‘Umbrella Academy’ Season 3 Delivered a Perfect Scarlet Witch Story
It was joked about by X-Men fans that in the first season of Netflix’s Umbrella Academy we finally got a “Dark Phoenix” storyline done well on the show, after many an underwhelming movie. Well, now in season three it seems we got the sort of storyline Wanda should have had in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Spoilers for Umbrella Academy Season Three
Allison Hargreeves has the power to manipulate reality using the phrase “I heard a rumor.” It has been a power she has been reluctant to use.
In the first season, it’s implied that Allison has used her powers to advance her movie career, get her husband to love her, and raise her child. After being caught doing the latter, Allison is trying to do better as a person.
We also find out that in the past their father, Reginald Hargreeves, made Allison use her powers to suppress Viktor’s abilities. She didn’t understand the actions at the time, as they were children. The point is established early on that Allison has used her powers for self-serving reasons, can be manipulated into doing harm by her father, and is fighting hard to not give in to the price that power gives her.
When we are in season two, Allison is stuck in the 1960s she has to do her best not to use her powers to simply “end racism.” Even as she takes revenge on a racist, there is an implication that this ability to control things warps her morality as well as reality.
Allison as a character is complex—she is kind, but is willing to be ruthless. She loves her family but also has hurt them out of “love” and a sense of power. With the decision to leave her husband in the past to return to her daughter, she is leaving a loving relationship to return to one we have seen is depicted as messy. She wants to go back and do something good.
That is why Claire being gone is such a devastating moment.
Claire was not just a “real” child, but the piece of Allison that wanted to be better. The part of her that wants to love better than she is loved.
Allison is the only member of her family with a biological child, the only girl, and the only woman of color. She is successful and was able to leave her father’s mansion with probably the least amount of trauma. Reuniting with her family pulls her back into a mess with people who do not try to fully understand her.
After realizing that Claire doesn’t exist, Allison is full of rage and bitterness. Especially since no one seems to care. They don’t care that her daughter is gone, her husband is gone, and their lives were snuffed out.
The only person who can understand the racism she faced and how hard it would be to shake off is Diego. He understands and respects her rage. Everyone else tries to push her to be positive.
And Allison is tired of that shit.
Her decision to betray Viktor makes sense because Viktor has made several bad choices throughout the show about who to trust.
The lie matters and Allison decides—fuck it. I’m not going to go quietly into that good oblivion. And it is her choice. No book possessing her, no manipulation from men, and a legitimate complex reason for her anger that can be rationally understood. It’s all in character and has been actively building on for years.
Much like Wanda Maximoff, we have Allison also motivated by being a mother. But they do not tone down the darkness or remove accountability from Allison.
I’m okay with her villain turn because it makes sense. I love that Allison is actively choosing herself. I also appreciate that in the end, she uses her chance to fix time to not just give herself what she wants (Claire), but also others.
It also helps that the entire Umbrella Academy family is made up of morally grey characters who include assassins and cult leaders. These are people who have made bad choices, hard choices, to survive.
That’s a good villain turn and an improvement on invalidating the rage of a female character from the show’s previous seasons. Good work. Now bring on season four.
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