This suggests its closer to a layer on top of reality. All the building structures are built by humans. The creatures can see the structures being built, but not any of the life doing the building.
This would also suggests the recent human experiments didnt actually create the creatures and their world. It just created bridges.
If this is true, then one of the surviving earlier test subjects had time to manifest their powers across the board. This person will be more like a humanoid abomination, and likely to be either a tragic hero / mentor or one of the big bads.
It can be amped up further as a cosmic horror story, if a new reality is created each time the demogorgons take over the initial reality. This suggests theres always a reality where humanity lost its fight against the invaders.
- Considering the state of the Otherworld, Hawkins may have just been close enough to Silent Hill to have been corrupted by it.
- Well the writers did say SH was an inspiration.
- On the contrary, as Night Vale itself reveals that broken versions of Night Vale exist in countless universes thanks to Huntokar. Hawkins and the other towns mentioned may actually BE Night Vale in other dimensions. Especially given that Huntokar broke reality in November 1983 - the same month the Gate appears in Hawkins.
- As supporting evidence, the Mind Flayer's return in season 3 is backed by We'll Meet Again, which is already connected to Bill Cipher.
- It could be a twin town of Winden, Germany (Series/Dark). Extrapolating on that, what if Winden is Dr Brenner's birthplace?
- Dustin is related to the Pines family. His boyhood fashion style influenced his younger cousin Dipper. Dipper once came across drawings of what looked like the Demogorgon and Mind Flayer in one of the Journals, and was reminded of stories Dustin once told him.
- Eleven and Kali are psykers; telekinesis, telepathy, and mental manipulation are all key abilities of human psykers, and latent psykers are frequently come into their powers in response to stress, such as the experiments at Hawkins Laboratories
- The Upside-Down is the Warp, a dark psychic reflection of reality where the laws of physics don't apply and inhabited by malevolent beings that seek to spread their corrupting influence and destroy the material world
- The Demogorgon is a lesser Daemon, some form of Warpspawn
- The Mind Flayer is really one of the Gods of Chaos, Tzeench, Lord of secrets and plots. Hope also falls under his domain, which is why he was able to corrupt Will just as he attempted to stand and resist
- Or... The Mind Flayer is a Greater Daemon of Nurgle, with the "Upside Down" being a part of Nurgle's realm in the warp (given the 'ick factor' and the generalized sense of slimy decay of everything associated with both). Nurgle and his realm are simply a bit less "evolved" here than in the era of 40k, due to the smaller size of the human race, and the comparative rarity of 20th Century psykers.
- Both the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer are drawn to psykers and in the case of Will, those who have been tainted by the warp. Additionally, while normal guns are ineffective against them, extreme physical trauma (Steve's bat, Hopper with a shotgun) and the holy, cleansing touch of fire can drive them back
- Additionally, the lyrics from the song by The Clash that Will used to communicate from the Upside Down may be foreshadowing: If I go there will be trouble, if I stay there will be double.
- Will ends up being possessed by the Mind Flayer, not the Demogorgon, though considering that the Demogorgon was apparently controlled by the Mind Flayer...
Keep in mind that this WMG is not mutually exclusive with the Stephen King verse WMG. Recall that Leland Gaunt, proprietor of the eponymous Needful Things, was heavily implied to be Nyarlathotep.
- The Mind Flayer is a deviously intelligent entity with a passing resemblance to Nyarlathotep's Bloody Tongue form, making this even more fitting as a WMG.
- Some arguments against this:
- Brenner, as we see throughout the series so far, seems to be all about science. Screwing a doped-up test subject (with or without her consent) is something he would probably regard as beneath him; worse, it could adversely affect the experiment by compromising his objectivity as a researcher.
- Additionally, given that this is part of a Government Conspiracy, the CIA is no doubt keeping Brenner and his colleagues under surveillance, if anything, making sure none of them grow a conscience and blow the whistle on the operation. If the CIA had any idea that Brenner was having sex with his test subjects, they would have shut his lab down immediately. After all, they aren't funding his lab so he can slake his lusts, and the presence of a relationship (sexual or blood) between the lead scientist of an experiment and his test subjects would automatically lead to the presumption that any data that was collected was fake.
- In fact, the presence of so much fake data is why the government cut funding for even ethical paranormal research in Real Life.
- Thus, assuming Brenner has a sex life, he probably keeps it strictly separate from his work. The whole idea of having a child he can control completely is already accomplished by kidnapping the newborn child of said doped-up test subject, since legally, the child doesn't exist, and any claims to the contrary are dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic with a history of drug use.
- Being the father of a legally existing child would give him less rights, since the then-prevalent Tender Years doctrine favored the mother in custody disputes, and in any case, the courts would retain jurisdiction over the child until she reached majority.
- Moreover, even leaving the scientifically problematic nature of such a liaison aside, the scenario outlined could have played out three ways:
- If Eleven's mother was knowingly physically involved with Dr. Brenner, she could have argued that he took advantage of her to bolster her case. This allegation was not mentioned in the newspaper articles, and on the show, and it is unlikely that it would have been left out.
- If she wasn't aware of the sex, and was not otherwise sexually active, she might well question how she could have become pregnant and used that in her case. Again, such a thing should have been mentioned on the show, and wasn't.
- Finally, if she was unaware of the sex and was otherwise sexually active, Brenner might have no guarantee that the child would be his, especially in an era before DNA testing.
- I wouldn't be surprised if Brenner just considered himself to be superior to most people, therefore obviously (in his mind) any child with powers would have to share his DNA. Even supposing that he doesn't have a sex life, he could arrange for women of interest to be artificially inseminated without their knowledge. (He is an evil conspiracy guy, after all.)
- This would certainly explain the constant "ashfall" seen in The Upside Down, as well as the aforementioned toxic atmosphere. Although, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during JFK's administration, which was over a decade before the setting of this series.
- More like two decades since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although 1983 did have the Able Archer scare, in fact right as the show's events are playing out.
- An interview has revealed that the "ashfall" is actually spores.
- The immaterial and virus-like entity, the "Mind-Flayer," makes nuclear radiation being the explanation unlikely.
- Since when is the Mind-Flayer immaterial? Isn't "Mind-Flayer" just another name for the Shadow Monster? Doesn't the Shadow Monster have a material form (in the upside-down, at least)? But yeah, point taken.
- Its "physical form" in the upside down is a fast-moving cloud of darkness that can't possibly be a gas according to conventional physics, and the evil affecting will is described as anomalies in his brain activity, not actual damage to his brain (otherwise he couldn't be cured, of course), meaning it's not even physically noticeable in him until it tries to leave. If it is physical in some way, it's definitely not physical in any conventional sense of physics. Still adds to the point about it being unlikely it's just born of nuclear radiation.
- Season 2 heavily implies that the Mind Flayer, the demonic alien creature which rules the Upside Down, actively seeks to take over as many dimensions as possible.
- The Fridge Horror of this WMG, of course, is that a parallel version of Earth recently suffered an Apocalypse How event. Everyone is dead. A duplicate world, with all the main characters from Season 1 and 2, and more, they are all gone.
- Season 2 definitely doesn't seem to do much to Joss this theory. The enormous, shadowy monster that attempts to spread The Corruption is nicknamed the Mind Flayer, after a dimension-hopping monster from Dungeons & Dragons. The creature that it's named for goes from world to world, conquering one after another and building its army. It also looks alien to the Upside Down, with a very different appearance from the Meat Moss and Demogorgons, and a red color pallet associated with it in some of its appearances (in contrast to the cool colors more common in that dimension). It isn't hard to reach the conclusion that someone in the Upside Down might have made the mistake, decades or centuries ago, of opening up a gate to another world that the Mind Flayer had already taken, or even to whatever frozen hell its home really is.
- While not exactly jossed, the Demorgogon has been shown to be a proxy of the Mind Flayer, an alien hive mind that seems completely linked to the upside down. However, it is possible the Demogorgons were a race from another world the Mind Flayer enslaved.
- It also seems possible (and not altogether unlikely, given how different the Mind Flayer appears from pretty much everything in the Upside Down) that the Demogorgon is from the Upside Down while the Mind Flayer is not. The roots, the Demogorgons, and all of the other things in that Universe look like corrupted swamp animals, while the Mind Flayer has a different aesthetic to it altogether. It's smoother, less organic, and seems to be made up of a swarm of tiny viral particles like nothing else in the dimension. The comparison to a creature from Dungeons & Dragons that travels from world to world conquering each one makes that seem even more likely.
- Having grown up around there (specifically in Columbia City, about 20 miles west of Fort Wayne), I'm not so sure. The climate is wrong, especially in season 2 - the winter of 1984-85 was exceptionally cold in the area. I've never seen a 7-11 in the area. The nearest big city is implied to be Indianapolis. And a trip to southern Illinois (Murray has a 618 area code) would take the better part of a day from there. My guess would be that it's in the southern half of the state, maybe in Brown or Monroe County.
- After season 2, this WMG can be expanded: Esau/Abel/MiB/Smokey from Lost is an entity similar to the Mind Flayer that requires a human host to escape through The Source. It appears to adopt memories and personality traits of the people it takes over, which is not exactly the same as the Mind Flayer, but it can also manifest in its pure form in the physical world, so we know the two are at most related, not identical. Both have a desire to take over the world, both are trapped (though MiB is trapped in a slice of the real world), and both are beings made of black smoke. Additionally, it is not unlikely that Desmond is a person with special abilities like 011 and 008. While their powers were barrier-crossing and telekinesis, and telepathy respectively, Desmond can see the future. It is never explained how exactly people acquire these abilities, and it seems as though they can be acquired later in life such as with Elle's mum. This is also supported by Miles, who, born on the island and exposed to the same electromagnetism, can communicate with echoes of the dead. Said electromagnetism might be the ancient technology used to keep the breach into the Upside-Down sealed, and could also be the medium on which The Island "hovers" through space and time. Exposure to the electromagnetism means one becomes temporarily part of the medium that is in contact with the Upside-Down, a time during which contact and infusion with powers can occur. Will certainly seems to have acquired the power to enter the place, though he is not in control of it.
Since there has been some hints that Will is Ambiguously Gay the metaphor will be given more credibility due to how people perceived AIDS as a "gay person's disease," and since he'd be patient zero, the town would be out for his blood for "infecting them", not to mention how the Demogorgon seems to be Alien-inspired, and look at all the sexual undertones in that creature.
- Arguable: As Will's actor pointed out, all mention of Will being gay comes from the two bullies, which makes it something to take with a pinch of salt.
- Don't forget his father. "Lonnie used to say he was queer. Called him a fag."
- Still not anything like reliable testimony, since Will's dad is effectively just a third bully, and likely considers anyone gay who'd rather play D&D than go hunting.
- Don't forget his father. "Lonnie used to say he was queer. Called him a fag."
- Jossed. While Will does cough up an entire swarm of Demogorgon larva that eventually mature into dangerous monsters, they don't infect anyone else, and nobody aside from the main characters (and others involved in The Masquerade) even know about them. That being said, Will being ill from a virus and receiving inadequate at best care from a Reagan-funded medical system is one hell of a parallel.
- Jossed for Season 2.
- Eleven doesn't really go dark, but for what it's worth, her scene where she closes the gate can bring Jean-Grey-as-Phoenix to mind.
With the implication being that the Demogorgon's targeting of humans is of a reproductive nature, and given that Will was still affected despite the interruption of the process, expect things to get bad if any attempt is made to recover her. Which Nancy might be considering, given that she is shown in mourning during the denouement...
- It's stated in series that Hopper has been chief for four years and that he used to be a police officer in the city, and he is shown to have been happily married at that time. It is implied that before this he was unfamiliar with Hawkins.
- While true that Hopper has been away from Hawkins too long to be Will's dad, he actually was from there. He went to school alongside Joyce and her generation of Hawkinsites. He just left after high school, and only came back once his marriage fell apart and his life went down the drain.
- In the season 2 opener, Will's doctor address Hopper as Will's "Dad," so you're not the only one who gets that vibe, likely due to his and Joyce's shared history.
- Structures are still unexplained, but the Demogorgon has been revealed to be a slave to the insidious Mind Flayer.
- While not exactly jossed, the "Thessalhydra" (actually called the Mind Flayer) is shown to be an immaterial, hive mindcreating virus-like being that wants to take over multiple worlds. The spores appear to simply be another bioweapon in its employ, and possibly part of how it spreads tunnels throughout worlds it invades.
- Jossed. The Demogorgon was a slave to the insidious, intelligent Mind Flayer, the true nickname of the "Thessalhydra" seen in the trailers.
- Jossed, see the next theory below.
- Jossed. Demogorgons are alien creatures native to the Upside Down (or another world altogether), used as soldiers for the Mind Flayer.
It's possible Hap works for the same company that took Eleven (or a splinter company).
- The problem is, we clearly see El and the Demogorgon are two completely separate entities, particularly in the finale.
- On the other hand, El only defeats the Demogorgon by sacrificing herself. They vanish at the same time, mysteriously. Perhaps they are linked in some way?
- Jossed, as Season 2 reveals that there are many other creatures of the same species.
As to why she would put the boys in danger, she knew they could at least temporarily get away. And from the season two trailer, we know she survives her supposed Heroic Sacrifice, so maybe she knew she could kill it when she needed to.
- Not only is this jossed, but Nancy breaks off with Steve and gets with Jonathan in the new season. That's gotta sting.
- He's already pretty psychotic as it his.
- Jossed. Troy and James aren't even mentioned in Season 2.
- While obviously not that serious a theory, this is pretty much jossed by how the Demogorgons have been revealed to be the hive mindenslaved servants of the Mind Flayer.
- What turned him into a racist asshole?
- And what turned him into someone who'd try to run down some kids in his car?
- And how'd he get a sister?
- Max is only his stepsister. In which case, where did he get an abusive father...?
- Jason does have a little sister in Power Rangers (2017), though she's mainly seen in deleted scenes.
- Wait... are we seriously debating this? For one, that was Jason's biological sister, who wasn't a redhead and likely wouldn't have survived something that four superheroes with giant robots couldn't.
- Was their anything in that movie that suggested they had a time machine? And why wouldn't Zordon revive the Rangers like he did with their Billy?
- If not El, then maybe Dustin. That dude did get a face full of Upside-Down spores. And, Dart may not have just let him go for the chocolate and fond memories alone (although his and Dart's interaction might have got MF interested, amid all the chaos).
- While not confirmed, the Duffer Brothers have stated that the Mind Flayer is now aware of Eleven's existence, and recognizes her as a threat to its goals. So at the very least it's now factoring her into its next move.
- There's a problem with that theory: at the beginning of the series, Joyce didn't seem to really know or care much about the Laboratory until Will disappeared. You'd think if they really did experiment on her, she would be asking them some more questions about that experience.
- Well the season 3 finale had possessed Billy carry an unconscious El.
- Jossed, although he does appear in one episode to answer Joyce's questions about electromagnetism.
- Except that Kali is clearly several years older than El. Terry's sister would have noticed if "Jane" was significantly younger than she should have been. Plus, Kali's article◊ reveals she was taken from London as a small child while Jane was kidnapped as a newborn.
- The flashbacks show that while there is an age gap between Kali and Eleven, it's nothing too crazy I thought it was a year or two. Eleven's going through adolescence, and it isn't unusual for people at that age to mature at different rates. Add to that the fact that Eleven turned up out of the blue, promptly insisted that she was Jane, and then showed off her powers, Becky'd be in no place to dispute her claims. As for Kali disappearing from London, she makes it clear in "The Lost Sister" that she escaped from the lab after Eleven disappeared from there and ended up far away. Everyone assumes that London is where she was taken from in the first place, but for that to happen her parents must have had British citizenship, planning to emigrate, or actively running from the government after the MKUltra experiments, before they recaptured her and took her back to the states as a young kid to continue the experiments where she'd go on to escape again. Morton's Fork says that it's more likely that she ended up in London after escaping the first time and finding a foster family there.
- Some points to consider:
- Who says all of the kids being experimented on were children of MKUltra volunteers? Ain't No Rule saying they couldn't have kidnapped potential subjects who weren't even connected to the original project, as Terry's baby is the only one clearly established in the series to have been the child of a former subject.
- Also, for your theory to work it would have to mean that Kali vanished or disappeared three times: Once when taken from Terry, the second time when she escaped from Hawkins lab, and a third time when she wound up in London. Occam's Razor says the simplest explanation is that Kali was indeed kidnapped from London for Brenner's experiments as a young girl.
- And as noted in the point above, that Kali was kidnapped from London is corroborated by the article◊ shown in Terry's files. Remember that not quite a year (353 days between the destruction of the first Demogorgon, and El and Mike's reunion) has passed since the end of season 1, which means if Kali escaped after El, she hasn't been on the run that long. The photo attached to the article is of a much younger girl than who we see in the series. There's simply not enough time for her to have escaped, gone to London to be placed in foster care, ran away again, and aged enough from the girl in the picture to the one that appears in the present.
- Kali's escape can be taken as "They took Jane to experiment on her because she showed powers earlier so Kali escaped" and not just after the first season.
- As a final point, Linnea Berthelson is 24. For Kali to be only a year or two older than El would require Dawson Casting to a ridiculous extent from a series that largely averts it.note
- I don't really have an answer for the first part outside of a hunch; how would you track down the kids capable of these things if you didn't have something to go by, like the fact that their parents were all MKUltra volunteers to narrow it down.
- I meant escaped from the lab, not vanished. It makes more sense to me that she escaped from the lab and ended up in London, especially when you consider the logistics of finding a psychic child who is, presumably, a citizen foreign country, then kidnapping her. If the scientists were caught, that'd cause an international scandal. However, if her foster home was in London while she originally came from the States, it'd be a much simpler situation. Unfortunately, since we don't know where Kali's foster home was, it's hard to give a definitive answer one way or the other.
- Given that Eleven didn't remember Kali, that implies that they were separated long before Eleven escaped from the lab. We don't know the exact circumstances of their separation, but I don't think it's feasible for Eleven to completely forget someone she referred to as her sister in the space of under a year; it's more likely in my opinion that they were separated at a younger age, easily giving enough time for Kali to escape, get to London, then return to carry out her mission, as well as giving Eleven time to forget about her.
- Yes, Linnea Berthelsen is over ten years older than Millie Bobby Brown, but the fact that there's nowhere near ten years between the children we see as rainbow room implies one of two things: either Dawson Casting is, indeed, in effect, and Kali is meant to be in her mid-to-late teens, or the other girl in the Rainbow Room wasn't Eleven, which would disqualify her from being Jane Ives anyway. I think it's just a case of they found a talented actor outside the age range who they thought would work for the part, especially when you consider that Linnea is a little over five foot, and a little shorter than Millie.
- You're still ignoring the context of the article in the files. That snippet was collected by Terry. Which means it dates to the time she was hunting for Jane, before her mind was destroyed. It could not have been printed after Terry broke into the Rainbow Room and tried to rescue her daughter. For Kali to be Jane would require Kali to be taken from Terry, somehow ending up in London, and then recaptured again for someone to run an article about her disappearing from there. That's infinitely more complex than Kali being kidnapped in London and put into the project with no connection to Terry at all. This is Jossed.
- Some points to consider:
- Partly confirmed. Due to Hawkins Labs being closed down, the Russians were able to move in, build the Starcourt Mall and attempt to open the gate to the Upside Down again, even raiding the now abandoned lab. If Nancy and Jonathan hadn't gotten justice for Barb, Hawkins Lab could have been there to help in the fight much sooner instead of coming in late to the party.
- "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears. Kind of self-explanatory.
- "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo. Since the Upside-Down has been locked down for the time being, the third season is likely going to focus on the other child experiments, who resulted from Brenner's own weird science.
- "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell. It could serve as a bit of an ironic echo due to the use of "Every Breathe You Take" by The Police at the end of the season, as that hinted that the Mind Flayer may be watching and waiting for the right time. Plus, it has the same creepy vibe as "Thriller" did.
- "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.G. It's a song that goes for "fun", which would fit the Summer setting, but also lends. itself to building up the idea of there being a near apocalyptic event, such as the return of the Mind Flayer.
- Jossed. We got Mötley Crüe 's "Home Sweet Home," and then "Baba O'Reilly."
- Confirmed by Lucas's actor in an interview, though it has yet to be addressed in the show.
- He does have a box in the cellar of his father's cabin marked "Vietnam", doesn't he?
- Interestingly, Hopper has never once mentioned serving in the military. Though it's very understandable if he doesn't have any pleasant memories about that experience.
- The way he handled his assault rifle in the season 2 finale (ie: keeping it in semi-auto at all times, as the early-model M16s were notoriously jam-prone) also seems to imply this.
- After the first time we see Will see Dr. Owens, Hopper says something about PTSD being real, in a tone that suggests he's either known people with it or experienced it. It would make sense also for him to have been diagnosed with it from his daughter's death, but having been in the military is plausible too.
- Hopper. Given that he's a middle-aged badass action hero with a cynical personality, and somewhat of a mentor figure to the kids. It would be natural for him to die as a motivation for the other characters to avenge him, and defeat whatever it was that killed him.
- Jane. A ridiculously powerful superhuman kid who was born into miserable circumstances, it would not be too surprising if she suffered a miserable fate (though not without a glorious bang, that's for certain). Or at best she survives, but her mind/body gets broken and she loses her powers.
- Steve. A protector of the party and big brother figure to Dustin, him sacrificing himself to save the kids at some point doesn't seem all that far-fetched.
- Jossed for Jane and Steve. The other major death in Season 3 was Billy.
- That would be rather weird and cheesy.
- I could see this working with Kali if it's executed well. Whether it's friendship or something romantic, Steve and Kali interacting would definitely be interesting, and could lead to some funny (and awesome) scenes.
- That would be even more weird and cheesy.
- That would be probably illegal and definitely abusive and super creepy. Gaten Matarazzo is sixteen. Linnea Berthelsen is twenty-five.
- Jossed. Dustin met a girl at camp.
- Two counterpoints. One, Steve is apparently straight, but he still cares about his appearance. Two, Billy does kinda flirt with Mike's mom in the final episode (though maybe he just flirts once in a while to keep up appearances).
- Further WMG: Billy has a secret crush on Steve. He goes out of his way to treat Steve like dirt because he doesn't want anyone to suspect his true feelings.
- Steve is secretly bi, and at the end of Season 2, he's single. This will come up in Season 3.
- Realistically, if any of this did come up, it would only be hinted at.
- Steve is secretly bi, and at the end of Season 2, he's single. This will come up in Season 3.
- As pointed out with the speculation about Will above, a character having a homophobic insult thrown at them does not make them gay. Bullies and abusers say these things to demean and humiliate their victims, not because they can somehow 'sense' homosexuality.
- Jossed, at least as of Season 3. Steve didn't make the grades to get into college (kind of a requirement to be a teacher) and is spending his summer scooping ice cream at the mall.
- Jossed, at least for Season 3.
- One possibility: Sarah didn't die. They faked her death like they tried to do with Will's, and she ended up as one of their subjects. Hopper only didn't Spot the Thread with her as he did Will, because he was so distraught and had no reason to be suspicious. She will return in a later season, possibly as a villain under the control of Brenner (who may not be dead based on "The Lost Sister"), leading to a confrontation with Eleven.
- Jossed. Season 3 has been confirmed to be set in the summer.
- Dustins bond from Dart likely stemmed from the fact that Dart was too weak to do much but sit and eat.
- And? That doesn't disprove anything above. Many instances of wild animals becoming friendly to humans happen due to being taken care of when they are weak and vulnerable.
- When Brenner interacts with Mike's mom, we get the sense that he has some level of influence over people, whether by charisma or something else. It wouldn't seem out of character for him to have sampled some of the results of MKULTRA, winding up with a few powers of his own. This might then explain why he was trusted to keep a subject as powerful as Eleven under control, and why he was so interested in the project to begin with. (Perhaps he even got the idea for the research proposal after having run initial tests on himself?) Brenner having psychic influence would make it easier to believe that he became a miasma of evil psychic mind control after passing through the Upside Down. (And it would also mean the people Kali wants to kill are likely all innocent.)
- Additionally, the thing is called the Mind Flayer. What have we seen Brenner do in nearly every scene he's been in? Shred people's psyches. He even quite literally flayed Terry Ives' mind with electricity. One could even argue that his entire research project was an attempt to flay human minds using drugs, hoping to rebuild them into weapons.
- Jossed. A can of the hairspray makes for a one-off gag when Dustin uses it as an Improvised Weapon, but is never mentioned again.
- Faberge Organics changed owners several times in the 1980s and were even advertised in commercial breaks to promote GLOW well into 1989.
- Jossed with the Redemption Arc, but it still possible he'll start abusing Max, especially with Billy gone.
- It keeps Steve in Hawkins with something to do,
- It allows for new character interactions between Steve and presumably El, and
- It will give him an expanded role in Season 3, compared to the previous 2.
- Jossed. Steve is working for an ice cream parlor throughout much of season 3.
As for Billy, Steve will use his newfound position with Hawkins PD and flex his beige-sleeved muscles to let Billy know that he won't let him terrorize Max or the gang anymore. While keeping an eye on Billy, Steve will witness some of the abuse he suffers at the hands of his asshole father, and start to understand why Billy is the way he is. Steve will decide to take the high road and offer to let bygones be bygones, but Billy won't have any of it because he's Billy Hargrove and the only friends he needs are his Camaro and mullet.
Building off the post above this one, as Season 3 goes on, we may start to see Mr. Hargrove start to throw unwelcome glances in Max's direction which do not escape Billy. And because Even Evil Has Standards, Billy will reflect and truly realize what a douche he's been and ask Steve if his offer still stands. They'll stand up to Mr. Hargrove together, and maybe a fight breaks out wherein the boys end up beating his ass (and Steve finally wins a fight!)
- Partly Jossed. Eleven witnesses Billy's memories of abuse, and reminding him of the times when he was actually happy does lead Billy to a Jerkass Realization, and leads to his Heroic Sacrifice to hold back the Mind Flayer.
As for Kali, I propose that she was more than a plot device/distraction for El in Season 2 she was helping set up the Big Bad of Season 3. So far in the series we have seen exactly two former Hawkins National Lab test subjects El and Kali and both have been set up as tragic figures for us to empathize with because of the horrors they experienced. In a series that thrives on deconstructing tropes, we haven't seen the darkest, most tragic version of this kind of story someone so utterly broken by such an experience that they have lost their ability to empathize with other people and care only about themselves (Kali doesn't count because she still has affection for her crew and for El).
- Possibility One: Kali will be the Big Bad. Her experiences at the Hawkins National Lab have left her a broken woman with a burning desire for revenge against those she deems responsible, and after having El walk out on her in "The Lost Sister" she possibly has lost all hope and believes Humans Are Bastards through and through. So, she and her crew will come to Hawkins under the pretense of lying low until the heat on them back in Chicago dies down, and she will ask El to help them find a place to hide. El will take them to the now-abandoned Hawkins National Lab, which is exactly what Kali wanted because she wants to reopen the Gate and let the Mind Flayer into our world and destroy it, because humanity wasn't worth saving in the first place.
- Possibility Two: One of the other former test subjects (possibly 001?) is looking to reopen the Gate because of the same reasons as Kali above, except they never had someone like El to act as their Morality Pet. They come to Hawkins under the pretense of connecting with El and play the same emotional cards as Kali ("we're the same", "Papa hurt us both"), but they won't actually care about El at all.
- Jossed. Kali neither appears nor is she mentioned in Season 3.
Regardless of which version happens, as it progresses Steve through his newfound connection to El via working with Hopper will see it happening and recognize that they are manipulating El and being a bad influence on her. He will try to talk to El about it, even citing his own experience with Tommy and Carol, but she won't listen to him because Steve could never understand what she went through like the Big Bad could.
At the end of the season, El will finally wise up to what the Big Bad's been doing and they'll have an epic psychic showdown in the remains of Hawkins Lab that ends with the Big Bad's death - if Kali, expect El to be emotionally devastated by this. The crisis will seemingly be averted, but the massive expenditure of psychic energy just enough for the Mind Flayer to shove a proverbial finger into our world...
- One thing is certain, the Russians are also trying to open a portal to the Upside Down in Season 3.
- Jossed. Brenner isn't even mentioned. Additionally, Max and El mend their differences, and she's fully welcomed into the Party in season 3.
- Jossed. Karen decides it's not worth throwing her marriage away for a quick thrill, and even seems to make a renewed effort to engage more with Ted as a family throughout the season.
- Jossed. Karen is tempted to have an affair with him in the season 3 opener, but ultimately declines.
- Jossed, he doesn't appear nor mentioned at all in Season 3. But there's a possibility that he's the American prisoner (see below).
- Confirmed. We only see the Demodogs in a few flashbacks. As for the Demogorgon, we don't see much of the first one, however The Stinger reveals the Soviets have managed to capture one.
- Jossed. We've still yet to meet any actual people from the Upside Down.
- Jossed. Billy, who has been taken over by the Mind Flayer, is ultimately the driving force of the season, while the Soviets' attempts to reopen the Gate provide the remainder of the conflict. As in previous seasons, much of the story remains a balanced ensemble piece, with each set of characters following their own piece of the plot which ultimately come together to establish the full context.
- Confirmed, it takes place in 1985 and the Starcourt Mall theater is showing Back to the Future in one episode.
- Confirmed in Season 3.
- ...in Billy. It may see a kindred spirit in Billy's rage, and perhaps rather than attempting to dominate him as it did with Will, (which led to its expulsion and defeat in season 2) the Mind Flayer will instead insinuate itself by tempting him.
- ...in Kali. Much like Billy, Kali is a woman with a lot of rage and anger, and the Mind Flayer will see that as useful and easy to manipulate. Her connection to Eleven, who it now realizes presents a direct threat to its plans, also makes her a useful means of attacking her.
- Jossed, it's Billy.
- ...in Terry Ives. With her mind broken, and her sister mostly out of the loop, she would make the ideal host. She would also be a potent weapon against El. First, her powers are similar, allowing the Mind Flayer to combat her directly from a more level playing field. Perhaps that's what actually draws it to Terry in the first place: It's looking for El, and finds Terry instead. That Terry is her mother would be a powerful means of attacking El emotionally.
- Jossed, new host is Billy.
- Confirmed: Will is able to sense the presence of the Mind Flayer even when no one else can.
- Jossed...and yet also confirmed in round-about fashion: While Billy doesn't actively kill anyone, he nonetheless kidnaps as many as thirty people to deliver them to the Mind Flayer. The Mind Flayer in turn effectively "kills" its victims by taking over their bodies and overwriting their personalities, and eventually kills them altogether to create its own body.
- Partly Jossed. The rats are the first bits of biological matter the Mind Flayer uses to create its weapon against Eleven, but the Mayor is not connected to this part of the plot.
- Confirmed. One of the films being played at the mall is Back to the Future.
- Apparently Jossed. Robin does have a secret, but it's that she's gay. Robin and Murray interact in the "The Battle of Starcourt," but there's no indication they know each other.
- Possible futures for the characters could include...
- Mike and Eleven are happily married with a little girl who may or may not have inherited her mother's powers.
- Nancy is an award winning investigative reporter and is married to Johnathan.
- Jim Hopper. We never see his body after the Gate is closed, since it conveniently vaporizes any human in range, nor do we actually see him hit by the energy discharge. The surviving Russians apparently managed to clear out before Owens arrived with reinforcements, so it's possible they could have captured and removed him in the chaos. And he knows enough about the Upside Down and its inhabitants to be useful.
- Doctor Brenner. The Soviets had to learn about the Gate from someone to try reopening it again.
- Another of the Hawkins Lab's child subjects.
- Murray Bauman. We never find out what he gets up to at the end of Season 3. And really, what are the chances that Hopper wasn't vapourized by the Gate Key blowing up? So chances are that Murray is the one the Russians captured and are now holding prisoner.
- This appears to be Jossed as we clearly see Bauman is among the survivors of the battle's aftermath. No, we don't see him after the 3-month time skip, but the Russians had cleared out by the time Owens arrived, and Murray was still accounted for at the time. Also, make of it what you will, but if you dial his phone number given on the show you'll get an machine with a message from after the time skip, which implies he's still around.
- Additionally, since the three previous seasons took place in autumn, winter, and summer respectively, that leaves spring for season four. The Chernobyl accident was in late April. They may also reference the Challenger accident, which happened in February.
- This seems to be Jossed by the series already; among the equipment the Soviets have in their base under Starcourt Mall are cages. Big cages. Cages Erica appears to notice would be exactly the right size to capture a fully-grown Demogorgon. So it's most likely they captured their Demogorgon while in Hawkins, probably because the Soviets' Gate was open just enough to capture one.
- It's also possible more than one Demogorgon slipped through the original Gate after Eleven opened it. Maybe there wasn't a fully realized Gate in Russia for the Soviets to exploit, but the fabric was still weak enough for a Demogorgon to break through.
- She will go to Kali to see if she knows anything about it.
- Brenner will return and offer her a way to restore them.
- She will spend most of Season 4 without them only for a situation to arise that pushes her beyond her limits (possibly Mike being in imminent mortal danger) causing them to return with a vengeance.
And then, of course, the famous garage scene with Mike. The look of complete despair and quiet horror on Will's face is worth a thousand words. He's practically screaming "oh god, not you too." It's when the one person you thought wouldn't judge you, who might accept you, who you might be able to tell someday betrays you without even knowing it. Whether he had a crush on Mike or not is irrelevant, he's just had his heart broken.
He then destroys Castle Byers, the one place he can be himself, and rips up the pictures of his friends. Why? Because he thinks he's been fooling himself, that he has no real friends and that he'll never really be able to be himself anywhere. The crushing weight of what is, to Will, a shameful secret has isolated him so much in his own head that he can't see that he's not actually alone at all. His friends and family would all be completely supportive of him and accept and love him no matter what. They fought a monster and went to an alternate dimension for him!
I was surprised I couldn't find it in the discussion on this site, but it jumped on me when I saw the drawing of 11 and "Papa". Now Wikipedia claims that while Papa is in some circles fashionable in the US nowadays, it probably wasn't so in the 1980s unless you had a Central European family connection.Additionally, Martin Brenner would make a perfectly normal German name (Brenner meaning Burner, but also being an Austrian/Italian border town). Matthew Modine was about 56 during production of season 1, so this would set Brenner's year of birth to the mid 1920s. Too young to be a target of Operation Paperclip, but perhaps being brought along by a mentor shortly after the war. Besides not being one for long speeches, having spent most of his adult life in the US would have allowed him to not talk with a strong accent any more.So this would be a case of "Herr Doktor".
To compensate for the fact that Robin seems shy about actively pursuing other girls, and Steve still considers himself a casanova, he'll decide Robin could use his help in this particular field. And he will be both A. extremely enthusiastic and B. absolutely, hilariously terrible at it.
Carnival games almost always being rigged is generally considered common knowledge in real life. And Murray also warns Alexei that the games are rigged. But Alexei still sees people winning, and is himself able to score a jumbo-sized prize with only 15 tickets (quite possibly less).
Knowing how obsessed he was with making sure everyone enjoyed the carnival enough to reelect him, Kline probably slipped the game organizers a bribe or two to make sure the games were winnable enough for everyone to have a good time.
It could by a passing reference to the Entity, the mention of Dwight Fairfield or the Legion, comparing a place to Autohaven Wreckers, Nancy or Steve throwing a large pallet down on someone, or the two of them suddenly being uneasy around large hooks.
Rick learned everything about the Upside Down there is to learn about. He easily could have saved the Stranger Things-verse from the Flayer without the help of some crazy girl, but of course, he's a selfish asshole. He may have used DNA from its inhabitants as part of the DNA cocktail that help create the Cronenberging. One of Ford's journals included drawings resembling the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer.