Allison thinks of her life as a blockbuster film.
She’s the pretty misguided protagonist. Her love interests rotate in and out, each one helping her find more of herself before she reunites with her first love.
Luther, Natalie, Patrick, Luther, again?
(To be childhood sweethearts with your brother is… an interesting backstory to have. It’s also a backstory that she keeps very, very close to her chest. She feels it’s perverted. They’d never had sex, they’d barely ever kissed. But once she’d started leaving the academy for longer and longer trips, things had changed. Her affection for Luther had choked in her throat, morphed to shame, and sunk heavily to the bottom of her stomach.
Natalie had been her first friend in LA. Her first girlfriend too. They’d shared an apartment for the better half of their relationship and Allison can proudly say she’d never once rumoured the other woman. Hollywood would turn their breakup into something it wasn’t. Something more dramatic, something that would make Allison look less horrible. There would be a screaming match in the rain and they’d share one last feverish kiss. What had really happened was that Allison just left. She rumoured herself a nicer apartment and ghosted the other woman. Allison had thought going into the business with a partner, a girlfriend no less, would not be good for her It Girl brand.
Patrick is the perfect husband, eventually. Handsome and white and a man and not her brother. He does like her sort of at the start but he kisses her roughly and holds her hips too tight. He just wants to fuck her at the beginning. Likes the idea of a fresh new face to ruin. He’s got a horrible reputation around town and Allison’s agent tells her to steer fucking clear. But Allison has always enjoyed a challenge. So, she tries and tries and tries to get him to think of her as anything other than a warm body. It doesn’t work. Eventually, she has to take matters into her own hands.
And then Patrick leaves her and takes Claire and her father dies. And the first time she sees Luther again, that ball of shame curled tight in her tummy loosens. Just a little bit. She wonders how Hollywood would receive a pitch for a film about a traumatised woman falling back in love with her brother. Not well, she’s sure. Far worse than her family has.)
Allison thinks of parts of her life as acts in said film.
Her very own Immaculate Conception all the way up to Number Five’s disappearance is Act 1.
(She thinks the best scene in the first act is stripping her sister of her worth. She thinks whoever is watching her life and laughing as it comes crashing down around her must have gotten a kick out of that part. Out of the confused look on the two children’s faces, the glaze that had fallen over Vanya’s eyes. She thinks it could be nicely framed as some kind of big reveal later on too.)
Act 2 could probably be made up of the fragile ties between family coming undone, teenage rebellions, and the start of Allison’s movie stardom.
It ends with Ben’s death.
(Allison’s Life would be frequently criticised for having a single scene slow down the pacing of an otherwise action-packed, conflict-driven second act. The scene in question is a stolen moment of calm and happiness at a horrible point in all of their lives. An exhausting mission and an absent father equals a less tense version of their usual silent ride home. Klaus has his hand hanging out of a window, riding the wave of wind lazily. Ben is sleeping against Luther; his cries are muffled by Luther’s broad shoulder. Diego rests his head on the window opposite Klaus and usually, he’d be glaring across the car at Luther but that night his eyes kept fluttering closed and his breathing would occasionally even out. Allison herself is tucked against Luther’s side, hand held firmly in his grasp. They’d grown apart as of late but she found comfort in his familiar warmth. Upon returning home, they’d quickly retired to their rooms. For the first time in, maybe, years every one of them slept the entire night through.)
Act 3 begins at Ben’s funeral, at which Luther and Diego get into a brawl that ends in Luther sobbing and the rest of them standing around helplessly.
It also includes Allison and Patrick’s meet-cute, Allison’s first Oscar, The Brainwashing Of Patrick Hendricks, Luther’s departure to the moon, and Claire’s subsequent birth. Claire had come about as a show of superiority and stability, Luther was still under Hargreeves and Allison was free. Allison had underestimated the difficulty of motherhood so horribly that act 3 had ended in the simple stage direction of
EXIT PATRICK and CLAIRE
END ACT 3
(Allison wonders if it’s at this point in the film that the viewers begin to realise that Allison is not at all a good person. She wonders at which point in this act that they clued in on that. If it was the brainwashing of her husband, the baby had in retaliation of someone who probably hadn’t thought about her in years, or the brainwashing of her child . She also wonders if Patrick seeing her rumour Claire was for the best and if the audience of her life, composed probably entirely of sadists, would agree. If that one singular moment when she’d been caught with her hand in the figurative cookie jar was the culmination of years of abusing her power. If she’d had all of it coming and the rest of the world cheered when she lost her baby girl. She wonders if the audience can tell that she’s not really angry at Patrick by the time he gets custody. She wouldn’t blame them if they couldn’t, it had taken until halfway through the fourth act to realise it herself.)
Act 4 and Allison’s shitty lifetime/marvel crossover biopic isn’t over yet. Instead, Act 4 is a convoluted mess comprised of; her father dying, trying to stop the apocalypse, mending her familial relationships, and getting her throat cut. All in the span of a week.
To be completely honest, she could deal with most of Act 4 being completely scrapped. Edited until the only parts of it not on the cutting room floor is Hargreeves dying and the relationship building parts.
(The scene that would win Allison her third Academy Award is in this act. The one where she’s crying and helpless and having realisations of her past. Where she’s trying to help her sister only to get her throat cut. Where she collapses holding her slashed throat, her sister flees with a murderer, and her brothers all sob over her while she bleeds out. But there’s many a scene that prevents The Movie Of Her Life from a Best Picture nomination. Namely, Allison and Luther, all up on each other. Nobody really wants to watch siblings make googly eyes at each other, even Allison pulls away at times. The world is watching, she always thinks, and her film is already problematic enough without the incest. It never seems to stop her though.)
She doesn’t know how Act 5 starts, isn’t particularly sure where Act 4 ends, either. She does know that she’s tired of movies. And that she doesn’t want to be a movie anymore either. Doesn’t want her life to be an open wound bleeding profusely for all the world to see.
It takes her a long while to realise this. That she’s allowed to live just for herself, that her life doesn’t have to be sectioned into acts. But once she does it’s like a weight lifted. Like every tiny eye that she’s felt on her back her entire life have all closed. Like she’s really free.
(She hugs Vanya and doesn’t think of an imaginary audience. She attends her court-mandated therapy, and then some, and she gets weekends with Claire. And Allison doesn’t care how the world sees her, whispers about her as she does so. She paints Klaus’ nails and gossips about exes with him without fear of how it will make her look to the general public. She doesn’t worry about letting down the ‘soft but strong, firm but gentle woman’ brand she’s carefully cultivated as she spars with Diego. Five can still talk circles around her but she’s never painfully aware of how her intellect will be perceived when he does so. She finally mourns Ben properly too, doesn’t throw herself into acting and Being A Movie Star- and, occasionally, cocaine -as she’d done before. Sits with Luther and Klaus and actually talks about Ben, remembers him. Feels reassurance and love instead of embarrassment when she begins to cry and Luther grabs one of her hands and Klaus takes the other. She’s not a performance piece to gawk and point at any more. She’s a mother and a sister and a person .)
Allison Hargreeves is a movie star but her life has never been a movie.