Superhero life is always busy when it comes to the Hargreeves siblings. The superpowered members of The Umbrella Academy have prevented Doomsday twice now in the show on Netflix, but it turns out reversing the apocalypse is an ongoing event.
Season 3 was no less eventful for the dysfunctional family, throwing out obstacles in the form of the rival Sparrow Academy, a universe-destroying black hole and vicious warriors known as the Guardians. Did the Hargreeves all make it out in one piece? Did they save the universe or just make it worse? Here’s our explanation of what happened, along with our lingering questions.
What’s the Kugelblitz (and how do you spell it)?
Episode 5 is where you’ll find the full explanation of this season’s equivalent of a big bad (not counting the initial antagonism from the Sparrow Academy and the trio of Guardians at the end). In a nutshell, the Kugelblitz — what looks like an orange ball of energy — randomly collapses matter across time and space until all existence turns black. This black hole is the universe’s response to a Grandfather Paradox created by Harlan, Sissy’s superpowered son.
In season 2, Viktor met Sissy in Dallas, 1963, and the pair fell in love. While saving Harlan from drowning, Viktor accidentally imparted some of his powers to him. In the season 2 finale, Viktor believed he’d saved Harlan from exploding by absorbing his powers, but an altered Harlan retained them for the rest of his life.
On Oct. 1, 1989, Sissy died of cancer, the same day the Hargreeves siblings were all inexplicably born. Harlan’s grief connected him with Viktor, whom he’d always wished would return to them. This connection caused Harlan to release an energy burst that found the closest association with Viktor at the time: his mother. Harlan accidentally killed her, along with the mothers of the other Hargreeves siblings. This resulted in a Grandfather Paradox — in this altered timeline, the siblings were never born. When they jump forward in time from the ’60s, they land in an altered 2019, where their pasts have been erased and the Sparrow Academy is the main superhero show in town.
Luther and Klaus are sacrificed (but that won’t keep them down)
Oh, father Reginald. You seemed to have changed your ways, but nope! The adoptive father of the Hargreeves (and the Sparrows) gave Klaus hope that he would treat the siblings with more love and care. He literally revealed a new layer in season 2: Underneath that austere exterior lies a lizardlike blue alien.
In the penultimate episode of season 3, we see that this alien possesses a sharp-as-a-blade arm, which he uses to stab Luther to death. This is part of a tactic he’s used before to bring the siblings together. Then, as the Kugelblitz swarms Hotel Obsidian (later revealed to be Hotel Oblivion), he sacrifices Klaus, closing the door on him as the remaining seven siblings escape. So much for changing his ways: The cold-hearted Reginald cares only about the correct number of siblings he needs to reset the universe.
Thankfully, after some persuasion, Klaus returns from the after life to rescue the siblings in battle with the Guardians, using his powers to briefly summon Luther at the ideal save-the-day moment.
Lila is pregnant — for real this time
When Lila drops Stanley onto Diego’s doorstep, we see Diego grow and eventually embrace looking after his newfound son. Only later does Lila reveal that Stanley isn’t in fact his son, but her mate Trudy’s (unfortunately, Stan ends up Kugelblitzed). She “borrowed” him to test Diego on whether he’d be up for the job of looking after his real son. That’s right — Lila is currently pregnant with Diego’s unborn son, who they can save only if they defeat the Guardians and reset the universe.
Allison goes rogue for once
Allison’s arc this season saw her lose patience with being the nice one all the time, especially after the racial discrimination she suffered during the 1960s American civil rights movement. After losing her husband Raymond Chestnut in the past, she discovers her daughter Claire no longer exists in the altered present. Fed up with the hand she’s been dealt, she leans into the full extent of her powers, finding (with an assist from Harlan’s residual energy) that she can influence people without having to say, “I heard a rumor…”
She takes another step out of character by striking a deal with Reginald to do whatever it takes to bring Claire (and potentially Raymond) back. Mainly, this involves attempting to persuade the other siblings to fight the dangerous Guardians and reset the universe.
The seven bells to reset the universe
This time, to save the world, all it takes is for one of the siblings to hit a literal reset button. In the lobby of Hotel Obsidian — later revealed to be Hotel Oblivion, a giant machine built by whoever created the universe in the first place — seven stars can be seen across the floor. The seven remaining siblings, aside from Allison, stand on these sigils or bells, which use the particles inside their bodies as fuel. Meanwhile, Reginald appears to change the settings of the machine, which might explain why the universe doesn’t reset to the expected norm. To stop the siblings from being drained to death, Allison kills Reginald, then decides to press the big red reset button anyway.
What the hell happened to everyone?
With the universe back to “normal,” Allison gets exactly what she wanted: Claire and, inexplicably, Raymond. Is he just a figment of her imagination? She interacted with him while under high stress before. Or has he actually traveled to 2019 from 1963?
Luther returns, but he’s not the same either — he’s no longer part ape. None of the siblings have their powers anymore. One thing that doesn’t change: Ben is still the Sparrows’ asshole version. Luther desperately runs off to find his love Sloane, who could still potentially exist out in the reset world somewhere, just not as part of the Sparrow Academy. The rest of the siblings go their separate ways.
Reginald also gets what he wanted. He appears to own every high-rise building in the city, all brandishing the Hargreeves name. In a Tony Stark-like tower, marked by huge “H E” letters (or “H” and three horizontal lines floating parallel over one another), old Reg overlooks the city with the same ethereal woman revealed to be living on the moon at the same time Luther was. Reginald told Luther his mission there had a purpose, to “guard the most precious thing in the universe.” The way Reggie and the woman look lovingly at each other suggests they’re an item.
That midcredits scene
Season 3 isn’t done with teases for the future — in a midcredits scene, we jump over to South Korea, the camera snaking through a train until a familiar face appears. Another Ben! This one looks super suave, wearing a trim suit and reading a book as he travels to Yeouido Station in Seoul. So in this reset universe, not one, but two Bens exist.
What a jam-packed season, with plenty of cliffhangers to propel us into the next. (There are rumors that season 4 has already gotten the green-light.) If you’re keen to keep rooted in land of The Umbrella Academy, here’s our mostly positive review of season 3 and a big list of sci-fi TV shows to fill the void between seasons.