The third and final season of The Umbrella Academy tests the patience of its viewers as well as its protagonists. Over the course of three seasons, the Hargreeves children have unknowingly uncovered the secrets surrounding their father, putting them through countless ages, apocalypses, and deaths, and leaving viewers at home likely just as thirsty for answers. Despite its high-octane dance numbers and impressive special effects, the latest episode of The Umbrella Academy plays out more like a gradual burn than an explanatory dump. Throughout the season, there are stretches that drag and meander with apparently no purpose, kept together by sloppy mythology and uncomfortable emotional beats, and are saved only by the wonderful personality of its actors. And yet, here we are at the conclusion; perhaps, just perhaps, things are beginning to fall into place.
Let’s deal with them in order of time. Episode 10 begins shortly after Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) stabs Luther (Tom Hopper) in the chest with his tentacle-sword arm, then turns and leaves Klaus (Robert Sheehan) to be devoured by Kügelblitz, a black hole-like entity created by the impossibility of the Umbrella Academy’s existence in a reality where their mothers were killed before they were born. In other words, (Don’t leave me now!)
Klaus, crushed by Reg’s treachery after finally developing a trusting relationship with his violent father, impales himself on the horn of a taxidermic white buffalo in the Hotel Obsidian, presumably to maintain his physical form and return to life, pronto. Viktor (Elliot Page), Diego (David Castaneda), Lila (Ritu Arya), Five (Aidan Gallagher), Alison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez), and Ben (Justin H. Min) of The Umbrella/Sparrow Academy waddle through a psychedelic secret passageway into the Upside Down, unaware of Reg’s murderous antics. Oops, I was thinking of another Netflix show.
There, they find what is accurately described by Lila as “the identical suite, but ass-backward,” and learn that the Kügelblitz apparently sucked up Klaus. Thankfully, their newly departed brothers Luther and Klaus are really enjoying Hawaiian pizza and a documentary in the comfort of The Void, Klaus’ domain of the dead, which seems to imitate various concepts of paradise. (One “region” of The Void, for instance, is a jumping castle. There is no impact on Klaus. Luther, alarmed to find his new bride is still alive and in danger, asks that Klaus bring them back to the world of the living, but Klaus is resistant. Why go back to the family that has rejected him time and time again? His own father once told him that he was “more trouble than you’re worth.” Luther appeals to Klaus’s acute desire for validation by saying, “I believe in you, brother,” and Klaus decides to attempt reincarnating them. Luther’s motivating talents aren’t quite on par with Braveheart.
Reggie informs his kids that they have entered “a test and a trap and a method of redemption, all at once” as they return to the mirror version of the Hotel Obsidian, which oddly enough has an unstaffed sushi restaurant. Because of this lack of clarity, the youngsters disperse as Reg wanders the lobby writing in his diary. Five, meanwhile, is suspicious of Daddy-O and attempts to persuade Viktor that their father was responsible for the deaths of Luther and Klaus, with Allison seemingly playing a role. (In the previous episode, Five was drinking and saw Reg and Allison strike a deal before she passed out.) Viktor is suspicious that Allison is capable of such cruelty, and he is proven correct. Allison soon confronts Reg about the mysterious murders of Luther and Klaus, but Reg insists he did nothing wrong. Instead, he gathers what’s left of the family to search for a “sigil,” a key to the fabled “seven bells” that, if rung, would reset the cosmos.
That’s crazy. Do I hear seven different bells? In season 9, episode 9, Reg tells that the Norse had seven sleepers. For the Blackfoot, a perfect score of seven stars. When I was a little lad, I was told the story of the seven bells. After ringing the bells, everything will go back to normal. If the cosmos ever become a danger to itself, “whoever or whatever” created it also left a precaution in the form of a reset button. Reg apparently constructed the Hotel Obsidian himself around a doorway to “the other side,” where the aforementioned seven bells may be found. It appears that he has previously attempted to ring the bells, only to have his soldiers return to him battered and bloodied. Alternatively, they could not have come back at all.
When his students finally locate the symbol, Reg acknowledges he is at a loss for what to do, which inspires great faith in his abilities as a leader. However, they come to an agreement to divide into smaller groups in order to search for the universe’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card; however, this is only after they have already been separated by invisible portals-within-the-portal and been met by a guardian brandishing a sword, ax, sickle, or ball and chain. The “creator of the world” installed these mysterious guardians to keep the reset button safe from harm, but beyond that, we know little about them. Probably a hint of foreshadowing: how do we know Reg doesn’t have bad intentions?
When the resurrected Klaus returns to the lobby, he discovers that Reg strategically assigned the children to different households in order to put them “in position.” Reg promptly dispatches the miserable guy by slamming him against the wall and ringing the front desk bell. Allison tells Viktor that she made a deal with Reg, though the specifics of the bargain are unknown, as the rest of the group enjoys a vigorous exercise courtesy of the guardians. Please trust me; it’s important to me. In an earnest plea to Viktor, Allison says. I did it for the benefit of us all. Luther, and Klaus, too!” So, you did what?
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