Hawkins just can't seem to have one nice moment, can it? Each time these kids manage to defeat some trans-dimensional evil monster trying to destroy the town, some other troubling thing seems to pop up, and this season of Stranger Things ended no differently. Obvious spoiler alert: Don't keep reading until you've finished Season 2 of Stranger Things. The Season 2 finale seemed to end on a really happy and uplifting note, but of course this show can't leave us without something major to worry about. Let's break down that creepy final scene in Stranger Things Season 2, shall we?
In the ninth and final episode of the new season, we see the whole Stranger Things gang work together to defeat the shadow monster they've dubbed the Mind Flayer by closing the gate to the Upside Down in Hawkins Lab. Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Max, and Steve set fire to one of the Mind Flayer's vine-like underground caverns to distract its hordes of Demodogs, while Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy attempted to exorcise the monster's control over Will. Most crucially, Hopper accompanied Eleven down to the gate so she could use her powers to close it. They all manage to succeed and now that the portal to the Upside Down is officially sealed, it looks like Hawkins is finally free from any more supernatural monsters. Or is it?
The finale lulls us into a happy ending after that: We learn renegade reporter Murray Bauman was able to use the taped confession Nancy gave him to shut down Hawkins Lab, and Hopper was even able to get a forged birth certificate for Eleven that lists her as Jane Hopper, his daughter. And in the most heartwarming moment of the series, we see all the kids go to their middle school's Snow Ball dance, where Lucas and Max finally share their first kiss and Mike and Eleven get to reunite and share a kiss as well. And, of course, there's the cutest moment ever when Nancy asks Dustin to dance after he had been rejected by the girls in his class.
It's all so sweet and adorable, and as the camera zooms out on the middle school and the Netflix episode progress bar has nearly reached its end, it actually looks like this season is going to leave us with this warm, gooey, uplifting feeling and nothing else to worry about. Welp... that's not the case. Before the series ends, the camera angle flips upside down and we see the Upside Down version of the middle school. Towering over it is the clearest image we've seen of the shadow monster, and I know this thing doesn't have a face, but you can just tell it's pissed off. So, uh... I guess they didn't totally solve that problem after all?
So, what can we guess about a potential third season from this ending? Well, it seems obvious that the show is teasing a return of the shadow monster, although how that will happen isn't clear. Since Eleven sealed the gate between our world and the Upside Down, the monster is going to have to find some other way to break through. We already saw that the monster was able to take control of Will this season, so there's a possibility that could happen again in the future.
The other big bad the show teased could make a return moving forward is Dr. Brenner, the former head scientist at Hawkins Lab who kidnapped and raised Eleven. He's not mentioned in the finale (though he does pop up in Eleven's memories when she needs something to get mad about to power up her abilities), but Eleven did find out in Episode 7 that he probably didn't actually die in the Demogorgon attack in Season 1 like she thought. And since fans are also going to have tons of questions about Brenner's experiments after learning more about Eleven and meeting Eight this season, it seems like his return as an antagonist would make sense moving forward.
But until we get a new season, we've just got to let that image of the shadow monster worry us.