15

While it's reasonably clear that

Vanya

is the root cause of the Apocalypse in both the timeline where Five lived after the event and the timeline where he came back to try to stop it, are the mechanics of the event different each time?

It would seem a missing moon would be something Five should have noticed and would have provided some big rabbit holes to chase dead ends down especially given that Luther spent years living there.

  • If anyone has a good idea of where to put spoiler tags for this I'd be happy to see it edited. Everything I think of either gives something away, or is just one big Spoiler block. – Jontia Mar 11 at 15:00
  • I think I remember a throw-away line by 5 about the moon. After he returned from working for the handler, maybe. Definitely later in the series. – eshier Mar 11 at 15:13
  • 4
    @eshier At some point, Luther says "I have a feeling it has something to do with the moon". Of course, he says this because he was sent there for a few years, but it's good foreshadowing nonetheless. – Parrotmaster Mar 11 at 15:34
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    @Parrotmaster It's more than Luther's comment. In the final episode, after the mansion's destruction, Number 5 says, "When I found it, I assumed this place came down along with everything else. But here we are. The Moon's still shining, the Earth is in one piece, but not the Academy." From this transcript site (emphasis mine). – eshier Mar 11 at 15:55
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    The comment from 5 struck me since it was really the first implication I caught that the moon might not be shining. Tied in to Luther's time there and our general lack of knowledge about what or how Hargreeves knew about the apocalypse, I just sort of blew it off until the ending. Practically, it seemed like the moon discussion was something that got cut for time/flow issues. "The Moon's still shining" is an odd enough turn of phrase that it's noticeable and, frankly, deliberate. – eshier Mar 11 at 16:08
19

The nature of time in the Umbrella Academy seems to be somewhat malleable with the exception of key "events" that must happen (according to the Commission). The Handler notes that the Commission struggles between keeping the timeline intact and giving the humans free-will. So a time-traveler could go back in time and change events as long as they don't change key events.

Spoilers about the entirety of the final episode so read at your own will

There were actually some changes between what Number 5 witnessed and how events unfolded:

  1. In the future, Luther was holding a glass eye. In the present, Leonard lost his eye, but never got a glass one. There was no other character that had a glass eye so Luther could not have grabbed one.
  2. In the future, Leonard would have been at the concert for Luther to have removed his eye. In the present, he was not there.
  3. In the future, Number 5 did not find himself in the rubble indicating that he was not there. In the present, he was clearly there.
  4. In the future, he found everyone's bodies. In the present, everyone was transported away.
  5. (I may be remembering this wrong). In the future, Number 5 found everyone at the mansion. In the present, they were at the concert hall.

The important thing was that the apocalypse had to happen and that Vanya had to cause it. That was what the Commission sent Hazel and Cha-cha to ensure. How it happened didn't matter. Number 5 even states:

The apocalypse will always happen and Vanya will always be the cause, unless we take her with us and fix her.

He doesn't mention that Vanya had to blow up or destroy the moon. Just that Vanya had to set off a series of events that causes the apocalypse. So it is possible that if they go back and try again without trying to "fix" her, then instead of destroying the moon, she would cause some other kind of apocalyptic event.

  • 3
    "In the future, Luther had a glass eye." It might be better to word that as "holding" to avoid the interpretation that he had one of his eyes replaced with a glass one. – Acccumulation Mar 11 at 17:12
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    It wasn't guaranteed that Luther removed Leonard's eye. Up until Number 5 smashed it, I thought Luther would somehow get the eye from him and end up holding it anyway. – MartianInvader Mar 11 at 23:34
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    @MartianInvader Number 5 smashed the future glass eye, not the one from the present. Using the "future" glass eye as the "past" one is a bit of a trope, but actually entropically invalid; any such eye going on infinite numbers of loops like that would decay. The "future" eye could not be the past eye. – Yakk Mar 12 at 12:16
12

It's more than Luther's time on the moon or his assumptions earlier that it had to do with that. In the final episode, after the mansion's destruction, Number 5 says,

"When I found it, I assumed this place came down along with everything else. But here we are. The Moon's still shining, the Earth is in one piece, but not the Academy."

From this transcript site (emphasis mine)

The comment from 5 struck me since it was really the first implication I caught that the moon might not be shining. Tied in to Luther's time there and our general lack of knowledge about what or how Hargreeves knew about the apocalypse, I just sort of blew it off until the ending. Practically, it seemed like the moon discussion was something that got cut for time/flow issues. "The Moon's still shining" is an odd enough turn of phrase but close enough to a common one (The sun's still shining) that it's noticeable and, frankly, deliberate.

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    The whole moon thing bothers me. The moon is in orbit around the Earth. If a beam from the earth split off parts of the moon, those pieces would not lose their angular momentum. THey would enter an elliptical orbit around the earth. When that orbit decays enough, they will graze the atmosphere and burn up harmlessly. They would not fall straight from the moon down to the Earth as depicted. – Paul Chernoch Mar 11 at 17:29
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    Also consider that the moon piece took a handful of seconds to reach earth. The moon fragment was somehow propelled directly towards Earth at an appreciable percentage of c (for reference, the Apollo missions took about 3 days to cover the same distance). Any event energetic enough to cause that probably wouldn't leave much of the Moon left afterwards. – azurefrog Mar 11 at 17:52
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    @PaulChernoch Neal Stephenson's novel Seveneves involves a similar thing. Everyone assumed things would go as you suggest but large fragments bumping in to each other causes chunks to drop out of orbit at steep angles and a lot of damage to the earths surface. The physics in that seem very plausible. Azurefrog's point about how fast the fragments reach earth is valid too and makes any discussion about regular orbital mechanics futile. Something very very odd is clearly happening there. – Eric Nolan Mar 12 at 11:42
6

The specifics of the timing/and or trigger may have been somewhat different however:

Look at Grace's embroidery back in episode 3. I'll try to find an image to include when I'm off of work, but for now you can see one here:The Umbrella Academy's Ending Was Revealed In Episode 3

I think it must be clear that Sir Reginald Hargreeves

knew more then he was ever able to pass on. His meeting with Klaus was interrupted just as he was about to start spilling important info.

1

This isn't an answer, precisely, but I would say that the in the television series it is demonstrated that events can change. In the finale, Luther never met anyone with a prosthetic eye to yank out, so even if they had been caught in the apocalypse Five never would have found him clutching the eye in his hand. The timeline has been altered. Also, it's only my opinion, but I think that the destruction in the finale would have been much more complete than the shots of the ruined world we saw Five wandering in during the series. The world was relatively intact in Five's lonely post-apocalyptic world. The events of the finale were worse for the planet than the events Five escaped from.

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