Things in Hawkins, Indiana are only getting stranger and stranger. Facing a new monster that seems to have control over Will, Hopper and Joyce went to work trying to uncover what was happening. Thanks to Will's drawings and the dying pumpkins that popped up all over town, Hopper realized there were "vines" running through Hawkins. When he went to investigate, Hopper discovered underground tunnels, but what are the tunnels for on Stranger Things? Right now, it's hard to say. Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 5!
When Hopper discovered the tunnels, he made the mistake of actually jumping down into them, all on his own, with no back up. Rookie mistake. Once inside it looked very similar to the Upside Down, which is probably because it is, though let's not make assumptions. Whatever the tunnels are, they're pretty gross, filled with the same sticky substance Hopper found on the trees by the messed up pumpkins. As Hopper went further and further into the tunnel, the vines began to move around him, which may indicate the tunnels are actually a living thing.
This would make sense considering that Will — who's now connected to the Shadow Monster — could sense that Hopper was in trouble. It was also how he who drew the "map" of the tunnels — because he could see them in his mind. Plus, when the men from Hawkins National Laboratory set the vines in the tunnel aflame, Will was also affected. Thus, the tunnels are probably a part of the Shadow Monster somehow.
But why does the inside of the tunnel look like the Upside Down? Is it actually a portal to the Upside Down? And why is it spreading and exactly how far is it? Is it under all of Hawkins now? If so, will everything around the town begin to die, just like those pumpkins? Based on what Will has said about the Shadow Monster, the answer seems to be yes on all accounts.
Will said early on this season that the Shadow Monster doesn't want to kill him, but wants to kill everyone else. It already almost killed Hopper, when it tied him down and choked him with its vines. Thankfully, Joyce and Bob got there just in time to save him, but this battle is certainly not over. The Shadow Monster has to be stopped and these tunnels need to be destroyed before they totally eradicate Hawkins, but if hurting the Shadow Monster also hurts Will, how can they kill it?
There are still plenty of questions that this season has to answer, but one thing's for certain: this will be an even bigger task than taking down the Demogorgon. Besides the fact that the Shadow Monster is connected to Will, it's also a much bigger monster than the Demogorgon one, if the Shadow Monster is actually part of the tunnels. Getting rid of these tunnels will take a lot of work, especially because most of the people that live in Hawkins aren't even aware that they exist or of what really happened to Will. It'll be very difficult for the Hawkins Lab to cover all this up, and it won't help that Nancy and Jonathan are already on there way to exposing them.
After purposefully getting themselves picked up by Hawkins Lab, Nancy recorded everything the doctor there told them and went to see the private investigator Barb's parents hired to find her. Using the tape, they plan to expose the lab, though they're going to change the story slightly just to make it more believable. But although Nancy's plan to expose the lab is certainly a good one with good intentions behind it, she may get in the way of the lab's effort to get rid of the Shadow Monster, which actually benefits the whole town. Hopefully, everyone will be able to put their differences aside to come together to figure out how to take out this monster once and for all.
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