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The Most Disturbing Parts Of The Umbrella Academy's Reginald Hargreeves

Netflix's supernatural superhero series The Umbrella Academy, based on the graphic novel by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, is an off-kilter, no-holds-barred story about a misfit family of super-powered siblings. In the TV series' universe, 43 women around the world unexpectedly gave birth to super-powered babies on the same day in 1989. The story begins years later, long after seven of these children are adopted by an eccentric billionaire and raised as a superhero team. Now adults, the seven siblings are brought back together in the wake of their father's suicide with a mission to save the world.

The Umbrella Academy focuses on the seven siblings who each have a corresponding number given to them by their peculiar adoptive father, Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore). The cast members playing the siblings are Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, and Elliot Page as Viola, also known as Number 7. When audiences first meet the siblings, they are wracked with trauma and intense feelings about their abnormal childhood, and with good reason.

Although Hargreeves appears to have well-intentioned motives for his actions, he is a strange and unemotional man, and he does a lot of questionable things. Here are all the most disturbing actions and characteristics of Hargreeves that should make you consider if he might be the true villain of the story.

Reginald Hargreeves bought seven babies to raise as superheroes

After the 43 babies are born across the world, Hargreeves goes around and acquires seven of them from naive mothers. It's likely he does whatever he must to get them including giving the women money, essentially buying the babies. Hargreeves is rich and influential, and it's clear that he's used to getting what he wants with no pushback. So of course no one questions the fact that he adopts seven random children and trains them as young superheroes. There's also a distinctly violent nature to The Umbrella Academy's work. This is technically unavoidable with Ben's ability, but no one appears to care that children are taking down the bad guys. No one ever investigates Hargreeves — as far as we know — despite the questionable nature of his actions, and he faces zero accountability. 

Hargreeves' attitude of gliding through life is present in the 1960s as well. He works with the Majestic 12, a group acting as a shadow government in the United States, and manipulates them to reach his own goals. Just the fact that he's a part of this power-hungry organization means that Hargreeves believes himself to be above the law. While this might have something to do with the fact that he's an alien and not technically a member of the human race, it doesn't mean he shouldn't face consequences for his actions.

Reginald Hargreeves is emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive to his kids

Hargreeves is clearly the cause of all of the siblings' trauma. The most obvious incident showcasing Hargreeves' abuse is how he calls the children by numbers, not names. Instead, the robot version of Grace (Jordan Claire Robbins) who acts as their mother must name them instead, allowing them a sense of identity. With the numbers, the training, and the whole structure of the children's lives, Hargreeves encourages competition and constantly berates them. He very rarely raises them up. 

In Viola's case, given more of a chance and better faith in her abilities, she would've been able to learn control over her powers. Instead, Hargreeves makes Viola's sister Allison (Raver-Lampman) use mind control and manipulate her memories and feelings of self-worth, creating everlasting trauma for both girls. With Luther (Hopper), the son who just wants his father to be proud of him, Hargreeves sends him to the moon so that he will leave him alone. Then there's Klaus (Sheehan), who has the ability to commune with the dead. In order to force him to face his power, Hargreeves locks him in a mausoleum to be bombarded by ghosts. This trauma completely changes Klaus, leading him to escape through alcohol and drugs and consistently end up on the precipice of death, miraculously surviving to adulthood.

The patriarch of The Umbrella Academy puts the responsibility of saving the world on the shoulders of the children, but despite that, he won't trust them with any of his many secrets. He emotionally, verbally, and physically abuses them, even making them get real tattoos as kids and basically branding them. Hargreeves really wins the award of "World's Worst Father," right?

Reginald Hargreeves is willing to murder and experiment on animals and children

When the Hargreeves siblings travel to the 1960s, they go looking for their father for answers. When they find him, Hargreeves is the same cold, manipulative man, without the personal connection and memory of adopting them. At this point in his life, Hargreeves is working on a project with Grace, preparing a monkey named Pogo to be launched into space. Considering his history, he probably has other personal experiments going on at the same time. When Pogo returns from the mission injured, Hargreeves uses one of his experimental serums to heal him, which has unexpected side effects. Obviously, Hargreeves isn't completely devoid of feelings, and it seems like he actually cares for Grace and Pogo, but that doesn't make his actions any less irresponsible. In the future, Hargreeves sees the children as experiments as well, and treats them as such. 

As for Hargreeves' history with murder, the main instance of this happens at the end of season 2, when he kills all of the Majestic 12 members in his alien form. Along with that, the younger version of Hargreeves has a run-in with Diego (Castañeda), and he almost succeeds in killing his adoptive son. Hargreeves appears to have no qualms about leaving a stranger bleeding out on the ground, knowing he will die. Thankfully, Lila (Ritu Arya) saves Diego's life. Overall, Hargreeves is a very questionable man who the siblings really shouldn't trust. While he might be doing all this to save the world, there's a lot we still don't know about him, and evidence suggests he's more villainous than he pretends to be. We will simply have to wait and see what happens when The Umbrella Academy returns for season 3.