(Spoilers for Stranger Things ahead.)
Netflix’s breakout hit Stranger Things doesn’t dive too far into the details of the magical and horrifying world it depicts. Instead it leaves its viewers with a sense of mystery, and it focuses on what makes the show memorable: the relationships between the characters and that cool retro opening. But that just allows the show’s fans to debate all those unanswered questions. What is the Monster? What is the Upside Down? Is Jean-Ralphio the father of Steve?
But thanks to the endlessly pondering minds here and throughout the internet, there’s one question out there that blows them all out of the water: Is Eleven the Monster? It may sound crazy, but a deep dive into the dark world of Stranger Things suggests it’s entirely possible. The video above compiles, streamlines, and elaborates on theories that have been floated by fans on Reddit, Tumblr, and various message boards.
Throughout the series, instead of her actually fighting some otherwordly creature, she could be fighting a version of herself. Her time in Hawkins Lab led her to further develop and stretch her telekinetic abilities to their limits, and it’s only when she enters a completely empty, black space — that looks nothing like the Upside Down — that she encounters the Monster for the first time. Instead of sending herself outward, she sent herself inward, and in turn brings the Monster out of herself. That’s why the Monster raises its hand in an identical way to Eleven in their final fight, and when it disappears, so does she. At one point, she even calls herself the Monster.
This theory isn’t just the ramblings of the deranged. The show is packed with clues that would point to the duality between the good and the evil found in a single creature. For instance, the boys dub the Monster as a Demogorgon, a Dungeons & Dragons creature they encountered that has two heads, one deceptive and one destructive. And in another scene, Mike gets a copy of X-Men #134 that features telekinetic Jean Grey’s destructive inner-personas, Phoenix and Dark Phoenix. The Upside Down vs. our world are two opposite sides of the same coin. These dual natures are just like the powerful Eleven and the sinister Monster.
If Eleven is still alive, that might mean the Monster is as well, and both may resurface. Guess we’ll just have to wait until season two by coming up with more intricate theories.