is there a meta on isolation in umbrella academy as an ongoing theme?
i need that
is there a meta on isolation in umbrella academy as an ongoing theme?
i need that
I love Klaus.
I have ever since I read the comics. When watching the show’s intro for the first time, I actually cheered a little when he appeared onscreen; and each subsequent episode only served to further convince me of the perfection of Rob Sheehan’s performance. It goes without saying that he’s easily my favorite Hargreeves sibling, and I have no complaints regarding the abundance of Klaus fanart.
That said, I still have some quibbles with how he’s portrayed in fandom.
I don’t believe fans get his character wrong—not at all. He’s kind and empathetic, strikingly intelligent and a world-class idiot, funny and tragic, delightfully inappropriate and in desperate need of a hug. All of these traits are upheld and celebrated in many fanworks I’ve seen.
However, some fanworks tend to gloss over the fact that the Klaus of the first four episodes is a very different person from the Klaus of the final six. His kindness and empathy, and the depths of tragedy he’s endured, only come to the fore in the latter half of the first season. In the first half, many of his more admirable traits remain hidden beneath a layer of selfishness and an appetite for drugs that can never be sated. Yet I’ve noticed that in fanworks, his characterization in the latter episodes is often retroactively applied to his characterization in early episodes, resulting in an amalgamation of traits that fails to capture just how deeply his time in Vietnam broke and refined him.
This is the final part of my series examining how Luther and Vanya address their own trauma, as well as the trauma of others. Here, I’ll share some thoughts I have after analyzing these two characters’ attitudes toward trauma, as well as some thoughts on fandom in general. If this is the first time you’re seeing it on your dash, you can catch up on previous installments here:
Thank you to everyone who’s stuck with this series for so long. I know I haven’t responded to all of you personally
because I’m lame, but trust me—your support and positive feedback has kept me going.
This is Part Nine of my series comparing and contrasting how Luther and Vanya talk about their own respective traumas, and respond to the traumas of others. This part will conclude my examination of the series itself, and my analysis of each episode’s events. I have one more installment planned, where I discuss my overall findings for each character—both how they are portrayed in canon and how they are portrayed in fandom, as well as some general insights on each that I’ve picked up along the way—so stick around for that.
If this is the first time you’re seeing this series on your dash, you can find previous installments here:
and then I swear I’ll finally go through and add links at the bottom of the page on each essay I’m sorry I’ve just been lazy, y’all are awesome for sticking with this
I mean I’m always down to talk tua, so thanks for asking!
And, simply put, because Five is the one who brings up his family
The Handler doesn’t get how close he is to his family, how much they matter to him, she never has. She doesn’t understand why he’s doing this, because she looks at him and sees the perfect Commission operative - intelligent, pragmatic, deadly. She tries to sway him from his mission by offering him a job
Five at this point, is desperate. He’s here making a deal with Hazel and Cha Cha, double crossing them, an act he knows full well could end in his death, because he thinks this timeline is doomed. He wants time travel back, because he plans to go back and start over (see: why he gets so mad at Klaus for destroying their briefcase). Five really doesn’t expect the Handler to offer him a job here, because he betrayed the Commission, all he’s looking to do is threaten her into getting him time travel, because she’s the only major player on the board who still has access to time travel
But then she offers him a job, and the whole conversation shifts. Five’s confused as hell by it, but he also sees an opportunity. If she wants him back, that’s leverage. And the thing he bargains for? His family’s safety.
And he’s serious about it. Like, if Five had 100% planned to double cross her from the start, he would have just taken the job, that’s what most suited his plans. No suspicion, just get in, find the time travel, find the answers you’re looking for, get out. But Five refuses to take the deal until she promises his family’s safety. She even tries to renegotiate it with “all of them?” (knowing what Five doesn’t, that Vanya starts the apocalypse), and Five won’t budge, it’s protect every member of his family or the deal’s off.
(If the deal is called off, Five loses his last bargaining chip. If the deal is called off, Five’s only choices are attempt to kill the Handler and hope she’s got a briefcase lying around in reach - and that’s a long shot, or give up and die in the apocalypse with everyone else)
Five is actively sabotaging his own plans here to make sure that, if the worst happens, if he can’t stop the apocalypse, his family survives. Now that relies on a lot of other things, and yeah, Five didn’t trust the Handler, and she didn’t trust him. It was unlikely this deal was going to work out, and Five won’t let himself get fucked over by that (and neither will the Handler). So, inevitably, it was just a matter of who was going to get caught double-crossing the other first. But he plays along, because he really wants that safety net. The first thing he says when coming back to the Commission is “I’d like to discuss the logistics of my family’s safety at your earliest convenience” - he really wants to know how they plan to protect his family, so he can try and keep that standing when he inevitably betrays them. If he can ensure his family’s safety properly, then if the apocalypse plan falls through, it’s not the end of his world
Five still does want to stop the apocalypse regardless, don’t get me wrong, he has invested a lot towards making sure that won’t happen. But if he can’t, if he has to choose between the apocalypse and his family, all evidence suggests he’d choose his family
I know that Vanya is a victim just like the others - Neglected, manipulated, and abused. But, at the end of the day, just like the others, she was responsible for her own self-care.
It’s great that she went to therapy. But why’d she stop? Why did neither her or her therapist consider that, if she was still depressed & anxious, she should change her meds?
From one mentally ill person to another, I understand so thoroughly her plight. But once you become an adult, it’s your responsibility to manage your well-being. No one’s going to do it for you. Isolating herself and self-deprecating was just as much her responsibility to fix as Klaus’ addiction, Diego’s aggression issues, and Luther & Allison superiority complex’.
What I’m trying to say is - Every single sibling dealt with their issues in an unhealthy way and repeatedly fucked up their own lives. That’s the point of the show. She’s just like the rest of them. She’s not a perfect, flawless wooby - And I think taking these character flaws away from her makes her really 2-dimensional and is an insult to her as a character.
every time i watch the scene where five first zaps himself into the apocalypse and he goes immediately from being cocky and having a great time testing his powers to scared and small and he freaks out and runs right back to the academy and screams out for vanya, i’m just…. so struck by the fact that he was really just a little kid and he got caught up in the moment of thinking he’s like an adult and knows best and can do anything and right that second he just. goes right back to being a scared little kid who just wants his best friend.
I’d like to see Dave again in Season 2 too, but let’s face it - If the kids go back in time, Klaus will have never gone to Vietnam & Dave will never have met him. Klaus may be able to conjure Dave, but Dave won’t know who he is.
And won’t that just be the most heartbreaking shit.
It’s easy to imagine why Pogo went along with Reginald’s plans for training the children and keeping Vanya in the dark about her powers.
I believe Pogo himself was dependent on Reginald. Oh, I’m sure his feelings of gratitude for Reginald (in getting him out of a literal cage and Reginald’s experiments that allowed his consciousness to be better able to understand and be understood by human beings) was real. And he truly believed Reginald was a good man at heart.
However, unlike in the comics, where those like him abound. In the tv show, it looks like he is one of a kind and is almost just as house bound as Grace. It leads me to surmise that Pogo had nowhere else to go. Or at least believed or was made to believe that it was dangerous for him to exist outside the Academy. Perhaps, Pogo was as much a victim as the kids. But unlike most of the kids, he became loyal to his abuser.
Hence, I think his attitude to keep in line with Reginald’s schemes also stems from an undercurrent of fear (from getting punished or kicked out of the house) as well as his high regard for Reginald.
This makes his actions of perpetuating Reginald’s lies and secrets understandable. Though it doesn’t excuse it.
Even after Reggie’s death, Pogo continued to act on Reggie’s wishes. Which pretty much tells some viewers which side he was on. And it’s not the academy students
I think one of the reasons there’s resentment of him in the part of vanya fans as well as why vanya killed him was due to the betrayal factor.
Vanya trusted and loved Pogo. She truly believed he had her interests at heart. From the way they embraced back in ep 1, I wouldn’t be surprised if pogo was there to comfort vanya as she was growing up in a house that deemed her as useless due to her lack of powers and what vanya sees as her lack of talent.
All those years and Pogo never said a word. All those years being on a pill and Reginald repeatedly telling her she was nothing special. And Pogo probably telling her she doesn’t need powers to be extraordinary even while knowing her true nature.
That feeling of betrayal coupled with not being able to fully control her emotions and powers led to pogo being impaled on antlers. In addition, I suspect that poor pogo became a stand-in for Reggie as the man was already dead and who better to take her resentment out on than Reggie’s right-hand?
This does not excuse Vanya’s actions either. But I do understand where she was coming from
i won’t stop talking about this show and you can’t make me: ep 5 rewatch recap
i continue to babble about rewatching this show: ep4
the rewatch recaps continue. ep 3.
Don’t @ me but after 8 times watching The Umbrella Academy, my hatred of Luther has completely dissolved. I cannot bring myself to hate him or even dislike him. Sure, he made some shitty shitty shitty and one-brain-cell ass decisions but I feel like people forget that he is also a victim of child abuse, stayed under Reginald’s roof and suffered it the longest, and was completely isolated on the moon for four years for no fucking reason. Sure Five was alone for longer, but that doesn’t mean Luther wasn’t affected at all by the loneliness he suffered (not to mention dying on an extremely dangerous mission he was sent on alone by his father and suffering extreme body image and self esteem isues from an experimental treatment given to him by his father). You also cannot say that he didn’t honestly have good intentions, even if his logic and actions were severely flawed and damaging. I’m not a Luther apologist making excuses for him but I am saying that he is 100% also a victim recovering from abuse and healing from his scars and that it isn’t okay to completely condemn him and blame him for everything.
okay so i’m about to be back on my tinfoil hat bullshit, but i just saw a textpost talking about how the “phantom of the opera” melody being used by vanya to open the show was foreshadowing of her journey during season one and how leonard was obviously symbolic of the obsessive phantom who stalks and manipulates christine, and how christine (under the watch of the phantom) rises to become the top singer in the opera via the illness of the previous prima donna.
and then i thought about it more and realized HOLY SHIT FIVE IS RAOUL.
if you’re not a former embarrassing theatre kid and aren’t familiar with phantom, raoul is christine’s long lost childhood best friend who reunites with her and knows she’s kinda fucked up but vows to protect her anyway and is devoted to her and saves her from the phantom and she simultaneously is in love with raoul and captivated by the phantom who knows a lot of shit about her relationship with her father and uses it as well as his musical teachings to keep her trapped with him. and in the end, christine and raoul end up together.
so i was listening to “think of me” the song where raoul first appears to christine after all those years and i’m just….
“Think of me, think of me fondly
When we’ve said goodbye
Remember me, once in a while
Please promise me you’ll try
When you find that once again you long
To take your heart back and be free
If you ever find a moment
Spare a thought for me
We never said our love was evergreen
Or as unchanging as the sea
But if you can still remember
Stop and think of me
Think of all the things
We’ve shared and seen
Don’t think about the way
Things might have been
Think of me, think of me waking
Silent and resigned
Imagine me trying too hard
To put you from my mind
Recall those days
Look back on all those times
Think of the things we’ll never do
There will never be a day
When I won’t think of you
Can it be, can it be Christine?
Long ago, it seems so long ago
How young and innocent we were
She may not remember me
But I remember her
Flowers fade, the fruits of summer fade
They have their season so do we
But please promise me that sometimes
You will think of me.”
like…… please let this be foreshadowing holy shit????
i wonder if vanya was ever angry with five for leaving? like i feel like that would be a natural emotional response to the person you loved most out of an entire academy that treats you like garbage (aside from that one person) disappearing out of what she may have interpreted as his own free will (at the time) and leaving her behind even though she told him not to. and yet she only spoke lovingly of him in her book, and even in her blindest rage of destroying the rooms and images of everyone else in the school who shut her out or wronged her in her life, she never touched five. did her forgiveness of him really go so deep as to erase any blame towards him even in her subconscious? much to think about.
but also this entire scene specifically portrays klaus’ relationship with himself, his father, and death. hear me out:
klaus spends most of his life idolising the thought of being dead, but death itself is actually rather dull to him — he’s surrounded by it all the time, he frequently meets people who have experienced it, and he’s clearly passively suicidal enough that dying has become like the fourth item on his shopping list he never gets round to buying. this is shown in the world around him (and his own body) being incredibly bleak and unsaturated. sure, he looked forward to dying, but he definitely never expected much from it.
HOWEVER! we also as an audience get to see his shirt coloured brightly, in direct contrast to everything around him. this clearly indicates that he has a strong sense of self, and it’s an ideal he has had to fight for. he loves dressing flamboyantly and seeking attention and going all out (when he has the energy, ofc) and it just seems to be his way of surviving how hargreeves molded them all into soldiers. allison and five had a similar response, acting out and taking as much attention as they could to preserve their identity, whereas the other siblings felt muted in comparison. klaus’ shirt being the only thing that stays coloured (and energetically so) is a token of the person he’s become, the energy he has and the uniqueness that the world is missing out on now that he’s dead.
and the FIRST THING hargreeves does when he meets klaus, even before we know it’s him, is take that brightly-coloured token of the identity klaus built without him and cover it with an apron. which means he goes right from being klaus, 30-year-old entertainer with a life he crafted himself and one hell of a personality to boot, to… number four, scared child with a disappointed father looming over him.
So they all have different moms but- since apparently their abilities come from alien dna… Begs the questions:
-does it count as actual dna?
-if so is it the same making them actual siblings
-or is it from multiple sources
I have desired to do another deep dive into the boy with no name, Number 5 there is A LOT out there about five so i am only going to look at one aspect of him, his relationship with Dolores.
Five, life was not kind to you was it, not that it was kind to anyone else in this story. but good god did he get the short stick. there is so many things to say about 5 but I will be talking about something i find strange or rather what i didn’t
5 ‘s relationship with Dolores
I noticed that no else really has that big of a problem with it (in story context anyway) either and i find that SO INTERESTING.
so i thought i would look at why that is.
I think one of the main reasons is that we are introduced to this relationship they way it started more or less. in that 5 was a kid when he meet Dolores a lonely, scared, distressed and isolated kid.
Now we can gather that Dolores is very much a coping mechanisms that 5 used to handle his loneliness.
but Dolores was also something for him to take care of and protect,
1-dressed her in season appropriate clothes (sunglasses, warm hats in winter ect)
2-she acts as both his conscious and his doubts, as he says it is usually her that says he drinks to much or that she said the equations were off.
as so note that these are two attributes that 5 was lacking before he got stuck in the future, (not thinking things through and thinking he could not fail)
But here’s were it gets interesting when we first meet Dolores the audience don’t know this (we can guess but didn’t see it until the next ep)
so WHY is it not weird, that a character that has so far been smart, rational and in control of just about ever situations they are in (arrogant and smug but still very much able to read the room, even if he acts like an ass). why is it that we look at the scene in the store and not find him confiding in a maniquin to be overzealous (even if you were a bit confused)
let me ask a simple question, how would you react to this scene if 5 had an adult body.
think about that, if this was an adult man holding and looking at a mannequin this way it would get a different reaction.
it would be played for comedy or it would be used to make 5 look straight up insane, unhinged or creepy.
not to say that it’s not played this way from time to time in the show (comedy), but look at the frames above and below and tell me that is not just heartbreaking
(Aidan Gallagher performance dose hold a big part in this, not taking that away him but i think this idea is just a lot easier to go along with if its a boy and not a man)
As it puts there relationship into context, this is the thing that kept him going, kept him company made him feel just that little bit less alone. The thing a boy found in the ruins of the world.
So we are introduced to her as a figure of support for 5
Now someone has pointed out that Dolores means sorrow (which is perfect and i can’t find that post and it kills me)
if i may offer another point i don’t think has been said. what is a nick name that is common for the name Dolores
he literally called her Dolly. he was a scared little boy who needed a toy or dolly for comfort. (AHHHHHHH)
this boy, the boy needed his dolly to get through the end of the world.
But not just the end of the world, but when he is trying to save it.
so Dolores is not just his companion but is also his crutch. as we know 5 does care about people (his family) but we also know that he doesn’t like or deal with them if he can avoid it. Despite not having any real human contacted for years,
1- the only people he has really seen for 1-5 years (commission contract length) are the ones he has had to kill.
2- he can not trust anyone at the commission.
3- the time periods he went to are not anywhere near his life (JFK, Hindenburg ect)
so he never felt at home or safe when with the commission or any place they set him, so Dolores was his connection to his home and life the only thing that can tell him that they were real and waiting for him (other than Vanya’s book)
so when he is home, with his family and trying to follow the clues that his brother died to give him (the eye in Luther’s hand) he even enlist Klaus help to do so to no good end,
so when he finally realises that his family may be to far gone for this mission because 5 remember’s them as a crime fighting team (a good one at that). this was the moment when 5 realised they can’t help him even if he wanted them to now (i think he wanted them to help from the start he was just proud and did not want to lose them again)
(also note that he knew the were dysfunctional they always were but this is when he realised that they lose the fight and the world because his family is just so god damn incompetent,)
as he say to Klaus
“your useless every last one of you.”
note that he knew where Dolores was since ep 1x01 but did not go to get her until this moment. When he needed her, up until this moment with Klaus his path was easy (more or less, for a time assassin)
1-go to where the eye was made
2-find how owned it
that’s it that’s all he had to do and he was so close and he felt it all coming down so he went to the only other person that he cared for and could comfort him
now Dolores is a crutch as she is both the protector and the reminder of his loneliness.
as Klaus said he is addicted to the apocalypses and Dolores is tied right into it.
1- Dolores was one of the first things he found in the apocalypse (after his family’s body’s)
2- he took care of her all those years as the only thing he had
3- as mentioned she was the only thing that made him feel at home in him commission days
4-the longest and most powerful connection he had with anyone and their whole relationship would not exist without the apocalypse
5-in the end Dolores is the only thing he can’t really ever lose in that she feels no pain, she will never leave him, she will not die or grow old, she is the same as the day he found her and to five leaving in so much uncertainty that must have been a big comfort
But this also means that he can’t change or grow form the little boy that found her. as he put the his doubts and conscious on her and not himself so he can only ever grow in small ways through her and never completely on his own.
until his talk with Hazel about what now or what was only a what if question to 5 for over four decades
what do i do now the world is not ending? his answer
leave his doll behind and grow but never forget what she did for him at his lowest and most vulnerable years.
Dose this scene
anyway my point is it hits close to home as something most people have gone through giving up your toy’s, habits or something form childhood willingly even if reluctantly. and as i said before this dynamic works because 5 still looks like a kid (an older kid at that)
and the bittersweet truth of growing up, you have to leave somethings behind even if you love them but that dose not make them any less apart of you. but he needs to move on to bigger things, and he is not alone anymore.
Now when he put Dolores back he was fulling accepting the next part of his life, the life he can now have with his family and not just to save his family but to be apart of his family for the first time in years if not ever.
he could have gone back by himself again but no he is taking them with him, because even if it is the end world he’s not facing it alone not again, not when he doesn’t need to.
not when he has his family by his side.
Klaus addicted to drugs, Vanya to her meds’, Allison to fame, Diego to superhero-ing…
I start to wonder whether this was a result of their upbringing or indirect way for Hargreeves to control them more easily (and a plan which eventually backfired of course).