Stranger Things is famous for harboring some sizeable plot holes, but one of the Netflix hit’s oldest issues dates back to its pilot but could be solved in the upcoming season 4. Beginning back in 2016, Stranger Things is the brainchild of Hidden directors the Duffer Brothers, who hoped to fuse the family drama of 2013’s dark thriller Prisoners with the sci-fi horrors and action-adventure movies of their 80s childhood. The result was a series that combines body horror, teen romance, and twisty sci-fi mysteries in a small-town setting to become one of Netflix’s biggest streaming successes.
Stranger Things has been critically acclaimed throughout its 3 seasons thanks to a killer cast of adults and kids alike, as well as consistently compelling storytelling that – despite strong pacing and clever twists – does occasionally feature some annoying plot holes. Some of the biggest cropped up in Stranger Things’ third season, which upped the action and scope of the show to an unprecedented extent. But well before its action-packed third outing, Stranger Things boasted some smaller plot holes that were nonetheless difficult to dismiss.
Just look at the mystery of why the Demogorgon, the antagonist of Stranger Things season 1, decided to hunt down and attack Will Byers way back in the pilot episode. Viewers have still never discovered how the Demogorgon found him or why it was hunting Will in the first place. While this has been left as a mystery up to now, the resolution could soon prove to be central to the plot of the upcoming Stranger Things season 4.
Well before the Mind Flayers, long-lost Hawkins Lab experiments or secret Russian bases hidden beneath small-town malls, Stranger Things was a show about a kid who went missing. After building up the mystery, it was revealed that the Demogorgon creature escaped the Upside-Down to attack Will and trapped him there. This simple set-up allowed the show to establish the monster as a major threat and cause the episode’s titular “Vanishing of Will Byers” in one fell swoop, but it never really explored why the Demogorgon attacked Will. To nab Will the usually animalistic Demogorgon had to open locked doors, stalk its way through Hawkins and find the kid, so why did it choose to attack him and what was the motivation behind its search?
From what viewers have seen in Stranger Things so far the Demogorgon, scary as it is, is just an unthinking, unfeeling predator that lives to eat. The so-called Demo-dog that well-meaning Dustin raised in Stranger Things season 2 is proof the monster is relatively thoughtless and simply-motivated in comparison to later, more advanced monsters like the Mind Flayer. So how did one of these beasts escape the Upside-Down, work out how to unlock doors, and hunt down Will? Since the Mind Flayer controlled Billy and Will himself, viewers now know that Stranger Things’ monsters are capable of psychological manipulation and complex thought. So is it possible the Demogorgon is smarter than first thought? If so, what made Will a compelling target?
It’s clear that Eleven has special powers thanks to Hawkins Lab’s dicey experiments and it’s not unlikely that Stranger Things will soon reveal there’s something special about Hopper too since he survived certain death at the end of season 3. The series has shown that Will was more capable of handling the Mind Flayer’s psychological torture than teen bully Billy, who quickly succumbed to its control despite attempting to resist the voices invading his head. Outside of this strength of mind, what is it that made Will not only a target for the Demogorgon but also the Mind Flayer?
It’s possible the Demogorgon was just hungry and the Mind Flayer sought him out because he’d already been to the Upside-Down, but this being Stranger Things, a conspiracy seems more likely. What with Billy being older and theoretically more mature than Will, it seems unlikely the young teen would be better equipped to take on the Mind Flayer than the older villain Billy, yet Will was able to survive encounters with both the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer relatively unscathed. That’s a feat even Eleven herself struggled to pull off, so the possibility that Will possesses some form of powers similar to those boasted by Eleven would make sense of how he survived and why both monsters sought to control his mind.
Hawkins Lab was awfully eager to help out Will in Stranger Things season 2 when he was possessed by the Mind Flayer, but is his season 1 abduction the first they’d heard of him? Again, it’s possible that the Demogorgon simply escaped and picked Will as a snack at random, but his friends meeting and working with Eleven feels too convenient for this to be the case. With the kids already living near one another and Eleven’s mother being the victim of MK Ultra-style brainwashing experiments, it’s not unlikely that Joyce would have unknowingly run afoul of Hawkins Lab before the show began. Maybe the shadowy, unaccountable government organization are responsible for whatever powers Will may possess, such as their experimentation led to Eleven’s psychic abilities.
It may be ancient history on Stranger Thing by now, but the question of why Will was attacked way back in season 1 episode 1 could be explored in season 4 if the Netflix series chooses to focus on him. Now the season 3’s ending let the Byers split off from the rest of the Hawkins gang, this question might explain if there’s a connection between Will and El and how Hawkins Lab is involved. Such a plotline that could bring back El’s lost sister Kali and explain what is going on beneath the seemingly normal suburban surface of Hawkins, Indiana once and for all. The question of what drove the Demogorgon to Will may seem insignificant, but season 4 of Stranger Things may prove the inquiry is central to the show’s many unanswered questions.