The Commission, the villains of The Umbrella Academy, could well be working for a mysterious enemy who originates from the post-apocalyptic future. When Five arrived in the present day in The Umbrella Academy season 1, it didn’t take long for him to be pursued by time traveling assassins. The show revealed that these agents worked for “The Commission,” a mysterious group who were attempting to ensure time stayed on a predetermined course. Five had worked for them for a while, acting as an assassin who killed anyone who threatened the timeline.
The idea of the Commission is heavily adapted from Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s original comics, in which Five had gotten caught up in the activities of a group called the Temps Aeternalis. In the comics, Hazel and Cha-Cha only appeared briefly, and they were two-dimensional at best; in fact, they unwittingly destroyed the entire planet when they stole a nuclear device, although that particular timeline was rewritten. In the Netflix series, however, they’re series regulars who are as important to the overall plot as the Umbrella Academy students themselves. Their boss, the Handler, is a recurring threat throughout season 1.
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For all they’re loosely lifted from the comics and appear prominently in The Umbrella Academy season 1, the Commission remain enigmatic. They’re sure to return in season 2, and if so it stands to reason some of their mysteries will finally be explained.
- This Page: The Commission in Umbrella Academy Season 1
- Page 2: The Commission Could Be Working For A Post-Apocalyptic Villain
Operating from a base in 1955, the Commission use advanced technology and their knowledge of temporal calculations to ensure that the timeline happens as they believe it’s supposed to. They monitor the entire timeline, and identify key moments in history when an individual’s free will risks pushing history in a different direction. That individual is then assassinated by one of their field operatives. Five was one of their best assassins, even tasked with the murder of US President J.F. Kennedy, and Hazel and Cha-Cha are also numbered among their top field agents.
The Umbrella Academy revealed that the Commission’s ultimate goal is to ensure the end of the world happens. They’ve been guiding human history towards the apocalypse: the moment when Vanya blasts a chunk of the Moon off and causes an extinction level event. The Commission justify this by insisting everything must happened as it is “supposed” to, but they don’t explain why they believe history has to go down this particular course. The apocalypse certainly wasn’t inevitable; after all, if that were the case they wouldn’t have needed to assassinate people at all. So why are they so committed to the end of the human race?
Meanwhile, although the Commission seem to all be human beings – albeit people picked up from different points in the timeline – they’re clearly using tech beyond anything humanity will ever develop. With the exception of Five, all their agents carry briefcases containing time travel technology. They have ways of communicating with their agents across time and space, and the Handler even possessed a means of stopping time. So not only are the Commission’s motives still relatively unexplained, their technology is also impossibly advanced.
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All this raises the possibility that the Commission is working for a post-apocalyptic race. When Five first jumped forward in time, he found himself in a post-apocalypse wasteland, the sole survivor of the human race. He was unable to return home, and spent years living there until he was finally approached by the Handler. Five briefly assumed the Commission would be dedicated to rewriting history and preventing the end of the world, but the Handler swiftly disabused him of that notion. She was quite relaxed about the apocalypse, and didn’t even accept that it was indeed the end of everything. Instead, she referred to it as “the end of… something.” It was an enigmatic comment that suggested the extinction of the human race was a necessary part of the timeline in order to allow something else to take humanity’s place as the dominant species on Earth.
This may well explain the Commission’s advanced technology. In the world of The Umbrella Academy, humanity never had the opportunity to develop the kind of tech used by the Commission. But perhaps this post-apocalypse race will have a closer affinity with time, and learned how to manipulate it. If that’s the case – if the next dominant life-form on Earth is a race of time-sensitives – then they would have realized that human free will could alter the timeline, preventing their coming into existence in the first place. Thus they’d found the Commission, to ensure the timeline remained stable, the human race was rendered extinct, and the right conditions developed for them to come into existence. It’s even possible that some of the Commission’s senior management are post-humans. Certainly the Handler seemed distinctly odd, and appeared to be able to freeze time without needing any technology at all.
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Naturally, at this stage this is only a theory, but it fits with everything in The Umbrella Academy season 1. What’s more, there would be a certain surreal irony to this idea that works perfectly with the tone and style of The Umbrella Academy. The post-apocalypse villains would essentially be using humans to police the timeline and ensure their own race was wiped out; it’s the kind of crazy idea that works in this series.
Assuming this theory is correct, the reality is that the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2 has seen their plans begin to fall apart. The apocalypse happened, but the Umbrella Academy students are about to try to rewrite history and avert it again. This time round, they’re almost all on the same page and they’re a lot more well-informed. What’s more, they’ve already proved too much for the Commission to handle, and Five knows all the Commission’s tricks. This is the post-human race’s worst nightmare.
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It won’t be easy for them to resolve the crisis. First they’ll need to locate the Umbrella Academy, which won’t be easy; Five conducted a blind jump through time, meaning they could be anywhere or anywhen. Then they’ll probably need to intervene directly in order to beat them; they won’t be able to operate through third parties anymore. No doubt they possess a lot of tools and technology that they never passed on to the Commission; still, it remains to be seen whether or not that will be enough to beat the Umbrella Academy students. Especially if they can successfully stabilize Vanya; her power levels are off the charts, enough to pose a threat to anyone who wants to destroy them.
The interesting question, though, is whether the Commission is the only way these time-sensitives have attempted to manipulate the timeline. It’s entirely possible they’ve taken other strategies as well, and that the Commission is simply the most extreme. If the Handler was indeed a post-human, then it’s even possible they have sleeper agents planted throughout history, working hard to ensure the apocalypse happens exactly when it’s supposed to. It wouldn’t even be a surprise to find that these beings were somehow involved in the mysterious births of superhumans in the world of The Umbrella Academy in the first place.
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