When Stranger Things 2 concludes, you might have quite a few questions still nagging at you. One of them is likely about the Shadow Monster aka the Mind Flayer. What happened to it? And what happened to the part of it that was in Will?
This post has spoilers for Season 2 of Stranger Things.
From the scene that we saw at the very end of the last episode, we know that the Mind Flayer is still alive and well. During the Hawkins Snow Ball dance, the camera panned away and then the scene shifted, showing us the Upside Down world. And at that moment, we saw the Shadow Monster (aka Mind Flayer) poised over the school in the Upside Down. It shows us that the Upside Down is still very active and the Mind Flayer was not killed, even after part of it was driven out of Will’s mind. It’s still keeping an eye on the kids, possibly drawn by Eleven’s power (she was at the dance at the end.)
But that doesn’t tell us what happened to the significant part of the Mind Flayer that was in Will. When it was driven out of Will, it seemed to just disappear into the sky. We don’t know if it went back to the Upside Down and rejoined the Flayer, or if it died, or if it went out into the world, searching for a new host.
The way Will was possessed could very well be the same way all the creatures in the Upside Down, like the Demogorgons are possessed by the Mind Flayer and added to the hive mind. But when they’re killed or the mind control is removed, that doesn’t seem to hurt the Shadow Monster at all.
We only know a little bit about the Upside Down in general, and even less about the Shadow Monster. We know that the Upside Down is a mirror of Hawkins, but without real people. The gate to the Upside Down was first opened when Eleven touched a Demogorgon in the Astral Plane. At that point, the Upside Down could cross over and portals began opening. The Mind Flayer wants out, but Eleven closed the gate at the end of Season 2, essentially trapping it.
Other things we know about the Upside Down and the Mind Flayer: The tentacles and the demodogs are all controlled by the Mind Flayer’s hive mind. And the tentacles somehow “secrete” the Upside Down atmosphere, so it seems they were trying to expand the Upside Down and take over the real world completely. Interestingly, the Demogorgons don’t need the Upside Down atmosphere to survive: Dustin’s “friend” survived without it just fine. Apparently that’s something someone else needs — maybe the Mind Flayer.
And now we know that the Mind Flayer is alive and well, and drawn to Eleven — possibly seeking an escape. The only question is: what will the Mind Flayer try next? And is there anything else out there more powerful than the Shadow Monster?