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Why The Umbrella Academy's Harlan Might Be More Important Than We Think

Contains spoilers for The Umbrella Academy season 2

The sophomore season of Netflix' smash hit The Umbrella Academy was just as great as fans hoped it would be, and as seems to be the norm for the series, the season finale ended in a gigantic cliffhanger that left us with many unanswered questions. Though the Hargreeves siblings managed to avert the apocalypse in the 1960s and return to their present relatively unharmed, the present to which they returned was very much not the one to which they're accustomed. Not only is their foster father Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) still alive, but so is the Umbrella Academy's deceased Number Six, Ben Hargreeves (Justin H. Min), who now appears to lead a strange, new team called the Sparrow Academy. 

As exciting as this new state of affairs is for the show, it just might be that the things the Hargreeves left in the past are even more important than the ones they have to face in the present. The cult Klaus (Robert Sheehan) accidentally founded in the past was still around at the end of the season, and even joined by the surviving Swedish assassin Axel (Kris Holden-Ried). Are they still around in the present, and if they are, in what capacity? What's more, Allison's (Emmy Raver-Lampman) husband Ray (Yusuf Gatewood) and Vanya's (Ellen Page) love interest Sissy (Marin Ireland) also remained in the past, but with knowledge of the Hargreeves and their powers. It might just be, however, that the most interesting person the show left in 1963 is Sissy's young son, Harlan (Justin Paul Kelly). Here's why The Umbrella Academy's Harlan might be more important than we think.

Harlan was infused with Vanya's powers

Halfway through The Umbrella Academy season 2, Vanya attempted to use her energy powers to save Harlan from drowning, and accidentally gave him powerful abilities similar to those of her own. Unfortunately, they eventually overwhelmed the boy and brought him to the villainous Handler's (Kate Walsh) attention.

Though Vanya attempted to strip Harlan of his powers when he realized the situation and it was apparent that the scared boy had little control over his considerable abilities, the season 2 ending made it clear that he still retained some telekinetic abilities, and quite possibly others. Unless you count time travelers — and possibly the alien Sir Reginald himself — this would mean that Harlan is the first person with powers in the show's timeline, at least that we know of. Here's the big question for the possible season 3, then: What has Harlan been up to since the early 1960s? How has he shaped history?

Harlan could be the progenitor of the Umbrella Academy's superpowered babies

The seven members of The Umbrella Academy are a faction of the mysterious October 1, 1989 babies, a group of 43 kids who were born without any warning or sign of pregnancy at the exact same time, all over the world. Apart from the Hargreeves, the only one we've met so far is Lila Pitts (Ritu Arya), who possesses the ability to mimic superpowers. Neither the show nor the comic books have revealed the truth behind this strange mass birth, but according to an interesting theory by CBR, Harlan could very well be the reason behind it. 

Vanya is demonstrably powerful enough to destroy the Moon (and the world) with her powers, and she can also heal and empower children, as she demonstrated on Harlan when she revived him from drowning. Assuming Harlan was left in 1963 with powers that are roughly in the same ballpark as Vanya's, it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility that he could take his powers' healing properties to the extreme. He would have been in his late thirties in 1989, and if he's still prone to breakdowns, a bad loss of control might very well have had the peculiar side effect of creating 43 superpowered babies — sort of a healing-themed spin on Vanya's "destroy the moon" thing, if you will.

The strange relationship between Harlan and Vanya

Judging by the way Harlan is levitating a toy at the back of a car when we last see him in The Umbrella Academy season 2, the boy already had way more control over his powers in 1963 than Vanya did when her powers manifested in season 1. This means that by 1989, he might have gained the kind of control and raw power required to create the October 1, 1989 incident. Strangely enough, this would mean that the Vanya-powered Harlan created Vanya and her 42 "siblings," which in turn means that apart from Harlan, the Hargreeves, Lila and their yet to be discovered, potentially dangerous siblings would be yet another way the show is using Vanya to create potentially cataclysmic events. Of course, this would be par for the course for her, seeing as The Umbrella Academy has strongly hinted that poor Vanya "will always be the bomb."

Incidentally, if Harlan is indeed the "father" of the October 1, 1989 babies, this would mean that Vanya is not only technically her own grandmother, but her season 2 romantic interest Sissy is technically also her grandmother? Now, there's a creepy plot point.