Is THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY’s Hotel Obsidian Actually Hotel Oblivion?

Spoiler Alert

The third season of The Umbrella Academy is here! We’ve been awaiting the return of our favorite dysfunctional family for what feels like forever. The new season brings all the drama, trauma, love, hate, and time-traveling action you could want. It also introduces a key new location that may or may not be an infamous and dangerous landmark from the comics. So we’re here to break it all down, talk about Hotel Obsidian and Hotel Oblivion, and what the pair mean for the sassy and sometimes world-saving siblings of The Umbrella Academy.

What Is Hotel Obsidian?
An image from Umbrella Academy season three

We enter the hallowed halls of the Hotel Obsidian in the first episode of the new Umbrella Academy season. After realizing their father has replaced them with more vicious and obviously superheroic children—meaning they can no longer call Hargreeves Manor their home—Klaus has an idea. Unsurprisingly, the most chaotic member of the family knows a place. Sure, it’s a divey timeless hotel that has weird electronic Xs covering its pillars, but hey it’s cheap! 

The hotel’s ominous vibes and recognizable name had many fans of The Umbrella Academy comics wondering if it could possibly be the strange cosmic trap from the comics known as the Hotel Oblivion… 

What Is Hotel Oblivion From The Umbrella Academy Comics?
A still from Hotel Oblivion #7 shows the Umbrella Academy facing down with the Sparrow Academy
Dark Horse/Gerard Way/Gabriel Bá

Firstly, Hotel Oblivion is the title of the third volume of the Umbrella Academy comics by Gerald Way and Gabriel Ba. But, more importantly in this case, it’s also the name of an actual location. From the very first issue, its terrible purpose is clear. Hotel Oblivion is a cosmic prison that Reginald Hargreeves created in order to contain the villains defeated by his children. The hotel sits at the edge of space and time and seems like another terrible idea courtesy of Hargreeves Sr. And it was. He incarcerated hundreds of powerful villains without any semblance of due process and they’re understandably very, very angry. So when they all team up and inevitably escape, things begin to go wrong. Not least because Hotel Oblivion wasn’t just a prison. 

In fact, in a somehow even worse idea, Hargreeves had used the prisoners as bait for his cosmic trap known as an Abraxan. While it was home to the villains, they were just there to lure an immense tentacled monster. And when the bait left so did the creature. We never get to find out what happened to the hotel’s captive alien in the comics, seeing as the big twist at the end of the seven issue series is the arrival of the Sparrows. And just like the way it treats and expands on the new team, the show shifts some key facts about the Hotel Oblivion. 

Are Hotel Obsidian and Hotel Oblivion the Same Thing in The Umbrella Academy TV Show?
Umbrella Academy season 3 or three, the Sparrows arrive

In a shocking twist… Yes, the sleuths out there were absolutely right. By the middle of the season, the true nature of Hotel Obsidian has been revealed: it is in fact Hotel Oblivion. But what does that mean for the UA? And how is it different from the comic book version? Well, as we mentioned, in the world of the TV series it becomes a homestead for the team. It’s something that never happened in the comics, giving it greater resonance and connection to the family. But the bigger differences are when we look at the origins and purpose of Hotel Oblivion in the show. 

The Umbrella Academy and Project Oblivion, Explained

As explained to Five by the alt-timeline version of Pogo, Project Oblivion was the pet project of the Sparrows’ Reginald Hargreeves. In this timeline he wasn’t training his children to be heros but instead to be test subjects. His plan was to send them on a kamikaze mission to “The Other Side.” While that never materialized, with his alt-universe children in his timeline he wants to put his plan back into action. So what is Hotel Oblivion in The Umbrella Academy TV show? Instead of a cosmic prison, Hargreeves created a portal to another universe. It’s guarded by a terrible creature that the children must defeat in order to get to “The Other Side.” Thanks to the power of democracy, the kids—rightfully—decide not to trust their father. But he’s not one to give up.

In one of the most horrific moments in The Umbrella Academy, Reginald kills his own son Luther—with a creepy alien arm—to manipulate his other children to do his bidding and go through to the Hotel Oblivion. Tricking them into thinking it was an attack from The Other Side, they go through. But Reginald only needs seven of them, so he kills Klaus too. Father of the year! And it only gets worse when the true purpose of Hotel Oblivion is revealed. The hotel was just a façade for a machine that would allow Hargreeves to change the universe. But to power it, he needed seven super powered children to sacrifice. He promised Allison that if she helped him he’d get her back to her daughter. Ultimately she got what she wanted, and while she saved her sibling’s lives—including Luther—they paid a price that absolutely no one expected. 

The Fallout From Hotel Oblivion
Umbrella Academy first look images featuring the Hargreeves, the Sparrows and company, a man holding a box of cookies

Yep, once the universes “reset” all of the Umbrella Academy lost their powers. There was another cost too as Sloane was nowhere to be seen, despite the fact Ben was with them. Just like his sometime siblings Ben is now powerless. And there’s something even worse afoot. It looks like Reginald Hargreeves did all of this so he could recreate the universe in his own image.

Everywhere we look there’s Hargreeves name. He’s in charge of financial institutions, skyscrapers, helipads, and he has a woman by his side. Could it be that the reason he wanted to change things was so that he could grow old with the real Grace? We leave the Umbrella Academy powerless, splitting up, and with Hargreeves wielding more power than ever before.

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