WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1 of Netflix's Stranger Things, and the comic adaptation by Jody Houser, Stefano Martino, Keith Champagne, Lauren Affe and Nate Piekos, on sale now.
When Stranger Things arrived on Netflix in 2016, the love letter to '80s horror films (especially the Stephen King adaptations) took the entertainment industry by storm. But the series proved to be more than a nostalgic homage to the era; it's a genuinely intriguing story detailing what happens when the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana is invaded by creatures from a mysterious realm known as the Upside Down.
With most of the action occurring in the real world, Dark Horse Comics is now presenting us with a detailed lookat what happened in that dark mirror universe when Will Byers got kidnapped by the monstrous Demogorgon. In the process, Jody Houser, Stefano Martino and Co. end up filling in a major plot hole from Season 1.
At the end of Episode 5, "The Flea and the Acrobat," Will's brother Jonathan and his love interest, Nancy (who just so happens to be the sister of Will's best friend, Mike), are searching for Will in the woods. He's been missing for a couple of days, and the entire town is still trying to come to terms with what's going on. When a wounded deer was dragged away by the Demogorgon through a portal in a tree and into the Upside Down, a curious Nancy followed the trail, ending up in the dark reality herself. As the episode closed, we saw her trying to remain silent as the hungry monster realized a human was around.
The next episode, aptly titled "The Monster," began with a petrified Nancy not even wanting to breathe as the creature searched for her. What puzzled fans was how it passed so close to her, and despite showing a keen sense of smell in the show, for some reason, it was oblivious to her being mere meters away. With the camera focusing on Nancy, we heard the beast walking and screaming, making us think it was frustrated at its inability to locate its prey. Nancy was eventually pulled back through the portal by Jonathan, which left us feeling a bit robbed, because the creature was too quick to let that happen. Basically, we chalked this up to plot convenience and the show simply trying to create drama. But it felt cheap because there was no way Nancy should have been pulled through the rift that quickly, nor should she have been so easily overlooked by the inter dimensional predator.
Now, we learn there's a lot more to this scene, as the comic shows that Will was actually roaming around the Upside Down at the same time. After being taken by the Demogorgon, he escaped, and as he traverses the desolate version of his town, he ends up in the woods. He hears Jonathan calling to Nancy and follows the voice, only to end up where the monster is stalking her as prey. Will wants to call out to her so she can help rescue him, but he realizes he actually has to save her.
Will throws a bunch of rocks, far away from Nancy and into some trees. The thudding sounds distract the Demogorgon, and at this point it screams, syncing up with what we heard in the show. That's why it scampered off; it thought Nancy was in the other direction, or some other animal to hunt.
By the time Will ran over to the tree, however, Nancy has already been pulled through, and the portal closed. This left him stranded, with no choice but to seek another way home. What this scene also reveals is that while Season 1 painted the kid as a victim, he really was an unsung and highly brave hero in the Upside Down all along.