a brilliant watch that is a lot better than the majority of the superhero shows that we now have at our finger tips.
The Umbrella Academy Season 2
Going into Season 2, there is a lot to look forward to as well. Season One was primarily based upon the group’s first Graphic Novel, Apocalypse Suite, so it stands to reason that Season Two will be based on it’s follow up, Dallas. Whilst I can imagine that it will be initially focused on fixing Vanya’s childhood I don’t think that there is enough there to sustain a season which is why I think it will pick up on other plot points from it Dallas.
In that, following the events of Apocalypse Suite, Spaceboy becomes morbidly obese after hurtling into a great depression due to the events of the graphic novel and The Krakken becomes the leader of the team. The book centres around the assassination of John F Kennedy and whilst I don’t want to give too much away, it’s a joy to read. It’s heavily routed in time travel and there’s a big reveal that one of the characters has a twin.
Definitely pick that up if you want an amazing read as I think it’s actually better than the first book and it’s ability to juggle the past, present and more makes it for an outstanding time travel story.
Obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Umbrella Academy as well as what you want to see going forward. Make sure you leave your review and theories in the comments below!