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Things You Never Noticed In The Umbrella Academy's First Episode

It's been more than a year since Netflix helped re-shape the nature of the superhero game with the release of their hyper-violent action series The Umbrella Academy, and the series continues to build a rabid fanbase thirsty for more adventures in the show's wildly-stylized world. That wish will be granted soon enough, and with Netflix gearing up to drop a second season of the series, there's really no better time for fans to head back into wild world of The Umbrella Academy

Trust us when we say that, even if you've already completed your season 1 binge of The Umbrella Academy and know some of the season's bigger twists, there's almost certainly stuff you missed throughout the action-packed season. That's true especially of series' inaugural episode, which — whether you realize it or not — is absolutely bursting at the seems with information. So much so that it's not only rewarding, but sort of necessary to go back and watch it a second or third time, if only to make sure you caught everything worth catching.

But just in case you haven't yet found the time to do so, here's a few things you may not have noticed in The Umbrella Academy's first episode. Just FYI, that means there are serious spoilers ahead for season 1 of The Umbrella Academy.

Vanya's power was obvious if you were paying attention in the first episode of The Umbrella Academy

If you've already completed your season 1 binge of The Umbrella Academy, you know full well the season was fraught with shocking narrative twists. And while fans of the series' beloved source material were already aware of the season's biggest head-spinner, that same twist no doubt left viewers new to The Umbrella Academy with jaws firmly planted on the floor.

Obviously, we're talking about the twist concerning the previously-thought-to-be-powerless Vanya (Ellen Paige) not only turning out to be arguably the most powerful of the Hargreeves siblings, but also the big season 1 villain — the same one responsible for the end of the world as we know it. That twist wasn't fully brought to fruition until late in the season, but if you were watching the first episode of The Umbrella Academy closely enough, it was made quite clear that Vanya is far more unique than initially believed.

The potential of Vanya's power was teased early in the episode via one of the flashbacks concerning the highly unusual childhood endured by all of the Hargreeves kids. Said upbringing included being hooked up to sensors while they slept so that their adoptive father Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) could monitor their brain activity. During one of his late-night viewing sessions, Sir Reginald is seen watching the kids sleep. As he views each video feed from their rooms, we can see their sensors lighting up, signaling how much brain activity there is. 

While most of the sensors are lit, Vanya's is positively glowing, slyly signaling that there's far more going on inside of her than the other kids.    

The team's Eiffel Tower mission is teased in the first episode

The Umbrella Academy is based on the award-winning graphic novel series of the same name from Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. There have, of course, been a great many changes in the story for the Netflix adaptation, with some of the more iconic moments from the book being left out of the show altogether. 

One of those moments happens to be the first official mission on which Sir Reginald sends his team of superpowered pre-teens into the world. In the comics, that mission unfolds in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower itself at the center of the fracas. The monument is discovered to be an alien spacecraft controlled by its creator Gustave Eiffel, who is himself a zombie robot. The Hargreeves are sent to Paris to tangle with Eiffel and his tower one day when the monument goes berserk and starts throwing people off the observation deck. Eventually, Eiffel is killed, and the tower launches itself into space, eventually crash-landing on the moon. 

Given the scale of that event, it's pretty obvious why the crew likely avoided presenting it in the show, instead scaling the team's first mission back to a thwarted bank robbery. But the series' creators did reference the event a couple of times in the show. One of those mentions can be found in The Umbrella Academy's very first episode, in which a newspaper clipping with the headline "Eiffel Power!" is prominently displayed in the office of Sir Reginald Hargreeves. 

Vanya gets some love for her book from the guy who wrote The Umbrella Academy

That "Eiffel Power!" headline is far from the only winking nod to The Umbrella Academy's source material in the show's inaugural episode. One of the more clever acknowledgements comes via a few well-placed words from the man who co-created the world in which the Hargreeves siblings exist. As mentioned, that man is former-slash-current My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. The multi-talented scribe actually started writing the book while still touring with the group, and based several of the characters in The Umbrella Academy on his bandmates. 

Once the band split, Way dedicated himself full time to fleshing out the world of The Umbrella Academy, earning awards, accolades, and a surprisingly dedicated fanbase for his books. If you were watching the premiere episode of The Umbrella Academy closely enough, you might've noticed that Gerard Way himself threw a little love at a fellow author in the Netflix series.

If you'll recall, one of the major plot points in the first season of The Umbrella Academy is that Vanya has written a tell-all biography about growing up under the watchful eye of Sir Reginald Hargreeves, and what it was like to be powerless among her super siblings. When Vanya returns home for her adoptive father's funeral in the opening episode, she finds a copy of her book in Sir Reginald's study. When she flips it over, the blurb on the back bestowing praise on her work is from none other than Mr. Gerard Way himself.

Ben's introduction in The Umbrella Academy says a lot, without saying anything

Yes, the emergence of Vanya Hargreeves' powers and rapid turn to the dark side were arguably the biggest plot twist in the entirety of The Umbrella Academy's first season. But if there was an equally unexpected turn of events, it's that the drug-addled Klaus (Robert Sheehan) also has a trove of untapped power, which begins to fully manifest a touch too late to stop the apocalypse in the last couple of episodes of the season. 

Those powers emerge too late because Klaus has spent much of the story so far in a drug-fueled stupor designed to keep them at bay. We come to find Klaus' powers allow him to commune with the dead. As the season progresses, he eventually wanes himself off of the narcotic numbing, thus allowing the surprising range of his powers to come through. That range includes Klaus' ability to manifest his adoptive brother Ben (Justin H. Min) physically, and use the deceased hero's monstrous powers to fight evil.

Throughout season 1, Ben is Klaus' constant companion. We actually meet the fallen hero in the first episode, though we don't realize right away just how significant his presence is. Most viewers were probably quick to notice the grown up spirit of Ben appears intensely sad, is largely seen in shadow with a hood over his head, and essentially communicates with Klaus sub-vocally. But later in the episode, when Klaus has been forced to sober up slightly, Ben is seen clearer, and is even able to speak with more clarity, clearly illustrating that Klaus' drug problems have been clouding his abilities. When sober, his powers are more far-reaching than we know, even if we never expected to see the sort of grand spectral team-up The Umbrella Academy's creative team conjured in that finale.