In Umbrella Academy’s penultimate episode of season 2, “743,” one of the Hargreeves willingly makes the sacrifice to save Vanya from triggering doomsday again.
Secrets are revealed at the Commission regarding kill order #743 as well as another cataclysmic anomaly, Five and Luther deal with Five’s doppelganger, and Reginald Hargreeves shows his true face, literally.
This episode is a spectacular installment as several narratives fell into place and seemingly unrelated plot points are revealed to hold greater importance than they’re made out to be, including clever connections from season 1 that paid off well in this episode.
The best highlight, however, belongs to Vanya and her unexpected savior, Ben.
Ben Saves Vanya And The World From Ending
Following Diego’s discovery in the previous episode that Vanya once again triggers the apocalypse, he, Klaus, and Allison go to the FBI building she’s detained at to try and prevent the explosion from happening. The three of them valiantly try but fail nonetheless as they can’t get close enough to Vanya.
In one hilarious exchange of dialogue, Klaus fearing for their lives tells Diego just in case they don’t live through this.
“You look like Antonio Banderas with the long hair,” says Klaus, as Diego replies with a genuine face “Thanks, man.”
The dialogue is a great way to undercut the dangerous situation and works well to set up Klaus’ heroic attempt as he was the closest to reach Vanya.
After seeing his siblings fail to save Vanya, Ben decides to try as he’s physically unaffected by Vanya’s powers. He possesses Vanya’s body and enters her mind.
He ends up in the hallucinated dream world that Vanya created where she trapped herself in as she remembers everything she did in season 1 and becomes depressed.
A heartbreaking dialogue between the two follows as Vanya says, “I’m a monster.”
Ben, in the most emotionally captivating monologue this season that’s worth watching over and over again, proceeds to encourage her sister.
One line in particular tugs at the heartstrings when he says, “You’re not a monster, you’re my sister.”
His words reach Vanya and her powerful dispersal of energy in the real world begins to dissipate. However, soon after Ben reveals that her powers have taken their toll on his soul and he begins to disintegrate.
He bids a heartfelt farewell to Vanya and asks a simple request: “Can you hug me as I go?” (cue tears… damn ninjas cutting onions again!)
Vanya hugs her brother tightly as he slowly fades away, and right before Ben completely goes, he leaves a message with Vanya to tell Klaus.
Kill Order #743
Following Herb’s act of mutiny in helping Diego escape from the Commission, the Handler intimidates Herb into telling Lila that Diego betrayed her.
Meanwhile, AJ who’s trapped in a fishbowl manages to signal Herb to investigate the archives for Kill Order #743. Herb finds it and relays the information to Lila who proceeds to seemingly confront her mother about it.
However, Lila misinterprets the order as authorized by AJ when it was actually the Handler who gave the order.
The job is revealed to have been carried out by none other than Five to kill Lila’s real parents (as shown in episode 4), which urges Lila to want revenge on him.
The Handler takes advantage of her daughter by manipulating her into believing that the Hargreeves brothers were conspiring from the beginning and that she was a pawn in their plan all along. Lila seems convinced.
In a bizarre scene, after realizing that AJ somehow alerted Herb of the order, she proceeds to eat the helpless goldfish alive.
Meanwhile, an anomaly is detected by the Infinite Switchboard. The Handler is alerted and keeps it a secret, and proceeds to kill the employee who discovered it.
Before the episode ends, she ominously declares “Recall all personnel from the field… we’re going to war!”
The scene then cuts to the farmhouse where Sissy and Harlan live as a powerful glow akin to Vanya’s powers starts to shine. Setting up a final mystery for the finale.
Five Versus Five
After Five and Luther find Five’s doppelganger, they accompany him to the grassy knoll where he was supposed to ensure JFK’s assassination.
Everything seems fine until both Fives succumb to the final stage of paradox psychosis, “Homicidal Rage.”
The two Fives duke it out in an awesome slow-motion fight scene displaying their teleportation powers to the cleverly chosen tune of “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol.
Little Five also hilariously kicks Luther in the gonads to stop him from interfering with the fight.
In a classic twist, however, Luther manages to secure a rifle and has to choose which Five to shoot. He seemingly decides to shoot little Five but ultimately knocks the other Five out.
In a clever easter egg referencing a scene in episode 1 season 1, as little Five opens the temporal portal back to 2019 to get rid of his doppelganger, a fire extinguisher thrown by Klaus goes through the portal and knocks Luther out, which gives the other Five a chance to break free.
In the original scene, Klaus throwing the fire extinguisher only seemed like a throwaway gag for comedic relief, so for it to come back into play as a minor plot twist definitely paid off as a great nod to fans paying attention to every detail.
It also implies that the Umbrella Academy’s timelines from season 1 and this season are part of a loop where the events that are happening have happened already, and are happening as they should. (I know that sentence is confusing but so is time-travel, so bear with me)
In the end, Five’s older-looking doppelganger goes through the portal but in the process, the time-traveling briefcase is damaged and left unusable.
- Harlan is confirmed to possess some of Vanya’s powers as he deflects a bullet accidentally shot by Carl while trying to pry the shotgun away from Sissy. The bullet ricochets off Harlan and accidentally hits and kills Carl.
- Reginald is shown confronting the shadowy “Majestic 12” group after JFK’s assassination and it’s revealed that he did not want JFK to be killed as part of their deal. He tries to sever ties with them since he was lied to but a member of the organization threatens to expose him. An enraged Reginald then takes off his face, revealing that he’s more than what he seems to be and kills the members of the organization – in the comics, he’s an alien in disguise, which the show seems to be accurately adopting.
- Diego is revealed to be the infamous man running across the grassy knoll in the JFK assassination footage as he tried to save the president from being killed.
- Reginal, or rather his decoy, is implied to be the infamous “umbrella man” whom historical theorists also suspected had some ties to the JFK assassination.
This episode was packed with so many great scenes and dialogue that takes the viewer on a great emotional ride. The action scenes with Five were also epic but Ben saving Vanya was definitely the impetus of the episode that followed through with a strong narrative and a mysterious ending to boot, which leaves the audience anxiously anticipating what the finale of this season has to offer!