Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 2, Episodes 1-3 ahead. Another season of Stranger Things, another evil creature to slay. How lucky the residents of Hawkins, Indiana, are — it’s like living in their very own video game! After finding a weird, slug-like creature in his garbage can, Dustin takes it upon himself to name the little guy D’Artagnan, aka Dart for short. But is Dart the thessalhydra on Stranger Things? The crew could have a bigger danger right under their noses.
Will came back from the Upside Down in Season 1, but that doesn’t mean that anything has gone back to normal. In fact, everyone is trying really hard to pretend that everything is fine, even though it's def not. Will’s friends are supportive, but they know that he keeps having what Mike calls “episodes,” which are not just post-traumatic stress. Will is actually living the moments in real time, transported in flashes to the Upside Down. Sometimes, he’s stuck there, and mostly, he’s terrified (understandably so). During these episodes, Will is stalked by what some fans have theorized to be a thessalhydra.
But let's back up a little bit here and talk about where all of this stuff comes from. A hydra is a creature that originated in Greek mythology — it was a big, snake-like thing, with multiple heads (the number depends on the story you’re reading). Each time an unsuspecting hero, like Hercules, would lob off a head, two would grow back in its place, making the Hydra virtually impossible to kill so long as it had a head — it would always regenerate and save itself. Even the mighty Hercules needed help from his nephew to slay it.
According to Pajiba, the thessalhydra, though, comes straight from Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a designed monster, a hydra with “a nasty pincer at the end of its tail, and a gaping circular maw at the center of the eight snake heads.” It also happens to be the very last monster that the group fights in their last Dungeons & Dragons game of Stranger Things Season 1. The kids also saw a Demogorgon, the first season monster, in their Dungeons & Dragons game in Season 1 — so is the show trying to tell us something here? This monstrous thing from the Season 2 trailer looks a lot like a thessalhydra, with its multiple arms and ominous size:
When Will came back to the regular world at the end of Season 1, he coughed up a slug-looking thing in his sink — the same sort of slug that crawled out of Barb’s bloated corpse in the Upside Down when Will saw her body. If Dart isn’t the exact slug that Will spat up, he’s pretty close, and he could be the harbinger of terrible things to come. But is it the thessalhydra? Unclear. Dart could be a part of a thessalhydra — a bunch of little Darts that eventually make up one big monster.
This idea works because Will’s "episodes" increased in violence and frequency as Halloween approached, which is the time that Dustin discovered Dart in the trash can outside his house. As soon as Dart was in Dustin’s hands and slithering through Hawkins Middle School, Will had what was his worst "episode" yet — he was paralyzed, with the presumed thessalhydra’s tentacles running in and out of his mouth and nostrils, the rest of it running around his body. Will couldn’t even scream — he just stood there, like a statue, while Joyce yelled to wake him up. Dart could be a trigger of the Upside Down because he is a part of the Upside Down.
If Dart’s proximity to Will is any indication, Dart is either bringing bad things to Hawkins or he’s related to the bad things that are getting closer and closer to Will and his family and friends. The only person, I think, who can really help them get out of this sticky, slimy (blech) situation is Eleven, who opened the wormhole in the first place. Wormholes are like Pottery Barn — if you break it, you’re expected to buy it or fix it. Hercules needed teamwork to defeat Hydra, and the Stranger Things kids will need it, too.
Frankly, I’m not sure if the thessalhydra (or whatever the giant monster is) is Hawkins’ biggest problem. If the slugs like Dart are crawling out of human bodies, they’re probably using those bodies as incubators. Like Alien, another great period film, but minus the chest-bursting. How many other people in Hawkins have been affected by this and don’t even know it or haven’t told anyone? There could be a colony of Dart’s brothers and sisters in the sewers of Hawkins, waiting to be told to begin their uprising. Can you imagine how many monsters they could make? If I have to choose between one big monster or an army of slugs looking for human bodies to live inside, I’m going to tell you the bigger danger is the army of slugs. We all know how to beat one monster — we’ve all played video games and beat the big boss. But a whole legion of alien slugs? That’s above my pay grade. It’s above Will, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin’s too.