The Umbrella Academy was something of a slow burn when it landed on Netflix last year, but fans who stuck with it were rewarded with a shocking (and action-packed) finale.
All of the team’s personal struggles and solo adventures culminated in this one point, where they stood as a united front against their neglected sibling, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
As season two prepares to drop, it’s time to refresh your memory on just how things became quite so dire and where that leaves The Umbrella Academy in the episodes to come.
Here’s your full recap of season one:
Our story begins in 1989, when 43 women all over the world spontaneously give birth at the exact same time, despite showing no earlier signs of pregnancy whatsoever. Eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopts seven of these children and put them through rigorous training to sharpen superhuman abilities within them, ultimately turning them into a team of heroes known as The Umbrella Academy.
At their peak, the team achieves a considerable level of fame as well as some avid fans, who are keen to follow their crime-fighting escapades. Sir Reginald refers to each of the children as a number, although they are later given proper names by Grace, the robotic mother he builds to look after them.
Number One (Luther) has super strength, Number Two (Diego) can throw objects with deadly accuracy, Number Three (Allison) can control minds by uttering a phrase, Number Four (Klaus) can communicate with the dead, Number Five (no other name) can teleport through time and space, while Number Six (Ben) can unleash tentacled horrors from his body.
Number Seven (Vanya) is the only one of the adopted children who doesn’t display any superhuman powers, something that creates distance between her and her siblings.
The team ultimately breaks up as most members grow sick of Reginald’s manipulation and general coldness towards them. There’s plenty of tension to go around, after Ben is killed on a mission, Number Five goes missing, Klaus descends into substance abuse and Vanya writes a book exposing the Academy’s private lives to the public.
The remaining members reunite at the family mansion as adults when their adoptive father dies. It isn’t long until Number Five suddenly reappears out of nowhere, having been trapped in an apocalyptic future for decades after a teleportation gone wrong. Due to the difficult nature of time travel, he inadvertently reverts to the body of a 13-year-old, despite the fact that he is actually 58.
Later on, Number Five pays a visit to a donut shop and we learn that he’s in deep trouble, ambushed by mysterious masked assassins. After a narrow escape, he flees to Vanya’s apartment and tells her that the world is going to end in eight days, but she is highly sceptical of the warning and believes time travel may have driven him insane.
She continues with her day-to-day life as a violinist, taking on a new student called Leonard, who quickly becomes infatuated with her.
Meanwhile, Number Five turns to another of his siblings for help investigating their impending doom, enlisting Klaus on a mission to uncover the owner of a prosthetic eye found in the future. Five believes that the eye belongs to whoever will cause the apocalypse, but finds it is yet to even be manufactured in the present day.
Allison watches some surveillance tapes of the Academy mansion, which appear to show their android mother poisoning Reginald, passing the information on to her siblings.
Number Five’s pursuers, named Hazel and Cha-Cha, investigate the crime scene at the donut shop to decipher where their target could have gone. They learn from the owner of the shop, Agnes, that he had an umbrella tattoo on their wrist, which leads them straight to the mansion where the Academy has converged. Cue: a great big fight, which ends with Klaus being kidnapped by the ruthless duo.
Afterwards, Diego decides to shut down the team’s “mother” as she shows signs of serious malfunction, failing to recollect the battle mere moments after it occurred.
Hazel and Cha-Cha begin torturing Klaus at a motel in order to get information from him about Five’s whereabouts, ultimately learning about his investigation into the prosthetic eye. They leave to burn down the lab that Five is looking into, but in their absence Klaus is discovered by police detective Eudora Patch, a former flame of Diego. She sets Klaus free and he escapes with what appears to be a normal briefcase belonging to his captors, but Patch herself is then killed by Cha-Cha.
Klaus boards a public bus with the briefcase, but gets more than he bargained for when he opens it, discovering it is actually a time machine which sends him decades into the past. He fights in the Vietnam War and falls in love with Dave, a soldier who is killed in action. When he finally returns to the present, he is traumatised by the experience.
At this point, we begin to learn more about exactly why Number Five finds himself hunted. In the apocalyptic future, he is approached by a woman known only as The Handler, from an organisation called the Commission. They travel across time assassinating people to ensure that the timeline of the universe unfolds exactly as intended and he accepts a job with them to escape his predicament.
Five turns his back on the Commission when he finds a way to return to the present, focusing his attention on averting the apocalypse – which puts him on their radar for elimination. After evading more attempts on his life from Hazel and Cha-Cha, Number Five accepts a new position with the organisation on the condition that his family are kept safe. In reality, he uses the role to find out more about what’s coming, intercepting a message to protect someone called Harold Jenkins and secretly sending Hazel and Cha-Cha orders to kill each other.
Vanya and Leonard start dating and become very close, but Allison becomes suspicious of his true intentions. Unbeknownst to her, he has convinced Vanya to stop taking her psychiatric medication – as a result, she finally begins manifesting super powers.
Number Five returns to the present and rallies his siblings to unite, telling them the key to preventing the apocalypse rests in finding Harold Jenkins.
Klaus begins a new push to get sober in the hopes that he will be able to see Dave’s ghost, but ends up at a rave searching for Luther, who is depressed after learning his father didn’t value him as highly as he thought. Klaus is knocked unconscious in a fight, seeing a vision of his late father who tells him he hasn’t utilised the full extent of his powers.
Vanya is harassed by a gang of thugs outside a bar and when they brutally beat up Leonard, she accidentally unleashes her devastating powers – killing all but one. Leonard recovers in hospital but loses his right eye – where’s a prosthetic when you need one?
Allison learns from a police file that Leonard is Harold Jenkins, who was obsessed with joining the Umbrella Academy as a boy, but Reginald cruelly rejected him in front of a large crowd. Back at home, his own father was abusive and Harold eventually murdered him, spending over a decade in prison for the crime.
Allison eventually tracks down her adoptive sister and Leonard (aka Harold), but Vanya doesn’t want to listen to her. She’s angry at the way she was isolated from the Academy as a child, especially after learning that their father knew all along that she had special abilities just like the rest of them. Allison admits that Reginald told her to use her mind powers to make Vanya think she was normal, as he feared she was a major threat.
Allison is about to do so again when it appears her sister is losing control, but before she can utter the magic words, Vanya cuts her throat open and she begins to bleed out. Leonard tells Vanya to leave her and they flee together.
Fortunately, she is discovered by the Academy before too long and they are able to save their life, although she is left physically unable to speak due to the attack. She writes her siblings a message informing them that Vanya has powers.
While all this is going on, Hazel and Cha-Cha have been growing apart, with the former wishing to live a normal civilian life after falling in love with Agnes, the donut shop owner (remember her?). They run off together, but Cha-Cha tracks them down and holds Agnes hostage. There’s a fight and some faffing about, but Hazel essentially saves the day.
Vanya finds out that Harold has been manipulating her to get to the Academy and kills him in a fit of rage. She is briefly captured by her siblings, but has become too strong to be contained – destroying their mansion and allowing her powers to consume her soul, body and mind. She attends a violin recital she had been booked to play, but now uses the instrument as a vessel to channel her powers – with the potential to destroy the entire world.
The deadly concert begins and the Umbrella Academy try desperately to stop her, but Vanya easily deflects their attacks. All except Allison, who creeps up silently behind her and fires a gun just past her ear, breaking her concentration and knocking her out – but not before a beam of destructive energy shoots out of her and hits the moon.
For a second, it appears disaster has been averted, until the team sees the moon is breaking up in orbit, with huge chunks now hurtling towards Earth as apocalyptic meteors. With just seconds to spare, Number Five suggests jumping back in time as a group to have another stab at saving the world – which they do. Hazel and Agnes also appear to be saved from annihilation.
The Umbrella Academy season two is streaming on Netflix from Friday 31st July. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.