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The Mind Flayer Theory That Will Change How You Watch Stranger Things

When Netflix's hit sci-fi series "Stranger Things" first began, the premise of the show seemed simple: an otherworldly monster dubbed "the Demogorgon" terrorizes a group of friends after they discover the existence of the monster, the strange parallel universe it lives in, and the superpowered girl who can help them defeat it. As events unfolded throughout the show's first three seasons, it became apparent to fans that there was a much more insidious plot bubbling beneath the surface. As it turned out, the Demogorgon was only one of a whole drone species controlled by a malevolent entity known as The Mind Flayer (another "Dungeons & Dragons"-based name bestowed by the series' pre-teen heroes) that seeks to invade the human world.

The end of Season 3 sees the ragtag team of defenders of Hawkins, Indiana, deal a devastating blow to The Mind Flayer by killing its corporeal form, but it's pretty much a guarantee that the creature isn't gone for good. The Mind Flayer is likely to factor heavily into the final two seasons of "Stranger Things," especially considering that many of the mysteries surrounding the creature and its ultimate goal have yet to be revealed.

There is one recent fan theory concerning the monster that has been making the rounds on Reddit. Not only does it provide a compelling prediction about the show's future, but it also recontextualizes the first three seasons of "Stranger Things" in a surprising way.

Is The Mind Flayer's ultimate goal to bring about nuclear winter?

"Stranger Things" has consistently worn its 1980s inspirations on its sleeve, with the looming backdrop of the Cold War chief among them. The show has not shied away from portraying the simmering tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, and how that conflict ignited many of the supernatural events seen thus far.

According to a new theory posted by Reddit user u/bobainia on the r/FanTheories subreddit, the conflict between the people of Hawkins and The Mind Flayer is much more intrinsically tied to the Cold War than fans may have realized. The theory suggests that The Mind Flayer is a being that feeds off of nuclear winter and is attempting to manipulate two of the biggest global superpowers into ravaging the Earth with nuclear weapons so that it will be a suitable breeding ground for the creature. The complete theory is pretty lengthy, but the main points of evidence essentially boil down to The Mind Flayer's portrayal as a hyper-intelligent being that is capable of enacting political subterfuge, is a being that loves cold conditions, is implied to be radioactive, and seems to center the Upside Down dimension around post-nuclear societies. 

Pretty much all of this evidence offered in the theory tracks with what's happened on "Stranger Things" so far. Season 4 seems to be focusing much more intensely on the U.S.-Soviet conflict (as we'll likely see primarily through Hopper's time in a Siberian prison), so this theory could be right on the money. However, fans of "Stranger Things" will have to wait until the series has concluded its final two seasons to know for sure.