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The Ending Of The Umbrella Academy Season 3 Explained

Since it arrived on Netflix in 2019, "The Umbrella Academy" has quickly developed a rabid fan following online. From its stellar cast of characters to its trippy world building to its jukebox soundtrack, it's an eclectic mix of elements. But underneath all the bizarre superpowers and world-ending apocalypses exists a narrative about many complex themes and ideas including sexual identities, inferiority complexes, and toxic familial baggage, just to name a few.

At the core of the story is the titular Umbrella Academy — Viktor, Allison, Luther, Diego, Klaus, (the deceased) Ben, and Five. When we last saw our favorite group of dysfunctional superhumans, they had just preempted yet another apocalypse — this time in the 1960s. However, it would seem their collective meddling in the past has created an alternate future where their father Reginald Hargreeves never adopted them. In their place are a group known as the Sparrow Academy, which includes a very much alive version of their brother Ben. From there, "The Umbrella Academy" Season 3 dives headfirst into even more mind-bending revelations and heartbreaking moments, resulting in the show's biggest season finale to date. We'll break down just what led to this year's conclusion for the Umbrellas and where it leaves them going into their (potential) fourth season.

Meet the Sparrows

Upon starting the third season of "The Umbrella Academy," the biggest addition this year is the Sparrow Academy. Due to their meddling in Dallas during the '60s, the Umbrellas have accidentally created an alternate timeline in which they were never adopted and trained to save the world by their father Reginald Hargreeves. In their place exists the Sparrow Academy — a more refined team consisting of mostly different people. The Sparrows include Marcus, Fei, Alphonso, Sloane, Jayme, Christopher, and more shockingly, an alternate version of Ben who is distinctly crueler and meaner than the familiar version who often serves as Klaus' ghostly moral compass.

The Sparrows very quickly showcase their physical and tactical superiority to the Umbrellas in a grand and painful fashion. Their powers include Fei's ability to conjure murderous crows, Sloane's gravity manipulation, and Christopher's powers that are all associated with the fact that he is a sentient magical cube. Throughout the season, we learn that despite their effectiveness as a team, the Sparrows have plenty of their own baggage. It would seem regardless of circumstances or name, any child raised in the Hargreeves household ends up with issues.

Goodbye Vanya, Hello Viktor

One of the bigger developments in between Season 2 and 3 was Elliot Page's gender transition in 2020. The award-winning actor best known for "Juno," "Whip It," and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" came out as transgender on social media. One side effect of this announcement was speculation from fans and media outlets regarding Page's portrayal of Vanya on "The Umbrella Academy." Considering Vanya's integral presence on the first two seasons, Page and Netflix announced that his transition would be reflected on the series (via Variety). This change occurs very early on in the season with Vanya adopting a shorter haircut and changing his name to Viktor.

Viktor's transition, though initially jarring for his family, is met with a heartwarming amount of acceptance and support. From Viktor's first moments on screen, the other characters have zero issue using his preferred name and new pronouns. Viktor — from his growing issues with Allison to his dealings with Harlan — is truly one of the season's biggest players. This season definitely gave Page a chance to shine in terms of his acting, which results in some truly powerhouse scenes. Kudos to the writers, as they took a real-life development and used it to further the narrative in a logical and tasteful way.

The Kugelblitz begins

Every season of "The Umbrella Academy" so far has seen the Umbrellas deal with a world-ending apocalypse in which they play an integral part. This season proves to be no exception, as we are introduced to the Kugelblitz. Due to their arrival in the new timeline, the Umbrellas' presence creates a powerful, destructive and ever-expanding blackhole. This situation is made even more volatile by the Kugelblitz appearing in the basement of the building currently known as the Sparrow Academy and formerly known as the Umbrella Academy. Further compounding matters is the Academy's android maid Grace worshiping the Kugelblitz under the mistaken assumption that it's some kind of god.

Five's digging eventually reveals that the Kugelblitz is the result of his family's meddling with the timestream causing a grandfather paradox. The side effect of this paradox is the birth of the Kugelblitz which, burst by burst, begins wiping all living matter out of the universe. This begins with the Sparrow's leader Marcus and then continues to consume increasingly larger swaths of animals and human beings. By the season's end, the Kugelblitz proves to be the most destructive force introduced in the series thus far.

Harlan's big mistake

In Season 3's first episode we are introduced to a mysterious yet neurotic old man with a briefcase of cassette tapes. These tapes contain various soothing sounds and ambient noises apparently designed to alleviate mental strife of some kind. This old man's identity remains a mystery until partway through the season when he arrives at the Hotel Oblivion. After the old man saves the Umbrellas from a Sparrow ambush — killing two Sparrows in the process — Viktor recognizes him as Harlan from "The Umbrella Academy" Season 2. We see that Harlan, the son of Viktor's love interest Sissy, adopted Viktor's powers after Viktor saved his life in the 1960s. These powers are shown to be just as powerful and destructive as Viktor's abilities, even giving Harlan the power to sense other people's vibrations. However, accidentally giving Harlan powers in the past had an unexpected and gruesome side effect on the future. Unknowingly, Harlan created a powerful psychic blast that caused explosive brain hemorrhages in all of the Umbrellas' respective mothers. Viktor reacts with horror upon discovering the boy he helped save was the first domino to fall in this chaotic new timeline.

Enter the White Buffalo room

In a plot device straight out of a Douglas Adams novel, one of the stranger environments introduced this season is the White Buffalo Room. During their season-long stint at the aptly named Hotel Oblivion, the Umbrellas stumble across a strange room. This room in question is a bizarrely lavish room complete with a white buffalo head mounted on the wall. Discovered by Klaus and Diego's "son" Stan, the room soon reveals its hidden secrets to the Umbrellas.

The first secret is a bright hidden tunnel that leads to another major revelation — a second version of the Hotel Oblivion with altered aesthetics and a sushi conveyor belt. Additionally, the other Hotel Oblivion includes a lobby bell that when rung by Diego summons a samurai-style guardian who attacks him and Lila. This space in question is revealed to be a portal to another realm that houses a way to save the universe. The room, as well as the hotel, is later revealed to be a key part in the machinations of Reginald Hargreeves. The White Buffalo Room definitely serves its purpose as one of Season 3's key mystery boxes.

Klaus masters his abilities

One of the season's many subplots follows Klaus, who is often considered the most dysfunctional Umbrella sibling, which really says a lot. At one point we see in Season 1, Klaus was locked in a mausoleum by Reginald to test his supernatural powers. These powers include the ability to talk to the dead, as well as conjure the deceased for brief spurts of time. Much of Klaus' growth in Season 3 comes from his bizarre interactions with this new timeline's version of Reginald, his adoptive father. After confirming that Reginald hasn't killed his or the other Umbrella crew's biological mothers, Klaus seeks his father's aid. Following another unintentional trip to the afterlife — complete with an encounter with the bicycle girl from Season 1 — Klaus realizes he's effectively immortal.

As a "thank you" for helping him discreetly ditch his medications, Reginald opts to help Klaus test and hone his abilities. These tests include electrocution and a game of father-son catch in which Klaus is repeatedly mowed down by oncoming traffic. In a delightfully morbid sequence set to a rendition of "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin, Klaus learns to control his powers. It's this depraved father-son bonding that allows Klaus to help save the day during the season finale.

Reginald and Allison make a deal

Allison's gradual descent into darkness proves to be one of the more intriguing developments of the third season. Following her arrival in the new timeline, Allison quickly learns that she's lost more than she originally realized. First, she was forced to abandon her loving husband Raymond Chestnut when she returned to the present. That alone is a sizable emotional blow, but Allison soon learns her daughter Claire no longer exists in the new timeline. To put it mildly, this dropkicks Allison into a depressed state she externalizes through a shorter haircut and darker attire. She even joins Diego in a savage beatdown of a room full of white supremacists to help blow off steam.

However, her biggest dip into darkness arises when Harlan informs her of his mishap in the past that killed her biological mother. Realizing this new timeline — including her now non-existent daughter — was his fault, Allison kills Harlan and delivers his body to the Sparrows. Desperate for a return to her former life and some semblance of happiness, Allison makes a secret deal with Reginald. The details of this deal are unclear until the events of the season finale, where it appears that Allison gets back everything she lost.

Reginald's plan is revealed

For the show's entire run, we've yet to get an answer to one of the biggest questions surrounding "The Umbrella Academy" — just who is Reginald Hargreeves? The previous two seasons have given us brief glimpses and teases of an answer, and Season 3 is no exception. In Season 2, we're shown only a taste of what appears to be Reginald's sickening true form — that of an extraterrestrial. Here, we still don't get much in terms of a concrete answer, but we are given some definite major developments. Firstly, we learn that Reginald truly sees the Umbrellas and the Sparrows as disposable means to an end. Not only does he use his alien biology to cut through Luther like a hot knife through butter, but he leaves Klaus to perish in the Kugelblitz as well.

This all is shown to be in pursuit of some form of universe-saving secret hidden in the White Buffalo Room's portal. Noting a series of repeating shapes and symbols, Five soon realizes the key to this secret is built into the alternate hotel's lobby. Seven of the Umbrellas and Sparrows serve as sigils to activate some form of alien machine. Allison, after realizing this will kill her siblings, opts to cleave Reginald's head in two, revealing part of his true alien form.

New reality, new rules

The show's third year comes to an end in grave fashion by way of its craziest season finale to date. After Allison takes out Reginald, she still looks to activate the alien machine despite her siblings' protests. Viktor almost stops her with his powers until Allison tearfully asks him to trust her, allowing her to push the button.

The scene glitches to black and we pick back up on the previous scene of Allison entering her home. Only this time, not only does her daughter Claire still exist, but her husband Raymond is there as well. The rest of the remaining Umbrellas and Sparrows, including a resurrected Luther and Klaus, emerge from an elevator. Upon realizing all of their powers and abilities were gone, the group decides to split up as they all clearly desire different things. Luther goes off to find his now-missing wife Sloane, whereas Diego and Lila go off to live their lives. The rest follow suit, wandering off into the night, leaving Viktor alone to tell off a statue of Reginald before walking off. We then zoom out to see the whole city is decked out in Hargreeves branding, completely controlled by Reginald. The season then cuts to black on Reginald and his wife — previously seen frozen on the Moon — overlooking what appears to be their empire. It's definitely a mind-boggling conclusion to the craziest chapter of "The Umbrella Academy" so far, and one can only wonder what Season 4 will have in store.