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Small Details You Missed In Umbrella Academy Season 2


Netflix's The Umbrella Academy isn't your average superhero fare. The hit show about the superpowered adoptive children of the enigmatic Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) not only doesn't share the same content restrictions as most superhero comic book adaptations, but it borrows stylistic elements from the films of Wes Anderson, often making it feel more like The Royal Tenenbaums than The Avengers or Justice League.

But one thing The Umbrella Academy shares in common with other comic book-inspired media is its attention to detail, and that's especially true for season 2. The show's second season is chock-full of references to the source material, pop culture references, Easter eggs, and other details that are fun to find and that help to make the world these heroic misfits inhabit feel more real. In fact, showrunner Steve Blackman said before season 2's release that there would plenty of details that are meant to be hints about future seasons. Blackman told Uproxx, "The writers and I have embedded tons and tons of Easter eggs in the show. ... There are clues and things that allude to the past and things that allude to the future."

Whether they're meant to give us clues about season 3 or to simply give us all a reason to rewatch once we're done with our first binge, here are some of the small details you probably missed in The Umbrella Academy's second season.

The Umbrella Academy season 2 includes a flock of sparrows

At the end of season 2, the time-traveling team successfully returns to 2019, only to learn the Umbrella Academy seems to have been replaced with the Sparrow Academy, apparently led by Ben (Justin H. Min), who died way back before the events of the series. However, these aren't the only birds flying around the second season. While you may not notice them before the Sparrow Academy reveal, the official Umbrella Academy Instagram page posted that there are exactly 43 sparrows in season 2 — a significant number since there were said to be exactly 43 superpowered children born on October 1, 1989 in the show's mythology. 

Perhaps the easiest example to remember is Harlan's (Justin Paul Kelly) sparrow toy, which we see him levitating in the back seat of his mother's car towards the end of the season finale. In "A Light Supper," eagle-eyed viewers can spot a sparrow logo on the piece of paper the Handler (Kate Walsh) gives Five (Aidan Gallagher) with the location of the Commission's executive board — a logo that mysteriously disappears when Five looks at it in the following episode. Other examples of sparrow logos show up on the dairy truck the Swedish assassins steal in the season premiere and on the front door of the liquor store that Klaus (Robert Sheehan) visits. Plus, another one appears on the room service menu Lila (Ritu Arya) looks at in "The Majestic 12," and there's yet another on a piece of paper in Old Man Five's (Sean Sullivan) briefcase in "743."

We haven't discovered them all yet, but the prospect of finding them isn't a bad motivation to rewatch season 2.

Lila displays her power earlier than you thought

One of the bigger surprises in the season 2 finale is the crazy reveal that Lila is one of the superpowered children born in 1989, just like the seven members of the Umbrella Academy. Similar to Mimic of Marvel Comics' X-Men, Lila can use other people's powers to her own advantage. And we see her gift on full display at the Coopers' farm. While at first it looks like the Academy has slam-dunked the Commission in the season finale, Lila is able to use Vanya's (Ellen Page) destructive powers to even the playing field. She's also able to mirror Luther's (Tom Hopper) strength, Five's teleportation powers, and Allison's (Emmy Raver-Lampman) mind-controlling "rumor" ability in the final battle. 

But what you may not realize is this isn't the first time in the series that Lila has used her powers. At the end of the episode called "Valhalla," she fights Five in a factory, and the melee ends with Five's foot on her throat and with the Handler revealing herself. However, three times during their fight, Five expects Lila to be one place, and she appears in another. On our first screening, we're supposed to assume she's just unbelievably sneaky and fast — kind of like when Batman always disappears in the middle of conversations with Commissioner Gordon. Of course, when you rewatch the scene with the knowledge of Lila's superpower, it becomes clear she's mirroring Five's teleportation, but the camera isn't on her when she uses it, so we never see the ripple effect, thus keeping her power a secret until the big showdown.  

An episode of The Umbrella Academy's season 2 pays tribute to a classic comic book story

In "The Swedish Job," we get a quick look at an unnamed character who's a pretty clear reference to one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time — Watchmen. Just after Luther starts off on a morning jog outside his rooming house, an elderly man carrying a placard reading "The END is NIGH" appears and starts walking in the opposite direction. So what's the reference here? Well, carrying a placard that warns of the end of the world is just about all the vigilante Rorschach seems to do in Watchmen when he's out of costume. And while the man in "The Swedish Job" doesn't look at all like Rorschach, with his long hair and full beard, he does have a passing resemblance to Alan Moore, the author of Watchmen.

And it's a fitting reference for a couple of reasons. For one, just as the escalating tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union provide Ozymandias' motivations in Watchmen, it's an apocalyptic conflict between these two superpowers that Five is struggling to avoid in The Umbrella Academy. For another, just like Watchmen's Ozymandias, Five employs some pretty reprehensible tactics in saving the world. Namely, in season 2's bloodiest scene, Five travels to 1982 and assassinates most of the Commission's executive board with an axpaving the way for the Handler's takeover the organization.

A candy bar in season 2 hints that Pogo was an icon

In The Umbrella Academy's first season, we met Pogo (Adam Godley), a sophisticated chimpanzee butler with human intelligence who is sadly killed by Vanya. However, if you've ever wondered about the ape's origin story, well, the second season has got your answers. Season 2's "Valhalla" opens with a flashback of the younger Pogo as a part of an early project to see how chimpanzees would be affected by space flight and, by extension, what might be in store for human pilots. And two episodes later in "Öga for Öga," there's an easy-to-miss detail that could point to Pogo being much more famous than we realized. 

When Five travels to 1982 Wisconsin to assassinate the Commission's executive board, he stops at a vending machine for a candy bar. His teleporting abilities burn up plenty of energy, and he knows he's going to need a whole lot of juice to take out his targets. The candy bar he orders is Fudge Nutter, but right next to that bar is a fictional brand called Pogo Gogos. Above the name of the bar on the wrapper, it reads, "Take flight with..."

It's a small detail, but it says a lot. For Pogo to have a candy bar named after him suggests the intelligent chimp was much more of a Space Age icon than we realized.  

The Academy's arrival in the past includes themed marquees

In the season premiere, while all the members of the Umbrella Academy arrive in the same place, they don't arrive in the same year. They fall from the portal into the same Dallas alley, one at a time (or two, in the case of Klaus and the ghost of Ben) between 1960 and 1963. Interestingly, right across the street from the alley is a movie theater, and in at least three cases, the theater marquee is advertising a very specific kind of movie. 

When Klaus and the ghost of Ben appear in 1960, the marquee is advertising the 1959 film Curse of the Undead. As Allison arrives in 1961, the theater has apparently caught up with its releases, and the marquee announces that year's The Curse of the Werewolf. The marquees during Luther's arrival in 1962 and Diego's (David Castañeda) appearance in 1963 aren't visible enough to read, but when Vanya shows up a month after Diego, the theater is showing The Kiss of the Vampire. When Five shows up in November 1963, it's the same film, but the fighting between the US and Soviet forces has blown most of the letters off the marquee, and we doubt the theater is still selling tickets at that point.

It may be that the marquees are meant to reflect the heroes' collective doubt expressed throughout the season about whether or not they're heroes, superpowered freaks, or — as the marquees reflect — monsters. In other words, it's not exactly the kind of thing you want to see when you're suddenly lost in the past and struggling with self-esteem issues.

Luther's journey reveals the location of 'The City'

New York City is pretty important in the world of superheroes. For example, in Marvel, you can find a whole host of characters — from Iron Man to Spider-Man to Doctor Strange — saving the day in the Big Apple. And over in the world of DC, the good guys and bad guys are often hanging out in fictional stand-ins for NYC, a la Metropolis and Gotham. However, In the Umbrella Academy comics, the heroes' hometown is left intentionally ambiguous. In fact, it's referred to only as "The City." But it looks like season 2 of the series has revealed the location of the Academy's HQ, at least as far as the TV adaptation is concerned.

In a flashback in "Valhalla," we learn that as soon as he could Luther — still smelling like the garbage he landed in when he was thrown out of the time portal — gets on a Greyhound bus in the hopes that he can find his father. During the trip, there's an overlay revealing the bus' progress on a map, showing that Luther gets off somewhere in or around Indianapolis. 

It's an interesting choice for a superhero HQ. Maybe the writers simply didn't want yet one more superhero team hailing from the Big Apple, maybe it just seemed far enough away from Dallas to be a long trip but not too long, or maybe Reginald Hargreeves is a fan of basketball and wanted to be around the Hoosiers.

The Umbrella Academy's powers are growing

When it comes to powers, Diego has a pretty unique skill set. The dude is a master of knives, able to make blades spin through the air with the greatest of ease and fly in any direction he chooses. However, in the season finale, Diego uses his powers in a way that we've never seen before. When the Commission's goons are firing on him and Five, Diego buys Five the time he needs to make it to the house by jumping out from behind cover and stopping the hail of bullets mid-air, a la Neo from The Matrix. Speaking to Den of Geek, showrunner Steven Blackman said that this is an extension of the powers we've already seen before. "If you think about Diego's power, he can, with his mind, control the trajectory of objects," Blackman explained. "Basically, he likes throwing, so he can throw his knife, and he can make it go in weird, odd curvatures and directions." 

Blackman went on to say that the aftermath of Ben's death hurt the chances that most of the members of the Umbrella Academy would reach their powers' full potential early on, and that fans should expect for the heroes to keep learning more about their abilities. Looking back on season 2, we've already seen some of that. For example, before season 2, Klaus has no idea it's possible for a ghost to possess him, and when spectral cowboys save him from falling in the season finale, he seems as surprised by it as anyone else. Likewise, even before she lost her memory, Vanya had no idea she could use her powers to resuscitate someone — as she does with Harlan after he drowns — or that doing so would transfer her powers to him. With every episode, the Umbrella Academy grows stronger and stronger, and we can't wait to see what weird directions their powers will go.

Diego may have another power we didn't know about

One of the potential differences between the Umbrella Academy show and the comics is that in the source material, Diego has the ability to hold his breath indefinitelySo far, we haven't seen this power expressed in the TV series ... or have we?

A Reddit user going by the name high_arcanist noticed something strange in a funny scene. In "A Light Supper," the Academy members all cram into an elevator on their way to meet with their father. Nobody is exactly looking forward to the meeting, and at least one of the heroes is especially anxious. During the trip up, almost everybody on the elevator reacts in surprise and disgust as — we soon learn — Luther experiences some unpleasant flatulence. He apologizes, explaining that he's nervous, and his brothers and sisters hurry out of the elevator as quickly as they can.

But there's one person who doesn't react as negatively as the rest — Diego. While everyone else is scowling and covering their mouths and noses, Diego is smiling, seeming amused at the whole thing. At no point does he seem to be suffering from the stench as his brothers and sisters are. This, high_arcanist believes, is because the Diego of the show shares the breath-holding ability of his comic book counterpart, and so he's able to avoid most of the negative aspects of the experience and enjoy the discomfort of his adoptive siblings. It certainly seems possible, though it could also be that Diego just has a stronger stomach for his brother's "nervousness."

In Umbrella Academy's second season, Luther might be experiencing some of the seven stages

In "The Seven Stages," Five enlists Luther's help to do something that he warns is very dangerous — to contact an earlier version of himself. Doing this, Five warns, is incredibly risky because of what he calls Paradox Psychosis, which is a psychosis you may undergo when encountering yourself in another time. There are seven stages of paradox psychosis, and we watch both Five and Old Man Five go through all those stages, and it's possible we see someone else go through them earlier in the season. 

Two of the seven stages are excessive gas and homicidal rage, and in "A Light Supper," we see Luther exhibit both. Luther farts on the elevator on the way to dinner with his father, driving almost all of his siblings to nausea. Later, when their father leaves dinner earlier than Luther would like, he pounds on the table, rips open his shirt and yells, "Look at what you did! Look at it!" And that kind of anger — especially directed at his dad — is pretty unusual for our hulking hero.

Blackman has said to expect things in season 2 to hint toward the future, and the elevator scene is significant in that fart humor isn't exactly a common thing in The Umbrella Academy. Could it be that another Luther — maybe one from a future season — is lurking somewhere nearby? Of course, that would lead to the question of why he isn't exhibiting the other symptoms, though it could be because wherever the future Luther is hiding, perhaps he isn't as close to the 1963 Luther as the Fives were to each other or for quite as long.