The Ending of 'The Umbrella Academy' Season 3, Explained

The Netflix hit's finale resets its universe yet again.

umbrella academy season 3 ending explained netflix
(Image credit: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix)

Season 3 of the Netflix hit The Umbrella Academy sets up another apocalypse, with the Umbrellas causing a grandfather paradox and setting off a Kugelblitz, a shining black hole that slowly sucks up the universe. If that isn't enough to deal with, the seven heroes have also been kicked out of their house by their manipulative father, hunkering down in the Hotel Obsidian after pissing off a new team of heroes called The Sparrow Academy. There are several fun plots crammed into the new episodes, from a Romeo and Juliet romance to forced father-son bonding. 

By the finale of the 10-episode run, the world has already been destroyed. The show goes farther than ever in terms of shock value, killing off most of the Sparrows and two of the Umbrellas before we even get to the massive end cliffhanger.

The Hotel Oblivion is a maze with multiple guardians.

The finale starts with the remaining Umbrellas and Sparrows—Five, Viktor, Allison, Diego, Lila, Sparrow Ben, and Sloane—emerging into the mirror of the White Buffalo Room, with Hargreeves on their tail and claiming that the Kugelblitz swallowed Klaus. Five doesn't believe him, but the group is more focused on taking out the Hotel Oblivion guardian and figuring out how to reset the universe.

We get some emotional beats as the family prepares to fight the guardian. Five tries to convince Viktor that their dad killed Klaus and Luther, and he suspects that Allison was in on it. She did make the deal with Hargreeves to get everyone into the portal, but she didn't know he would kill Luther to accomplish it. Despite her misgivings, Allison will do anything for the chance to get her daughter back, so she goes along with the elder's plan: defeat the guardian and find the sigil of the seven bells.

As the heroes are searching the different floors of the hotel for the sigil, Hargreeves leans into being The Worst by ringing the bell and unleashing the guardian while they're unprepared and separated. It turns out that the hotel is a sort of multi-dimensional maze with multiple guardians for each numbered path. The family members can be on the same level, go in different directions, and be separated into different paths attacking different themes of guardians, from a medieval warrior to a samurai.

Klaus and Luther return from the dead (sort of).

While the Sparbrellows have been dealing with the hotel guardian, Klaus and Luther have been chilling in the desert afterlife, watching television and eating Hawaiian pizza as the familiar girl on a bike  rides by. (The scientist on TV does a little foreshadowing speech about the universe riding on "the horns of a white buffalo.") 

Klaus has accepted his fate, but Luther's pissed at Hargreeves and still reeling that his dad's been an alien this whole time. He fights Klaus throughout several versions of heaving, convincing him to figure out how to get back to the land of the living and save the family (mostly Sloane, but still). Klaus does figure out how to get to the Oblivion lobby and confront Hargreeves, but the tycoon just knocks him out after admitting to killing Luther.

Despite their bickering and personal dramas (including Five mistrusting Allison, Diego and Lilia's baby drama, and Sparrow Ben being an overall jerk), the two families are still more powerful working together, and they defeat all the guardians. They converge in the center of the hotel and find Klaus, before the Boss Guardian gets the drop on them. It looks like they're going to lose, with everyone getting beat up and Five even losing an arm, before a familiar face comes to the rescue.

As the guardian gets his hands on Sloane, Luther appears, having been conjured by Klaus. This vision of Luther is corporeal, and is able to embrace Sloane and tell off his father (could off punched him as well, but he focuses on Sloane). The newlyweds are able to have a sweet goodbye before Klaus loses Luther, with him telling her, "I will love you forever."

The remaining heroes are the seven keys.

Because nothing can be easy in this show, the Boss Guardian is only knocked out long enough for Luther's emotional goodbye. As it wakes up, Five yells that he's found the sigil in the lobby floor. Six out of seven step on the stars, with Hargreeves holding Allison back. When Five makes it to the last star, electricity shoots between the seven and the guardian, finally killing it.

The hotel's edifice melts away to gold, futuristic panels as rays of light begin sucking out the life force of everyone standing on the stars. The Oblivion is a machine powered by the same particles that gave the Sparbrellows their powers, and Hargreeves doesn't care that the members will die so he can reset the universe. Allison refuses to let him sacrifice her family, so she kills him instead, with a sickle to the head revealing his alien organs and green blood.  The seven are released, but the machine is ready to go, with just a red button separating Allison from the universe she wants. Viktor starts to stop her, but instead decides to trust her, and she resets the world.

The timeline resets, and Hargreeves rules the world.

The first thing we see of the new timeline is Allison arriving at her old house to look for Claire. Unlike earlier in the season, the girl in the room is her daughter, and they finally reunite. Also, Ray's there instead of her ex-husband, somehow brought from the '60s to the present day.

Back in New York, Diego, Klaus, Five, Viktor, Lila, Sparrow Ben, and Luther emerge from an elevator into an open courtyard where the hotel used to be, in its place a bust of Hargreeves dated with the day the Sparbrellows were born. The seven heroes' injuries are gone—Diego and Five's appendages have grown back—and they seem to have lost their powers. Not only is Luther alive, he's back in his old de-ape-ified body, but Sloane has disappeared.

Everyone splits up: Luther goes to look for Sloane, with Klaus following his "fragile" newly-undead brother; Sparrow Ben calls them "bitches" and dips; Diego and Lila run off to bang probably; and Five and Viktor are left confused at their reemergence into the world. The last shot of the season shows just how strange that world is, zooming through a skyline of Hargreeves skyscrapers up to a perch where the tycoon is ruling over it all, with his reincarnated wife Abigail at his side.

Actually, that was the second-to-last shot of the season. In surprise mid-credits scene, set in a Seoul subway car mirroring the opening flashback, we see a kinder version of Ben smiling as sparks reflect behind him. Before your minds go wild, showrunner Steve Blackman confirmed in an interview with Collider that this is "the Ben we know from Season 3." How Sparrow Ben gets from "later bitches" to that kind smile will be an interesting story.

We have so many questions for Season 4.

It's no surprise that season 3 ended on yet another huge cliffhanger, but this time, fans have very little insight into what comes next. The first three seasons of the show followed the three volumes of Umbrella Academy comics; they diverge heavily from the plot but their overall themes still matched the shows trajectory. (Their titles Apocalypse Suite, Dallas, and Hotel Oblivion, could also be descriptors for each season.) The upcoming fourth volume, Sparrow Academy, is still forthcoming, but it reportedly influenced season 3.

All fan theorists have to theorize with for The Umbrella Academy season 4 is the information from the final three scenes (Allison, Umbrellas, and mid-credit). It looks like Hargreeves going to finally upgrade from Worst Dad Ever to Active Big Bad in an upcoming season, since the Umbrellas probably are not going to mesh well with the new timeline. (We wouldn't be surprised if the old man sees them as loose ends and plans to wipe them out.) 

Allison's also a loose thread, as she's separated from the Umbrellas in her final scene. While her siblings have all been healed and cleaned up, she still has a wound on her arm. She could also still have her powers, which she'd use to stop them from creating any timeline where she loses Claire or Ray. In other words, we're not getting rid of Dark Allison anytime soon.

All that said, Netflix still hasn't announced the show's renewal yet, so there's plenty of time for our minds to run wild after that huge cliffhanger. The show's been no. 1 since its premiere, so here's hoping fans will get the green light soon.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.