Sunday August 7, 2022
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Today, June 28, marks a milestone for the Stranger Things fanbase. Everyone remembers the charming, Slurpee-drinking Russian scientist, Dr. Alexei (May He Rest in Peace), and his quest to open a portal to the Upside Down. Well, almost 40 years ago, the Russian government tasked its secret research lab with opening a gate that would unleash the Demogorgon and allow entry into a hostile, otherworldly dimension known as the Upside Down. According to the in-universe timeline, that moment happened on June 28, 1984.

Alexei worked underneath the Starcourt Mall on an experiment known as “the Key” — a giant laser emitting massive amounts of heat to pry open the tendrils covering the doorway to the Upside Down. In the series, after Alexei’s co-worker failed to get the Key to work, he was executed by Grigori. Following that, Alexei and a fellow scientist were given exactly one year to have the Key working properly.

Netflix has recognized this momentous occasion by posting several images of Alexei — with the timestamp title card — and writing, “38 years ago today, Dr. Alexei was given one year to open a gate to the Upside Down.”

As we all know, Alexei never finished his work on the Key. Approximately half a year later, when his deadline was coming to a close, Alexei was taken hostage by Jim Hopper, Joyce Byers, and later Murray Bauman. After that, well, we all know the end of the story. Later, at the Fun Fair, Joyce and Hopper go off to search for the kids while Murray and Alexei enjoy the festivities. When Murray turns his back to get cord dogs, Alexei is assassinated by the Russian hitman known as Grigori. It was a heartbreaking moment, and many tears were shed, but we try not to talk about that.

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Let’s just hope Alexei 2.0 — Dmitri/Enzo — survives Stranger Things 4, and we don’t get a repeat of Alexei’s death. Stranger Things returns to Netflix with Volume Two on July 1.


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