The Umbrella Academy
Wedding at the End of the World
Photo: CHRISTOS KALOHORIDIS/NETFLIX
There’s a hypothetical question some people like to toss out after enough glasses of wine: If you had just one day left to live, how would you spend it?
At this late point in the third season, this question is not hypothetical for the Umbrellas, the two surviving Sparrows, or the few other lucky souls drifting around in the Hotel Obsidian. It might not be 24 hours exactly, but the world is ending. No one knows how to stop it (or, in Five’s case, if it should be stopped). Assuming we’re at the end of the line: How best to spend the time they have left?
The episode is structured around an event that promises a kind of defiant joy: the wedding of Luther and Sloane, who want to be formally bound together as they stare down the apocalypse. Conveniently, their wedding also doubles as a truce between the Umbrellas and the Sparrows, who failed to stop the kugelblitz but at least acknowledged that their petty differences were meaningless in the face of a much more serious threat.
Or in other words: This is a hangout episode, designed mostly to give us a heavy dose of these characters before the plot inevitably overwhelms them in the one-two punch of the last two episodes. It is as Umbrella Academy-y as Umbrella Academy gets — seriously, is this show trying to break the Guinness World Record for “dance montages squeezed into 50-odd minutes”? — but it’s also a winning showcase for the work of this very strong ensemble cast.
The first major beat is Luther’s bachelor party. Even though nearly everyone in the world is dead, both Reginald Hargreeves and Sparrow Ben are excluded. It’s not entirely clear to me why the latter is so upset to be left out since he’s literally always been an asshole to every single Umbrella, but I guess he needs some kind of arc to draw him even a little closer to the Ben we know and love.
But the real event is the wedding itself, which is lovely, in a fan service kind of way. Klaus officiates, sobbing all the way. Five gets hammered. Diego agrees that he’ll bail on attempting to cancel the apocalypse to spend his last days with Lila, who finally tells him she loves him. Ben sulks his way through the ceremony, but at least he attends it. Even Reginald Hargreeves shows up, albeit uninvited, and delivers a lovely toast to all his children: The ones he raised in this timeline and the ones he has accepted he raised in another one.
That leaves the great conflict of The Umbrella Academy’s third season: Viktor and Allison. Shortly before the ceremony, Luther begs Viktor to make peace with Allison. After all, how much time do any of them have left? Do they really want to waste it on rage instead of love?
This strikes me as a bigger concession for Viktor. He may have been the “villain” of previous episodes, but it has never felt like he was wholly responsible for season one’s apocalyptic event, which sprang from (1) uncontrollable powers, (2) a lifetime of abuse and neglect, and (3) manipulation and betrayal from Leonard Peabody, a liar who betrayed his trust. Allison had every reason to be angry that Viktor lied to her — but in the end, she made an active and calculated choice to murder Harlan.
So I was very much on Viktor’s side when he decides to be the bigger person and apologize for his role in everything that went wrong. And my heart breaks for him when Allison is so casually cruel in her reply — not just rejecting his apology but refusing to acknowledge that she had done anything that would require his forgiveness.
This is tragic, but mostly for Allison. She has spent the entire season groping desperately for love in the absence of Claire and Ray — even going so far as manipulating and assaulting Luther. Now, Viktor is literally standing in front of her, telling her he cares about her more than anything in the world, and she still rejects him.
It’s the kind of thing that might ruin a relationship so thoroughly that it’s beyond repair, so I guess it’s good news for Allison that none of this will matter when the entire universe collapses in a few days.
Or at least that’s what you’d think — because at the tail end of this lovably shaggy episode, the plot kicks back into high gear. As Five stumbles back to his hotel room, incredibly drunk, he spots Reginald talking to a mystery person in the White Buffalo Suite. The implication is clear: This alternate Reginald has been just as bad as the Reginald who raised the Umbrellas, feigning kindness while manipulating everyone for … well, whatever he originally intended from Project Oblivion. It might not be the honeymoon Luther and Sloane might have chosen, but there’s a hotel on the other side of that suite that might require all of Reginald’s children to plan a trip.
• So: Who is Reginald’s mystery partner? Ben? Allison? Pogo? Someone else? Leave your best guesses in the comments below (unless the suspense was too much and you already jumped to the next episode).
• Chet the Desk Clerk’s full name is Chet Rodo, which is weird enough that I spent way too long trying to figure out if it was an anagram for something. (For the record, my best guess was “Tech Door.”)
• Klaus compares Reginald to a turtle: “Hard on the outside, but all cute and wrinkly and occasionally delicious on the inside.”
• Music in this episode (mostly karaoke): Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” as performed by Luther; “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, as performed by Five and Klaus and the rest of the Umbrellas; a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” by The Rescues, during the wedding celebration; and “Come In, Mr. Lonely,” by Jerry Dyke, as performed by a very drunk Five.
• That said, Luther’s performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” owes more to Old School than Bonnie Tyler.
• I absolutely teared up when Luther asked Viktor to be his Best Man.
• Nice shoutout to the Large “Hard-On” Collider.
The Umbrella Academy Recap: My Big Fat Apocalypse Wedding