*Warning: Friends never lie, so I should tell you before we go on that this post contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 1*
Whether you binged on the entire eight episode run in one weekend, or drip fed yourself a healthy diet of sci-fi mystery over the course of a few weeks, it's unlikely you've fully recovered from the exhilarating ride that is Stranger Things.
Somehow, the Duffer Brothers managed to slowly reveal the big mystery of the supernatural disappearance of Will Byers, let us peak into the Upside Down world, resolved the series narrative satisfactorily and still leave us with many unanswered questions.
At the end of the season, after clashing horns with the powerful demogorgon and appearing to turn into human ash, it looked like Eleven's fate was sealed. She'd sacrificed her life to save her new found friends, while also repenting for her obvious upset at having opened a portal to the other dimension in the first place. But Chief Hopper's strategically placed snack of Eggos raised the biggest question of them all: Where is El now?
El's Journey To The Upside Down World
The obvious answer is that she's in the Upside Down world, but like experiments at the Hawkins center, this opens up a lot of doors. If El is kicking back eating Eggos in the Upside Down world, it probably means that when she defeated the demogorgon, she infused her mind with his and opened a portal in the process, destroying the monster but ending up in the alternative universe herself.
So she's trapped helplessly, like a spider under an upside-down glass. But then this doesn't explain Chief Hopper's actions; if El is trapped in the Upside Down world, why would he leave food for her? That crucial scene implies that El can somehow move between parallel universes, or at least has a portal in that specific area of the forest.
We know from what we see throughout the show that El can use her special powers to enter the alternate dimension; it's how she accidentally opens the original portal in the first place, which we see in the dark, abstract representation of her mind's eye. But opening a portal deliberately is another challenge altogether, having already witnessed how much energy it takes for her to perform telekinesis in the real world.
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If she can switch between dimensions at will, it could mean she is deliberately hiding from the Government, faking her own death as a way to avoid capture. That would also imply Hopper, having seemingly agreed to work with the Hawkins Lab, has uncovered her whereabouts and is keeping it secret.
What Does This Mean For Season 2?
If this is the case, Season 2 of Stranger Things could be very interesting indeed. El's role could be even bigger if she is given the task of defending the normal reality from the deadly parallel universe, should new monsters emerge. Alternatively, the end of the season gave us a quick glimpse of Will coughing up slugs, suggesting he has become a host for further demogorgon offspring.
This is a huge plot point, and it'll be interesting to see where the Duffer Brothers go with it. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it transition showed Will seemingly switching between the two worlds. Could Will eventually become a new monster, stalking both realities? If so, it'll be up to Eleven to save humanity again, this time from the Upside Down world.
Or, perhaps the flip reverse will happen, and we'll uncover that El can open doors to many, many other dimensions, causing an even bigger threat from all angles. Either way, there's a foreboding feeling around Hawkins, Indiana. Although El managed to defeat the demogorgon first time around, you can't but get the feeling stranger things are on the horizon.
What do you think has happened to El?