The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy Season 1 - Middle Build

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The Umbrella Academy Season 1 - Let's find out how this TV series told the story of a dysfunctional family confronted with having to prevent the apocalypse.

Today, we’ll discuss the Middle Build of the television series The Umbrella Academy.

Important Notice:

Since we've changed the format of our podcast, the episodes about the beginning hook, middle build and ending payoff of the Umbrella Academy - Season 1 will just be released as a blog post. 


The 5 commandments of The Umbrella Academy - Middle Build

Inciting Incident: 

Melanie: As stated before in the last episode, I will keep on focusing on the one character I consider to be the main protagonist.

So I think the Inciting Incident of the Middle Build is: The lab is destroyed by an explosion. The last clue is lost. (Episode 4),(causal)

Parul: I’m struggling to keep to one character. It means ignoring significant parts of the story. I think we have to think of them as a collective. At least at the crisis point. 


Progressive Complications: 

  • Klaus captured and tortured
  • Five gets drunk
  • Vanya off her pills
  • Leonard throws Vanya's pills away


Turning Point: 

Melanie: Handler returns to offer Five a new job in the Commission. (episode 5)



Melanie: Does 5 accept the proposal or not?

Stakes: (Irreconcilable Goods Crisis Question)

If Five comes back into the fold, he’ll get a hefty promotion, and he’ll be returned to his adult body.

The woman in charge of the Commission also promises to do what she can to ensure that Five's siblings survive.

But the end of the world will happen and Five will have to live with it.

The threat of damnation is at play here, when we follow his Morality-Redemption Story.

So the question is: Should he work for the commission again with all the benefits but with the end of the world on his conscience OR should he go on on his own trying to save the world which could end in the death of him, his family and everyone else’s - but at least he may find some form of absolution trying to have done the right thing? (Episode 5)



Melanie: Five works for the Commission again. (Episode 5)



Melanie: Five has access to Commission's Secret Files and receives a new clue to stop the end of the world: the name: Harold Jenkins. (Episode 6). 

Parul: Allison goes after Vanya and is maybe killed

Value Change: From hopeless (the world will end and five can’t stop it) to hope (Five rejoins the commission and finds a clue)


Middle Build of the Comic Book

Melanie: Let’s just compare the Middle Build with the comic book:

  1. Convinced that the apocalypse is near (II)
  2. and faced with ongoing leadership troubles that could cost them their lives (TP)
  3. ... the members of The Umbrella Academy have to decide if they keep patroling or if they keep fighting each other instead. (Crisis)
  4. They part ways. (Climax)
  5. and follow their own clues that lead them straight to their sister Vanya. (Resolution)


Even in the comic book, we have the same value change as in the TV series: hopeless to hope, but the members are more active even though if they have decided to not work together, they at least actively try to prevent the apocalypse by searching clues. 



Randall: I’m kind of frustrated that the other members of the UA don’t take the end of the world seriously. 

Also, we’re almost to the end of the series, and there are a lot of unanswered questions about the UA origins.

The separate origin stories for the UA members are interesting. But how or if this dysfunctional team will be able to save the world is the big question.


Melanie: This TV show is straying further and further away from the original story of the comic book.

I know, there are always changes made when adopting a novel into a movie or a comic book into a TV series.

But I guess there’s a difference between adding new characters to make the story more interesting and changing some plot points OR to change the entire plot.

And me too, I’m waiting for the members to actually do something.

Even Five is just sitting around in a van observing.

In the comic book, Five and Diego were actively seeking clues.

Each finding their own clues that led to the big showdown.

Even Luther continued to do what he did best: taking watch.

But we’re through the Middle Build now and I feel like most of the story so far was the obligatory moment of the action story defined as the heroes sidestep the responsibility to take action.

I feel like that’s the overall thing that’s going on, and for an action story, there should be a clear point when the characters become heroes because they need to save the victims.

I understand they don’t feel like heroes, but nobody is a hero.

We become heroes when we fight for what’s right and try to save others from harm. 





I have prepared the entire spreadsheet for the first episode of Season 1.

So if you want to dive into the microanalysis of this series, just start with that spreadsheet


Furthermore, I have done a full analysis of The Umbrella Academy - Apocalypse Suite Comic Book.

Six Core Question Analysis, Foolscap, Spreadsheet as well as the Story Grid Graph. You find it on my website:


Examples of Time travel solutions to the end of the world?

Randall: Avengers Endgame

Melanie: I know this is very, very far fetched, but in J.W. von Goethe’s masterwork of Faust 2, there’s time travel involved. But the scope is not about the end of the world in general, but it’s about the end of the world in the microcosmos of one specific person: Faust himself.

Parul: Dr Who is full of examples.

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