Words by Priya Sridhar
The Umbrella Academy’s third season was filled with plenty of twists and turns, even for those who had been watching since the show’s premiere on Netflix. The Umbrellas found out their adoptive father had replaced them in a new timeline, while still wanting to use them for his own ends. They also learn that their time travel had caused a paradox that threatens to wipe out all of existence. Also, a hotel has an entire room that exists outside of the time continuum, whose secret may be worse than anything they have encountered.
One scene, in particular, caught my eye: Lila Pitt’s stay in Berlin. Lila is one of the minor season two characters, who I believe gets the best arc in season three. She goes from an Umbrella antagonist to an honorary Hargreeves. Reginald recognizes her as such, which is a gift and curse.
This painful time in Berlin eventually earned Lila a happy ending with the Hargreeves siblings. While on the surface she was burying her sorrow and rage in punk rock (who among us hasn’t?), she actually needed space to process her hurt and confusion that she was just a pawn.
If you haven’t seen season three of The Umbrella Academy, then you should go ahead and watch before reading this article. I’m going to be talking about the episodes in detail.
You have been warned about SPOILERS.
Lila spent most of season two spying on Diego in the 1960s and doing her adoptive mother’s bidding. The Handler had plans for using Five to take over the Commission and then getting her revenge on him and his siblings. In season three, Lila opted to find Diego, pretend that a boy named Stan is their son displaced by time, and test the two bonding. She then found herself stranded in the present, with no working briefcases. Lila and Five learn that a time paradox called the Kugelblitz was eating up the continuum and managed to wipe out the Commission. It eats up Stan, just as Lila confesses that he’s not their kid. She also reveals that she’s pregnant, and wanted to test Diego about if he would be a good father.
Season three shows that the Time Commission wanted to scapegoat Lila for the Handler's crimes. Herb, the new Commissioner, was more reasonable; he offered to send Lila to any time and place that she wanted. While Lila and the Board saw this as a punishment, it became a second chance. For the first time, Lila had a choice of what to do with her life. She requested 1989 Berlin, when the Wall came tumbling with the Soviet Union's collapse.
For the first time, Lila had a choice of what to do with her life.
Why did Lila choose Berlin? From a practical standpoint, the Handler stashed a spare briefcase in Berlin as a failsafe for Lila; these Commission briefcases allow one to travel through time and space. The briefcase would give Lila freedom and a chance to explore as many places and periods as she wished. She chooses her birth year, the same year all the 43 children were born. Lila takes care to not disrupt her own existence by going to Berlin instead of London. Why? To avoid the grandfather paradox. Long story short, if you kill your own grandfather before he sires your parents, you cease to exist and thus you never killed your grandfather.
1989 is a year where Lila can undergo a symbolic rebirth. She gets a clean start, and space to process her grief and mixed feelings. Rather than watch the timeline on loop where the Handler killed her and the Hargreeveses, she can drum it out amid the happiness and celebratory chaos.
Berlin had disruption and revolution. Gorbachev chose not to send troops after East German residents came with hammers and pickaxes, knocking down the wall. He realized that stopping the rebellion would be futile. The old world came crumbling down to make way for hope. Lila also gains that hope about her future.
Punk Rock As Liberation
Punk rock during the time period flourished as a genre of rebellion. According to Culture Trip, the Cold War gave inspiration for many of the left-leaning lyrics and local melodies. The Daily Beast goes further, suggesting that punk rock’s undercurrent led to the Berlin wall collapsing.
While on the surface she was burying her sorrow and rage in punk rock (who among us hasn’t?), she actually needed space to process her hurt and confusion that she was just a pawn.
Naturally, Lila would gravitate towards this atmosphere in 1989, when the danger had vanished for the musicians. She also faced disruption after Five assassinated the Board and the Handler took the reins. The punk rock musicians protect their own, as seen when a band takes her in and lets her shred on the drums. She has time to process her lack of identity, and a wall that could use some bricks ripped out of it.
The space also gives her time to realize that she misses Diego and wants to go back to him. Lila can’t forget him, no matter how hard she plays. She also finds out she’s pregnant in this interim, and Diego is the father. The punk musicians give her the space to consider her options. Though she tries to head back to Berlin after playing a prank on Diego and lying that she moved on, she admits that she chose him subconsciously. Punk music helped spark that epiphany, the way it brought down the Berlin Wall.
Season three ends with Lila deciding to live, walking with Diego into a new world with a smile. She’s not necessarily an official Hargreeves, marrying into the family like Sloane did, but she chooses the Umbrellas as her family. She chooses Diego, and an ordinary world.
Published on August 22, 2022
Words by Priya Sridhar
A 2016 MBA graduate and published author, Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years, and counting. Capstone published the Powered series, and Alban Lake published her works Carousel and Neo-Mecha Mayhem. Priya lives in Miami, Florida with her family.