The internet has already given us one cursed mash-up between HBO’s Chernobyl and another beloved TV show, but if that Friends crossover wasn’t enough for you, we’ve got something even worse. This week, a Reddit user named Gamer_Nation dreamed up a theory so huge, so wild, and so brain-bleedingly bizarre that it actually makes some kind of twisted sense—namely, that Stranger Things season four could somehow involve the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Bear with us. This theory actually has some promise, unfortunately.
First of all, there’s the whole Soviet subplot in Stranger Things 3. For those of you who haven’t seen the new season yet, pardon the extremely minor spoilers, but evil Russians are the main villains in Hawkins this time around—or at least, the main villains who aren’t interdimensional demons. In a post-credits scene at the end of the finale, we find out that the Soviets have also been doing research into the Upside Down at a secret base in Russia where they’ve captured a Demogorgon… along with another character.
OK, the fact that next season might be extending into Russia isn’t exactly proof that Boris Shcherbina is going to join the Stranger Things party, but it starts to look a little more possible once Gamer_Nation dives into the timeline of the show:
Season 1: Winter 1983 (Christmas)
Season 2: Fall 1984 (Halloween)
Season 3: Summer 1985 (Independence Day)
Season 4: should be Spring 1986 (Easter and probably goes into spring break)
And when did Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 explode, creating one of the biggest disasters in human history? April 26, 1986. “Doctor Owens said that they use something familiar to convince the public to not look any further into the strange happenings,” the Reddit post reads. “So did a nuclear reactor explode or did El have the greatest battle of her life?”
The dates and location may line up, but it still feels like a stretch that Netflix would actually try to incorporate a major tragedy like Chernobyl into its goofy TV show. Sure, Stranger Things seems to love tying its plot points to 1980s nostalgia, but referencing New Coke and Ghostbusters or whatever is one thing; creating a far-fetched, fictionalized story to explain a catastrophic disaster is another.
Oh, wait, that’s exactly what Russia is already doing right now with its state-sponsored Chernobyl movie about how the CIA actually caused the meltdown. Somebody hurry up and get Steve “The Hair” Harrington an egg basket.