What Is The Mind Flayer In Stranger Things 2?

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things 2. Reading on will reveal plot points about the season.
Stranger Things 2 premiered on Friday, and fans of the series haven't been disappointed. The latest season of the hit Netflix show has even more suspense and plot twists than the first season that premiered last year. But one of the most intriguing things of the season has been the Mind Flayer, which ominously looms over the town of Hawkins, IN for the entirety of season 2.
The Mind Flayer is the main antagonist of the season. We've seen other characters, like Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) refer to the Mind Flayer as the Shadow Monster previously. It first appears to him in visions that he later refers to as "now-memories" (meaning, in between being memories and visions of actions happening at the moment), and his connection with the Mind Flayer intensifies after it possesses him at the end of episode 3. The other characters struggle to figure out what it's mission is because, besides its possession of Will, it doesn't communicate other than being a constant threat to Hawkins residents.
Its name comes from Dungeons & Dragons, which makes several appearances in both seasons. In the real game, the Mind Flayers are a race of monsters from an unknown dimension that "takes over the homes of others" by using its psionic powers to control and enslave others. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) makes the connection in episode 8, despite the D&D monster and the Upside Down monster not quite being the same thing. However, it's a pretty close comparison, especially when there's pressure to find a way to destroy it.
In making the connection between the Mind Flayers of D&D and the Shadow Monster that terrorizes their town, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin actually begin to piece together a way to destroy it for good. Though they still have two more seasons to try and figure out how to do that — especially after the season ending, suggesting that the threat is far from over.
Bustle speculated an interesting theory that the "virus" that possessed Will this season via the Mind Flayer could pass to others as well. If it could possess multiple people, it could lure more people to be tangled in the vines like Hopper (David Harbour) was. Another place that could be important in upcoming seasons is the void — the place where Mike and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) can hear each other. Should the Mind Flayer find out about it, it could potentially use the void to travel between the human world and the Upside Down without a human host. There are definitely going to be repercussions for Will and Eleven — both of whom the Mind Flayer is furious with (Eleven for closing the gate, Will for severing their connection).
There's a strong possibility that the Mind Flayer could send more minions to Hawkins in season 3 — leading to even more deaths or possessions.
Read These Stories Next:

More from TV

R29 Original Series