There are characters who, no matter how dire the situation, always come out alive. These characters don’t deserve to survive, but they do. Reginald Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy is such a person. Though he’s said to be a billionaire philanthropist, he’s actually a very cold and calculating person. He adopts a group of children born under mysterious circumstances and uses them as pawns to get what he wants. His death sets the stage for the events of Season 1, and even from the afterlife we see the effects of his poor upbringing destroying his adopted children’s relationships.
At the end of Season 3, we see him dying at the hands of Alison, who had been bitterly manipulated by him. It looks like the academy will finally get rid of him this time. But the very last scene of the season changes everything. Hargreeves is seen alive and well, with his wife by his side. So how did he survive the ax in his head? Why is he still alive? Here’s what you should know about him.
How can Reginald Hargreeves still be alive?
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In the second season, the Umbrella Academy travels back in time to the 1960s. As they try to prevent the next apocalypse, they discover that Reginald had something to do with the Kennedy assassination. To prevent this, they meet with him to tell him the truth about the future. While there are many things he could have learned from this encounter, Reginald walks away with a very different lesson.
He thinks the Umbrella Academy are a bunch of unruly misfits and decides not to adopt them when the time comes. Instead, he sets out with seven other children, unaware that he also adopted Ben the first time. Although his decision seems very heinous, he didn’t really have a choice in adopting the other six members of the Umbrella Academy since their mothers had died before they could give birth to the super-powered children.
No matter who he chooses to be his parent, the bottom line is that he will adopt seven children. The reason for this is revealed at the end of season 3 when he uses seven of them, regardless of whether they belong to Umbrella or Sparrow Academy. All he needs are the golden particles that give the Academy members superpowers. He uses them as fuel for the machine, which allows him to reset the timeline and return to his wife, Abigail, who had died in the original timeline.
Before he can press the button that will change everything, Alison kills him. His head is split in two, which means certain death for him. But Alison picks up where he left off and resets the timeline. She’s doing it to get back to her own family, but it also results in drastic changes for the rest of them, dead or alive.
Credit: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix
Stepping out of the Hotel Obsidian elevator, the Umbrella Academy siblings find themselves in a new timeline where they neither have the injuries from the previous timeline nor possess the powers. This full reset of events also brings back Luther, who was killed by Reginald to motivate others to enter the tunnel that led to the pocket dimension. This means that death in the previous timeline has no meaning in this one. That also means Reginald Hargreeves isn’t dead here.
While Luther remembers everything from the past timelines, it remains to be seen if Hargreeves remembers everything as well. It could be that this new version of him, who seems to be even more influential in this world, doesn’t know about the Umbrella Academy because he never adopted her. In the previous timeline, he looked for them in all corners of the world and only adopted seven, although he could have taken more. But since he needed exactly these seven to complete his task, he chose the same number both times.
However, in the new timeline, his wife is alive, and with or without gold motes, he doesn’t need super-powered children. Or it could simply be that the Umbrella Academy didn’t receive any powers in this timeline and there is another group, maybe a variant of the Umbrella or Sparrow Academy, working for Hargreeves. Whether or not he remembers the original seven and whether or not he has a new group under his command, the fact is that Reginald will return next season to cause further trouble for the group.