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How The Umbrella Academy season 2 explains Grace's true origins

In season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, the origins of each of the team's parents are revealed, and when it comes to "Mother," the truth of the maternal robot Grace becomes even more twisty. During the first season of the hit Netflix series, fans are told that both Pogo and Grace are creations of Reginald Hargreeves. In Hargreeves' physical and emotional absence, both become The Academy's parental surrogates, and season 2 only complicates their relationship to their creator and his adopted kin. 

In the case of Grace, showrunner Steven Blackman delivers an entire sequence to explain the eerily pleasant and specifically styled robot. During a flashback scene focused on Vanya, we see Reginald attempting to find a proper caretaker for the young girl whose powers have not yet been suppressed. When she injures — and possibly even kills — several human women, an automaton seems like the only solution to Reginald's problem. Vanya might still be able to toss a robot like a rag doll, but she can't kill Grace, which means the robot can ask her to eat her breakfast again and again until she ultimately relents. As Grace raises the Hargreeves into adulthood, she becomes not just a maternal counterpoint to Reginald's cold, emotionless bearing, but a holder of clues about the fate of the world. 

Season 2 introduces viewers to a blond-haired scientist who looks an awful lot like Grace. As fans quickly discover, the robot they saw in season 1 isn't the very human and very alive Grace that exists in season 2. Her storyline — and the information she holds — reveal essential details about the true origins of The Academy's mother. 

Grace was once a real woman who worked on test space flights involving chimpanzees

Human Grace's first appearance in season 2 is during episode 4, entitled "The Majestic 12," when Five, Diego and Lila all crash a party at the Mexican Consulate to find Reginald. Diego glimpses her talking to another woman and approaches, calling her "mom." The voice that speaks back doesn't belong to Grace from season 1, however. This woman has an unfamiliar accent; she delivers her devastatingly sweet smile before saying, "I've never heard that one before." At this moment, it becomes clear to Diego and the audience that Grace the robot wasn't just something constructed out of Reginald's utilitarian imagination. "Mother" was based on a real woman — one who once dated and presumably loved Reginald Hargreeves. 

Setting aside the discomforting fact that Reginald recreated a robotic and fully controllable version of a woman he once dated, the most confounding thing about this revelation is how different human Grace is from her submissive robot counterpart. On episode 5, entitled "Valhalla," viewers learn that she's a scientist guiding the training of a highly intelligent chimp (fans may recognize this chimpstronaut as the "Baby Pogo" Netflix teased in the run-up to season 2's debut). As she prepares him through rigorous testing, "Major Tom" by Peter Schilling plays over the scene. 

After passing all his tests, Pogo's sent up into space from the base at Cape Canaveral, but something goes wrong during the flight, and the little chimp comes crashing back to Earth. When Grace steps in to deliver medical treatment, she seems unable to revive him. That's when Reginald steps up and offers a red serum, which he injects into Pogo's body. This jolts Pogo awake, and Grace turns to Reginald with a look of love and adoration suggestive of their budding romance. 

Diego's obsession with Reginald's role in the JFK assassination possibly alters the timeline and Grace's role on The Umbrella Academy

The big question at the heart of The Umbrella Academy's first world-saving mission was how Five could use his knowledge of the future to create a series of events that would stop the apocalypse. As season 2 illustrates, Five didn't think about how his new choices might have directly resulted in the end of the world. That's playing out to some degree during season 2, but The Academy's meddling with time has now implicated Grace, and may have a direct impact on her future appearances on the series. 

Episode 4 is the first time Number Two sees his robotic mother in her human form, but it's not the last. On episode 6, "A Light Supper," the Hargreeves siblings meet with Reginald to get advice about stopping the end of the world. They also accuse him of being a part of a plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy and take the opening to unload their emotional trauma. It all goes quite badly, so all but Five depart with their tails between their legs. As Diego leaves the building, he sees Grace sitting in a car and approaches her. Conversing with her through the window, Diego warns the somewhat frightened woman about Reginald's part in JFK's killing.

Grace follows Diego's prompting to look deeper into Reginald, and on episode 8, entitled "The Seven Stages," Grace goes snooping in Reginald's office for evidence. There she discovers a secret room where The Umbrella Academy founder has kept photos of political leaders, including JFK, and a map of the then-president's motorcade route.

The reveal of Grace's origins on The Umbrella Academy offers more questions than answers

Grace's discovery leads to Reginald sharing that he's "quite often" involved in nefarious things before he tries to gaslight Grace into feeling guilty about her snooping. As she pleads with him to be honest, Grace declares she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. In response, Reginald takes Grace's hands and says, "Someday, I hope to share it all with you. Until then, I'm asking you to trust me." But Grace can't, and she shakes her head before declaring, "I can't wait that long." 

At this point, he's lost Grace, but is it forever? Knowing that Reginald did once love her, it now makes more sense why we'd see her in a robotic form. Reginald was likely trying to re-create their family with Pogo and saw a chance to do that with the siblings. In this way, he does "share it all" — including knowledge of an impending apocalypse — with a woman who waited for him. Yet, knowing what Reginald's capabilities are, coupled with the open-ended departure of the human Grace, it's not entirely clear what kind of relationship robot Grace has to her flesh-and-blood counterpart. 

Is "Mother" a new version of the woman Reginald once loved, or some hybrid like Pogo and Luther? Furthermore, fans saw at the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2 that Reginald has formed a new team, The Sparrow Academy. With the timeline now altered and his relationship broken up, could robot Grace only have been a product of a season 1 timeline where the real woman never learned Reginald's connection to the JFK assassination? Could Diego telling her mean she's not present on Reginald's new team? 

While fans know where "Mother" has been, they'll now have to hope season 3 explains what becomes of this incredibly influential force on The Umbrella Academy.