Netflix’s Stranger Things season two is done. You came, you saw, you binged in your underpants for a solid nine hours. While we begin the agonising wait for season three, there are a few theories we’d like to discuss.
1. What IS the Upside Down exactly?
We’ll start with an obvious one. We’re two seasons into this show and still not any clearer about what exactly this place is. We’ve seen the tunnels under Hawkins and the creepy Upside Down doppelganger locations, but what the hell is this place supposed to be? Well, Hell is actually as good a guess as any.
Stranger Things has shown numerous Upside Down equivalents to Hawkins locations, including Castle Byers, the Arcade and Hawkins Middle School. The last even had its own weird Snow Ball while the Shadow Monster looked overhead – so a parallel dimension seems like a solid guess.
But the Upside Down has no humans or wildlife, aside from the Demo-Dogs, Demogorgon and those gropey vines, so how could all those buildings exist? Perhaps the Upside Down is some version of the afterlife. Or a version of Hawkins in the future, where the Shadow Monster has taken over.
The Upside Down spread its influence over the entire town in season two, so the third season will undoubtedly reveal an even bigger version of the parallel reality. But if this extra dimension exists, could there be even more?
2. Will we see Eleven’s sister again?
Eleven’s super-sister Kali was part of the worst episode of Stranger Things season two – although the creators have vehemently defended it. Sadly we doubt that they’ll have invested a whole episode into developing her character only to drop her faster than Dustin clutching Dart, so you can be sure she’ll make a comeback.
The moral Eleven rejects her sister’s murderous philosophy, even though she’s taking revenge on the evil staff who tortured her and her mother. So perhaps they’ll clash when they next meet, with Eleven attempting to live a normal, anonymous life as Jane and Kali trying to continue work with her vigilante Breakfast Club.
3. Is Martin Brenner, aka “Papa”, still alive?
Eleven’s adoptive father only made a brief cameo in season two via Kali’s manipulative vision, but his actual fate was still left open. He was last seen being attacked by the Demogorgon in the season one finale, which isn’t promising. A month later in the same episode, though, a news clipping said he’d declined to comment on Joyce Byers’ claims Will had been experimented on by Hawkins National Laboratory. Given the government facility’s penchant for telling porkies, they could be lying about his death.
We can’t imagine the show would skip a chance to have Eleven face down her arch-nemesis, especially now she’ll be trying to live a normal life as Jane. Brenner is one of the few people left alive who knows about her powers and can come back to ruin her shot at being a normal teenager.
The poor kid spent most of season one AWOL in the Upside Down. In fact we only remembered his name because Joyce spent 90% of her screentime screaming it. When he was finally rescued he vomited up a slug, was dubbed “Zombie Boy” and spent most of season two possessed by the Shadow Monster.
Let’s hope things pick up for Will in season three. He got himself a lady at the Snow Ball so that’s promising. But with the Shadow Monster set to haunt the AV Club gang for seasons to come, Will’s connection to the Upside Down could be his undoing.
5. Are there more numbered children with powers?
Simple maths, this one. We’ve met Jane, aka 011, and now Kali who was 008, so it stands to reason there are at least another nine children in the world getting their fair share of nosebleeds. Given the three-digit number code, there could even be 997 more of them.
Eleven’s recent fight to close the Upside Down exhausted her, and as the Shadow Monster’s influence grows and we build towards that season four finale, it seems likely that a range of super-kids facing off against legions of Upside Down monsters is the way things are heading.
6. What does the Shadow Monster want?
Co-creator Matt Duffer told Digital Spy that the Shadow Monster or ‘Mind Flayer’ is a “Voldemort-level” villain that’s going to be a malevolent presence going forward, and its schemes will connect to every season. But what could it actually want? It can’t speak as far as we know, so Will’s possession gave it a spy and the ability to communicate.
However, now the Upside Down has been shut and it’s been beaten by Eleven, perhaps it will try to abduct her instead. The final shot of it looming over the Snow Ball could mean many things – it’s still after Will, looking for Eleven, or simply seeking revenge against all of them.
The Upside Down has grown in scale as the show has progressed, so perhaps its overall goal is to merge the two dimensions.
7. Are Steve and Nancy finished for good?
Oh Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Aside from her Barb-mourning and government entrapment, she got down and dirty with Jonathan in season two without actually having a proper break-up with Steve.
It seems fan-favourite Steve is pretty cool with the situation (he told her to go help Jonathan exorcise Will). But he obviously still has feelings for her, as his beaten-up hallucination and pining over her outside the Snow Ball showed. Somehow we doubt this is the last we’ll see of their relationship.
8. Will Hopper and Joyce get it together?
We know, we know, Bob’s body isn’t even cold yet, but assuming the next season takes place in another year, their “shared trauma”, as investigative journalist Murray Bauman put it, could bring them even closer. Maybe their cannabis-and-a-cuddle combo will become much more than that in the future.
9. Will Stranger Things bring back its best new character?
No, we’re not talking about Mad Max or her brother who can’t button up a shirt. We are of course talking about Lucas’s sassy little sister, Erica. And the answer is officially: YES.
Erica Sinclair is the best character in #StrangerThings season 2! pic.twitter.com/t9zzhBzL60
The creators and showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer revealed that Erica (Priah Ferguson) was actually just a local hire who wasn’t even supposed to be in season two that much. But by the time they started plans for season three, they knew for sure that they wanted more.