Umbrella Academy’s Mysterious New Character Raises an Interesting Question

Umbrella Academy’s Mysterious New Character Raises an Interesting Question
Ritu Arya as Lila Pitts. (Screenshot: Netflix)

Though The Umbrella Academy’s second season mainly focuses on the Hargreeves siblings trying to figure out how they’re involved in JFK’s assassination and how to avert another apocalypse, the show also does a fair amount of worldbuilding. It introduces a number of new characters, one of whom raises a rather interesting question about their universe.

Because Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) isn’t used to bringing multiple people with him as he jumps through time and space, the Hargreeveses accidentally end up being separated throughout the ‘60s as season two begins. Left to their own devices, each family member ends up figuring out a way to fit into the past, all the while never quite knowing if and how they might end up back in the present.

For some of them, like Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) and Klaus (Robert Sheehan), it’s only but so difficult to carve out a new space for themselves, but things end up being rather complicated for Diego (David Castañeda), who unsurprisingly winds up being stuck in a mental health facility alongside Lila Pitta (Ritu Arya), a woman who’s just as unhinged as he is.

Image: Jim CookImage: Jim Cook

While Lila’s introduced as a sort of “manic pixie dream girl” love interest for Diego, she quickly becomes part of the Umbrella Academy’s inner circle after she helps him break out and find his family. Wild as Diego’s life is — something Lila comes to understand rather suddenly — nothing about him seems to surprise her, even as they’re running for their lives and being hunted by a trio of Swedish assassins.

Lila’s unflappability goes largely unexamined for the bulk of the season until it’s revealed that the Handler (Kate Walsh) adopted her after her parents were killed by a version of Number Five at her behest. Lila being in league with the Handler is the sort of twist that you can see coming from a mile away, but she does end up complicating the series in another interesting way when The Umbrella Academy establishes that she shares a birthday with the Hargreeveses. Yes, she’s another miracle child and has the ability to mimic all of their powers and with a higher degree of control and skill.

Lila’s superpowers raise the interesting question of what’s become of the other 35 people that were born that day, but did not end up joining the Umbrella Academy either because Reginald Hargreeves overlooked them or because the children’s families refused to give them up at the time. When Lila learns of the role that the Handler’s played in her family’s deaths, she’s understandably devastated and left feeling a different kind of loneliness even though the Umbrella Academy could become her new oddball family were she to let them in.

Lila’s newly revealed existence opens the possibility for future arcs in The Umbrella Academy in which more powered people pop up and potentially cause other kinds of problems that the Hargreeveses aren’t all that accustomed to dealing with. It very much feels as if the show is hinting at that being in its future when it’s revealed that Vanya inadvertently gives her lover Sissy’s son a portion of her power to save his life. After two seasons of focusing on the Hargreeveses saving the world from an apocalypse of their own making, The Umbrella Academy could use a significant change of pace and a new sort of dynamic to complicate their superheroics.

The team’s never really had other people or a group out there rivaling them or working to actively cause chaos in the world, but giving them superhuman enemies would take the series in a new direction and give the show an opportunity to ape a different sort of comic book trope. When the Hargreeveses ultimately end up in the present once again, the consequences of their meddling in the past are immediately apparent as they realise that both their father and Ben are still quite alive, and the Umbrella Academy — now called the Sparrow Academy — is seemingly composed of a group of entirely new people. The implication here is that those other people, like Lila and the Hargreeves siblings, were also born with abilities, meaning that they could make for formidable foes down the road.

The question now is whether Netflix is actually going to end up renewing The Umbrella Academy for a third season.