Among the seemingly large clutter of superhero movies in the modern age of cinema and television consumption, ‘The Umbrella Academy’ is in more ways than one, a breath of fresh air, and in more ways than that, strangely reminiscent of more than a few well renowned superhero arcs you have seen translated on-screen before. Think X-Men, which is also evidently the most obvious comparison, with the impressive visual character of ‘Watchmen’ sans the dark tone, and a hint of the violence from ‘Kick Ass’ peppered with generous bouts of situational humour and clever dialogue. The final outcome, a ten episode long superhero TV series about seven sibling misfits with dysfunctional relationships who are brought together due to the death of their adoptive father in a bid to prevent an impending apocalypse, is both a gleefully original product at once owing to its treatment and style, a majorly entertaining one at that, and a vastly familiar narrative with a plethora of familial tensions and resolutions to add stakes to the proceedings.
However, let me assure you that despite the occasional familiar tracks the show appears to be headed in, it’s a sufficiently thought of, well crafted out and polished end product to warrant your attention over its entire run of ten one-hour long episodes. I am appalled at the fact that I had never picked up a comic book with the same title before watching the show, given the immense credibility of Dark Horse comics, and as I move to correct that, we take you through the rather sudden and ambiguous ending of the show. Needless to say, if you are here, you have seen the show and know what the plot is about, but a spoiler alert about the show and the original comics becomes imperative. Read on.
The Finale: The White Violin
Without rewinding too much, we stop the clocks at the beginning of the final episode of the first season. The finale, aptly titled ‘The White Violin’, after the name of Vanya’s destructive alter ego from the comics, begins with a bit of history on the eccentric billionaire recluse, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, nicknamed ‘The Monocle’ in the comics. He is shown as his younger self “long ago”, caring for an ailing loved one, presumably his wife and the original owner of the violin now possessed by Vanya. “Find someone who will love it as much as I have,” she says. An interesting aspect of this scene is that it reveals the location to be anything but Planet Earth, confirming The Monocle’s alien roots according to the comics, as he stares out the window upon the passing of his loved on, numerous rockets leave the dying world and he releases tiny magical pixie like particles from a jar, presumably responsible for the pregnancy of the 43 women that gave birth on the fateful day of 1st October 1989. We later see him arrive in the present world in the show, where he immediately buys a space let out by an umbrella manufacturer, and makes it his home: the same home that would later become the grounds for the Umbrella Academy.
Back in the present day, Vanya (from the previous episode) is shown to have given in to her darker side as a result of being trapped in the underground bunker by Luther, her rage and despair becoming reasons for her power to manifest, and overcome her incarceration. Vanya, now completely overcome by her malevolent side begins destroying the Academy in rage, killing Pogo upon learning that he’d known the truth about the existence of her powers from the beginning. As the building collapses, the siblings are able to escape but Grace is destroyed with it.