There are many unpleasant things to say about the Upside Down, the alternate dimension from which monsters and world-ending disasters originate. Weird stuff† It is dark. It smells. It’s full of nasty creatures that shouldn’t have wings, but do anyway. It is inhospitable to human life. But I live in New York City, so I’m used to all that. However, the Upside Down is unpleasant in a way that I just can’t stand it.
The Upside Down is too wet.
Other viewers have cataloged the purple prose in the show Closed Captions in detail, so I’ll just say I counted at least 24 variations of something happening “wet”, something squelching, or something slippery – and I know I missed some. That’s also not counting the times I definitely heard something damp happen, without a caption to describe it for me. The Upside Down is so wet that the captioned artist had to describe Tentacles as “ichorous” before throwing their hands in the air in defeat and going back to the ever-reliable “wet squelch.”
I can handle it some humidity – my home climate is known for the rain, and anyone who has ever been to a subway station will rightly point out the well-known phenomenon of subway juice. But that’s all just disgusting, and I’m not arguing here from a place of disgust. No, I argue from a place of unshakable moral justice.
The moisture from the Upside Down isn’t just filthy: it’s an affront to the laws of nature, a blatant violation of the rules of physics far more serious than a hole in the fabric of time and space. And if the Duffers don’t respect these sacred laws, then it’s up to me.
Consider this: While pretty much everything in the Upside Down is covered in a patina of goo, where’s the water? Weird stuff Season 4 alone there were two places with a lot of water in the real world – a lake and a pool – that are bone dry on the other side (except for the tentacles).
The whole place is constantly ravaged by thunder and lightning, but we never see it rain. And I find it VERY hard to believe that a) running water still works in the Upside Down and b) demo bats are smart enough to find a faucet. Those little dumb fools heard a bootleg Metallica concert and thought, “Oh, that sounds like something we should go check out and leave our master completely defenseless! Go team!”
This produces a paradox. In the Upside Down everything is wet, but there is no water to make it so. Humans have not found any life form that can survive without water. That’s why we look for life on distant moons, for liquid water, like on Europe† But you want to tell me that not only is there a disturbing amount of life in the Upside Down, but it’s also all covered in moisture, just to bully me?
And to make matters worse, we see Vecna exploring an early version of the Upside Down in the Season 4 finale – it looks like a desert, and yet there are STILL wet tentacles everywhere! I ask again: WHERE did the water come from?! I didn’t spend four years getting a biology degree to see the fundamental principles of science not respected in this way!
This is not a complaint that the Upside Down is too wet because it is dirty. No, this is a jeremiad against a childish contempt for life itself. Is there no one else clocking this?! Am I the only one who sees the truth: That if life in the Upside Down is wet like the gods of? Weird stuff, the caption writers and the Duffer Brothers tell me it is, then there must be water? But there is no water in the Upside Down, so either NATURE’S LAWS NOTHING, or GOD LIE TO ME?