Why The Umbrella Academy Season 2 Added In Pogo And Mom's Backstories

the umbrella academy season 2 pogo astronaut
(Image credit: netflix press)

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet seen the majority of The Umbrella Academy's second season!

The Umbrella Academy's first season didn't kill off any of the Hargreeves siblings – Ben was already dead – but everyone else attached to the school and family was a goner by the end: Reginald, his genius chimp assistant Pogo, and the clan's robotic matriarch Mom/Grace. By taking the main characters back in time to 1963, however, Season 2 managed to bring all three characters back to life, so to speak, in surprising ways. Like most other things about Season 2, it was pretty awesome, all things considered.

When CinemaBlend spoke with Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman ahead of the Season 2 premiere, I had to ask about the decision to introduce the human version of Grace, as reprised by Jordan Claire Robbins, as well as the origin tale for Pogo's longer-than-expected partnership with Reginald Hargreeves. Here's how Blackman put it:

We loved both those characters so much, and they're both fan-favorites, so I wanted to sort of work it in. I think it's also alluded to in the graphic novels. There's a little bit about Grace, so we thought, 'What was her origin story?' The seed for both of those characters was to work in an origin story. Especially for Pogo.

Considering how integral Mom and Pogo were to the overall plot and the characterizations of the Hargreeves siblings throughout Season 1, it was quite the shock when they were both killed off after Vanya unleashed her apocalyptic destruction. Ahead of Season 2's release, it was confirmed that Pogo's motion-capture actor Ken Hall (who also plays The Commission's Herb) would be back for a brief reappearance, but fans were clueless about how it would happen until Episode 5, titled "Valhalla."

That installment began with Pogo's arrival at Cape Canaveral from the Congo, proving him to be a bit more special than his fellow primates. Reginald Hargreeves witnessed Pogo's intelligence tests, as well as his almost deadly trip to space as a young ape. Showrunner Steve Blackman talked about making that a specific reference point in Pogo's backstory.

You know, NASA was sending monkeys and chimpanzees up into space and using them as the first 'astronauts' and test pilots. It seemed a perfect way to connect our world with a little bit of reality at NASA. So you know, that is Pogo's origin story, and it's such a wonderful story to tell. At Weta in New Zealand, they do the VFX and did an amazing job of bringing young Pogo to life.

Considering how adorable the younger Pogo is, I joked that the show's main merchandizing plan should now be hinged entirely on Baby Pogo plushes and other accessories. Steve Blackman agreed, saying.

I know, I know. That's right. We gotta start doing that.

Okay, so stores likely won't be flushed with Pogo toys in the wake of Umbrella Academy's Season 2 release, but I still don't think The Mandalorian's Baby Yoda should feel too safe atop the mountain of Cutest Sci-Fi Creatures. Dun-dun-dunnnn.

umbrella academy season 2 reginald and grace

(Image credit: netflix press)

Though Pogo's origin story featured more visual splendor, viewers actually got more narrative information from the introduction of Grace as a real-world human being. She was brought in as Reginald's science-minded romantic interest, and it initially wasn't so clear how invested she was in her significant other's significant business dealings, or his own shocker of an origin story.

However, Five and others made her far more aware of what Reginald was up to, even if she didn't believe it at first. Though viewers did get to see her confront Reginald about things, fans were still left mostly in the dark about the rest of their relationship details, both before and after the events shown in Season 2. (Likely a victim of Season 2's shorter episode runtimes.)

After all, Reginald clearly felt a certain kind of way about Grace considering he eventually recreated her as a robot mother to his non-biological children, even if viewers didn't quite see THAT kind of devotion depicted. Plus, it's now impossible to say whether or not things played out in the same way for Reginald and Grace now that the finale has shown the present-day timeline to be completely different, what with Ben still being alive and leading a completely different team of children dubbed the Sparrows. Conceivably, either the human Grace or the robot Grace could still be alive in the new timeline, though Reginald might not have had any reasons to build the Mom droid.

The same could be said for Pogo, too. Without Vayna around to kill him, Pogo could have very well been around the corner in the Season 2 finale, just out of sight of viewers. I guess we'll have to wait for Season 3 to get here to find out what that situation is, which will require Netflix actually confirming Season 3's existence.

Both seasons of The Umbrella Academy Season 2 are available to stream on Netflix now, so be sure to stream it as often as possible to convince Netflix that there's a need for Season 3 to exist. In the meantime, check out our 2020 Netflix schedule and our Fall 2020 TV premiere guide to see everything that's hitting streaming and otherwise in the near future.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.