Spoilers for Stranger Things below!
It's been two seasons since we've seen Dr. Brenner's white hair and well tailored suit in Hawkins, Indiana. After his possible death in season one, no one really thought about him for awhile, happy that this kidnapping, mad scientist was out of the picture. But, there's a lot of evidence that Dr. Brenner is actually still alive, and he's probably up to no good.
Who is Dr. Brenner?
It's been awhile since we've heard the name Martin Brenner, so let me remind you of who we are dealing with. Dr. Brenner was a part of MKUltra, a CIA-backed program that attempted to develop mind-control techniques through mental and physical abuse, psychedelic drugs, and sleep deprivation. While working on this project, one of Brenner's subjects was Terry Ives, a pregnant college student. When Terry gave birth to her daughter, Jane, Brenner and some of the other MKUltra staff kidnapped the young girl because of her psychokinetic abilities and raised her as "Eleven."
In season one, we see Brenner as the senior research scientist and the director of the Hawkins National Laboratory, as well as Eleven's "Papa." Brenner spends his days training and developing Eleven and her abilities and it is due to his work that the portal to the Upside Down opens up, and a demogorgon escapes.
What happens to him?
Dr. Brenner spends the majority of season one looking for Eleven after she escapes when the portal initially opens. He eventually finds her in Hawkins Middle School, but unfortunately, the demogorgon finds them as well and it attacks Brenner. The doctor is assumed dead, though it's never confirmed.
So, is he dead?
As you should know by now. No one is ever really dead in Hawkins unless you see a body. In season two, Eleven meets Ray Carroll, a former orderly at the Hawkins National Laboratory who was in charge of electroshock therapy and therefor tortured Eleven's mom, damaging her brain.
It is Ray who informs Eleven that Brenner is not dead, and that he can take her to him. This fact was later confirmed by the show's executive producers, Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen. They told Collider that Brenner is in fact alive and Ray wasn't lying.
So will he return in season four?
Even though season three just aired, fans are already wondering what's to come in season four, and one of the biggest questions is, will Brenner return?
Many think he will, and his return will tie into the Russian government plot that was introduced in season three. In a post credits scene at the end of the final episode, we are transported to Kamchatka, Russia where two Russian security guards are retrieving a prisoner from a cell. One of the security guards stops to open the first cell door, but his colleague stops him. "No, not the American," he says, and they move on to the next cell.
There has been a lot of speculation as to who "The American" is. Many think it could be Hopper, who jumped in the portal right before Joyce closed it, but another major theory, popularized by Reddit user CSEnzley, is that the prisoner is Brenner.
Whether Brenner is "The American" or not, it's almost certain that he will be back in season four, considering he is alive, and has a lot of unfinished business to take care of.
Follow Carolyn on Instagram.
You Might Also Like