Stranger Things 3 Monster explained: Spoilers ahead

Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix
Stranger Things - Credit: Netflix /

Stranger Things 3 gives us a creepy and disgusting monster, we explain its origins and nature. SPOILERS AHEAD so don’t read any further until you’ve binged the season.

So what’s up with that disgusting monster? We track its progression through the season and the ultimate battle ahead. Remember if you haven’t watched all of Strangers Things season 3, turn around now and tune into Netflix and come back to this article.

Our first image of the monster in this season is in the form of rats. Exploding rats. I must admit I was impressed with the special effects on the exploding rats but it was hard to watch. The rats are apparently having to consume chemicals in order to transform into the goo that they turn into after exploding.

Why chemicals? I have no idea. They never really explain the chemicals. We know the rats and then Mrs. Driscoll felt compelled to consume fertilizer and other household chemicals. Later on in Heather’s house, after her and her parents have been taken over by the creature, we see more evidence of chemical consumption.

My guess is the chemicals are necessary in order to make the physical transition to goo but I really have no solid evidence on that. We did see that both the rats and humans who had been infected, all felt compelled to consume them.

Billy had some bad luck as he ended up being tied to the creature early on after it infected him at the metalwork’s building. He was responsible for helping the monster get more humans involved and into the scheme. He takes Heather to the tentacled thing at the end of episode 2 and we get our first real glimpse of the creature.

This is where Heather’s parents come into play. Billy and Heather knock out and kidnap her parents and at the end of episode 4, two tentacles come out and each attached to a parent’s head. It starts pulsing and is either taking something from their minds or inserting something into them. All we know is that after this, her parents are no longer their full selves.

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Once the creature takes over your mind, you still seem to have memories and knowledge of who you are, but you are much angrier and mean-spirited. This is evidenced in both Billy and Tom Holloway and their behaviors after being infected/possessed.

Will brings the name to the creature when he says the mindflayer is back and he can feel him. It certainly doesn’t look like the mindflayer we thought we knew and clearly it has taken on a different form in this season.

A quick note about why Will would call it a mindflayer. Stranger Things and the characters rely heavily on D&D which makes total sense because it was a huge phenomenon in the 1980’s. I was one of those kids who was fascinated by D&D partly because of the stigma around it.

This season of Stranger Things gives us a glimpse of the media panic at the time, where the game was being blamed for weird occurrences and parents were being warned of the “evilness” of the game. So basically the media and upset parents made the game super attractive to kids like me.

Will and all the Hawkins kids have long played the game and it would, therefore, be their frame of reference for any creatures they may stumble upon in the real world. Remember that this series takes place before the internet and when our only way to reference things was through books.

Stranger Things – Credit: Netflix
Stranger Things – Credit: Netflix /

The mindflayer of D&D came out in the “Monster Book” of 1977. In the game, it’s described as a humanoid creature with tentacles on its head. Not exactly the gigantic multi-tentacled thing we are given but close enough that it may have been the only creature name to come to mind to the kids, given what they had as a reference.

In D&D it is described as taking over minds and subjugating other races, which does seem to fit with the behavior of what we are seeing from this creature. None of the physical descriptions from the game match up with what we saw but you can learn more about the mindflayers of D&D to compare for yourself.

Stranger Things season 3, episode 6 shows us that the mindflayer can melt down to goo at will and reconstitute itself when it wants. This is given to us in a frightening scene where Nancy is behind a closed door and the creature turns itself into goo to slide under the door to get her.

Basically, this creature can’t be held by normal circumstances. Several battles with it show that if you cut a piece of it off, the piece will manage to goo and slide itself back onto the main creature. The humans who get infected by the flayer ( who are called the flayed in the series) are all connected to the creature and can be ‘activated’ whenever the creature needs.

The brain of the flayer is on the other side of the portal and it seems the only way to end this is to close it. The team works towards this end and through some personal sacrifice of Billy and Hopper ( though we never did see Hopper’s body) in order to close the portal and cut the body of the flayer off from its brain.

To summarize, this gigantic tentacled creature is named as the mindflayer in a different physical form, it takes over humans and rodents alike to do its bidding and is really hard to kill. In the end, it takes them closing the portal to finally win the battle and keep Hawkins safe.

No word on when Stranger Things season 4 will come around but we speculate when it may drop. I for one am excited to see what monsters they will bring us in season 4!

So what did you think of the mindflayer this season? Let us know in the comments below!

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