The Umbrella Academy season 3, episode 2 recap – “World’s Biggest Ball of Twine”

By Adam Lock
Published: June 22, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Our heroes split up for some meaningful soul-searching in another fun-filled episode. There’s some sweet romance, riotous action, and plenty of dark humor in this crammed second installment.

This recap of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy season 3, episode 2, “World’s Biggest Ball of Twine,” contains spoilers.

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Episode one ended with Sparrow No. 1 Marcus being skinned to the bone and then reduced to mere ashes after prodding that ominous glowing red vortex. The Sparrow siblings suspect their rivals to be the perpetrators involved in Marcus’ disappearance and take Luther hostage in retaliation. Poor Luther has always felt like the outcast of the group, but even he expects his family to come to the rescue. However, no one knows that Luther is missing in this packed chapter. “World’s Biggest Ball of Twine” separates our Umbrella siblings as they partake in their own soul searching amidst this poorly conceived kidnapping. There are more fun and games to be had with this equally invigorating second instalment of the third season.

The Umbrella Academy season 3, episode 2 recap

Allison is the first to wander from the confines of the hotel; she pays her family a visit, but worryingly her ex-husband Patrick doesn’t recognize her, and her daughter Claire doesn’t exist. This paradoxical chaos is really playing havoc with our heroes’ private lives. Vanya researches her family history, discovering that the siblings are now known as the Kennedy six, and a photograph of Sissy brings back some painful memories from the past. Both Allison and Vanya are grieving the people they had to leave behind in the sixties. This photograph makes Vanya realize the meteoric impact Sissy had on her life and kick-starts her gender transitioning, mirroring actor Elliot Page’s real-life journey.

Vanya shows off her new haircut and new identity to her brothers at the breakfast table. From now on, Vanya identifies as Viktor. Klaus, Five and Diego are very accepting of their sibling’s big news but move on to more pressing issues. Diego is left babysitting his son, and Five announces his retirement from all the time-travelling escapades. Viktor explains the planned handover with Marcus and their need to fix the timeline. It’s a great scene brimming with clever, quick-witted dialogue that highlights one of the show’s many qualities.

Viktor tries to keep the gang out of trouble until the exchange with Marcus later that day, yet this instantly seems like an impossible task. Klaus invites Five on a road trip whilst Diego takes his son to the supermarket for ear medicine. Instantly, Viktor’s plans go out of the window, and the Umbrellas disperse. He attempts to comfort a heartbroken Allison instead. Viktor opens up to his sister, deciphering his own identity crisis out loud. He says how he always felt strange in his own skin. Viktor seems genuinely happy to have made this transition, though, a subtle but meaningful moment for actor Elliot Page, bringing vital representation to a mainstream audience.

As the narrative splits into separate subplots, Luther gets reacquainted with the Sparrows and their swanky Academy. He is made aware of his hostage situation and casually explores the mansion with his new friend Sloane. Their budding romance is just adorable to watch. Diego and his son Stan share a violent bonding experience when they fight Jayme and Alphonso at the local store. Then Klaus and Five hit the road, travelling the Pennsylvanian countryside.

Klaus uses the road trip as an excuse to search for his birth mother. Whereas Five just wants to visit America’s wildest roadside attractions and have a much-needed vacation. These two have great on-screen chemistry together, and although underwhelmed by the sight-seeing, they share a rare moment of companionship besides the World’s Biggest Ball of Twine. The journey takes them to Amish country next, and a hilarious setup involving Klaus and some angry farmers transpires. The Amish community are downright rude to Klaus, but a friendly lady (possibly his auntie) passes him a journal containing information on his mother. He flees, chased by the angry farmers with their pitchforks and returns to the Hotel Obsidian with brother Five.

The ending

This action-packed episode ends with the gang realizing that all of the sibling’s mothers died on October 1st 1989, but more importantly, hours before the Umbrella siblings were actually born in this crazy timeline. Five adds that when they jumped here, they unintentionally created a time paradox. The grandfather paradox, to be precise. Begging the question, how can they be alive if they were never born? This weighty existential conundrum, I’m sure, will be explored in future instalments.

What did you think of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy season 3, episode 2? Comment below.

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