Warning: Spoilers for the season 1 finale of The Umbrella Academy are ahead.
Oh, did you not think Vanya Hargreeves had powers? Well, think again. Though they’ve been suppressed, and kept secret, for her entire life, during the season finale of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, adapted from the comics of the same name, she unleashes them at full force. Though she’s ranked as number seven, and the last powerful, on a scale her adoptive father created for her and her siblings, Vanya’s powers destroy the moon. The moon! Not just anyone with super strength or intense knife-throwing ability can destroy the damn moon, but Vanya can. And she does. So we should probably talk about Vanya, the White Violin, and what the comics have to say about her brand new moon-busting ability.
The Set-Up: Vanya's Upbringing
The Umbrella Academy follows the lives of six children with superpowers, who then grow up to be adults with superpowers as they try to figure out how to use them to stop the impending apocalypse. Even though Vanya is one of these children, her whole life she’s told she’s not special, and that she doesn’t have powers. However, Vanya's adoptive father knew she had powers and realized how powerful she could become; so, using drugs, he suppressed them from her, leaving her none the wiser.
The Goods: Vanya's Long Dormant Powers
When Vanya’s powers appear towards the end of the first season of the show, no one is safe from them. In the simplest of terms, Vanya can control sound waves and use them for telekinesis and sound projection, aka move objects with her mind and also send out giant blasts of energy disrupting things around her. She also has advanced hearing, and can purposely block out certain sounds to hear specific ones. It’s badass, and also terrifying.
The Comics: Vanya's Powers Got A Boost For TV
These powers also don’t stray too much from what’s established about Vanya in The Umbrella Academy comics, which the series is based on. However, in the comics Vanya is only able to control sound through music, not just any sounds like we see in the TV show. She uses her violin as a weapon (sort of like what we see on the show) and she can cause destruction by playing a single note. On Netflix, it’s more like she is the destructive force, and it’s being amplified by her violin, instead of the other way around. As all hell is breaking loose in the season finale, it’s noted that her violin bow is being used as a lightning rod to conduct her power.
The Look: Vanya Actually Looks Like The White Violin In The Comics
In the comics, Vanya also very much takes on the appearance of a violin, which is why her superhero moniker is “The White Violin.” No one makes Ellen Page completely transform into a white musical instrument on screen, but slowly she does take on elements of the instrument, a subtle nod to the comics. At first it’s just her eyes that glow white, but slowly it becomes her face and body. But, as her power intensifies, she turns completely white, including her clothing and violin. There’s even a brief moment where Vanya looks like a violin (a nod to how the character looks in the comics) sans the typical violin markings.
The Moon: Gets Destroyed In The Comics Too
How we get to this point is also different from the comics, but it leads to the same conclusion with Vanya destroying the moon. In the comics, Vanya is basically recruited by an orchestra with a mysterious conductor called The Conductor, and he’s the one who tells her she has powers and can help him destroy the planet. The TV series replaces The Conductor with Leonard/Harold, who basically holds the same grudge against society and suggests to Vanya that she’s more powerful than she realizes.
The Follow-up: What's Going To Happen To Vanya In Season 2?
While all of these things match up with the story in the comics, going into (the hopeful) Season 2 of the show, things are going to be different. In order to stop Vanya from destroying the world in the comics, Five shoots her in the head — the series swaps Five out for Allison, who doesn’t shoot her in the head. Rather, Allison fires the gun next to Vanya’s ear, disrupting her concentration... which leads to her accidentally blasting the moon with her powers. The gunshot to the head in the comics leaves Vanya unable to walk and without her memory. The later issues of The Umbrella Academy comics have the family caring for her (even though she can’t remember who they are) and Vanya stuck a wheelchair. On the show, it’s unclear what kind of mental and physical state she’s in at the end of the season, because, well, she’s unconscious.
The season ends with the Academy deciding to time travel — with Vanya — in order to try and “fix” her and prevent the apocalypse from happening in the first place. They manage to do so, apparently regressing back to themselves as children, but who knows when and where they’re going in time — and when and where they do stop, will Vanya even realize how powerful she is once again?