The dramatic cliffhanger ending of The Umbrella Academy season 1 was actually teased all the way back in the third episode. Based on the popular comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy is a superbly entertaining superhero series. It stars the students of the Umbrella Academy, five super-powered individuals who have been raised by the eccentric scientist Sir Randolph Hargreeves, and are desperately attempting to save the world from an impending apocalypse.
In the end, the Umbrella Academy were unsuccessful. Although they incapacitated their sister, Vanya, they were too late to prevent her from releasing a devastating blast of energy. That energy swept into the heavens, and struck the surface of the Moon itself, blasting a huge chunk out of it and fracturing the surface into thousands of smaller meteors. This was the true cause of the apocalypse: an asteroid impact that would render the entire planet uninhabitable. The Umbrella Academy survived thanks to one of their own, with Five using his time travel powers to send them back in the hope they can still rewrite history.
Surprisingly, that epic conclusion was foreshadowed as early as episode 3, which explicitly revealed how the world would come to an end. It did so in a subtle detail that could easily have passed most viewers by.
Episode 3 featured one of the most powerful scenes in the entire series, as Diego went to see Grace, the android who had raised the Umbrella Academy children. He found her settled down in a chair, embroidering, completely ignorant of the fact that there’d just been a shoot-out with two assassins who had infiltrated the Academy and attempted to kill her children. Worse still, when Diego looked closely he realized the embroidery was going horribly wrong, with Grace stitching into her own skin. It was clear she really was malfunctioning, and Diego made the heartbreaking decision to shut her down.
The intense emotion of the scene hides a fantastic detail. Mom was stitching an image of the Moon, with a massive chunk breaking off from it – exactly how the world ended in episode 10.
Of course, this may just be an Easter egg – a cool detail to be spotted by eagle-eyed viewers. Then again, it could actually be an important plot point, foreshadowing elements of The Umbrella Academy season 2. Grace’s creator, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, seemed to have known that the end of the world was at hand. He believed that the Umbrella Academy could stop it, and went so far as to orchestrate his own death, knowing that was the only way to bring them all back under one roof. It’s possible that Grace, too, had some degree of foreknowledge.
But how did Sir Reginald know the apocalypse was coming, to the extent that he knew to commit suicide a week before the extinction level event? That’s one of the many unanswered questions raised by The Umbrella Academy season 1, explicitly asked by Five and leaving the students absolutely stumped. Given that the series depends on concepts of time travel, it’s entirely possible season 2 will see the Umbrella Academy interact with their founder sometime before his death, and learn the answer to that question. Perhaps it will also explain why Grace was able to create an embroidery of the end of the world… before it actually happened.
The Umbrella Academy season 1 is streaming now on Netflix.