‘The Umbrella Academy’ Boss Breaks Down Season 2 & That Jaw-Dropping Ending
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for all of Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy.]
The Hargreeves siblings once again had to use their powers to prevent the apocalypse (in 2019 and the ’60s) in Season 2, only to return to the present after succeeding to find their worlds were, if not completely ended, disrupted in a massive way.
The Umbrella Academy returned to Netflix with the siblings scattered in Dallas in the past, with Five (Aidan Gallagher) bringing everyone back together in 1963 to stop the latest doomsday. They succeeded, even meeting (presumably) another of their “siblings” as they did — Lila (Ritu Arya), who had been taken from her parents as a child by the Handler (Kate Walsh), ostensibly as part of the Commission’s orders. When it was all said and done—read a full recap of the finale here—the world was saved, Lila went off on her own, and the Hargreeves returned to the present, leaving their lives in the ’60s behind.
But when they got home, it was to a very different Academy: the Sparrow Academy (not Umbrella), led by their still-alive(!) father (Colm Feore), with different members, including their (formerly) dead brother Ben (Justin H. Min).
“I hope there’s a third season,” creator Steve Blackman tells TV Insider. “I’m very proud of what this cast and crew and writers have done. I love this season. I think it’s a step up from Season 1, but let’s see what Netflix sees, what the fans think. If we’re lucky to have a Season 3, I’d be thrilled.”
Here, Blackman breaks down the season and teases what’s to come.
Can the Umbrella Academy at least stop worrying about a doomsday on top of everything else?
Steve Blackman: I can say this much: They absolutely have gotten rid of the apocalypse of 2019 and the doomsday from 1960. That’s for sure. But it doesn’t mean everything else is OK in the timeline.
It’s one shock after another for the siblings at the end of the season: painting of Ben, the Sparrow Academy, and then who’s alive. What are you aiming to show with this new group?
They didn’t have long to celebrate their arrival because something has changed. First of all, dad is alive … Two is that it’s called the Sparrow Academy. And if fans look around closely, lots of things have changed in that room very subtly, like the emblems on the wall are no longer umbrellas, they’re sparrows. But who’s up on the balcony is going to be a secret for next year. Clearly it’s called the Sparrow Academy, but it was intentional that I didn’t want anyone to see their faces yet.
Is Pogo around?
I can’t tell you that.
Was it a conscious decision on Hargreeves’ part because of what happened in the past?
It would be a good guess of yours. The Tiki bar meeting would be very influential in whatever decisions Hargreeves made going forward.
Speaking of their father, what did you want to show with their relationships with him by bringing them together in the ’60s, especially with how you wanted to end the season?
In Season 1, as much as we saw dad and them as children, none of them but Klaus as adults connected with Hargreeves. There was only them as kids. This was the first time since he’s died that these kids actually get to confront the 1960s Hargreeves, who has absolutely no memory of who they are because he hasn’t met them yet. So all the old recriminations they feel and that tension, they’re looking at a guy who doesn’t know them yet. It’s really fun to play — he looks like their dad, he’s clearly their dad, but he doesn’t have any of the memories that they share. But they can’t quite let their feelings go because they’re still mad at him for so many of the things he’s done.
With that ending, would a Season 3 see the siblings more united from the start? In the first two seasons, they really only came together near the end.
If we have a Season 3, I would definitely want to start them all together. We played them apart, and a Season 3 would be them far more together, starting together.
And they’re now all on the same page after what they’ve been through. I loved when they all got in the car with Vanya.
Yeah, it’s such a sweet moment. It’s one of the last things we shot and just everyone was feeling the end of the season, so there’s a lot of real emotion in that scene.
We saw everyone’s powers evolve at some point in some timeline.
They’re still discovering how their powers work, even though they were trained as kids. [When] they left, the training stopped and they’re all still evolving. We may learn that their powers are more affected and more acute when they’re together. They may just be more powerful together and their powers might resonate against each other. The goal is to see all their powers evolve over the course of the show.
It was particularly heartbreaking to see Ben in the ’60s, saying he’d missed everyone when the family reunited, then asking Vanya to hug him as he moved on.
As we go forward, we’ve met Ben at the very end of Season 2, and he’s now corporeal, he’s not of the ghost world, he seems to be physical, so that’s an interesting twist for this character. For Justin, who’s such a great actor, it’s so fun now — if we get a third season, he’ll actually get to interact with more people than just Robert and Ellen. As a living person, he can interact with everybody. He’s just dying to do that, as an actor.
Allison truly did love Ray, right?
Yeah, that was a real, beautiful marriage. In the timeline of the show, Allison had been in Dallas for almost two years. She met him, as we told in the cold open of [Episode] 6, they fell in love as her voice was coming back, and they were happily married when we met them. Allison believed, like all the other siblings [did], that the rest of them were dead, and she had to make a life here.
But there’s something with Luther, even though there is the question of whether or not there should be since they’re siblings, which you do address.
Their relationship is much more a puppy love relationship. Remember, they’ve never even really kissed. We saw one alternate version of what could have happened in Season 1, on the day that was and the day that wasn’t. We saw the only time we kissed in their whole lives, [but] that day was rewound. But what Allison had with Ray is a proper, grown-up relationship. What Allison and Luther share is very sweet puppy love and an innocent thing, but it’s not necessarily real grown-up feelings or a relationship.
Vanya really found herself, both in her relationship with Sissy and when it comes to her powers. How much more settled is she about who she is?
Vanya really came into her own this year. She not only was comfortable with who she is as a queer woman but she’s also come into her own in terms of her powers. She’s not afraid of them like she was, and she doesn’t lose control over them now as she did in Season 1 when they overtook her. Her powers were manipulated by the FBI as we saw later in the season, but definitely Vanya matured into her powers and ability and is finding acceptance with this family for the first time. They genuinely care about her and [no longer see her] as this wallflower.
We saw multiple versions of Five this season.
Five is such a phenomenal character because what Aidan Gallagher brings to him is this certain gravitas. We really were striving to have fun with the fact of, what would happen if you do meet your own former self? Time travel is such a fascinating thing and such an interesting trope for sci-fi, and we wanted to subvert it. We have endless conversations and arguments in the writers’ room about how time travel works. The great irony is nobody knows how it works because nobody has done it; at least we don’t know anybody who’s done it. We came up with the notion of paradox psychosis that it couldn’t be that simple to run into yourself. There had to be repercussions, and so watching Five deal with his older self is some of my favorite stuff in the season.
The Handler: Is she dead?
I would say she’s dead for good. I don’t think the Handler, sadly, is going to raise her head again. She got lucky in Season 1. I don’t think she’s going to get lucky after Season 2.
We saw a bit of a softer side with the Handler and Lila’s relationship, but then we saw the truth of how they came together.
Lila and the Handler have a really sweet relationship, despite the fact the Handler’s really not a nice person. The Handler’s the only mother Lila’s ever known, other than her real parents, who she doesn’t really remember because she was so young. Lila will be deeply affected by losing her mother, despite [her] being someone who’s evil.
Axel is out there. Is he still a concern?
There are two ways to see the ending of Axel. Axel got on the bus with Destiny’s Children, and he either slaughtered them all or he joined them. It’s up to the audience to decide which thing he did at that point after losing his own brothers and being fed up with all the violence.
What did you want to show with the Swedes after Cha Cha and Hazel?
I wanted to parallel another family relationship, so it’s not by chance that they’re three Swedish brothers who really care about each other going after another family that really cares about each other. The Swedes, despite being brutal killers, are another family … [they] spend half the year fishing, half the year killing, and I wanted to see the effect on that family when they start to lose people they love.
We knew that Hargreeves is an alien, but can you detail the process of deciding how to reveal his true face and what he did when he did?
The graphic novel fans are definitely aware of that reveal. Many of our other fans are not. I just wanted you to have a little bit more of an image of what Hargreeves may really be. He clearly is not what appears, and he was able to take out that whole group of the Majestic 12 men pretty quickly, it sounds like. But there’s a very interesting storytelling to reveal who and what he is going forward, and what the kids feel about it when they discover who he really is and his agenda.
Allison says she should go find Claire. But should she be concerned that Claire might not even exist now?
That will be a question for Season 3. What she’s hoping after Season 2 is that, somehow, if they correct the timeline, everything will go back to the way it is. We have absolutely corrected the timeline with respect to the apocalypse of Season 1 and doomsday of Season 2. So, in theory, Allison’s life should go back to normal and Claire should be there.
I have to mention the music, as it continues to be such a big part of the series. For example, I never knew I needed to see a fight for control of a body set to Backstreet Boys before this.
I love picking the songs for the show. We do it a little backwards in this show. Many shows do post and then they add music later. I think about the songs before the show is written or while it’s being written. I encourage my writers to put music in. But a lot of the time, I’m just listening to music and I will think of what scene I could write that to or where that would work. A lot of the time, we’re trying to subvert expectation with the music. Like if I told you ahead of time we’re going to put a fight scene to Backstreet Boys, you’d probably say that’s not going to work. But it does work in this show, and that’s the fun of it. [The music] really is another character.
The Umbrella Academy, Season 2, Streaming Now, Netflix