*Spoilers for Stranger Things, The Adventure Zone: Balance, and Loki
I’ve noticed a trend in science fiction and fantasy television including Loki, Stranger Things, and podcast The Adventure Zone (I know it’s not a television show).
There’s a monster of a creature being used by the Big Bad (Big Good, in TAZ’s case) for its powers in order to undermine the progress (advance progress, in Taz’s case) of the show’s protagonists.
It’s also usually some kind of amorphous cloud or something because why design something when it can just be a kinda vague shape.
Let’s go through these monsters one-by-one then come up with a term for this.
Loki was a very underrated show. It has gorgeous set design, great actors, a semi-enthralling plot, and doppelgängers fighting each other while trying not to make love to one another.
Anyway, in the show He Who Remains (the Big Bad) learned how to harness the powers of a trans-temporal entity known as Alioth, an amorphous cloud with a face.
Alioth’s powers allow it to transcend time and devour entire Marvel universe timelines — like the one where I still cared about the MCU.
This power is going to be very important in the second season as He Who Remains’s death resulted in multiple parallel universes coming back into existence, which should probably be devoured, wait, am I advocating for multi-verse genocide… oh, my.
But this also establishes our pattern: there’s a big monster with a unique power, bad guys harness that power, power goes wrong, and then the world explodes.
The Adventure Zone: Balance
Have you listened to The Adventure Zone? It’s pretty dang good, especially Balance and Amnesty.
Anyway, in the podcast Taako, Merle, and Magnus join the Bureau of Balance, an organization situated on a moon base. The BoB’s goal is to find seven ancient relics before they destroy the world.
The BoB uses a creature called the Void Fish to void out the memories of certain things from the rest of the universe — like the fact these artifacts are really powerful. Members of the BoB are made immune to the effects by drinking the Voidfish’s ichor… its pee.
In the podcast, we also learn that the Voidfish has a child whose powers were used to erase the memories of those were drank the ichor… the pee, so there’s memory blocking on top of memory blocking.
Lucretia (the Big Good) was using the memory-erasing powers for her own designs of creating a shield that would protect the world from a Big Bad out there in the universe.
Then in the show’s finale, the Voidfish uses its powers to broadcast out a song that makes everyone realize what’s happening, essentially a rallying cry to get everyone ready for the big fight.
Again, it’s a kinda amorphous blob (not really) with a special power that’s used for a certain purposes, but then allows the good guys to win the day when used in the right way.
The Mind Flayer
The Mind Flayer is a big amorphous blob in the Upside Down that’s given a slightly less amorphous shape by Henry Creel, or Vecna as the rest of the cast calls him. Its abilities include commanding a huge army of demo-shaped things and controlling the minds of others.
Using this mind-control power, Henry is able to have The Mind Flayer create slaves in our world — also known as the Flayed. These Flayed turn into goo and create this big monster that latches onto Eleven in the third season stealing her power to create portals between the world.
I guess the question is, who is in control? Creel or the Mind Flayer?
If the Mind Flayer is working by Dungeons and Dragons rules (even though it’s not technically a DnD monster) then it’s likely to be much more powerful and ancient than Henry.
In fact, Henry’s kinda taken on the same look as the demo-animals native to the Mind Flayer’s world, so Henry has become just as mind controlled as the rest?
So, does that make Henry Creel or The Mind Flayer the Big Bad? I think Henry is still the Big Bad if The Mind Flayer was just an amorphous blob before he showed up. Going by Loki’s example, someone, likely Eleven, will somehow get control over the Mind Flayer and use its powers to defeat Henry.
Maybe she’ll make it shaped into an Eggo Waffle or something.
I don’t really know what this trend is in science fiction and fantasy television, but it’s really convenient for plot. Create a big, amorphous thing that can do something and then have the bad guys use it. You can shape an entire series based on that one power and the fight to reverse the control over it.
It seems like a simple formula for giving bad guys a big gun, so I have to imagine it’s been used before and there’s a name already for it; however, let’s call this BIG WEAPON, no… BIG BEAST CREATURE… hm… ok, so maybe I can’t come up with a name for these vague cloud monster thing.
However, I have a feeling there are more examples out there, so if you know something like this put it into the comments below. Also make sure to hit that subscribe button and hit the bell, so you know when new videos… wait, this isn’t YOUTUBE!