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Stranger Things: Is Dr. Brenner the Main Bad Guy?


The fourth season of “Stranger Things” seemingly introduces the most powerful villain we have met to date: Vecna, a deadly monster from the Upside Down. But Vecna is not simply any interdimensional baddie — he used to be One, one other take a look at topic like Eleven in the lab run by Dr. Brenner. While the present has made it clear that Vecna is “Stranger Things“‘s new most important baddie, we will not assist however control Dr. Brenner, who’s again after inexplicably surviving a brush with the Demogorgon. In some methods, Dr. Brenner truly is perhaps the baddest of all of them, so let’s take a more in-depth take a look at the proof (and theories) to date.

Does Dr. Brenner Have Powers in “Stranger Things“?

Even as we study increasingly more about the backstory of the lab the place Eleven and her “siblings” originated, we nonetheless know remarkably little about the mad scientist she known as “Papa.” Quite a lot of questions stay about who he’s, how he obtained concerned with the challenge, and the way he is managed to outlive all the risks and near-death experiences working with these superpowered children has introduced upon him. Is it attainable that he has powers of his personal, and that is how he has stayed alive by means of all of it?

We can not help questioning about the particulars of Dr. Brenner’s “work” with the children in the lab. Did he “give” them powers merely by means of sheer mad-science experimentation, or was he capable of give them superpowers as a result of he already had a head begin from having powers of his personal? Dr. Brenner having powers would additionally clarify a variety of issues about his unlikely survival; we have seen him survive a Demogorgon assault and One’s assault on the lab, and who is aware of what different “accidents” occurred throughout his time at the lab.

One Reddit theory takes this risk even additional, positing that Dr. Brenner is perhaps “000,” or the unique superpowered being. The Reddit consumer, Jamcam007, factors out that we by no means see the spot on Dr. Brenner’s wrist the place numbers can be; it is at all times coated by a watch. It’s additionally price contemplating in the context of the “affected person zero” colloquialism historically used to indicate the unique supply of one thing uncommon. If there is a affected person zero amongst the superpowered people, then Dr. Brenner would positively be an fascinating risk, though this concept does not appear seemingly at this level.

By the finish of the fourth season, it seems that Dr. Brenner has no supernatural powers of his personal — simply the good previous powers of manipulation. He’s glorious at psychologically manipulating Eleven for his personal ends. That manipulative habits appears to point that, missing powers of his personal, he wants her energy to maintain pursuing his objectives with the Upside Down and One.

What Is Dr. Brenner’s Link to the Upside Down?

STRANGER THINGS, from left: Millie Bobby Brown, Matthew Modine, 'Chapter Six: The Dive', (Season 4, ep. 406, aired May 27, 2022). photo: Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

The connection between the Upside Down and the experiments — each at the lab in Hawkins and at the Russian facility — has already been made clear. Human experiments have cracked open a door to that demonic dimension, permitting monsters by means of. But we nonetheless do not know for certain how the Upside Down got here to exist in the first place.

One risk: Dr. Brenner is, one way or the other, personally liable for the creation of the Upside Down, not only for breaking by means of to it. This might go one in every of two methods: both as a part of the “Dr. Brenner has powers” concept, or just by means of supernatural science experiments gone horribly fallacious (or horribly proper, relying on what his unique intentions have been). His reactions to shows of energy — Eleven discovering the monsters, as an illustration, and even her extra violent unintentional makes use of of energy — appear extra awestruck than horrified, additional indicating that he is getting what he desires out of his experiments. The solely time he actually appears horrified is after One’s killing spree — that’s, after his life’s work is all however destroyed.

Dr. Brenner’s curiosity in the Upside Down might additionally carefully hook up with his curiosity in Eleven. It appears too unlikely that he has helped El get her powers again simply because he believes it is the proper factor to do. He is aware of how highly effective she is, and he is aware of how highly effective their enemies in the Upside Down are. Could he be attempting to make use of El to not defeat the monsters for the good of everybody, however to take management of the Upside Down for himself?

These theories change into partially proper by the time the fourth season ends. It is true that Dr. Brenner has been mendacity to Eleven about the precise causes for his experiments and curiosity in the Upside Down. The “Soviet spying” was at all times only a ruse — actually, he is been obsessive about monitoring down One in the Upside Down, heedless of the collateral harm.

He’s not the one straight liable for the creation of the Upside Down, although he’s not directly accountable due to the tormenting of his take a look at topics. That (dis)honor belongs to One, who lastly reveals to El what actually occurred after she banished him to an alternate dimension. When he arrived, he discovered a dimension wealthy with untapped, supernatural potential, and he molded it to swimsuit his functions. The spider-like creatures from the Upside Down derive from his obsessions; the power-stealing Mind Flayer was created by One to steal El’s powers in order that he might construct extra “gates” and eat the whole dimension of the actual world. Dr. Brenner did not create the Upside Down, he simply created the monster who did.

What Does Dr. Brenner’s Crossword Puzzle Mean?

We all know that the “Stranger Things” writers like to cover their clues in plain sight. A pair of Reddit users zoomed in and took a more in-depth take a look at Dr. Brenner’s crossword puzzle from the opening minutes of season 4, and it appears to be like like there could possibly be some related hints buried there.

Among the phrases in the puzzle are some ominous references, reminiscent of “Robespierre,” famed for the Reign of Terror in revolutionary France, together with a number of references to Russia and the Soviets, like “Tsar” and “Eurasian.” The identify “Kali” additionally seems, aka the identify of Eight, one in every of the surviving take a look at topics from the lab.

Were these meant to be hints or — as one clue in the puzzle says — only a bunch of “shams” meant to misdirect us? For the time being, it appears to be like like lots of these are clues that both are irrelevant or will not be revealed till the final season; none of the main “clues” in the crossword seem to have any relevance to the means the season wraps up. Dr. Brenner seems like he’s finally out of the picture for good by the finish of season 4, however the devastating results of his mad-science experiments will proceed to stay on as “Stranger Things” barrels in the direction of its closing act





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