Spoilers for season 2 of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ ahead!
The Umbrella Academy season 2 took us by storm when it arrived to Netflix on July 31. The hit series created for television by Steve Blackman, based on the comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, sat atop Netflix’s coveted number one spot for a record-breaking 14 days so far. Just like its predecessor, season 2 ended on a major cliffhanger with our merry band of anti-heroes finally making it back to an intact world in 2019, avoiding the Doomsday of season 1 and preventing the one they delivered to 1963. However, as happy as they were to be back at the Umbrella Academy (still standing), whatever euphoria and relief they felt from finally succeeding was quickly washed away as their (previously dead) father rises and greets them, and then introduces them to the Sparrow Academy. Uh … the what?
So, what exactly is the Sparrow Academy? How did this happen? What does it mean? We can only speculate, but here are a few theories we came up with.
The Sparrow Academy
First and foremost, what is the Sparrow Academy? In the comics, the Sparrows are another group of seven super-powered individuals assumed to be born on October 1, 1989 along with the Umbrella Academy children. They are friends to the Umbrella Academy, but not much is known about them quite yet, even in the comics. The floating cube on the left is a member of the Sparrows, so the Sparrow Academy will no doubt pull from this group. Ben, however, will replace one, as Ben joining the Sparrows is not canon. Obviously, our Sparrow Academy is a reset button on the Umbrella Academy for Sir Reginald Hargreeves in the Netflix series, and where the showrunners take their story is up to them.
So, on to those theories …
A Light & Disastrous Supper
In episode 6, “A Light Supper,” the Hargreeves family reunion takes place and Reginald meets his future adopted children (officially) for the first time. This is obviously a major shift in the timeline — arguably the biggest. He’s utterly unimpressed by the six super-humans sitting before him, despite most of them proving their powers to him. So, could Reginald have been so displeased with his future choices he set out to make sure he didn’t make the same mistake? It’s definitely plausible.
But Ben … Ben is only visible to Klaus (who pretends he doesn’t exist), so Reginald never met him that night, giving him a fair chance at still being chosen. Reginald was expecting the six when he greets them upon their arrival — meaning he remembered them well — and knew they’d show back up to their former home. This definitely corroborates with him purposefully not choosing any of them on his quest to collect as many of the special children as he could locate. Also, while the cause of Ben’s death is still undisclosed, with Ben making it to 2019 in this new timeline, an accident with the tentacular beasts in his chest can almost be ruled out; his death in the original timeline was likely a mistake on the part of his siblings.
Another note: In season 1, it’s confirmed that Reginald died to reunite his disassociated children in an effort to save the world. So, the fact that he’s still alive with this new group, and the entire team is at home ready to fight still in 2019, is a testament to him not making the same mistakes he did before. Hopefully he was nicer to this bunch …
Reggie and the Curious Case of Grace
The next of the most plausible causes of the Sparrow Academy’s formation is the lack of Grace. In those final moments, where we see a revived Reginald and Pogo in 2019, Grace is absent. We met the real Grace in season 2, not just the robot caretaker version of her we remember from season 1. And it left us with a whole lot more questions about Grace and her relationship with Reginald. Who is she? We know she was a scientist and that she’d hoped to spend her life with Reggie, but that’s all. How she ended up becoming a robot, meeting Reginald in the first place, or if she ever discovered that Reginald was actually an alien are still some questions we eventually hope get answered.
Diego derailed the happy couple in episode 6, telling Grace about Reginald’s plan to kill the president (which turned out to not be true), and she ended up leaving after Reggie wouldn’t answer about his intentions — seemingly for good. A few things could have stemmed from the separation, one being that Reginald holds a grudge and wanted nothing to do with the band that caused his greatest heartbreak. Because as cold and distant as Reginald is, there’s no doubt he has a very, very soft spot for Grace throughout the season. Or perhaps Grace simply had more of a hand in selecting the children Reginald adopted than we were led to believe. Grace was also seemingly very involved in what happened at Reggie’s “Umbrella Company,” so did her absence spark the nullification of Umbrella from Reginald’s endeavors?
It’s also entirely possible Grace is missing solely because Reginald does not adopt Vanya, seeing as robot Grace exists because of Vanya’s volatile powers killing off the children’s human nannies. Without having Vanya around, the need for a robot nanny may have just been entirely unnecessary.
It would be hard to believe that the absence of Grace isn’t related to this sudden change, though. How much her and her changed storyline is involved in a third season is certainly exciting to think about. She could be the key in either defeating or preventing the formation of the Sparrow Academy, assuming the siblings are willing to head back in time again.
Harlan’s Unexpected Side Effects
Finally, there’s no way this doesn’t come back to bite the Hargreeves in a big way. While Vanya may have been able to draw out the majority of her powers from Sissy’s son Harlan, clearly she didn’t get them all. The Handler already showed interest in him, trying to rip him away from his mother just as she had Lila many years before, so it wouldn’t be outlandish to assume Reginald’s curiosity is also piqued when he gets wind of a boy with telekinetic powers. Harlan, however, has the ability and liberty to be a good guy, or the next villain.
If Reginald finds Harlan, there’s a good chance he had a hand in forming the Sparrow Academy. He’d be an adult by the time October 1, 1989 comes around, and one could bet he’d probably want to avoid the members of the Umbrella Academy, particularly Vanya. It wouldn’t be surprising if he grows up with a little animosity towards the group who turned his life upside-down. Which also gives him a perfect villain origin story …
Should Harlan become a villain, he’ll have a significant advantage over the Hargreeves, as he’s had his powers for far longer now and no doubt a better grasp. Vanya, the most powerful of the bunch, will also have a significantly raw nerve when dealing with any potential Harlan issues. With Vanya being our bomb the last two seasons, it would really keep some continuity in that theme with the next big bad originating from Vanya. Now that Vanya and her siblings have made peace, it’s unlikely we see her as the root of the next Doomsday, but this is the perfect recipe for another cosmic disaster. The floating sparrow and the look he gave Sissy from the back seat as she drove away was a bit ominous … But will this become a catalyst for a Sparrow/Umbrella team-up? (This would fit the narrative of the third comic installment, The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion) It would be exciting, to say the least.
While season 3 of Netflix’s hit The Umbrella Academy hasn’t been confirmed yet, it would be shocking if we didn’t see the Hargreeves again after the massive success of season 2. Along with the theories above, we’d wager a guess that Lila returns, we see an alive and well Dave again back from Vietnam (or maybe he never followed through?), and that this wasn’t the last we’ve seen of Herb or the Commission. Do you have any theories about what to expect in season 3? Need a refresher on season 2? Check out our recaps and review!