The Radio Times logo

The Umbrella Academy seasons 1-2 recap: Here's what you need to remember

Everything you need to know before starting the third run of the hit Netflix sci-fi series.

The Umbrella Academy season 2 on Netflix (Full Cast photo)
Netflix
Published: Tuesday, 21st June 2022 at 5:43 pm
Subscribe to Radio Times magazine and get 12 issues for £1

This week sees the return of The Umbrella Academy to Netflix for its third run, with the show finally picking up from the major cliffhanger at the end of the second season.

Advertisement

Of course, it's been almost two years since that second season arrived back in the summer of 2020, so you couldn't be blamed if you needed some help getting back up to speed with the popular sci-fi series.

With that in mind, we've provided a full recap of all the major events that have happened so far, so you needn't be too confused when you're reunited with the Hargreeves siblings in their unfamiliar timeline.

Read on for a full recap of seasons 1 and 2 – and it goes without saying that there are major spoilers ahead.

The Umbrella Academy season 1 recap

The first season begins in 1989 – when we learn that 43 women across the world suddenly gave birth at the same time despite having not previously appeared to be pregnant, with seven of the children then being adopted by an eccentric billionaire named Sir Reginald Hargreeves.

As he raises the children – whom he initially refers to only by numbers rather than names – Hargreeves puts them through all sorts of training to develop their superhuman abilities and they go on to become an admired and respected crime-fighting team.

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 them and their siblings.

The Umbrella Academy full cast in costume, season one of Netflix drama
Netflix

Eventually, the team becomes disillusioned by Reginald's attitude towards them and they each go their separate ways – with Ben being killed on a mission, Number Five going missing, Klaus descending into substance abuse, and Vanya writing a book exposing the Academy's private lives to the public.

When Hargreeves dies, the remaining siblings reunite at the family mission and Number Five soon reappears out of nowhere, revealing that he had been trapped in an apocalyptic future for decades after a teleportation mishap and has now reverted to the body of a 13-year-old, despite the fact that he is actually 58.

Later on, he is ambushed by mysterious masked assassins and flees to Vanya's apartment to inform them of some vital information: the world is going to end in eight days.

Vanya is unconvinced by his claims and continues with day-to-day life as a violinist, taking on a new student called Leonard, who quickly becomes infatuated with Vanya – while Number Five turns to Klaus, sending him on a mission to uncover the owner of a prosthetic eye found in the future which he believes belongs to the architect of the coming apocalypse.

Meanwhile, Allison finds surveillance tapes of the Academy mansion that appear to show their android 'mother' poisoning Reginald, and passes this information on to her siblings.

Number Five's pursuers, named Hazel and Cha-Cha, investigate the crime scene from the earlier incident and learn their target had an umbrella tattoo on his wrist, which leads them straight to the mansion, leading to an almighty battle that ends with Klaus being kidnapped.

Diego then shuts down the team's 'mother' as she is showing signs of serious malfunction, failing to recollect the battle mere moments after it occurred.

Hazel and Cha-Cha torture Klaus at a motel in order to get information about Five's whereabouts, and learn about the investigation into the prosthetic eye – which prompts them to burn down the lab that Five is looking into.

Mary J Blige and Cameron Britton play Cha-Cha and Hazel in The Umbrella Academy on Netflix
Netflix

But while they are away, Klaus is found at the motel by police detective Eudora Patch, a former flame of Diego, who sets him free and allows him to escapes with what initially appears to be a normal briefcase belonging to his captors. Unfortunately, Patch is killed by Cha-Cha in the aftermath.

When Klaus opens the briefcase, he discovers it's 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, before finally returning to the present – understandably 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 psychiatric medication - as a result, Vanya finally begins manifesting superpowers.

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.

Emmy Raver-Lampman in Netflix's The Umbrella Academy as Allison
Netflix

Vanya is harassed by a gang of thugs outside a bar and when they brutally beat up Leonard, Vanya accidentally unleashes devastating powers - killing all but one. Leonard recovers in hospital but loses his right eye.

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. Vanya is angry at the way they were isolated from the Academy as a child, especially after learning that their father knew all along that Vanya had special abilities just like the rest of them. Allison admits that Reginald told her to use her mind powers to make Vanya think they were normal, as he feared Vanya was a major threat.

Allison is about to do so again when it appears Vanya 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, Allison 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 them to get to the Academy and kills him in a fit of rage. She is briefly captured by the other Hagreeves siblings, but has become too strong to be contained - destroying their mansion, Vanya allows their new-found powers to consume their soul, body and mind. Vanya attends a violin recital she had been booked to play, but now uses the instrument as a vessel to channel their powers - with the potential to destroy the entire world.

Elliot Page plays Vanya in The Umbrella Academy on Netflix

The deadly concert begins and the Umbrella Academy try desperately to stop Vanya, who easily deflects their attacks. All except Allison, who creeps up silently behind Vanya and fires a gun just past their ear, breaking their concentration and knocking them out - but not before a beam of destructive energy shoots out of Vanya 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 2 recap

Number Five's time travel attempt does not go to plan and the siblings all end up scattered at various times between February 1960 and October 1963 in Dallas, with Five himself arriving there on 25th November, 1963 – just a few minutes before a nuclear doomsday which he later works out is connected to the fact that JFK is not assassinated in this timeline.

An elderly Hazel soon appears and reveals to Five that the nuclear missiles in the sky are the apocalypse and that the Hargreeves siblings have 10 days to stop it, but she is then killed by three Swedish assassins named Axel, Otto, and Oscar who arrive on the scene,

Five is able to travel back in time ten days and becomes acquainted with a man named Elliott who agrees to help him, before we learn what the other siblings are up to: Luther is now working as a bodyguard for Jack Ruby (the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald), Diego is a mental asylum inmate hoping to prevent the JFK assassination, Allison has married a civil rights activist called Ray, Klaus has started a cult, and Vanya has amnesia and is living with a married couple, Sissy and Carl Cooper, and nannying their son Harlan.

Diego escapes the asylum with fellow patient Lila after being chased by the Swedish assassins and Five finds Luther, although he refuses to help with the situation when it is explained to him.

David Castaneda plays Diego in The Umbrella Academy on Netflix
Netflix

Vanya goes to pick up Carl at Jack Ruby's club (where he has been getting drunk) and is spotted by Luther, while Five, Diego, and Lila watch a film that was slipped into Five's pocket just before they died – and find that Reginald appears in it holding an umbrella on Dealey Plaza, the location of the JFK assassination.

Meanwhile, Ray is arrested and forms a bond with Klaus while he's in jail – although the latter is soon released – and during a prison visit, Allison notices somebody with the same hand tattoos as Klaus.

Luther then finds Vanya, although Vanya has no recollection of him, while Diego and Five sneak into Reginald's company, where Diego and Reginald proceed to fight – with Reginald stabbing Diego before walking away, although he is later saved by Lila back at Elliott's house.

Vanya is intercepted by the Swedes during a night out, using their powers to stop the Swedes while they shoot at Vanya in a cornfield – while Allison reunites with Klaus, who sends the ghost version of Ben to spook the police into releasing Ray.

Luther searches for Allison but gives up when he discovers that she is married, while Klaus is determined to stop Dave from enlisting in the army, and Allison and Ray attend a sit-in at a whites-only diner, where the latter is arrested – with Allison using her powers to make a police officer stop beating Ray, who runs away, confused about her powers. Meanwhile, we learn that Lila – who has left Diego to go to a hotel – is actually working for the Commission and the Handler is her adoptive mother, and she is told to protect Five at all costs.

Vanya returns to the Cooper family after realising that they, Vanya, were responsible for the original apocalypse, while Luther and Allison are eventually reunited, with the latter finally learning about the coming apocalypse.

Diego, Lila, and Five then visit a gala that Reginald is attending and are attacked by the Swedes – with Reginald leaving before they are able to fight off the assassins. During the fight, Lila protects Five while Diego fights two of the adversaries.

Vanya is forced to go after Harlan after he tries to run away – and ends up having to use superpowers to save him – while Klaus spends the night at Allison's when he is unable to stop Dave from joining the army. Meanwhile, while high at Elliott's house, Luther tells his host that the apocalypse is just seven days off.

Luther reveals to Five and Diego that he went to the Academy to see Reginald when he had first arrived in Dallas but that he was promptly kicked out, with Reginald claiming he would never adopt seven children – and so the trio then join forces with their other siblings to hunt Reginald down again.

Meanwhile Lila – who has been kicked out of the group – returns to The Handler and manages to lure Five into meeting with them at an abandoned warehouse, where The Handler tells Five that she will send his family safely back to 2019 if he kills the Commission's board at their quarterly meeting.

The Umbrella Academy
Netflix

All six siblings receive invitations to dine with Reginald, and the Swedes (who are now depleted with Otto having been murdered) kill Elliott and leave a message for the Hargreeves in his blood.

Five has agreed to The Handler's proposal and kills the Commission's board – before he is given 90 minutes to find the rest of the Academy such that they can return to a normal timeline in 2019, with The Handler assuming control over the Commission.

Vanya wants to take Sissy – with whom they have been having an affair – and Harlan with her to the new timeline but they are stopped by several police officers, and despite using powers to fight them, Vanya is knocked unconscious. At the same time, Allison and Ray are attacked by the Swedes – but Allison uses her powers to make Axel kill Otto, These incidents mean that the Academy is not able to regroup in time, and so Five is forced to throw away the time-traveling briefcase that contained the new timeline.

Vanya is accused of being a KGB spy – since they can speak Russian – and is interrogated by the FBI, which involves being drugged and tortured with electrical shocks. During this process, Vanya begins to remember their past. Meanwhile Grace, Reginald's romantic partner, breaks up with him when she uncovers evidence that suggests he is planning to harm JFK.

Diego is kidnapped by Lila who forces him to work at the Commission and remain her boyfriend, while Five meets with an older version of himself to try to get his hands on another time-traveling briefcase so he can return to a new timeline. This older version then finds Luther and tells him of a plan to stop Vanya from causing the original apocalypse, but reveals it would involve the death of the young Five.

Diego learns from the Commission that in a few days' time, Vanya will destroy an FBI building which will stop JFK from being assassinated but also lead to World War III because the Soviets are believed to be the cause of the explosion. So Diego, Klaus, and Allison return to Dallas to prevent Vanya from blowing up the building, but they are unable to reach Vanya and have to rely on Ben to enter their sibling's mind in his ghostly form.

This helps Vanya and stops the explosion – and thus the apocalypse – but Ben departs for the afterlife since the effort involved in reaching Vanya was too much for him. Meanwhile, at the Coopers, a major incident is unfolding. Harlan is somehow able to experience Vanya's distress and Sissy is holding Carl at gunpoint —the gun goes off and seems to be heading for Harlan until he deflects it towards his father, killing him.

The Umbrella Academy season two
Netflix

Herb, a Commission analyst, discovers kill order 743, which involves old-Five killing Lila's parents, and presents it to Lila, who confronts her mother about it. But The Handler manipulates Lila into believing Diego was involved and gets her to agree to a plan to kill The Academy. Five learns that the older version of himself is planning to kill him, so sends him to the original timeline – but he accidentally destroys the briefcase in the process.

Meanwhile, JFK is assassinated, which infuriates Reginald – who visits Majestic 12, and kills them after revealing himself to be an interdimensional being – and The Academy become wanted after being accused of helping the assassination.

The siblings travel to the Coopers and arrive at the same time as The Handler and an army of Commission agents– but Vanya kills them all. Lila then reveals that she can mirror the powers of the Academy, and it becomes clear that she is another of the 43 children who were born on the same day; with the Handler having had Five murder her parents so that she could get Lila for herself.

In a very dramatic moment, The Handler then kills everyone before being shot by the last surviving Swede, Axel, but before he dies, Five manages to reverse time by a few minutes to stops this from happening – although Axel still kills the Handler anyway.

Advertisement

Herb is now leading the Commission and allows the Academy to use a briefcase to return to 2019 but when they arrive they discover that they are now in a different timeline: Reginald is still alive and has formed the Sparrow Academy – which consists of five different children, a floating green cube, and Ben, who is still alive...

The Umbrella Academy season 3 streams on Netflix from Wednesday 22nd June. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content