There's a new monster in Hawkins, Indiana. During the first season, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas nicknamed the monster the Demogorgon, because it reminded them of the monster in Dungeons & Dragons. However, this season the monster is more mysterious and nefarious, so the kids gave it a new name: the Shadow Monster. But what is the Shadow Monster on Stranger Things? Unfortunately, it's still difficult to say. Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 4!
In the very first episode, Will was briefly transported back to the Upside Down where he saw a dark storm and a spider-like monster in the sky. As the season progressed, Will's "episodes" only got worse, and thanks to the nice (but way off base) advice of Joyce's boyfriend, Bob, Will decided not to run away from the Shadow Monster. Instead, he faced it head on — but unlike the clown in Bob's dream, telling the Shadow Monster to "go away" didn't work. The monster grabbed a hold of Will and seemed to go into him somehow, taking control of his body.
Although Joyce was able to snap Will out of it, he wasn't the same after that. Now, just like Dustin's new pet, Dart, Will is very cold and wants to remain that way because "he" likes it cold. One has to assume, "he" is the Shadow Monster, though that still doesn't really tell us what it is.
Then when Will tried to explain what he thinks happened to him, he said that he now "knows things" that he didn't know before. He also has new memories, that he said weren't really memories because they're happening right now. Thankfully, Joyce knows her son well, and when she instructed him to draw what he was seeing in these "now memories" he got to work and couldn't stop. Although his drawings first looked like scribbles, Joyce again was able to figure out that they were all just pieces of one bigger picture. Putting the drawings together like a puzzle, Hopper and Joyce were able to see what Will was seeing. It was Hopper, however, who realized that what Will drew were actually vines.
At the end of the episode, Hopper went back to one of the farms where all the crops and pumpkins were destroyed, and started digging. He then discovered the "vines" that Will drew, and just as Hopper feared, they're flowing right under Hawkins and seem to be spreading.
But how are these vines connected to the Shadow Monster? Every time Will's seen it, it's been in the sky and it's clearly a living thing since it may now be living in Will. Also, for some reason, the Shadow Monster obviously wanted Will to know about these vines. Each time Will has encountered the Shadow Monster it hasn't tried to hurt or kill him, like the Demogorgon. Instead, the Shadow Monster wanted Will to come to him. Does this creature need help? If so, what exactly does it expect Will to do?
Lastly, do the doctors at Hawkins Lab know about this creature? Although the doctor told Joyce and Hopper that Will's "episodes" were just a form of PTSD, it's obvious he was lying, but how much does he know about this new monster, if anything at all? Could the doctor and those at the lab somehow be behind the Shadow Monster's existence, with whatever it is that they're doing in the laboratory? Unfortunately, right now there are just a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. Hopefully, Will is able to survive this new monster just like he survived in the Upside Down.
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