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Stranger Things 2 is finally here! It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for the new season to come out. I’m one of the people who finished the first season in the very first week it was released, so it feels like an extra long time for me. But the show is back and I’m ready to binge. I decided to go to bed early, get some rest, and wake up early to start, rather than staying up late to wait for it to drop. I think this strategy works best for me. 😛 In the end I binge-watched about half of it and then due to time reasons I had to finish the rest on Saturday and Sunday, but I was still able to finish my recap. These are my original thoughts and reactions to each episode.
Here we go!
Chapter One: MadMax
Best moment: The opening scene! We got to see another girl like El, with psychokinetic abilities. She was in a van with some others, being chased by police. She was able to use her mind to make the driver of the police car see a bridge falling, which made him stop. What’s really crazy is that he was the only one who saw it. And then after that, she got the same nosebleed that we know El gets whenever she uses her abilities. She even had a number tattoo on her arm, with the number 008.
Another great moment is at the end when we see that El is alive and she’s right there in town, living with Chief Hopper. Why is she there with him? Why hasn’t he told anyone about her? Why hasn’t she gotten in contact with Will and the boys? I need to know!
The boys spend some time at the arcade, where Will sees some pretty terrifying stuff…
This episode is named after the new girl in town named Max. The boys discover her by her gamer handle, MadMax, at the arcade after she got the new high score over Dustin. I can’t wait to see what significance she’ll have to the story later.
This was a great premiere! I’m so happy to see the boys back again. I just wish El could be back with them too.
Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak
Best moment: In this episode, it’s Halloween night and the boys are going trick or treating (as the Ghostbusters!). The best moment for me was when they were out trick or treating and Will saw a big shadowy creature in the sky. It was super creepy and I was just hoping that he didn’t end up lost again. (Every time he sees something, I’m afraid he’ll end up in The Upside Down again.) Then he and Mike went back home and talked about how they both feel like they’re going crazy–Will with seeing things, and Mike with missing and sensing El. I love that at the end, we see that Mike is not crazy after all, and El has been trying to “visit” him using her power.
There was also a party tonight, that Nancy and Steve went to. Nancy has been struggling with whether or not they should tell Barb’s poor parents that she’s not coming back. Steve advises her not to tell, since they have been sworn to secrecy by what I assume is a government agency, (but may not actually be). Then she and Steve all but break up at the party and Jonathan is there to take her drunk self home after Steve bails, proving once again that he’s the better guy for her. Just saying. Nancy and Jonathan’s storylines intersected with the boys’ last season so I’m excited to see how this will all connect.
We learned more about what happened to El after she disappeared last season. Apparently she wandered the woods, out in the cold, by herself for a while. I assume we’ll learn more about how exactly she found Chief Hopper in the next episode. At this point, something is definitely about to give between them, as I’m sure it’s hard for her to stay in that house by herself all day and for him to take care of her without anyone knowing. El really wanted to go trick or treating (as a ghost so no one would see her) but of course Hopper knew it would be too dangerous. I kept wondering if El would leave the house anyway while he was gone. She didn’t, but at the end of the episode, after he didn’t come home when he promised her and she tried (and failed) to connect with Mike, I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.
Chapter Three: The Pollywog
In this episode we see more of how El and Hopper connected with each other, and how he set her up to live in his Grandfather’s old house. I was right though, and in the end she leaves the house to find Mike. When she sees him, he happens to be with Max (the new girl) and El is clearly jealous. I’m not sure if she had planned to only watch him or if she decided not to talk to him once she saw him with Max, but once again it’s a missed connection. WHEN WILL THEY FINALLY GET TO TALK TO EACH OTHER?
Another awesome thing about this episode was Dustin’s new “pet,” Dart (which the boys discern is not a Pollywog). This thing is clearly from the Upside Down and it’s crazy that Dustin doesn’t realize it. I’m not sure how it got there but I guess we’ll find out in the next episode or two.
It kinda seems like whatever barrier there is between the Upside Down and the real world is fading. Chief Hopper has been investigating dead crops at farms around town, and then we learn that he’s working with the people who are looking for El. He keeps things quiet in town and they keep their experiments away from town. But clearly it’s not working out, since it appears that whatever they’re doing is what’s responsible for killing the crops.
Best moment: The best (and worst) moment of the episode though was the scene at the very end where Will is once again seeing some kind of creature, but this time instead of running or cowering down he decides he’s going to stand his ground and yell at it to go away. This was clearly a mistake, as the creature appears to take over Will’s body somehow. Ugh, this scene hurt my heart. The boys decide that Will must have what they call “True Sight,” which is the ability to see the Upsside Down. At the same time, his mother Joyce discovers that he’s been seeing this creature and goes out to find him. Joyce is back on case!
Chapter Four: Will The Wise
In this episode, Will tells his mom about what happened to him in the last episode. It turns out he was taken over by that shadowy creature and it even starts to manifest in his body, making him say things and even lowering his body temperature.
Joyce and Hopper get him to draw what he sees in his mind and it looks like they are roots. Hopper later discovers a tunnel after digging for the roots in the woods. Creepy.
Best moment: When Dustin came home and found that his “pet” Dart had broken out of its cage and killed his cat Mews. And then when Dustin sees it in the corner snacking on the cat, it has really grown in size, and when turns around and we see that it is, in fact, a Demogorgon. Whoops. Just wait until the other boys find out Dustin has been lying, and has had it in his room the entire time!
Can we just talk about Chief Hopper in this episode? He got really upset that El left the house and was seen by a nearby women and her kid. He and El fight and he’s pretty mean to her, calls her a brat, and tells her he’s taking away TV and waffles for an entire month. Harsh, considering the fact that those things are literally ALL SHE HAS. I understand it’s difficult to take care of her and he wants to keep her safe, but he must have forgotten that she is just a kid! El later finds a box under the floorboard full of Hawkins Lab files. In the files, she finds info about her own disappearance, as reported by her mom. She tries to “visit” her, but she kinda fades away, which upsets El.
Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan decide they’ll tell Barb’s parents about what really happened to her, but before they can meet with her parents they are captured by people from the lab. They talk to the scientist, who tells them he’s only trying to keep the opening to the Upside Down contained and the knowledge of it a secret for everyone’s safety. They don’t believe him of course. Nancy was secretly taping the conversation and as she and Jonathan leave, she declares that she wants to burn the lab to the ground.
Oh, and the new girl, Max, has a really creepy and awful “brother” named Billy. He sees her talking to Lucas and gets really mad for some reason (I think we know why). He better leave Lucas alone, I swear.
Chapter Five: Dig Dug
El left the house to go find her mom. Once she got to the house, she was able to visit her mom using her abilities, and that’s where she found out what really happened.
Dustin trapped the demogorgon in the cellar after it killed his cat. He spends all afternoon trying to get in contact with the other boys but they are all occupied. He crosses paths with Steve and ropes him into helping him. Lucas is telling Max everything, hoping that she’ll forgive them for leaving her out. Billy sees her with Lucas again though and is upset.
Hopper got trapped in the Upside Down! Will tells Joyce that Hopper is in danger, and then uses the drawings to track where he is. Joyce gets Bob to help and he discovers that the drawings actually make up a map of Hawkins. They use the map to track Hopper and get him out.
Best moment: In the end, the people from the lab show up and actually help them, but in the process something happens to Will. It’s like the shadow monster is inside of Will, and when they kill it they are hurting him.
Episode 6: The Spy
In this episode, Jonathan and Nancy hook up! I was happy to see them get together…but it wasn’t in the way I wanted it to happen. She never really ended things with Steve and it wasn’t good to cheat on him, even if it was with Jonathan.
Back at the lab, the doctors at the lab still don’t know how to help Will, but they now realize that heat and fire hurts him the same way it hurts the demogorgan and the shadow monster. So they can’t continue to burn the tunnels like they did because it’ll hurt Will. Later, the shadow monster makes Will lead people down into the tunnel, which gets them all killed. They realize that Will is being used as a spy by the shadow monster. I think this part of the story is pretty cool, because it’s kinda like Will is possessed.
Dustin and Steve realize the demogorgan escaped from the cellar by digging a tunnel out. This is the start of Steve helping the kids, and it’s so adorable. He makes a great babysitter! 😀
Best moment: When Dustin, Steve, Lucas, and Max all make a plan to lure the demogorgan to them so they can kill it, but then they’re surprised when more show up along with it. All of the demogorgans are called away though when the shadow monster makes them attack at the lab.
Chapter 7: The Lost Sister
El leaves her mother’s house after she hears Becky talking on the phone about her. She sets out to find Kali, the other girl we saw in the very first scene of the season, and who El considers to be her sister. She finds Kali and her group of weird “friends.” Kali tells her that this is her “home,” and I’m looking around at the way they all live thinking, “this dump is her home???” How is that her home anyway, when she’s never even been there. Hawkins is her home!
Kali tells El, or Jane, that she wants her to find some bad men so they can hurt them. My first thought was, oh great, this girl just wants to use El. But then she teaches her how to really user her abilities, which is good. But then they have her rolling with them to steal food and get revenge on some of the bad guys who were a part of what happened to them as kids, and it’s honestly kinda ridiculous. It’s so far off from the original storyline and doesn’t seem to fit well at all. And then they dress El up in all black and put on some black eye makeup and it’s just so corny. El doesn’t belong with these degenerates and I wish she knew her friends were in trouble so she could go back to Hawkins and help them.
Best moment: In the end though, she finally visits Hopper and realizes that he and Mike and the others are in trouble. She also realizes that Hawkins is her home, with the people she cares about (and who care about her). Good for her.
Let me just say that this was my least favorite episode. I get that El needed to find her sister and find out where she came from to decide if she wanted to be there or in Hawkins, but it was so corny and it was very rushed and I just didn’t care for the way it was done.
Chapter 8: The Mind Flayer
Right at the start of the episode, we see all of the demogorgans coming up out of the hole at the lab to get everybody. Joyce, Hopper, Bob, Mike, Will, and the doctor all end up trapped in a room since everyone else in the lab has been killed by the demogorgans. They come up with a plan for Bob and Hopper to go turn the power back on and unlock the doors so they can get out. Sadly while carrying out this plan, we lose Bob. And it was just awful. He was a really good guy!
Jonathan and Nancy make it to the lab to find Mike and Will, and of course meet up with Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Max.
Also in this episode we see where Max’s step-brother Billy gets his anger and behavior from. His father is an abusive asshole! He tells Billy to go out and find his sister. So we can pretty much guarantee that he’ll meet up with Lucas. Ugh. This storyline is completely random, by the way. I think they needed to spend more time making it cohesive with the rest of the story. It literally feels like something they threw in at the last minute.
Best moment The best moment of the episode and one of the best moments of the entire season is when Mike and El are reunited. Finally!! After all the great moments they had last season I was so sad that they didn’t have any this season. But they get to see each other again and it made me so happy.
Chapter Nine: The Gate
Right in the beginning Mike and El share a big hug. And then with El, Lucas, and Dustin. Ugh this was the sweetest thing ever.
After they all say hi to El, they all decide that she has to close the gate, which is what Will told them they needed to do in the last episode. So she and Hopper take off to do that while Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy take Will to try to get the shadow monster out of him. Meanwhile Steve gets his ass kicked by Max’s step-brother Billy and she finally puts him in his place. I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more of him next season. Then the boys, Max, and (reluctantly) Steve decide they’re going to light part of the tunnel on fire to make the demogorgons flee from the lab and give El some space to close the gate.
One of the best moments of the episode was seeing El close that gate. She had to use what Kali taught her in episode 7, and dig even deeper to have the power to close it, but she did. It was amazing to watch and I’m so glad she wasn’t hurt afterwards — I would’ve been so mad if she was gone again!
Best moment: The whole Snow Ball scene at the end of the episode. The gate scene was cool and all but this was just so sweet. It broke my heart seeing that none of the girls wanted to dance with Dustin but it was so sweet of Nancy to dance with him. Of course Max and Lucas were cute (the kiss!!), and I was happy Will got to dance. But the best part was seeing Mike and El finally get to spend some time together! The dance and the kiss were too adorable.
And of course they had to set up the next season, so in the very end we see that the shadow monster is still watching them in the Upside Down. Clearly this means it will be back somehow in season 3.
And that’s the end of season 2! Overall it was great! It wasn’t as good as the first season of course, but it was still really good.
Some thoughts for next season:
- I can’t wait to see how the shadow monster will come back.
- Max had it rough this season! The boys were pretty mean to her for a while (especially Mike), she had to put up with her asshole step-brother, and then she got dissed by El at the end. I hope that by next season she’s actually part of their party. I hope she continues to “date” Lucas too.
- I do hope we see more of Kali next season, but not like this. I want to see her come to Hawkins and actually try to help El, not just have her kill people.
- Let’s leave Will alone next season, huh? The kid’s been through enough!
What were your favorite moments from season 2?