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How Did Ben Die On Umbrella Academy? Season 2 Theories About Number 6’s Death
This article contains spoilers for The Umbrella Academy.
Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy has its secrets, but generally doesn’t keep them hush hush for too long. Vanya’s powers, the Handler’s resurrection, Reginald Hargreeves’ true alien identity—these are all revelations that the show offered at a pretty tidy clip. But there’s one mystery that, two seasons in, no one seems to have uncovered. How did Ben Hargreeves die?
Despite being one of the show’s central characters, as Ghost Ben is the constant companion of his necromancer brother, Klaus, Ben died long before the events depicted in the series. Unfortunately, it makes sense that one of the super-powered Hargeevees siblings shuffled off this mortal coil prematurely—fighting crime is a pretty tough day job for anyone, much less for a gang of emotionally-neglected children. Ben, who was also called Number Six, possessed the ability to release giant, terrifying tentacles from his chest. And though you’d expect tentacle guy to be able to take care of himself in even the hairiest situations, he died when the Hargreeves kids were all around 14 years old. The show has never disclosed just how that happened.
But there are theories. After Umbrella Academy’s first season debuted, some fans came to the sad conclusion that Ben may have died by suicide. This theory largely rests on the inscription engraved on the statue outside of the Hargreeves’ manor, which memorializes him with the phrase, “May the darkness within you find peace in the light.” As a plot point, this would also be in keeping with the series’ focus on familial trauma, and is so deeply tragic that it would be completely understandable that the surviving Hargreeves kids don’t discuss the circumstances of Ben’s death. But given Ben’s particularly frightening superpower (in the comic, he’s nicknamed “The Horror”), the reference to the “darkness within” him could just be talking about his terrifying tentacles.
Anyway, that theory was upended in Season Two, which includes a sequence that takes place during Ben’s funeral. In his scathing eulogy, Reginald lays into the other kids, blaming them for their brother’s death. “Despite years of training and weeks of preparation, you allowed Number Six to die on this mission,” he says. “The Umbrella Academy has failed one of their own, the consequences of which are dire. Hold on to this feeling, children. Let it fester in your hearts, so there is never a next time.” That definitely makes it sound like Ben was killed in action, rather than by his own hand.
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas
Dark Horse Comics
Still, the show hasn’t revealed the details of Ben’s death. The comics are similarly mum on the subject, as is the their creator, My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. In a 2019 IGN interview, Way said that the circumstances of Ben’s demise are “beyond a spoiler because it has to do with the comic too and it hasn’t been revealed in the comic.” But he offered a small hint, and said that all the Hargreeveses “maybe have some involvement in his death.”
The cast and creators of the show haven’t been any more helpful. “”I don’t even know what happened to Ben!” series showrunner Steve Blackman told IGN. Justin H. Min, who plays Ben on the series, said that he gets “hundreds and hundreds of messages” asking about how his character became a ghost. “We can’t speak of the death,” he told CBR last year. “Of course, I’ve definitely heard the theories.”
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.
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