In "Trick or Treat, Freak" (Stranger Things, S02E02), there is a flashback scene in which Eleven returns to the human world from the Upside Down by crawling through a portal:

Screen capture of portal

After she exits, there is no sign of it closing. In fact, more and more of the ash-like spores drift through into the human world.

Screen capture of Eleven walking down school hallway

What happens to this portal? Could this potentially be something that comes up in a future season? Has this been addressed?

2 Answers 2


From an interview with the Duffer brothers (writers and creators of the show), these portals are explicitly stated to be temporary.

When the monster enters our dimension, it’s like a shark breaching the water. Very much like a shark, it drags its prey back into its home, where it feeds. Each time it enters our world, it leaves a small tear, or wound. That’s what Joyce found in her wall in episode 4, and Nancy found in the tree in episode 5. These tears are almost like portholes into the Upside Down. But they don’t last very long. Like wounds, they eventually heal and seal up.

—Matt and Ross Duffer, "Stranger Things episode 6: How the Duffer Brothers created the monster", Entertainment Weekly

It is only the Gate (the original portal) that has not healed (in fact, it grew wider and spread).

So, the portal sealed up after some time, which explains why it went unnoticed by the school's students/staff.

  • This is also shown in the show (but never really explicitly referred to afterwards). The portal that Hopper used to get into the tunnels closed up relatively quickly (I'd call it a timespan of a few minutes, if the portal indeed closed at the same time Hopper got startled, if you follow the order (and timing) of the scenes).
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 12:14
  • 1
    @Flater That wasn't a portal, though. The tunnels were in our world.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 14:23
  • @ceejayoz: Good point. Though I would still expect a similar closing off to occur for the portal that Eleven essentially ripped open without the big bad's permission. It's likely trying to remain undercover, so the big bad would be incentivized to close the portal to remain undercover.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 14:26
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    @Flater I don't think the portals healing has anything to do with the tunnels. Hopper just dug through living, screaming worm-like or vine-like creatures (that collectively make up the walls of the tunnel) to get inside. It's a physical, living thing in our world. The healing of the portals has to do with what separates our dimension, or plane of existence, from the Upside Down, and I don't think it is directly linked to the Mind-flayer's consciousness or agency, i.e. he has no control over the portals opening or shutting, they just heal over-time (if he does, there's no evidence). [cont.] Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 14:39
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    [cont] The portals are a consequence of the the walls that separate our dimensions being so weak (after Eleven opened that original big one) and flimsy, such that a demigorgon can just, by instinctive predation, leap into our world (opening temporary portals in the process). That's how the portal in Nancy's wall showed up, that's how the one in the tree showed up, the one in the school, etc. All the evidence suggests the Mind-flayer has no control over these, especially considering Eleven just shuts the gate with no resistance. Mind-flayer has to use the gate to spread physical, living tunnels Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 14:42

Later in the season and in the timeline of current events, the same paw logo on the wall can be seen. The portal is gone by then. This is assuming there aren't multiple paw logos and it is in fact the same one.

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