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  • Stranger Things is this cool new sorta mystery-scifi-horror-drama type deal from Netflix.

  • It’s set in the 80s, and it borrows a lot from the films of that time, like E.T., and

  • Alien.

  • The story begins with the disappearance of a boy called Will from the town of Hawkins,

  • Indiana, and the mystery quickly deepens with the appearance of a girl with psychic powers,

  • a shadowy government agency, and a monster from another dimension.

  • By the end of the season Will is found but there are still heaps of unresolved questions

  • like what’s up with Hopper and the g-men?

  • What is the monster, and how does the Upside Down work?

  • What happened to Eleven?

  • And why did Nancy hook up with the douchebag Steve instead of the sensitive Jonathan?

  • Was it the hair?

  • It was probably the hair.

  • But still let’s have a look at what happened in Stranger Things Season 1, beginning at

  • the very beginning.

  • In the fifties and sixties, the CIA conducted secret experiments in a program called MKUltra,

  • using drugs like LSD to investigate mind control, brainwashing and interrogation techniques

  • which is a real thing that happened, by the waybut in Stranger Things, some of

  • these experiments take place at the Hawkins National Laboratory, led by a certain Dr.

  • Brenner.

  • And one of Brenner’s subjects back in the day was a woman called Terry Ives.

  • We learn that Terry was pregnant while she was being experimented on with drugs, so naturally,

  • her child was born with psychic powerslike telekinesis.

  • Terry named the child Jane, but Jane was taken away from her by Brenner, who covered up the

  • kidnapping saying Terry actually had a miscarriage.

  • Terry tried to sue Brenner to get her daughter back, but these attempts failed, and Terry

  • seems to have declined into a drugged-out stupor.

  • Meanwhile Jane grew up in the Hawkins lab, where she was tattooed with her new nameEleven.

  • Eleven calls Dr Brennerpapa”, which might mean Dr. Brenner lied and told El that

  • he was her dad, or maybe he really is her dad, maybe he had some relationship with Terry,

  • we don’t know.

  • But in any case El is treated cruelly at the Lab.

  • Brenner subjects her to lots of experimentsmaking her break things with her mind,

  • and perceive things from a distance.

  • Sometimes he put Eleven in a sensory deprivation tank, where Eleven’s able to psychically

  • project herself into a weird dark void where she can interact with people who are far away

  • this is during the Cold War, so Brenner and his CIA buddies use her to spy on Russians.

  • But also in this darkness Eleven encounters a monster.

  • The monster presumably isn’t physically in this dark space, but is in its own dimension,

  • the Upside Down, just as the Russian is in Russia, and Eleven’s in the tank, but by

  • projecting herself through this dark space, Eleven is able to reach across the dimensions,

  • and under the orders of Brenner, she makes contact with the monster, somehow causing

  • “a tear in time and space”, making a gate, a portal into the monster’s dimension, allowing

  • it to emerge into Hawkins.

  • In the commotion, Eleven escapes the Lab by crawling through a drain pipe, meanwhile the

  • monster starts to hunt animals and people in Hawkinsat the start of Episode 1,

  • it takes Will.

  • So this kicks off the human drama of the storywe see Will’s mother Joyce frantically

  • trying to connect with her son, and Will’s older brother Jonathan searching, in his angst

  • and alienation.

  • We see the cop Jim Hopper, still haunted by his daughter’s death.

  • And when Eleven escapes from the Lab she groups up with Will’s friends Mike and Lucas and

  • Dustin, who teach her loyalty and normalcy and love, there’s also Mike’s sister Nancy,

  • who’s growing up, trying to work out who she is, discovering sexlike, when we

  • first see Nancy, Dustin offers her some sausage and pepperoni pizza, which Nancy declines,

  • and this refusal totake the sausagekinda foreshadows her conflict over whether

  • to sleep with her boyfriend Steve, or to listen to her friend Barb and stay a virgin.

  • Barb, for her part, dies and no one seems to care, but Steve gets a redemption of sorts,

  • after being an asshole early on.

  • In the end, Nancy and Steve are together, but there’s still a bit of a love triangle

  • with Jonathan.

  • So yeah, there’s some interesting drama happening, but the really juicy mysteries

  • surround the Upside Down.

  • The Upside Down seems to be a sort ofalternate dimension”.

  • It has the same stuff in in it as the real worldall the buildings and trees and

  • cars of Hawkins are therebut everything’s dark and dead and decayed, cold and empty.

  • When stuff moves or changes in the real Hawkins, nothing seems to change or move in the Upside

  • Down, so it’s almost like this is a snapshot, a frozen moment in time, perhaps of what Hawkins

  • was like at the moment of contact, when Eleven touched the monstermaybe it was at that

  • moment that this whole dimension was created.

  • Or maybe the Upside Down used to be alive and normal like Hawkins, but it was infected

  • by this weird toxic growth we see in the Upside Down.

  • There are vines or tentacles on the ground, slime on the walls, particles in the air,

  • the gate seems to grow, and wherever the monster goes, slime spreads.

  • Maybe this is like an interdimensional disease, spreading from parallel world to parallel

  • world, infecting the multiverse.

  • Or maybe this is a time travel thing.

  • Maybe the Upside Down is the future of Hawkins, it’s what itll become after being infected

  • by its own future.

  • This is all wild speculation, but whatever the Upside Down is, it’s clearly closely

  • connected to Hawkinsthe dimensions affect each other in lots of different ways.

  • Activity in the Upside Down can cause electrical disturbance in Hawkins, Will and Joyce can

  • even use lights to communicate, though we don’t how this works on Will’s endhow

  • can he even see the lights and letters from the Upside Down?

  • Some people think this means Will has psychic powers like Elevenwhich could maybe also

  • explain this weird gate-like thing Will seems to openbut the evidence still isn’t

  • strong.

  • Anyway the Upside Down can also affect Hawkins through magnetismapparently the gate

  • has a strong electromagnetic field.

  • And sound can cross the dimensionsJonno hears Nancy when she’s in the Upside Down.

  • The very walls in Hawkins can give way to the Upside Downwhich allows the monster

  • to enter.

  • The monster, also called the Demogorgon, is a creature that looks kinda like a human,

  • but with long arms, and five unfoldingpetalsof teeth instead of a face.

  • After Eleven makes the gate, the monster is able to make small portals of its own, crossing

  • into Hawkins, to drag prey into the Upside Down.

  • Like a shark, it’s apparently drawn by blood.

  • The monster hunts for food, but it also uses prey for other purposesin Episode 8,

  • we see that Will has been stuck in some gross organic fleshy web, like in Alien, with a

  • slimy tentacle down his throat like a Facehugger.

  • Maybe, like in Alien, the creature uses human hosts to reproduce.

  • Maybe the little slugs that emerge from the bodies of Barb and Will are little baby demogorgons.

  • Though that doesn’t explain the hatched egg we see earlier on in the Upside Downmaybe

  • that’s the egg the monster hatched from, but if so, what laid the egg?

  • It looks too big to come out of a Demogorgon.

  • Also, the first time we see the monster, it looks like its eating that same egg.

  • So between the monster, the eggs, the facehugger-tentacles, and the cough-up slugs, there must be some

  • complex symbiotic life-cycle happening here, there must be more creatures involvedmaybe

  • there are big egg-laying slug queens, or juvenile demogorgons out there.

  • Maybe this creature is an alien.

  • Or maybe the monster is something more human.

  • One popular theory is that the monster somehow represents Eleven’s darker half, like, maybe

  • the monster is a psychic manifestation of her anger and fear, and her suffering at the

  • Hawkins Lab, and that in that moment of contact when the gate was made, she brought the monster

  • out of her subconscious and into the real worldmaybe that’s what El means when

  • she says “I’m the monster”.

  • This idea could help explain some similarities between El and the monster, like in Episode

  • 1, we see the monster open a lock without touching it, just as Eleven locks a lockthe

  • monster appears to have telekinetic abilities, just like El.

  • Also, Eleven seems to recognise a photo of Will without having met him beforemaybe

  • she recognises him because her other half, the monster, has abducted Will.

  • When El defeats the monster, both she and the monster disappear, as though they kinda

  • cancelled each other out.

  • Maybe El and the monster merged back into one, the monster returning to its place in

  • El’s consciousnessmaybe changing her for the worse.

  • All that said, if El is the monster, how do we explain the complex biology of the Upside

  • Down?

  • Could that have possibly come from El’s mind?

  • Finally, it’s very interesting that when El uses her powers, we see the same weird

  • electrical effects that are associated with the Upside Down, so there’s gotta be some

  • link here.

  • It’s all very uncertain, but there are clearly strong connections between Eleven and the

  • monster and the Upside Down.

  • At the end of Season 1, El and the monster disappear, Will comes home, and we get a ‘one

  • month later’, where everything seems calm and normal.

  • The Byers have Christmas dinner, the boys play D and D. Steve and Nancy get Jon a camera

  • to replace the one Steve broke.

  • All seems well.

  • But we see some newspaper clippings that show there’s still a lot going on.

  • Joyce has told the media about Brenner’s experiments at the Lab, leading to a “massive

  • investigation”.

  • The coroner who was involved in Will’s fake body has been caught, and there’s a shake-up

  • among the State Troopers, who worked with Brenner’s people to cover stuff up.

  • It seems that the secrets of the Hawkins Lab are being revealed to the worldbut it

  • may be that nothing comes of this, because MKUltra was supposedly exposed before.

  • But there are more cool details.

  • The article quotes someone called Ives expressing disgust about the Lab, which is weird cause

  • Becky Ives doesn’t seem to believe any of this conspiracy stuff, and Terry Ives doesn’t

  • seem to speakjso what’s going on?

  • Is Terry talking again?

  • Could she maybe have a reunion with her daughter, Eleven?

  • Finally, the article mentions Brenner.

  • Last we saw him, he was attacked by the monsterbut this suggests he survives, and comments

  • from Brenner’s actor and the Duffer Brothers have all but confirmed that we will be seeing

  • him again.

  • Which brings us to Season 2.

  • Season 2 of Stranger Things is set for release in 2017, and there’s already a lot of info

  • out about it.

  • The show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, have said the season will be like a “sequel

  • to the first.

  • Apparently itll explore the repercussions of everything that happened last season, while

  • also introducingnew problems and questions”.

  • Therell be new characters, including Max and Billy and Roman.

  • Max is a sort of a tomboy with a complicated history, Billy is her step-brother, hyper-confident

  • and violent, and Roman is an outsider with a rough past who seeks revenge for a great

  • loss suffered at an early age.

  • All these guys sound potentially interesting, itll be cool to see how they fit with the

  • existing cast.

  • Also, a teaser trailer for Season 2 has released nine episode titles, which give tantalising

  • hints of what’s to come.

  • The first title, Madmax is evocative of the Mad Max movies, but probably refers to the

  • character Max.

  • The Boy Who Came Back to Life has a Harry Potter vibe, but we know this refers to Will,

  • just like on the newspaper.

  • A lot of the other stuff could kinda mean anythingthe pumpkin patch could maybe

  • be like a field of eggs like in Alien, the palace could be some kind of important base,

  • the storm could be general metaphorical conflict or maybe, more literally, some kinda interdimensional

  • Upside Down-y kinda storm?

  • A pollywog is a tadpole, like the pokéman, which could perhaps refer to these slugs if

  • theyre, like, baby demogorgons.

  • The secret cabin sounds like a good place for Eleven or someone to hide.

  • And the brain could maybe refer to some intelligence behind the creatures of the Upside Down, maybe

  • some hivemind shit.

  • Finally the lost brother might refer to a test subject like Eleven who was taken away

  • from their siblingmaybe this is thegreat lossRoman suffered.

  • So there are a million cool new possibilities for Season 2 here, but let’s also have a

  • look at what might happen to the characters we already and love.

  • Season 1 ends with this creepy scene where Will coughs up a slug, just like the one that

  • came out of Barb, and then then seems to flicker for a moment into the Upside Down.

  • Apparently the Upside Down has done something bad to Will, and there are a lots of different

  • theories about what this may be.

  • Since he got facehugger-tentacled, some people think he’s got monster eggs or monster slugs

  • growing inside him, or even that he’s turning into a monster.

  • Another possibility is that his time in the Upside Down has given him some kind of power

  • to see into that dimension, that he’s connected somehow.

  • But there also questions about how this has affected Will as a person.

  • Like, he’s seen some shit, right?

  • He struggled to survive in a nightmare bizarro world, hunted a horrific monster, isolated

  • from all he knows, for a week, at the age of, like twelvethat must have had an

  • impact on him, surely, so Season 2 might explore this.

  • But the character we really care about here is Eleven, right?

  • When and how will she come back?

  • We do know that shell be back if only cause of those waffles Hopper leaves out for her.

  • But whatll happen with her character?

  • She’s got this great identity conflict, where one hand she wants to be pretty, and

  • she wants to be normal, while on the other hand, she grew up as a governmentweapon”,

  • and sees herself as a monster.

  • This is why her relationship with Mike is so beautifulhe doesn’t want her to

  • wear a wig, or be a weaponhe accepts her for who she is.

  • But El still has a long way to go in working out her identity, and hopefully Season 2 will

  • continue to explore this.

  • There are also questions about her powers.

  • Weve seen El throw a van into the air, levitate people, smoosh peoples brains, make

  • a kid pee.

  • Project herself across space and dimensions, rip holes in spacetime itself.

  • What else might she be capable of?

  • We got a taste of her greater power in her confrontation with the monsterher eyes

  • go kinda red and she goes all Super Saiyan on the monster’s ass.

  • There are lots of parallels here with the Marvel Comics character Jean Grey, who transforms

  • into a massively powerful psychic being called Dark Phoenix.

  • The comic in which this happens, X-Men #134, is specifically referenced in Stranger Things

  • by Dustin and Will.

  • So maybe, as with Jean Grey, well see a wilder, much more destructive side to Eleven

  • in Season 2.

  • Another great character is Hopper.

  • Season 1 explored his grief over the death of his daughter Sarah, and we see his memories

  • of her driving him in the search for Will.

  • It seems like he still needs some closure here, and there are hints that there might

  • be more to reveal about Sarah’s deathHopper’s actor describes it as a secret.

  • Some fans speculate that Sarah might have had powers like El.

  • Also there are also questions about Hopper’s connections to Brenner and the government

  • men.

  • In Episode 8 we see Hopper get in a black government carwhat’s he up to?

  • We