Wait, What Is Actually Going On With Ben On Umbrella Academy?

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Warning: Spoilers for Umbrella Academy are ahead. If you think your family’s a little bit weird at times, you haven’t met the Hargreeves. Netflix’s latest original series The Umbrella Academy follows the story or Sir Reginald Hargreeves and his seven adoptive children — Luther, Diego, Klaus, Allison, Vanya, Five, and Ben. Sounds commonplace enough, right? Wrong. They makeup The Umbrella Academy superhero team, and they’re here to battle evil with their superpowers, as both children and adults. Oh, also one of them (Ben) is dead. And it just so happens that what happened to Ben is a huge Umbrella Academy mystery.
It’s not a major spoiler to say that Ben is dead, because you find out pretty early in the series that he’s no longer fighting alongside his brothers and sisters. But, twist, Ben’s still very much here. Klaus — aka, Number Four and The Séance — has the ability to communicate with the dead, which means that even though Ben is gone, he regularly stops by to talk to Klaus, much to Klaus’ objections. If that isn’t a little twisted brotherly relationship, I don’t know what that is.
And even though he’s gone, Ben is still major in Umbrella Academy (possibly into season 2) as his living siblings try to stop the impending apocalypse. So whether you’ve finished all of The Umbrella Academy, or you've just started and are very confused about what this not-so-dead character is up to, here’s everything you need to know about Ben.
Ben — aka, Number Six and The Horror — is one of the 43 children born around the world on the same day, and one of the surviving seven who are brought to live with Hargreeves. Ben’s powers are, to put it as simply as possible, the ability to summon creatures in other dimensions. To put it a little bit more complicated, Ben can summon eldritch creatures via a portal in his body and unleash them on his enemies. Think, like a giant kraken suddenly coming out of your stomach.
What Made Ben Different?
Ben was fine at fighting crime with The Umbrella Academy, but he clearly didn’t want to. Early on in the series, we see a flashback of the Academy stopping a bank robbery, and Ben absolutely does not want to be a part of it, telling his brothers, “I didn’t sign up for this.” He goes into the bank vault to stop a handful of robbers, and emerges covered in blood — not necessarily from his doing, but from the monsters he unleashed inside. Clearly, he’s powerful, but he’s also reluctant to use his powers, even when for good.
How Did Ben Die?
When the series opens, Ben is already dead. It’s unclear if he’s recently just died, or if he’s been dead for a while. Also, Ben’s death is the reason The Umbrella Academy disbanded, all going their separate ways in the world. Umbrella Academy leaves Ben’s death vague, more than likely so that can be expanded more in Season 2, something the showrunners have already teased. But, everyone in the family feels some tinge of responsibility for his death, which makes it sound like it could have easily been avoided. It’s also possible that Ben reluctantly went into battle, and it ultimately killed him, and that weighs heavy on everyone — especially Luther, who is more or less in charge of the group.
The series is based off of a comic of the same name, but if you want to look to the comics for the answer surrounding Ben’s death, you’re out of luck. The comics haven’t even revealed the full story behind Ben’s death either. There is a minor change between page and screen, because in the comics it is implied that Ben died as a child; in the series, it’s implied he died as an adult, due to the adult-looking statue of Ben at the Academy.
If Ben Is Dead, How's He Still Around?
Klaus can communicate with the dead, which means that he can talk to Ben. Or better yet, Ben can talk to Klaus because Klaus would like to forget that part of his being entirely. Ben, from the beyond, tries to keep Klaus on a straight and narrow path, and off of drugs, as best he can. Ben acts as sort of a north star for Klaus, often times pointing him in the right direction when needed.
It’s also important to note that when Klaus talks to other ghosts, we can often see visible trauma on them, which clearly led to their death. We don’t see any sort of bumps or bruises on Ben, which is another way his death is kept a mystery.
Is Ben, Like, Alive Now?
Not so fast. In Episode 10, all hell has broken loose and it’s actually Vanya who ends up causing the apocalypse. During the final battle at the concert hall, while Vanya is playing and everyone is shooting at the Academy, Klaus is able to use his powers to get Ben to manifest in the real world, as basically a superpower ghost. Ben then uses his powers — a giant beast with tentacles coming out of his stomach — to take out the gunmen. His other siblings are shocked to see Ghost Ben, let alone Ghost Ben using his powers to save them.
Will Ben Be In Season 2? And Could We See Him Alive Again?
First, The Umbrella Academy has to be renewed for Season 2, but the answer is probably, yes. Now that everyone knows Ben is around, not just Klaus, you can almost bet that Luther’s going to ask some questions about it. Also, let’s not forget that Five can travel through time, so he could easily jump back to a time when Ben was still alive. Could he jump back so far he prevents Ben’s death all together? Hurry up and renew this show so we can find out, Netflix!

More from TV

R29 Original Series