The Mind Flayer acted as the primary antagonist for the past two seasons of Stranger Things, and here’s every distinct power it has exhibited.
The Mind Flayer is the most dangerous villain that Stranger Things has introduced so far. The evil entity, also referred to as the Shadow Monster, made its debut in the Netflix show’s second season. After wreaking havoc on the citizens of Hawkins, it returned in Stranger Things season 3, albeit in a different form. As the master of the Upside Down, the Mind Flayer harbored significant powers, and many of those abilities were on display when battling the show’s plucky human heroes.
As it turned out, season 1’s Demogorgon was just one creature that resided in the Upside Down. Though it was a serious threat on its own, the species was actually controlled by the Shadow Monster. The supreme leader pulled the strings when it came to any living matter that came from the dark dimension. Unfortunately, it also held abilities that could affect the living outside of the Upside Down – something that Will Byers learned quickly.
The Mind Flayer served as the primary villain in season 2 and 3, and despite the fact that the Hawkins crew got the upper hand, it very well could return in Stranger Things season 4. The monster from season 3 was just one proxy body being controlled from “The Brain,” which was still in the Upside Down. As long as there are Gates open, the Mind Flayer can target the core characters in the series. That said, here’s every power that the Mind Flayer has exhibited up to this point.
When the Mind Flayer was introduced in Stranger Things season 2, it presented one of the monster’s most distinct abilities: the hive mind. As the ruler of the Upside Down, the Mind Flayer had full control over the creatures from the other dimension. Aside from the Demogorgon, the Shadow Monster was able to command the army of Demodogs to specific locations throughout Hawkins. When its connection with Will was made, the Mind Flayer had control over his mind, but on the flip side he could hack into the monster to gain key insight into its weaknesses.
For the Mind Flayer’s hive mind to work, the monster must infect an individual. In doing so, the victim would act as a host body for the Mind Flayer’s possession. This occurred with both Will and Billy Hargrove, causing the characters to serve as spies in the primary dimension. By infecting and possessing other humans within Hawkins, the Mind Flayer was able to build a Flayed army. It was then able to control the army through the hive mind, making the monster even more dangerous. The only known way to stop the possession, and the hive mind, would be to burn the Mind Flayer’s essence out with extreme heat.
Before Eleven closed the Gate in season 2, a piece of the Mind Flayer that infected Will was left behind in Hawkins. When the new Gate was opened under Starcourt Mall, the Mind Flayer was able to control its remains from the other dimension to infect rats. Those rats then melted into biomass that formed together to create a proxy body. As the Mind Flayer took control of more humans, they too were melted and absorbed into the proxy form. The creature then evolved into the Hospital Monster and Spider Monster through biokinesis, before growing into its full form.
In Stranger Things season 3, the Mind Flayer attacked Eleven and her friends at Hopper’s cabin. Despite her own powers, Eleven was bitten by one of the monster’s tentacles, leaving a piece of it embedded in her leg. The injury weakened Eleven’s powers until they disappeared altogether. Even months after the group defeated the Shadow Monster, Eleven was still without her special abilities. Somehow, the Mind Flayer was able to absorb her powers after it bit her.
Each time Will envisioned the Mind Flayer in Stranger Things season 2, the monster was surrounded by large stormclouds and red lightning. The same type of weather was shown when the Mind Flayer loomed over the middle school during the Snow Ball and when Eleven got an insight into Billy’s childhood on the beach. The atmospheric control remained within the Upside Down but the weather change seemed to have a connection to the Mind Flayer’s emotions.