Reginald Hargreeves is a central character on Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, in both Season 1 and Season 2. In fact, he’s the person who first put the entire group together. But as you’re watching Season 2, you might need a refresher on how he died. Just what happened?
This post has major spoilers for Season 1.
Reginald Hargreeves’ death was a little more confusing than you might remember. On the TV show, Season 1 begins with all his children learning that he died. They have to come back together for his funeral, despite staying apart for so long. At first, Pogo tells the siblings that Reginald died of a heart attack. But Luther is always skeptical of this explanation.
Viewers eventually learn in Episode 7 that Reginald orchestrated his own death. When Klaus is killed and goes to the afterlife, Reginald tells him that he committed suicide so his children would reunite and stop the end of the world. He said only something momentous would bring them all back together. Some might argue this isn’t a reliable source and maybe Klaus was just hallucinating, but Pogo then confirms the news, admitting that both he and Mom helped Reginald.
This revelation brings up an interesting question. Vanya destroyed the world after she learned about how her father had drugged her. She felt betrayed by her siblings. With no way to express her rage, she eventually lashed out in anger, seeking revenge. In one of the final scenes of Season 1, after her concert, Vanya is gaining more and more power and becoming increasingly dangerous. Allison considers shooting her in the head. Rather than doing this, she shoots next to Vanya’s head to break her concentration so they can escape. Vanya passes out, but all the energy she was building up escapes from her chest and hits the moon. The moon explodes and rains down pieces onto the Earth, causing the apocalypse they were all trying to avoid. Five gathers everyone together to travel back in time and try to stop the apocalypse at an earlier point in history.
Many could argue that it was Reginald’s suicide that ultimately brought all the children to this situation where Vanya destroyed the world. Perhaps if he had not died, things would have played out differently. So was Reginald wrong and he didn’t need to die to save them? Did he read the situation wrong? Or was the world going to end because of something else anyway, and all Reginald did was change how the world ended?
Reginald is from a different world, as we saw in the final episode of Season 1. (Or at the very least, he’s from a different time period in Earth’s timeline.) Some viewers have suggested that he had a special “power” of some sort to understand that his suicide was indeed the only way to ultimately save Earth, even though we as viewers can’t see the full story at this time.
Interestingly, the comics portray his death in a more straightforward manner. According to The Umbrella Academy Wiki, in the comics, Reginald simply died of a heart attack.