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YMMV / The Umbrella Academy (2019)

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Allison is either a nurturing Cool Big Sis who is learning from her mistakes or a judgmental Alpha Bitch and a spoiled brat who thinks she’s better than her siblings.
    • Is Pogo a caring fatherly figure, which the family is in desperate need of, and couldn’t be blamed for Reginald’s abuse as he was pretty much stuck in a terrible situation, since, well, he’s a talking chimp and what could he do? Or does he deserve flak for not only doing nothing to stop the children’s abuse, but also saying Reginald Hargreeves was a “good man”? Or is it possible to hold him accountable for the wrongs he committed against the children while also acknowledging he was in a difficult position, being close to and manipulated by Sir Reginald himself? It says something that his last act was to buy time for the other siblings to escape by telling Vanya that her father had his reasons for medicating her. Absolutely the wrong thing to say at the time because she kills him, but may have also been on purpose so she wouldn't hurt the others and direct blame away from her siblings.
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    • Some corners of the fandom see Vanya as a blameless victim of an abusive father and uncaring siblings who only ever wanted love and affection, only attacked when pushed too far, and would not have gone on a rampage if Luther hadn't locked her up. However, others point out that she has always resented her siblings, often ascribes the worst motives possible to them in conflicts despite any evidence to the contrary, and committed two brutal acts of violence well before Luther even knew she had powers. There is also some debate over her book: Do her siblings hate it for being a brutally honest look at the deplorable way they treated Vanya, or do they hate it because Vanya is an Unreliable Narrator and portrayed them in a way that was neither fair nor accurate? Some fans also wonder if her siblings were as cruel to her as she claims, as when she walks through the house hallucinating childhood versions of her siblings allegedly bullying her, they don’t do more than get angry with her for intruding without knocking and tell her she can’t go on missions without a power.
      • Also there's the issue of child-Vanya killing her nannies. Was it a red flag of similar behavior as an adult, or a case of her being Obliviously Evil since Reginald treated the deaths more like temper tantrums? We don't know if Reginald ever talked to Vanya about what murder was since it's highly possible he tried and Vanya was too powerful to listen.
      • What set Vanya off in the first timeline? Was it just Harold, since he was manipulating her to turn against her siblings? Withdrawal from her meds and rage about learning the truth? Or is she perpetually doomed to end the world, no matter who or what sets it off as the Handler purports? Luther only locked up Vanya in the current timeline, because she very nearly killed Allison but she didn't seem to be locked up in the first timeline. How did she become angry enough to murder her siblings? There are many options, since Vanya is seen flying off the handle when she believes her siblings have excluded her; whether it was a large trigger or a small one blown out of proportion remains to be seen.
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    • Is Diego a good, kind man with a deep caring side (shown by his love for Grace and Eudora) who's right to get on Luther's case and tries to be a good leader? Or does he just pick fights with Luther and emotionally hit his painful spots out of misdirected blame for how Reginald pitted the two against each other?
    • There is much debate as to whether Luther was just too brainwashed to see things clearly but does love his siblings and wants to save the world, or a straight up awful man who ONLY cares about himself, their abusive father, and Allison, and also outright causes Vanya to go off the deepend and end the world. Some fans, however, point to the Bad Future in which Luther is apparently ambushed and killed by Vanya prior to the apocalypse as evidence that, while Luther did have a hand in her snapping in one timeline, Vanya is ultimately responsible for her own actions.
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    • Grace's decision to stay in the mansion when Vanya brings it down. Her programming kicking in since she was built to withstand Vanya's tantrums as a child and was ordered to never leave the mansion? A case of I Will Only Slow You Down since she's made to be a housewife and not for sprinting out of self-preservation? Or Face Death with Dignity as atonement for her complicity in Vanya's abuse?
    • While NO ONE claims that Reginald Hargreeves wasn’t a horrible parent, and the root of most of the conflicts in this series, was he a Manipulative Bastard who didn’t care about his children at all, or did he care for his children, but have horrendous communication skills, and prioritized the apocalypse over them? There were a few Pet the Dog that could prove the latter, and the flashback in episode ten shows he is at least capable of love. Him originating from some sort of mysterious future or alien world also raises a lot of questions as to his motives for being a Sink-or-Swim Mentor.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Vanya Hargreeves. Especially so when she commits the apocalypse after going off the deep end, and Allison is put in the unimaginable position of killing her sister or letting the world die. Some fans point to how, despite being "ordinary," she was able to build a life for herself outside her siblings' shadow. There is also the fact that her father lied to her all her life, medicated her to suppress her powers, and made her believe she was normal—after she killed or maimed multiple nannies and damaged his monocle, making him fear she was unstable and uncontrollable. Then she met a man who was a predator that specifically wanted to use her to destroy her family and only saw her as a pawn when she truly loved him; however, his attempts at manipulating her into seeing the worst in her siblings and lashing out at them were successful. Others point out that she doesn't take responsibility for her actions such as writing the tell-all on her family and publishing it, which did some serious damage to her siblings' reputations; and she flies off the handle at any hint they have excluded her, even when (as in one notable case) this exclusion is a result of her own decision to separate herself from her family. More egregiously, however, she nearly murdered her sister in a fit of screaming rage; although her immediate horror and remorse make it clear she didn't mean to go that far, later actions on her part have divided fans as to whether her emotional state was the driving factor behind her most brutal acts of violence, or if her lack of remorse over two of these murders hints at a darker nature. Some of this discourse may be colored by the fandom itself, as some fans who initially sympathized with her character despite her flaws have expressed irritation with others' tendency to gloss over these flaws and foist blame for her most harmful actions onto others.
    • Luther Hargreeves. Some fans believe him to be the reason for the apocalypse, claiming that if he hadn't locked Vanya away, she wouldn't have snapped. Others point to the Bad Future where Five got stuck, where Vanya apparently ambushed her siblings and Luther died fighting without ever locking her away, as evidence that Vanya could have caused the apocalypse without his influence. Some fans believe his defenses of Reginald and his clear status as the parental favorite point to a childhood relatively free from abuse; while others point to his self-blame upon discovering Reginald sent him to the Moon for no reason as evidence that he was abused and is simply in denial. Some fans find him self-important, self-righteous, and unable to admit he is wrong; others find his social awkwardness charming and believe that, aside from locking Vanya away he generally treats his siblings well.
  • Cargo Ship: Number Five and Delores the mannequin.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • With The Reveal that Harold had an abusive single father and Reginald broke his spirit and belief he could be special, some fans find it cathartic to see him murder his father, only for him to get sent to prison. And considering he's working to help Vanya reclaim what she lost as a child to cause chaos, while it is an extremely stupid thing to do some fans also want it to happen.
      • For international viewers, it helps his case that he was only 13 years old at the time.note  Which, in a lot of countriesnote  would be considered too young to be held legally responsible for any crimes, no matter how violent. So, for this international, non-anglophone audience, it's self-evident that he desperately needed therapy and decent adult guidance, not a prison sentence that would just result in even more abuse and bad company. Therefore, the character looks even more like a Woobie in their eyes, at least at this point in the series, and he has a pretty good Freudian Excuse for his sociopathy in adulthood.note 
    • Diego beating the tar out of Hazel, a hitman who only recently underwent a Heel–Face Turn. He still did kill at least two dozen people and helped torture Klaus, also framing Diego inadvertently for Patch's murder. So yeah, Hazel deserved it.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • Despite its widespread status as a meme, Luther never actually says “Dad sent me to the Moon,” nor does he bring up his time there as often as some fans claim. Most of his early mentions of the Moon are neutral or positive and only come when others ask him about the Moon or it is otherwise relevant to the conversation.
    • Vanya is often spoken of as shy and timid, rarely raising her voice, but after her emotion-dampening medication wears off, she raises her voice in anger and subjects her siblings to multiple outbursts.
    • Vanya is also frequently characterized by fans as a Broken Bird who only ever wanted love and affection from a family that refused to provide it. However, when she hallucinates a childhood version of herself that reminds her of everything her father and siblings withheld from her, she never mentions love, affection, or approval. She does go on at some length about how she was "never in the limelight, never the center of attention".
    • Many fans are under the impression that Vanya’s lack of control over her powers is what caused the apocalypse. However, she demonstrates very fine control over her powers during her rampage; those powers are activated by her emotions, which are what she lacks control over.
    • It’s quite common for fans to assign Leonard the lion’s share of blame for starting the apocalypse, since he was at the Academy when the world ended. However, his manipulations of Vanya are limited to getting rid of her medication and subtly pushing her to think more negatively of her siblings in hopes she will lash out against them on her own, while fans often portray him as a man who could order her to do most anything and have her obey without question.
    • Klaus is quite often referenced in fanworks as being gay, despite Word of God and several subtle hints establishing him as pan.
  • Complete Monster: Harold Jenkins was born on the same day as the 43 super-powered infantsnote  and desired to join the Umbrella Academy. Denied entrance, Harold murdered his abusive father and vowed vengeance upon the academy and world that rejected him; learning about Vanya Hargreeves's destructive yet dormant powers, he would use her for that purpose. Taking the alias Leonard Peabody, he would murder Vanya's rival to gain her trust and take away her medication that suppressed her unstable powers. Harold would pay a group of men to beat him up in front of Vanya so that she would unleash her powers killing most of them, while he would murder the sole survivor. When Vanya learns of Harold's true nature and tries to leave him, Harold subjects Vanya to a tirade of emotional torture in an attempt to mentally break her and maintain his control over her. A disturbingly realistic portrayal of an emotional abuser, Harold Jenkins's manipulations of Vanya would result in her creating the apocalypse.
  • Crack Ship: Vanya/First Chair Helen have a decent following, despite having two scenes together, only speaking in one, and both times Helen acts like she’s better than Vanya, which the girl does not need.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Cha-Cha and Hazel, despite being ruthless assassins who kidnap and torture Klaus and kill Detective Patch, have a fairly sizable fanbase. The Handler does as well.
    • Although not completely characterized as a villain, fans tend to gloss over Vanya’s unlikable traits and blame her most harmful actions on others, choosing instead to portray her as an innocent victim who either never did anything wrong, or whose actions are always justified and never disproportionate. In some cases, the wrongs her siblings inflict upon her are exaggerated and made out to be intentional, rather than the result of Poor Communication Kills or simple misjudgment. The fact Luther was acting upon limited information and some pretty damning circumstantial evidence when he locked Vanya up is ignored wholesale, and Luther is given the Ron the Death Eater treatment.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Despite dying halfway through, many fans agree that Eudora Patch was a badass and a strong female character.
    • Grace, the kid’s mother, is quite a popular side character.
    • Ben has only a handful of lines and a few scattered appearances throughout Season 1, but he quickly became popular enough for the fans to request more of him in Season 2—which led to him being upgraded to series regular.
    • Dave appears in only a few extended flashbacks, but remains one of the most popular side characters in the fandom.
  • Fanon:
    • Due to Ellen Page's own sexuality and her LGBT Fanbase, many fans believe that Vanya will eventually come out as lesbian or bi. Many fans also theorize Five is asexual and that Diego and Allison are bi. Less popular, but still prevalent among his fandom, is the theory that Luther is asexual or demisexual.
    • Five is often characterized as dropping Precision F Strikes by fans but he never actually says it in the show; he instead uses "shit" quite a lot.
    • Despite them barely interacting during season 1 after the first episode, many fans share the headcanon that Five and Vanya were best friends as kids before Five's disappearance (primarily because Five is nicer to her than any of the other siblings and says that she's "the only one [he] can trust", still frames of Vanya's autobiography contain positive things written about Five, and when Vanya hallucinates her siblings as children pushing her away and telling her she can’t come on missions after she breaks out of the bunker and becomes the White Violin, Five is the only sibling who is absent).
    • Klaus is very often referenced in fanfiction as either being or having been a prostitute (possibly steming from the scene where he says he only slept with a guy for a place to stay).
    • A lot of fanwork depicts Ben as being able to float as part of being a ghost but he, along with all other ghosts in the show proper, appears to only be able to walk.
    • Klaus is apparently a cat person, according to fanfiction writers. To a lesser extent, so is the rest of the family.
    • Many like to imagine Five as getting a proper name like the rest, and furthermore be named after one of the members of My Chemical Romance besides Gerard; either Mikey, Ray or Frank.
    • Ben is always depicted as despising his memorial statue in fanworks.
    • Some fans believe Luther has a knack for growing plants, and some fanworks show him talking to the plant he tended on the Moon.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The debate on whether or not to shut down Grace in case she's malfunctioning becomes this when despite Pogo rebuilding her wiring, she dies for real by refusing to leave the mansion when Vanya brings it down. It's especially heartwrenching when Diego, who shut her down the first time, tries to run back to save her and Klaus has to drag him away because otherwise Diego would have died as well.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In the second episode, the siblings debate if Grace was programmed to love them or if she learned since their father wasn't exactly the caring type. It turns out the latter case is true since she was built to be the kids' nanny, not their mother, but they all grew up calling her "Mom". It especially becomes this when in the alternate timeline, she told Diego the truth about Reginald's death.
  • He Really Can Act: Aiden Gallagher, a 15-year-old best known for his role in a Nickelodeon sitcom, surprised and impressed audiences with his excellent performance the role weight, melancholy, and quiet rage not usually seen in a performer so young. Through his nuanced facial expressions and deft use of body language, he's somehow totally believable as a 53-year-old trapped in a 13-year-old's body. He also managed to successfully convince the audience that he was in love with a mannequin, and treat his older cast mates like annoying children.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A massive one for certain fans of Game of Thrones. Luther's actor starred as Dickon Tarly in the later seasons of the show. In Season 7, a lot of mileage was taken out of the scene where he suited up for battle, with many viewers noting his armor looked way too wide in comparison to his head, leading to a series of edits giving him a tiny head and massive body. Then comes Luther's appearance in this series... yeah.
  • Ho Yay: Diego and Klaus are shipped by fans a lot due to Diego really being the only person besides Ben who consistently shows concern for Klaus. This, matched with admittedly cute bonding moments in Episode Six, where Diego literally ties him up. Even in universe, Kenny’s mom just assumes they’re a couple in the finale.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Some have expressed interest in the show because Ellen Page stars in it.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Because of who wrote the comic, making references to My Chemical Romance is bound to show up in any comments section related to the show.
    • "Luther be like": Luther has received many comparisons to some funny pictures of a teddy bear with a large upper body and small legs, being used in several pictures to represent Luther. To a lesser degree, he is also compared to an image of Joey from Friends, where he uses several layers of sweaters to appear larger.
    • "DAD SENT ME TO THE MOON": Some fans who see Luther as The Scrappy use this as a way to make fun of Luther constantly bringing up his time on the moon on any discussion, believing it to have some unknown importance in the apocalypse. (Exaggerating this to a great degree, as he only brings it up a few times was right to blame Reginald for abandoning him.)
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Vanya's violent rampage in the final episode is intended to be both disturbing and tragic, showing the worst possible outcome of repressed trauma quite literally exploding to the surface. The characters who die are not Asshole Victims by any stretch, but rather likable and misguided people who made costly mistakes. However, some fans have latched onto this deconstruction of a revenge fantasy as a validation of these fantasies, painting Vanya as purely good and those she murders in cold blood as completely evil.
    • Vanya in general is meant to be a Deconstruction of the Broken Bird, particularly in the way she remains focused on childhood wounds well into adulthood despite having ten years to process her trauma and therapy to help her come to terms. Some fans, however, ignore the harm her fixation on the past does to her and others, taking her bitterness as a sign that she genuinely had it worse than her siblings and believing she has a right to treat others badly because she was so badly hurt. Although her arc is meant as a warning, some fans still see her as the victim and her most reprehensible actions as the fault of others.
    • Diego often makes sarcastic remarks about his siblings, often to their faces. While their reactions make it clear that his comments are not meant in good humor, some fans ignore the pain he causes and see him as a lovable Deadpan Snarker, rather than a verbal abuser.
  • Narm: Vanya's autobiography, Extra Ordinary: My Life as Number Seven was once an in-universe bestseller that earned Vanya some acclaim. Some viewers have found the excerpts suffer from melodramatic prose that seems like it's trying too hard to make Vanya's story as tragic as possible. While it's understandable she would want to gain the sympathy of her audience, the fact it focuses on her exclusion from family life and apparently only makes a few passing mentions to her siblings being experimented on has not left these viewers with a positive impression of the book. Possibly an intentional example, as both the comics and Netflix series openly acknowledge Vanya’s tendency to focus on her own trauma rather than empathize with her siblings, who had it just as bad as she did.
  • Never Live It Down: Luther gets this a lot, by being basically reduced by some fans to a big guy constantly screaming about the time he spent on the moon. When used pejoratively, it's often to say that he was the target of much less mental abuse than his siblings Vanya and Klaus and suffered much less than other characters such as Ben or Five, but still trying to be the center of attention—although this view has little basis in canon.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The flashbacks to the more traumatic parts of the Hargreeves siblings' training qualify, like Vanya being locked in the soundproof room or Klaus being locked in the crypt while being haunted by the dead.
    • Allison recalling the times she's abused her power starts with the seemingly harmless ("I heard a rumour that you love broccoli"), goes on to the decidedly immoral ("I heard a rumour that I was perfect for the part") and ends with the chilling "I heard a rumour that you loved me."
    • When Luther is going through the packets of research and reports he sent down from the Moon, we briefly see one with “REMINDER: PLEASE SEND MORE FOOD” written on the label. One has to wonder just how low his food supplies were at that point, and how long he had to wait before Reginald finally remembered to send more, as he would have had no other food source.
    • The moments following Allison’s confession that she Rumored Vanya into forgetting her powers. Allison’s timing may have been poor, but her intentions seem pure—and Vanya immediately twists things around to make it seem Allison did it out of jealousy and spite. Vanya grows angrier and angrier, refusing to listen to reason, before letting Allison know just how much she has her at her mercy with the chilling line: “Look me in the eye, and tell me you’re not threatened now.”
  • One-Scene Wonder: Dave who, within ten months of showtime and one episode of screentime, welcomed Klaus to the Army, offered a few words of comfort, and told him he'd adjust. His love and kindness gave Klaus a reason to sober up, mature, and become a more responsible person.It's no wonder that Klaus misses him and kisses a photo of Dave in a veterans bar.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: The relationship between Allison and Luther is rather disliked due to the Not Blood Siblings aspect and is often regarded as the weakest part of the series itself.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Luther received this a lot due to locking Vanya away in an attempt to stop her from causing the apocalypse. This is despite the fact that he clearly isn't enjoying having to do this and did that in a desperate attempt to save everyone else and he still loves Vanya regardless. His sense of self-importance is also exaggerated in fandom, despite the fact that he went through the same abuse as the rest of the siblings and losing four years of your life to a worthless mission is certainly worth getting upset over.
  • Rooting for the Empire: While Harold is the one purported to cause the apocalypse, and his move to awaken Vanya's repressed powers is extremely stupid considering it leads to his death, you kinda are rooting for him after you learn how Reginald humiliated him for wanting to be special and trying to run away from home.
  • The Scrappy: Luther has been received somewhat poorly by some fans and quickly gathered a hatedom due to their dislike of his Not Blood Siblings romance with Allison, having what some consider an uninteresting Character Arc and coming off as Unintentionally Unsympathetic in the mistakes he makes during family conflicts.
  • Signature Scene: Vanya, Allison, Luther, Diego and Klaus dancing in various different rooms of the house to the sound of "I Think We're Alone Now".
  • Signature Song: Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now", which is used on the most well known scene of the show. To a lesser degree, "Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants.
  • Special Effects Failure: Luther's rubber muscles visibly crinkle around his neck in a few shots. When people paw at his muscles, they're obviously softer than actual muscle would be. Also, when Allison clutches at his sleeve outside of Vanya's cell, her hands sink into the sleeve, revealing that it's primarily empty, and it makes the line of the shoulderpad visible.
  • Strawman Has a Point: It was a front to hide that he was rummaging through Vanya's apartment to steal her meds, but Harold has a point when he calls out Allison for the fact that Vanya showed up injured and on his doorstep, asking for help. If it were anyone else making the point, they may have misconstrued it as Vanya caught in a Domestic Abuse situation with her family.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some fans have complained about Klaus and Vanya’s lack of interaction during the first season. The only indication of a relationship is when Klaus gets mad about Vanya being locked up, which everyone was. Fans who draw similarities between them have found this lack of conversation frustrating.
  • Uncanny Valley: Jordan Claire Robbins as Grace does a fantastic job acting like a robot, to the point where it becomes almost creepy.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Luther is supposed to be sympathetic in the reasoning for his various actions throughout season 1, but some fans find his stubbornness unsympathetic and his reasoning flawed. While spending years of your life completely alone for absolutely no reason is a pretty horrible thing, these fans tend to sour on him in "The Day that Was", especially considering that he came off a lot better in the last episode (before the timeline changed). In this episode, a drunk and emotionally unstable Luther briefly chokes Klaus and is later too high and drunk to notice when Klaus dies and is soon resurrected. In the penultimate episode he also locks Vanya up.
    • Allison is trying to be a Cool Big Sis to Vanya after they haven't talked for ten years and is worried when she takes up with a suspicious man. However, some fans find it difficult to sympathize with her following the reveal that she Rumored her daughter, who was two, for having normal childhood tantrums. For a time, it seems she blamed others for the problems this caused rather than taking responsibility. She also lashed out at Vanya following an argument with her ex-husband over the fact she missed a mandatory therapy session to attend her father’s funeral, although she apologizes later.
    • Despite her widespread popularity, some fans argue that Vanya's focus on her childhood exclusion makes her come across as whiny and self-absorbed, considering she brings it up at several highly inappropriate moments and becomes passive aggressive when her siblings try to reason with her. She shows no remorse for writing a book that put her siblings' powers, weaknesses, and personal demons on full display and most likely did heavy damage to their reputations. Her constant cutting remarks toward Allison also make her seem like a bit of a bully, as Allison is, at that point, the only sibling actively trying to befriend her and treat her like part of the family. Although accidental, her near-murder of Allison is regarded by these fans as unforgivable.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Klaus, who to his siblings is a nuisance who can’t take things seriously at worst and an Annoying Younger Sibling at best, is essentially worshiped by the fans, declaring he be deserving of all the hugs. God knows how many Klaus fanfics there are.
    • Vanya, who has earned the ire of her siblings with an autobiography spilling their most painful secrets, painting herself as the constant victim of their cruelty, and casting them as the villains of her story, has quite a sizable and vocal fanbase, some of whom go out of their way to absolve her of all responsibility for her more harmful and self-centered actions.


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