If you haven’t finished Stranger Things, I’m jealous. I wish I could un-watch the Netflix hit just so that I could see it for the first time. Anyway, spoiler alert, but nevermind—you’ve had plenty of time to finish the eight-episode series. If you’re not caught up, that’s on you.
Ok, let’s get into it.
The Duffer Brothers have purposefully presented the concept of the Upside Down without totally flushing it out. The holes in season one’s mythology have led to a host of fan theories throughout various message boards, Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit. But first, here’s what we do know for sure:
- Eleven opened the gate to the Upside Down as a side effect to the experiments run on her by Dr. Brenner.
- During the final fight scene, when The Monster disappears, so does Eleven.
- She even calls herself The Monster in the final episode.
- Eleven initially encounters The Monster in a dark, empty space when she was under a trance-like state at Hawkins Lab. She did not meet The Monster in the Upside Down. The desaturated, mirrored dimension is not introduced until after The Monster is.
Uproxx has created a video that compiles different theories supporting that Eleven and The Monster are in fact, deeply connected— if not one single being. The fan fiction video points to some overlooked clues as evidence:
- Eleven throws down a figure from the boys’ game called a “Demogorgon,” which is a Dungeons & Dragons creature with two heads: one deceptive and one destructive.
- Mike receives a copy of X-Men #134, which features telekinetic charter Jean Grey and her dual inner personas Phoenix and Dark Phoenix—both powerful and destructive.
Throughout season one, Stranger Things seems to play with the concept of duality, a notion that both good and evil can be found in a single creature. Is Eleven still alive? Probably, which means that The Monster most certainly is too.
Is Will okay? Is Hop working for the government? Is Jean-Ralphio the father of Steve? You can consult some Christmas lights or wait for season two. But for what it’s worth, everyone needs to chill out about Barbara; she’ll be fine. The show’s creators have all but confirmed this.