The third season of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy is nearly upon us.
As fans count the minutes until the season officially drops, many are shoveling the first two seasons of Netflix’s offbeat superhero series into every spare moment they have. It’ll take approximately 18 hours and 10 minutes to binge-watch each of the show’s existing 20 episodes, and for some fans there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
If you’re hoping to start season three with a solid recollection of seasons one and two, but can’t find the time for a rewatch, we’ve got you covered. Here are the vital points to remember about what’s happened so far in Netflix’s wacky series.
Key moments from The Umbrella Academy season one
There’s very little like Umbrella Academy on the market. The series seizes upon the superhero fervor that’s enraptured the nation for more than a decade, without leaning on the same do-gooder tropes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, it leans into the humanity behind the superpowers, orienting itself around the exceedingly strange and purposefully damaged members of the Umbrella Academy — based on the comics of the same name by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá — and thus tells a story quite unlike those playing out on the big screen.
The first season of the popular series introduces these characters and grounds them in a compelling storyline, providing just enough details about the surrounding world to establish a setting, but largely orienting itself around the dynamic personalities at the show’s core. The character development inherent in season one aims to present and explain the funny and fascinating heroes that make up the titular team.
The characters’ childhoods
One of the most important parts of season one comes in the explanation of the history behind these damaged supers. Each member of the team — excepting Six, aka Ben, who is dead by this point — harbors a huge number of issues thanks to their thoroughly botched upbringing at the hands of a distant father and robot mother. Here are a few key points.
Each of the siblings struggle with self-sabotage and strife due to their shaky upbringing and various powers. Five’s disappearance, followed by Ben’s death, stacked on extra damage and urged many of the siblings to eventually leave the Umbrella Academy.
Vanya, aka Number Seven, is at first presented as the only sibling born without superpowers. While it is later revealed that her powers were simply too powerful to be easily controlled, she is shown to be left out of much of her siblings’ childhoods. She didn’t train with them, she was isolated during many of their group activities, and she wasn’t allowed to fight alongside them as a member of the team. This is a major factor in the character’s eventual arc, which sees her discover, and completely lose control over, a massively powerful ability. (Note: At some point in season three, Vanya will be transitioning into Viktor.)
Early in the first season, Five reemerges after years lost to time and space. He informs his siblings that the world is set to end in a matter of days, with no one to stop its inevitable destruction but their haphazard team. While he does not know the exact culprit behind the end of days, he does know an exact date.
The time jump
At the end of Umbrella Academy‘s first season, the siblings try — and fail — to save the world from destruction. Their efforts, in fact, ensure that the world will come to an end, and leaves them facing their inevitable demise ⏤ until Five yanks them back in time. He proposes that the siblings can once again jump back in time, and — this time working as a team — attempt to prevent the apocalypse. His efforts don’t quite work out as planned, unfortunately, as is revealed in season two.
Key moments from Umbrella Academy season two
Season two of Umbrella Academy was just as wild as the first, with even more time-traveling shenanigans and untamed characters. The season plops the characters down at various points through the 1960s in Dallas, Texas, in the years leading up to the assassination of John. F. Kennedy. Each of them experiences a different arc as they fight to survive in — in some cases — a generation that is immensely ill-suited to them.
Living in the ’60s
The characters in Umbrella Academy experience a lot in 1960s Dallas. Diego finds and falls for a wonderfully quirky woman while also struggling to come to terms with the massive hero complex weighing him down. Luther grapples with his enduring feelings for Allison, and generally thrives as the ’60s (and every generation before’s) favorite type of person: a handsome, hulking white man.
Allison, meanwhile, struggles with a far more relevant and wrought storyline as she struggles to exist and progress as a Black woman in Texas during the Civil Rights era. Her outspoken and capable nature makes her a powerhouse among her peers, but also leads to plenty of problems for her and her new husband. Klaus absolutely thrives in the neon-saturated ’60s scene, prospering as a cult leader and zen guru while his siblings struggle to survive. Classic Klaus.
Five appears just as the action begins and thus has very little prior backstory, but Ben is forced to endure years of Klaus’s cult-y shenanigans while the siblings await Five’s arrival. He even falls in love, a wonderful arc that is largely ruined by Klaus’ debaucherous nature. Once again: classic Klaus.
Finally, we have Vanya, who has completely lost her memories in the wake of season one’s finale. She has settled on a simple farm with a kind, tough woman, her crummy husband, and their autistic son, working as a nanny and aid while she attempts to recover her memory. Her arc is perhaps the most important of the season, as Vanya makes genuine human connections, falls in love, and eventually learns of her role in the first season’s apocalypse. Her growth in season two is massive and really shows how deep and complex of a character Vanya ⏤ soon to be Viktor ⏤ truly is.
It’s unclear exactly how important he will eventually be, but Harlan’s role in season two is vital. The young son of Viktor’s benefactor, Sissy, nearly drowns at one point, only to be saved by Vanya. Her efforts to bring the child back from the brink of death appears to transfer some of her ability into Harlan, however, leaving the nonverbal youth with immense power and no way to control it.
Harlan’s lack of control is clearly shown as dangerous to himself and everyone around him, but is thankfully short-lived. Vanya manages to take back the power she inadvertently transferred in the season’s final episode, but some vestige appears to remain. The child is shown floating a toy using telepathy in one of the season’s final moments, indicating that a small amount of Vanya’s power remains. Since the season took place in the ’60s, and the Umbrella Academy is set on returning to their own timeline, it’s entirely plausible — and, in fact, likely — that a much older version of Harlan is destined to crop up later in the series, likely one with powerful and dangerous superpowers.
The siblings’ father, Reginald Hargreeves, was definitely up to something in season two. He was shown as a major player in the shadowy organization that was behind John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but his role in the plot got much weirder as the season went on. You may have forgotten this — despite how absolutely wild it was — but a titular season two scene changed everything we know about the patriarch of the Hargreeves household. The man was revealed to be an alien, or at least far from human, after he was shown removing his face and attacking other members of his former organization. His interests “on the dark side of the moon” were also alluded to, bringing up far more questions than answers about this mysterious character.
The Handler and the Commission
The final battle in season two saw the members of the Umbrella Academy face off against the Commission, the Handler, and her daughter/attack dog, Lila. After quite a bit of strife, the team is ultimately successful in killing the Handler and her army of Commissioners, but not Lila. Diego’s love interest survived the fight, but did not make the journey through time with the rest of the siblings. She’s definitely a major player in season three, but her role in the action has yet to be determined.
It’s doubtful that many fans forgot, but one more major plot point occurred in season two. Ben, the deceased-but-still-around Number Six to the Umbrella Academy team, lost his life for a second, and final, time.
In a (successful) bid to save Vanya and assist the rest of the team, Ben sacrificed himself and brought his brother back from the brink. His soul was shown flaking off into brilliant blue fragments before disintegrating completely, and the audience later gets full confirmation that’s he’s gone from Klaus.
Thankfully, the character is set to make a return — of sorts — in season three. While the Ben we know and love is well and truly gone, a new version of him will debut with the third season ⏤ an alternate version, in fact, one who’s grown up in the Sparrow Academy instead of the Umbrella Academy and looks poised to cause plenty of trouble for the embattled Umbrella Academy team.
We’ll see what season three has in store for us when it arrives on Netflix June 22.