'The Umbrella Academy' Star Emmy Raver-Lampman Unpacks Allison's Grief and Season 3 Happy Ending

From an uncomfortable assault on Luther to a murderous moment, Allison unraveled in Season 3, but she still got what she wanted in the end.
by Danielle Turchiano — 

Elliot Page and Emmy Raver-Lampman in 'The Umbrella Academy' Season 3


Warning: This story contains spoilers for the third season of The Umbrella Academystreaming now on Netflix. Read at your own risk!

Six months before The Umbrella Academy Season 3 launched on Netflix, its creator and showrunner Steve Blackman teased how emotional the season would be by posting a single frame from the season's storyboard. It was out of context, but it was an extreme closeup on Allison's (Emmy Raver-Lampman) face with a single tear rolling down her cheek. And did the show deliver!

It wasn't only Allison who had a tough time this season, with Viktor (Elliot Page) having to come to terms with how leaving Harlan behind had hurt him and Diego (David Castañeda) minding a kid he was told was his son (only to learn later that that was a lie). But most of the other characters had moments of joy sprinkled through out, be it Viktor coming out and being embraced by his family, Luther (Tom Hopper) falling in love and getting married), and even Klaus (Robert Sheehan) finally bonding with a father figure. Allison, on the other hand, was so steeped in the grief of not only losing Ray (Yusuf Gatewood) when she left the 1960s, but also losing her daughter Claire (Coco Assad) when she returned to a new present timeline, that it affected her every decision and action in Season 3.

"The further into her grief and pain and trauma that she goes through the season, I think then, subconsciously, she gets into a really gray area where she gets really narrow-minded and really goal-oriented of figuring out how to find whatever timeline [in which] Claire exists so that she can be reunited because she did risk everything. She risked the love of her life to go find Claire, to then discover that Claire doesn't exist. And that can't be in vain," Raver-Lampman tells Metacritic.

Although Allison had some nice moments with Viktor, including helping him with Harlan, she spent most of the third season spiraling. It starts simply, with drinking and assaulting rednecks in a bar alongside Diego, which Raver-Lampman saw as a turning point for Allison.

"She's starting to get lost in her own grief and in her own trauma and her own pain, and the couple times that she tried to reach out to her other family members for help, it resulted in her just realizing how alone she is in this. And so, halfway through the season, there's this version of Allison that just throws up her hand and it's like, 'Fine, nobody's gonna get it, and I'm going to do whatever I can to get back to Claire' because at this point all of her other siblings are just now getting in the way," she says.

It's a far cry from the Allison of Season 2, who, although unable to use her powers and tossed back into the 1960s, which was an even tougher social climate for Black women than today's timeline, found her voice and found a great romance. This Allison unraveled so far as to use her powers on Luther to try to force a romantic connection, eventually killed Harlan when she learned he was responsible for the deaths of the Umbrellas' mothers in this new world, and made a deal with Reginald (Colm Feore) to reset the universe once again.

As a performer, Raver-Lampman was excited to dive into new shades of the character she has played since 2019, though she admits that much of Allison's journey this season was heartbreaking.

"I've never had the opportunity to play a character whose mental state is slowly starting to crumble. She's in so much pain, it was really hard at times — really taxing. Making TV is really really slow; it was a lot of days and a lot of hours being really, really, really upset," she says. "I was hydrating a ton so that I could work up the emotions when needed and all of that, but I really enjoyed the challenge, and I really enjoyed finding the nuance and the layers to her grief."

Once such challenge was the rumor scene with Luther, which she calls both "really powerful" as well as "painful."

"Luther and Alison have always had a special relationship and a special connection; I think they understood each other from a very early age, and there's always been a love there. And I think this was one of these pivotal moments for Allison where her PTSD is really starting to set in and it's manifesting itself physically now: She's physically starting to hyperventilate and get claustrophobic and she's actually starting to feel like the world is closing in around her — literally and metaphorically. And this was a moment where for the first time these two characters are alone together for the season, and I think this was an opportunity for Allison to open up, and she starts to do that, and then she gets caught up in the emotions," she explains.

When Luther didn't want to share a moment of closeness with Allison because he has connected with Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez), Allison took that as a betrayal, Raver-Lampman continues, "because she was having a vulnerable moment and [he's] choosing to leave." This results in her flying into a "blind rage," which is "another way of her trauma manifesting and her just being so sick of things being out of her control." 

Unfortunately in that instance, what she tried to control was Luther's romantic and sexual feelings, which Raver-Lampman calls "devastating" and "horrifying," but she also points out that in Allison trying to control him, she lost control of herself. "Until the moment that she snapped out of it, I don't think she realized what was happening," she says.

Feeling betrayed by Viktor further took Allison down a dark path.

Although the siblings became really close over the last few years, and despite the sweet moments of support Allison provided for Viktor when he came out and the assistance she provided with Harlan earlier in the season, finding out about the secrets Viktor was keeping for Harlan and specifically learning Harlan was the reason why all of their mothers were dead in this world was "one step too far," Raver-Lampman says.

"This is just another example of how nobody in this family actually understands what [she's] going through. The people that you are the closest to and the people that love you the most are the people that end up being the one that hurts you the deepest, and this was a betrayal of the entire relationship that Viktor and Allison had been beautifully grooming over the past several seasons," she says.

Despite how Allison is "an exposed nerve" throughout the season, she developed clarity by the end. Yes, she made a deal with Reginald to bring the siblings together to fuel his machine so that he could end up in a different universe, but Raver-Lampman holds firm that Allison didn't truly know the extent of his plan — specifically that it would include killing one of those siblings (Luther).

When Allison learned Luther's fate, she had a moment of feeling like she "didn't sign up for this," the actor says, but by that point the plan was too forward in motion to stop it. When she saw how his plan was affecting everyone else — literally pulling the powers from their bodies to fuel his machine — she smashed the orb around Reginald, which severed the tie between her siblings and the machine. From there, though, she still carried out his plan by pressing the big red button to reset the universe.

"I do believe in the moment it was made with very selfish intentions," Raver-Lampman says of whether Allison's actions are heroic at the end of Season 3. "Her options are to try and stop him and everybody dies, or just trust that maybe this will all work out. We may have lost a leader, but there might be an opportunity for her to get her happy ending, but also, that could also happen for everybody else."

Allison caused some harm this season, but she also suffered tremendously, too. And in the end, she was rewarded by getting what she wanted: She emerged in that new universe to find both her daughter and Ray waiting for her. She was separated from the rest of her siblings, who ended up all together in a park, fully healed, but without their powers. By contrast, Allison (who had not been connected to the machine), still had her injuries, and it was unclear as to whether she had her powers — even to Raver-Lampman.

"I'm assuming that if the rest of them don't have their powers, she probably doesn't either. But she clearly doesn't know that because she hasn't tried it," she says. "In that moment, on on the day, I was only focused on [that] she finally made this happen — she finally got what she wanted; she was reunited with Claire."

Going forward, should the show return for a fourth season, Raver-Lampman assumes Allison would try to find her siblings well before trying to use her powers. "Especially because one of the last memories that she has of her daughter, that continues to haunt her, is when she rumored her," she recalls.

But she thinks that "guilt will definitely come into the picture at some point" for Allison. After all, she got what she wanted, but as the audience has already seen, the others haven't all fared as well.

"Their powers and their abilities are at times a blessing and at times a curse," Raver-Lampman says. "And so, I think it could be interesting for them explore a life that they've not experienced before. Allison has done that and was seemingly very happy to live in existence where she was not a superhero. She found love, she found inner peace, but then she also found her voice as a woman — and as a Black woman — in that space. And I think not having her power made room for other aspects of who she is to come to the surface, and I think that was really exciting for her. So, it could be cool for the others to experience what else exists within them when they don't have their powers to rest on. But it probably won't be easy."