Stranger Things Season 1 Finale – Theories and Discussion

Kasey Moore What's on Netflix Avatar


After a week after its release, Stranger Things has turned from an unknown Netflix Original to probably one of the best television shows of 2016. It’s horror elements fused with drama and thriller elements all wrapped up in a 1980’s mixing pot makes it a refreshing and is thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

While we’ve covered some of overarching big questions that remain from season 1, we want to take a look at the final episode of the first season and go over some of the key plot points, as while The Duffer Brothers gave us plenty of answers, they also left a lot of things up in the air. The final episode was great but it crammed a lot of content in the final hour, so let’s recap and explore some of the details.

Hopper has a potentially huge role in season 2

Over the course of the season, it was unclear how big of a role Hopper had in everything, but the last episode in particular may shine a light as to how big of a deal Hopper is in the grand scheme of things.

Let’s start with the scene of  him jumping in the car towards the end of the episode. What we know is that Hopper made a deal with the company to have the three kids essentially exonerated but we then move onto a different scene before the full details are talked about. When then meeting up with Will’s Mom (who’s confused as to how she was able to go after her son) he was extremely cagey with her, obviously hiding the full extent as to what was involved in the deal he broke.

Last we saw he was jumping in a car in what looks like it’s the company, so is he now working for them? The final scenes could suggest so and would particularly big consequences if our next theory is right.

hopper-in-woodsNow let’s fast forward to those final few scenes shot a month later after the showdown between the monster and El. We see Hopper disengaged with the Christmas party being held in the police station saying he was “only here for the food”. We then see him taking said food into the woods and leaving them in a box. Who is this box for? We’re yet to see. One theory is that it’s for El and one that it’s to potentially get his daughter back.

Hopper is El’s Father

Finally with Hopper and this has huge implications, is that Eleven is in fact Hopper’s daughter. Throughout the first season, we’re led to believe the Eleven’s father is the man that’s experimenting on her. But the constant flashbacks seem a little big too coincidental to me and the fact that we know his daughter supposedly “died” after getting ill but never actually saw it puts question marks on it for me. In addition we see his daughters toys in the alternate dimension years after she supposedly passed away and given we know El has a deep connection to the alternate dimension, could they be hers?

Another reason for these flashbacks of course, is to simply establish character development and motivation for Hopper to want to save Will on the other side. I think I prefer El being Hopper’s daughter personally.

Is Eleven Dead?

In the final scenes of the episode, we see Eleven almost completely drained after extensive use of her power. She manages to muster up the power for one more shot at getting rid of the Demagorgon for once and for all. We see El disappear after what looks like she was removing the blue heart of the monster. She vanishes alongside it. Without any remains, it’s hard to say that she’s dead as it could she could have simple teleported away.

If a second season is to arrive, we’d expect that Eleven isn’t actually dead but explaining that isn’t all that easy.

One Redditor says that the monster is actually a concoction of Eleven’s subconscious and it’s essentially her controlling it all along. We all know she created the rift after going into a sleep so it could be she’s simply bought her nightmare to life. It’s clear she has incredible powers so the whole alternate universe could just be dreams essentially.

Eleven returned to the other side?

We’ve on purposely used returned as a standout word there but this theory does contradict that of Hopper being Eleven’s father. This theory suggests that Eleven herself is from the other side. Think about it, clearly these powers are some other worldly powers and it’s clearly the first time humans have discovered someone with abilities given the experimentation and the fact they didn’t really know what they’re doing. It could be plausible.

Is the Demagorgon dead?

monster-from-stranger-thingsThis is clearly a silly question but is it? We’ve just made the argument that El is alive but given in the last few scenes we see Will cough up what looks to be one of the creatures from the other side, it does beg the question as to whether the monsters are coming back even if it’s not in the final form we see Eleven destroy. More evidence can be found in Hopper finding a hatched egg within the alternate dimension.

What do you think? Have you got any theories? Leave them in the comment section below!

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Founder of What's on Netflix, Kasey has been tracking the comings and goings of the Netflix library for over a decade. Covering everything from new movies, series and games from around the world, Kasey is in charge of covering breaking news, covering all the new additions now available on Netflix and what's coming next.

 Poster Rating: TV-14
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin
Season Additions:
  • - Season 4 - Volume 2 was added to Netflix on July 1st, 2022
  • - Season 4 - Volume 1 was added to Netflix on May 27th, 2022
  • - Season 3 was added to Netflix on July 4th, 2019

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