First we have to know just what it was that caused the apocalypse that Five found himself in after he time traveled that first time.
Spoilers to follow:
So here we go.
Cause of the apocalypse?
That’s right, sibling #7, the one with no powers. Turns out she does have powers. In fact, she has the most dangerous power of all of them. She can somehow draw on power sources and turn herself into a sort of bomb! We discover that Reggie discovered her power early on, tried to train her to be able to control it, but was unsuccessful. So instead of dealing with it, he first traumatized her by locking her in a cell in the basement, then later having Allison “rumor” her to forget that she has powers. She’s spent her entire life believing she’s useless and being treated like an outcast by Reggie and by her siblings.
See, Five found a clue in the apocalypse. Luther held in his hand an unusual item — someone’s glass eye. So when Five returns, he begins a search for the owner of the eye. It has a serial number on it. It must lead somewhere.
Meanwhile, Vanya has met a guy. He shows up at her place for a violin lesson. She’s expecting a little kid named Leonard Peabody, but Leonard is a grown man. She gives him a lesson, and he’s so nice, so understanding, so self-deprecating. He gives her a little carving he made, and tells her that he has a shop in town where he displays and sells his creations. He’s a bit of a mystery, but he seems really nice. He’s caught by Allison inside Vanya’s apartment, but he has a great explanation. She left her keys at his place (?) and he was dropping them off along with a bouquet of flowers!
We are also shown Klaus trying to steal things from Reggie’s study, anything he can sell to get money for drugs. He’s caught by Luther, who tells him to leave all of it, and so he does — all but one thing, a beautiful ornamental box. Klaus opens the box, tosses its contents into a dumpster, and proceeds to enjoy the spoils of his acquisition. Seems very Klaus-like, in fact. Exactly the kind of thing Klaus would do.
Later, Pogo asks the entire family about the box. It seems that he know that Klaus was the likely thief, but didn’t want to accuse him. He states that the CONTENTS of the box, not the box itself, were priceless. Everyone looks at Klaus, but he professes innocence. Pogo says something about looking past the theft of the box if the contents, which were a notebook and some papers, were returned.
Klaus makes a beeline for the dumpster and begins searching it for the notebook and papers, but to no avail. They are gone. Klaus gives up.
So here we have the first of the events leading up to the apocalypse. If Reggie doesn’t die, Klaus doesn’t return to the mansion. If Klaus doesn’t return, then he never loses the contents of the box. Reggie’s secrets remain safe. What are these secrets? We don’t know. But I believe that this whole thing is a fork in the road to possible futures in the show.
EVENT 1: REGGIE DIES, KLAUS STEALS REGGIES NOTEBOOK, SOMEONE GETS THE NOTEBOOK AND LEARNS SOME OF REGGIE’S SECRETS
The Day That Wasn’t and The Day That Was are two of my favorite episodes of Season 1. Five leaves in search of answers to what to do about this apocalypse even as a pair of assassins continue to hunt for him and attack the mansion, fighting with the remaining siblings and battling them to a virtual draw. When the Umbrellas realize that there seems to be nothing they can do about the impending destruction of the world, they move on. At some point we learn who has the missing notebook and papers and it turns out that it’s Leonard.
Who the heck is this guy? We find out that as a child, he was a wanna-be Umbrella Academy fanboy who has the same birthday. He grrew up imagining that he has special powers like they do. When Reggie cruelly spurned him, he decided he will get revenge someday. He grew up in an abusive household, and it turns out he killed his father. He’s read Reggie’s notes, and he knows that Vanya has incredibly strong powers, which he works to get her to first release, then control. He takes her to his grandparents’ lake house where they work at this.
Allison decides to return to her daughter in Los Angeles. And Luther, who she’s been in love with since they were kids, is going with her. He has also been in love with her. They have a lovely moment dancing to the song Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader (a great cover of a song by King Harvest). Everyone is moving on with their lives for better or for worse. They’ve accepted that there will be an apocalypse. And they’re letting it happen, because without Five they stand no chance of stopping it.
And then Vanya finds the notebook.
This would seem to be turning point number 2. How will Vanya react to this? Will she realize that Leonard is manipulating her? Or will she focus her anger on the Umbrella Academy? No matter what, it does not seem like the apocalypse will be the same one that Five found himself in the aftermath of. The Umbrellas are dispersing. They aren’t at the Mansion for Vanya to kill.
Will we find out? No, because Five does not stay missing. In fact, he returns at the beginning of the Day That Wasn’t.
So that day never happens. This is event number 3. Five returns and says something about knowing how to stop the apocalypse. This event leads us into “The Day That Was.” The Umbrellas piece together what’s happening with Vanya. They still don’t know about her powers, but they realize that this Leonard guy is bad news.
Allison confronts Vanya and Leonard and gets her throat slashed by Vanya’s violin bow as she attempts to “rumor” her sister. They rush Allison to the Mansion, where Pogo treats her. And all seems to be forgiven with Vanya, when Luther hugs her until she passes out, and then locks her in the chamber where she was locked as a child by Reggie.
Event number 4: If Luther doesn’t do this to Vanya, do any of the rest of the apocalyptic events happen? Vanya’s powers are too strong to be contained, and she goes to the theater where she is now the concertmaster, first chair violin. The White Violin. The instrument helps her focus her powers.
The Umbrellas gather in the theater to try to save the concert’s attendees. Vanya tries to kill them, and they fight against her. Her powers are magnified by sound, and Allison ends up discharging a gun next to her ear. So instead of her explosion (she’s kind of a little nuclear bomb) hitting the theater, it is aimed at the Moon.
Vanya destroys the moon. So as the apocalypse rages, Five gathers his siblings and teleports, and time travels, out of there.
And an apocalypse occurs. It’s not the same as the one Five visited. The Umbrellas aren’t killed in it defending the Mansion. But all the same, it’s an apocalypse.
If Allison doesn’t act with the gun, does Vanya’s blast just destroy the theater, instead of hitting the moon? Maybe. This is, in my view, event number 5.
Everything the Umbrellas do leads to an apocalypse. Everything that happens in season one has to happen in the way it does for the apocalypse to occur and the Umbrellas to survive it, including Reggie’s death, which is finally revealed to be a suicide designed to get all the Umbrellas back in the Mansion and in contact with each other. Reggie’s death is event number 6, but in a way, it’s event number 1 — the precursor necessary event for everything that happens to happen. If they don’t get together, does the apocalypse happen?
I’d say it doesn’t. If any one of these events doesn’t go the way that it does go, there is no apocalypse.
Makes you wonder just who’s manipulating events here. And why.