The Umbrella Academy Season 3 Ending Explained: A Kugel-What-Now?

Netflix's hit comic book series "The Umbrella Academy" is back for its third season. Of course, it wouldn't be "The Umbrella Academy" without an impending apocalypse, and this time it's the Kugelblitz that's about to wipe out humanity, Earth, the known universe, and well, just about the whole of reality.

But first things first – what's all this about the Sparrow Academy?

Appearing in the final episode of season 2, the Sparrows are essentially an alternate version of the Umbrella Academy, created when Sir Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven different children following his brush with the time-traveling Umbrellas back in the '60s. The Sparrows were born on October 1, 1989 — the same day as the original Hargreeves children. They too were among the 43 children born on that day with extraordinary powers ... and it looks as though they won't play nice with the Umbrella Academy.

Season 3 finds the Umbrella Academy once again thrust into an alternate reality, where things aren't quite how they should be. But as the Umbrellas unpick what's going on, it looks as though their time is once again running out. An apocalyptic black hole sort of thing (the Kugelblitz) threatens the fabric of reality, while the Umbrellas and the Sparrows are forced to work out their differences.

Can the Umbrella Academy save the world? Again? 

What is the Kugelblitz?

Let's start at the beginning: The Kugelblitz is created deep within the bowels of the Umbrella Academy when the Umbrellas find themselves in this new, alternate reality. Essentially, it's an all-devouring black hole-like anomaly that's going to completely annihilate all of reality unless it's stopped. Where did it come from? Well, the Umbrellas themselves are the reason, sort of, and it's all because of a grandfather paradox created on their return.

The Grandfather Paradox is a famous logical problem that occurs when a time-traveler prevents their own birth, and it's explained quite succinctly in the Commission handbook. Basically, if a time-traveler goes back in time and kills their own grandfather, they will cease to exist. That then means they won't go back in time to kill their own grandfather, which means their grandfather will live, which means the time-traveler will be born after all, which means they can go back in time to kill their grandfather, but that will prevent them from being born, which means they won't ... you get the idea. It's a paradox. And it's this paradox that causes the Kugelblitz.

It's a fun, slightly trippy take on some of sci-fi's classic time-traveling dilemmas, but quite why it spawns a big ball of extra-dimensional fury in the Sparrow Academy's basement is a question we likely won't get any answers to.

But wait – the Umbrellas didn't cause themselves to not exist! Did they?

Well, no. Despite their meddling in the 1960s, the Umbrella Academy kids would still have been born ... if not for the meddling of the mysterious Lester Pocket, who appears throughout the early episodes. It turns out that poor Lester is actually Harlan Cooper, the young boy imbued with Viktor's powers in season 2. And in a twist of fate, he's responsible for accidentally killing all of the Umbrella's mothers on October 1, 1989, before they can give birth to the Umbrellas.

It's this act that creates the Kugelblitz, dooming the universe to fold in on itself — unless it's stopped.

What happens at the end of season 3?

Okay, so the Umbrella Academy manages to stop the Kugelblitz and save the universe, right? Well, not exactly. Let's take a look at everything that happened at the end of Umbrella Academy Season 3. The finale sees the Hargreeves children, both Umbrellas and the remaining Sparrows, travel through a portal in the White Buffalo Suite of the Hotel Obsidian

It's here that they find the Hotel Oblivion. It's essentially a mirrored version of the Hotel Obsidian, but it hides an otherworldly secret. Sir Reginald Hargreeves reveals that the hotel on the other side contains a number of sigils that can be used to reset the universe — putting everything right before the whole of reality is destroyed. Their goal is to find the sigils, but the team isn't exactly up to the task. At this point, they've all pretty much resigned themselves to their fate. And much like the start of season 1, it takes a death to bring them together.

This time, it's Luther — unceremoniously killed by his father in an attempt to give the Umbrellas and Sparrows a reason to unite. But his is not the only death. After using Klaus to get closer to his kids, a cold, calculating Sir Reginald leaves him to die as the rest of the group escapes the destruction of all existence by exiting through the White Buffalo portal. Luckily, Klaus is getting used to the old death thing, and after meeting up with Luther in the afterlife they put two and two together, realizing that their dear old dad is up to no good.

Back in the Hotel Oblivion, the group has split up to look for those sigils, with Diego and Lila forming one group, Five, Viktor, and Alison forming another, while Ben and Sloane join forces. Sir Reginald lingers ominously in the hotel lobby.

But they manage to reset the universe, right?

Basically, yes ... we think. The Hotel, it turns out, is protected by an otherworldly defender: a samurai tasked with keeping out those who want to reset the universe. Yup, they have to take on an interdimensional warrior. But as each group encounters a different samurai, it turns out the Hotel isn't quite what it seems, its shifting corridors not quite obeying the laws of time and space.

It's not long before the samurai are bested, and with the return of Klaus (and a spectral Luther), Five works out that the sigils are a collection of stars on the lobby floor. There are 7 of them — a hint towards their father's original motives, perhaps? Five, Klaus, Viktor, Sloane, Ben, Diego, and Lila take their positions, and as the walls of the Hotel Oblivion begin to strip away, we find that the hotel is actually an interdimensional machine with Sir Reginald at the helm. And it's draining the life force of his children to power itself.

It's a sacrifice he is willing to make, and perhaps even planned for the entire time. But Allison won't go along with it, attacking and killing Sir Reginald before hitting a big red button on the machine. That's when everything goes black. 

Allison awakes in a taxi, getting out at her house, and going upstairs to find her daughter, Claire, asleep in her bed. It's an emotional moment; she's been mourning the loss of her daughter the entire season. But then the unexpected happens: her husband Ray appears at the bedroom door. Yep, the Ray she met in the 1960s who has nothing at all to do with Claire. And it gets weirder.

The rest of the gang steps out of an elevator into a park into the Obsidian Memorial Plaza, donated by Reginald Hargreeves on October 1, 1989.The camera zooms out to reveal Sir Reg is watching it all from a skyscraper — a Hargreeves International skyscraper, with other Hargreeves companies dominating the skyline. Stood next to him is his wife, Abigail, now definitely, 100% alive.

What does it all mean? I don't even know where to start...

What happens when the universe resets?

The answer to that one is incredibly complex and will likely come into play in season 4. However, we do know that the Umbrella Academy is back in one piece — literally. Although Diego lost two fingers earlier in the series, they are inexplicably intact when he exits the elevator. It also looks as though Five's injuries are no more. He lost his arm when the final samurai gate crashed the Hotel Obsidian lobby, echoing older Five's injuries when young Five found him in the Commission's bunker. But now his arm is back and looking better than ever.

Speaking of looking better than ever, Luther returns too. He and Klaus are no longer dead, but it's more than that; Luther's physique is noticeably different and more human. It turns out that he's no longer a half-ape hybrid, and he doesn't have his powers anymore, either. On closer inspection, neither does anybody else.

It turns out that the Umbrellas (as well as Sparrow Ben) have lost their powers, reducing them to ordinary people who are free to live their lives. If only it were that simple! But with an ominous glimpse of Sir Reginald watching over them, it looks as though they'll need to suit up once more ... If they can find a way to get their powers back.

Speaking of powers, it looks as though the Sparrow Academy is no more, with most of them disappearing without a trace. Ben is the only one to return (perhaps because he was also a member of the original Umbrella Academy) and that means Sloane, Luther's wife, is missing too. Oh no!

What happened to Sloane?

After resetting the universe, it looks as though the Sparrow Academy is nothing but a distant memory. Of course, Ben is back, but that doesn't exactly tell us much. Originally a member of the Umbrella Academy, it's unclear whether Ben is the Sparrow version or the Umbrella one. Perhaps he's neither, or a mixture of both? At this point, it's anybody's guess. It does mean that the Sparrows are looking pretty extinct — and that includes Sloane. Yes, she was part of the universal reset. But has it nixed the Sparrows for good?

At the moment that's incredibly unclear. Although we saw the Hargreeves kids leaving the elevator at the end of the season finale, we have no idea whether the Sparrows are still out there somewhere. It could mean that each of them has been supplanted back in their former lives, similar to where they were in the original timeline. After all, Sir Reg may have not decided to adopt them in this universe. And that means Sloane could be out there, none the wiser.

Obviously that's a kick in the teeth for Luther, who finally found love after several seasons of never, ever, getting the girl. But at least she would still be alive, right? The alternative is far less of a happy ending.

Essentially, we know our Umbrellas currently exist outside their own universe, and so too could the Sparrows. But that would mean that the version of Sloane that Luther knows and loves might have been bumped off in the season's final moments. It really all depends on what actually happened to Sloane in the Hotel Oblivion. Did she manage to escape? Was she drained of her life force entirely before the universe reset? Or did she suffer an even worse fate? For now, we'll have to wait and see.

Will the Sparrow Academy return?

That really depends on what actually happened to them. Throughout season 3 we saw the Sparrows meet a variety of untimely, and sticky ends. Marcus (Number One) was devoured by the Kugelblitz when he found it in the Sparrow Academy basement. Alphonso (Number Four) and Jayme (Number Six) are rather brutally exploded by Lester Pocket, the alter ego of Harlan Cooper who comes to the Umbrellas' aid during a stand-off at the Hotel Obsidian. There's a brief reprieve for a few episodes, but soon enough, the bodies continue to rack up.

Fei (Number Three) and Christopher (Number Seven) are taken out by the Kugelblitz after the Hargreeves clan mistakenly believes they've managed to contain the anomaly within Christopher — the Psykronian Cube of Unknown Origin. Unfortunately, they're wrong, causing Christopher to violently explode, killing both himself and Fei in the process. Grim. That leaves just Ben (Number Two) and Sloane (Number Five).

But wait – are the Sparrows really still dead? That bit is unclear. After all, Sir Reginald and the gang effectively resent the entire universe, and that could mean that the Sparrows' deaths never happened — at least, in this timeline. No, it's unlikely that the alternate timeline versions of the Sparrows will suddenly come back to life, but we could well find that Marcus, Alphonso, and the others do in fact exist in one way or another in this new universe. As I said, they likely remain with their mothers, much like the original timeline.

But what about Ben and Sloane? Appearing in both timelines as a Sparrow and an Umbrella, it looks as though Ben is safe. As for Sloane? She mysteriously disappeared, failing to exit the elevator with the others. And that doesn't look good.

Will Allison and Viktor become besties again?

It's no secret that these two siblings have err ... been through some stuff. "The Umbrella Academy" season 1 saw Viktor slash his sister's throat with a violin bow when he was on an altogether darker path. Narrowly avoiding becoming a supervillain, Viktor managed to repair his relationship with Allison. Just. But it looks as though things might be beyond repair this time around.

Despite everything, it's safe to say that Allison was incredibly supportive of Viktor's transition. It certainly says something that Viktor turned to Allison when he needed someone the most, and her response was some of the most sensitive television we've seen on the matter. However, their fresh, supportive relationship soon went sideways with the arrival of Lester Pocket aka Harlan Cooper.

It turns out that the Kugelblitz was all his fault, created when Harlan accidentally killed the Umbrella Academy's mothers when his own mother died on October 1, 1989. How did that even happen? Well, it's all down to Viktor's power, and how it got transferred to Harlan in the '60s. That's right –- it didn't get taken back from him, as we saw at the end of season 2, and it began to manifest once again after the Umbrellas had left.

Inexplicably connected in some strange way to Viktor and the rest of the Umbrella Academy, he can "feel" their presence like a vibration. And when he feels Viktor's presence on that fateful day when the Hargreeves children are born, he tries to reach out. Unfortunately, he can't control his powers, and accidentally kills all of their mothers before they can even be born — creating the Kugelblitz that tore Allison's daughter away from her. If that wasn't enough, Viktor then lied to Allison about it in an attempt to save Harlan.

Even after exacting her revenge and killing the aged Harlan, Allison clearly still holds a grudge. She may have Claire and Ray back in this new timeline, but for how long? And will Viktor forgive her?

Will Allison go full supervillain in the next season?

It's safe to say that Allison has had some issues in "The Umbrella Academy" season 3. Her daughter, Claire, ceased to exist in the new timeline they found themselves in, and when Allison realized that Harlan was responsible, she certainly didn't hold back. The Sparrows demanded Harlan be handed over to them as retribution for killing Alphonso and Jayme. Allison agreed, but she went even further.

After promising Viktor that she would look after Harlan, she ended up killing him herself. Her reasoning was that he was dangerous. But there was certainly an element of revenge, and you could see Allison reveled in it — especially after her little mission with Diego.

Unfortunately, it's more than just Harlan she hurts. That's right, I'm talking about Luther. At one point, Allison decides she's had enough of losing everything and everyone and forces Luther to stay with her. Obviously that already goes too far, but what she follows up with is even worse. "I heard a rumor that you wanted me," she whispers. It's completely unforgivable, taking away Luther's own choice in the matter. Sure, she comes to her sense, stopping short of rape, but the way she controls and manipulates someone she supposedly loves is utterly chilling.

Of course, Luther being Luther, he's quick to forgive her actions. But she's already gone too far, edging deep into villainous territory.

Will the Umbrella Academy get their powers back?

It's the big question: have the Umbrellas lost their powers for good? After seeing them emerge into this new reality completely powerless, it's a worrying thought, but I get the feeling it won't be long before the gang gets super-powered once more. Superheroes often go through periods where they lose their powers; it's something we've seen in comic books for decades. So expect to find the Umbrella Academy spending a few episodes early in season 4 desperately trying to get their powers back (or shunning them, in some cases).

But let's face it, it's more than likely that they'll eventually get back to the superhero status quo, with each of them firmly in control (or not) of their powers. At the moment, we don't know for certain whether "The Umbrella Academy" will be renewed for another season, but with plenty of plot threads left hanging, and a lot of fans, it feels like a dead cert. It's only a matter of time before Five needs his time-traveling abilities, or Allison needs to spread a new rumor. I'm just not sure Luther will be so fond of getting his hairy ape body back.

How did Ben return in the finale's post-credits scene?

Now, this was a tantalizing tease if ever there was one. It's no secret that Ben returned in corporeal form as a member of the Sparrow Academy, the alternate reality version of the Umbrella Academy that Sir Reginald created with different children. 

Well, not entirely different. Having never met Ben back in 1963, he still chose the boy to join his team of super-powered children when recruiting for the Sparrow Academy on October 1, 1989. But this Ben was different. Cocky and a bit overconfident, he was the driving force behind the Sparrow Academy until he finally learned to loosen up at Luther and Sloane's wedding. He eventually joins the gang in helping to save reality, going through the portal in the White Buffalo Suite to help reset the universe. But when all's done, an obviously very different Ben appears in the season's post-credit scene.

The scene itself is a simple one: Ben is depicted aboard a subway train in Korea, mirroring the season's opening scene, which depicts his mother moments before immaculately giving birth to her son. Now, the season has come full circle. Is Ben looking for his mother? It certainly looks that way ... but which Ben is it? He doesn't seem quite as angry as the Sparrow Ben we spent time with this season. So does that mean the original Ben is back? Does he exist alongside the new Ben?

So. Many. Questions. Let's hope "The Umbrella Academy" season 4 will eventually answer them!