Editor’s note: this article contains spoilers for the new third season of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy.
When it comes down to it, The Umbrella Academy is a family — and nothing makes that more clear than their reaction to Viktor’s transition in the newest season of the show.
In the beloved superhero series, Viktor’s (played by Oscar-nominated Out100 honoree Elliot Page) coming out was inspired by his relationship with Sissy, the woman he fell in love with when the Umbrellas were trapped in 1963. “She saw me for who I really am,” Viktor says about her in the first episode of season 3.
It’s in the second episode that we meet Viktor for the first time. After looking up when Sissy died in a book in the library, Viktor sees a poster advertising men’s haircuts and remembers the words Sissy said to him: “You don’t even notice the box that you’re in until someone comes along and lets you out.”
When he introduces himself to the family, he’s greeted with a simple “love the haircut,” and when Diego calls him “Vanya,” he replies, “It’s Viktor.”
“Who’s Viktor?” a confused Diego asks.
“I am. It’s who I’ve always been,” he replies. “Is that an issue for anyone?”
“Truly happy for you Viktor,” Number Five then says.
Later when he talks to Allison and Luther, each of them takes it equally well. They understand their brother and are happy to see him happy.
“You know, I always hated mirrors, I thought everybody felt so strange in their skin. I guess that’s not true right?” he asks Allison. When she asks what he sees in the mirror now, Viktor replies, “me, just me.”
The Umbrella Academy is showing that accepting someone’s transition, especially if that someone is in your family, doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, the Umbrellas have dealt with the end of the world, and their reaction to Viktor’s transition is the opposite.
Instead of dramatic arguments or long conversations, the series shows little things like Viktor talking to his brother about men’s haircuts, talking to his sister about being himself, and just simply reintroducing himself to his family.
It teaches audiences how they should treat a real-life transition by having the characters react to the actor's real-life transition in the best way possible. It’s not just Viktor who is getting his introduction here, it’s Page. This is the first role we’ve seen him in since he transitioned, and he looks great.
Every time the characters compliment Viktor’s haircut or say he looks happier is also a comment on Page himself off the screen. And Viktor really does look better and happier than Vanya ever did. He even has the confidence to become the Umbrella’s leader. This is what you can do when you are able to be your true self.
Page has channeled the real-life confidence he must be feeling into the performance, making Viktor the emotional heart — and one of the most compelling characters — of the season. By writing in Page’s real-life transition so naturally to the character, The Umbrella Academy is paving the way for future trans actors to feel the freedom to transition, even while in the middle of a show. The show is giving an example of how to do trans representation right.
Viktor’s transition really feels so natural in the third season, and that was definitely helped by the show bringing on trans writer Thomas Page McBee to help craft the story. With all the bad news about anti-trans rhetoric and laws, it feels great to see a trans person be their best self and be celebrated for that, and that’s exactly what the newest season of The Umbrella Academy does.
The Umbrella Academy Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.