‘The Umbrella Academy’: What Does Season 2 Sparrow Symbolism Mean for Season 3?

Season two of The Umbrella Academy certainly left viewers with some unanswered questions but now that Netflix has officially signed on for Season three fans of the show can’t wait to get some answers. The second season of the series offered a lot of advancement to the plot of season one, and everyone hopes that the third installment will follow suit.

The Umbrella Academy follows a group of adopted siblings with superpowers as they simultaneously work out their baggage from a dysfunctional childhood and prevent the apocalypse(s). Season two left audiences with a time travel-mangled timeline and the Hargreeves children returning to the modern-day only to find that their family had been replaced by the mysterious Sparrow Academy

So what does The Sparrow Academy mean for the Hargreeves siblings and did we get any hints before this big cliffhanger? In this article, we’ll look into everything the Sparrow Academy could mean for the world of The Umbrella Academy and why the name is significant.

Sparrow breadcrumbs in season 2

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There were TONS of hints of sparrow symbolism all over season 2. With a careful re-watch, it seems odd viewers didn’t notice right away. On four separate occasions in the first episode alone, one can see the sparrow logo, starting with the milk truck that the Swedes would later hijack.

At the beginning of the season, sparrows can mostly be seen hiding on signs and products in the background, but as the plot moves along, they quickly show up in much more prominent places than just simple Easter eggs.

'The Umbrella Academy' Carmichael
‘The Umbrella Academy’ Season 2 | Courtesy of Netflix

In episode 6 of season 2, the sparrow logo is displayed front and center on the invitation to the commission board meeting that The Handler gives Number Five. Already from this placement, it can be seen that the theme of sparrows is deeper than any temporal change that the Hargreeves made in the 1960s, with the Temps Commission already using this iconography openly prior to the timeline being changed.

Later, we see the younger, yet physically older Number Five (time travel headaches) has several documents in his briefcase from the Temps Commission stamped with the sparrow logo, including the notarized kill order by the head goldfish himself, AJ Carmichael. This further hammers home the point that sparrow iconography wasn’t a direct result of the timeline changes, though it probably also didn’t help.

How does Harlan fit into the puzzle?

Elliot Page as Vanya Hargreeves on 'The Umbrella Academy'
Elliot Page as Vanya Hargreeves on ‘The Umbrella Academy’ | Netflix

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Harlan is beyond mysterious for us at this point in the story. It was heavily implied that Vanya accidentally granted him powers while reviving him, and it was also heavily implied that Vanya took those powers back when talking him down from causing the apocalypse.

Nevertheless, Harlan can be seen levitating a toy on the car ride to a new life in California in the season finale. That toy also happens to be a wooden sparrow. Accidentally leaving a super-powered boy in the 1960s could massively change the timeline, but it can’t be a coincidence that this cliffhanger reveal came in the form of yet another sparrow.

Fans know that the team of The Umbrella Academy plans out their hints and foreshadowing well, and audiences can fully expect the payoff to be that Harlan is in some way directly involved in the formation of The Sparrow Academy. Reginald Hargreeves was, after all, very interested in adopting the children because of their superpowers. If Harlan was around decades before, he wouldn’t have to wait so long to get started.

The Sparrow Academy is here to stay

Justin H. Min as Ben Hargreeves in 'The Umbrella Academy'
Justin H. Min as Ben Hargreeves in ‘The Umbrella Academy’ | Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

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While Season 2 had plenty of sparrow iconography, viewers shouldn’t expect that theme to go away anytime soon. The Sparrow Academy and how they’ve led the timeline in a different direction than the original Hargreeves siblings will likely be the main focus of the next season. 

Even if season 3 offers some resolution to finding their own timeline, it’s unlikely that audiences ever walk away from this alternate Hargreeves family entirely. Expect sparrows to be around for a while. We definitely can’t wait to find much more about them in season 2.