Stranger Things has returned to Netflix for its second season - and it's great, garnering positive reviews and a very favorable fan reaction. With the threat of the Shadow Monster, and the Upside Down trying to worm its way into Hawkins, its residents once more banded together to extinguish the threat - with a lot of help from Eleven, of course.
As with all good TV shows, Stranger Things Season 2 has prompted widespread discussion and, while the nine-episode run was deeply satisfying, it also left us with a whole lot of questions. Let's try and tackle some of the biggest ones.
Eleven, The Upside Down and Hawkins Lab (This Page)
Is the Shadow Monster Going to Return?
At the end of Season 2, Eleven closed the gate, effectively meaning there is no way for the Upside Down to permeate Hawkins anymore. But we all know that doesn't mean it's gone for good. In a final shot, the Upside Down version of Hawkins Middle School had the Shadow Monster looming large above it, surely meaning its return is imminent.
Will we see the Shadow Monster being the main antagonist of Season 3, or are even bigger monsters on their way? Given the way the mythology has been expanded, it makes sense that the Shadow Monster will find some way back into Hawkins, and that this time, the threat will become even more deadly. The Mind Flayer now knows about Eleven and her powers, and the Duffer brothers themselves have pointed out that while the gate might be shut, the connection is still there:
"They’ve shut the door on the Mind Flayer, but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it’s very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven. It had not encountered her and her powers until that final episode. Now, it knows that she’s out there."
Is Dr. Brenner Still Alive?
At the end of Season 1, we all assumed Brenner, or Papa, as Eleven calls him, was gone for good. After all, that final encounter with the Demogorgon looked pretty horrific. But during Season 2's controversial episode 7, Kali (Eight), summons him in a vision and forces Eleven to face her demons. Although Eleven insists he's dead, Kali thinks otherwise and accuses her "sister" of not looking for him on purpose.
So if Brenner is still alive, where is he, and what on earth is he up to now? Executive producer Shawn Levy recently confirmed that "Brenner is alive, Brenner is out there." Surely that means we can expect to see him in Season 3? The defining question then is who will confront him first, Eleven, or Eight?
Will Eight be back?
Given that an entire episode of the second season was given over to Eleven meeting her "sister", it seems likely that Eight (Linnea Berthelsen) will return. Not only does her character give further insight into what went on at Hawkins lab, as well as the world's telekinetics, Eight also serves as a tool to highlight how much Eleven values family and friendship above exacting revenge.
Jane uses her powers to save, Kali uses hers to harm. Two children who underwent the same experiments and upbringing (we assume) who took two very different paths. Nature vs Nurture at its finest, and it is worthy of more exploration, especially if the pair of them are reunited with Brenner. Where and how Eight might reappear in Eleven's life again remains to be seen, but given how strange it was going to Chicago, it would be interesting to see her arriving in Hawkins.
Where Are Experiments 001-007 and 009-010?
The two girl's names say it all; there must be more of them out there. Doubtless not all survived, but even so, it would be good, given the differences between Eight and Eleven, to see how at least some of the others have turned out. Are any of them male? Do some live 'normal' lives and not use their powers at all? Are some still being held in labs? Is Eleven the end of the line, or are there many more?
For this plot thread there are not many clues but, again, given how prominent Kali is in Season 2, it would be crazy to suggest we won't see more superpowered individuals at some point.