If you are anything like me, then you also fail to follow major TV trends. I admit to never making it past season one of Breaking Bad; I keep telling myself I will watch This is Us (that hasn’t happened yet); and probably the most shameful of all, I still haven’t seen a single episode of Game of Thrones. But after staying out of the pop culture loop for far too long, I am determined to not miss out on the next big event: season two of Stranger Things.
When this breakout series premiered on Netflix in July 2016, I completely missed out on the phenomenon. Instead, I was traveling through Spain, with no mobile device, after an unfortunate incident that resulted from me dropping my phone in a toilet while frantically trying to vacate a bed bug-infested hostel. By the time I got back, my final year of university was underway and everyone had already moved on, so it was easy to dismiss claims that I “just had to watch it.” But with the highly anticipated season two premiere on October 27th, its finally time I give it a shot.
Join me as I bunker down to binge watch Stranger Things. If you have also been living under a rock, here is the discretionary ****SPOILER ALERT****. However, if you have been an active participant in society, let me refresh your memory with some of my favorite moments from each episode.
Disclaimer: 1) I either managed to avoid all conversations about Stranger Things or completely forgot them, so the only thing I know going in is that Barb will die and I should be very upset about it.
2) Below are my thoughts as I watched the show and are not a complete recap of each episode’s events. They have been edited for language and coherency.
Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers
Right away this is reminiscent of 80’s sci-fi/horror as that guy races down the hall in what looks like an abandoned laboratory only to be attacked once he is in the elevator. Meanwhile, a group of four friends are playing the epitome of geek culture, Dungeons and Dragons, in someone’s basement. I can already tell nostalgia will play a big part of this show.
What is it with people ignoring warning signs in films and TV? Will just casually rides off into private property and now he’s being hunted by that monster in his house. And did he just get abducted? Are we dealing with aliens?
Que the “stereotypical popular guy.” Early prediction: I don’t like Steve.
Eleven turning up at the diner in the hospital gown is definitely not the role I was expecting.
WHAT THE – that woman claiming to be from Social Services just shot the nice guy at the diner trying to help Eleven. Did anyone else experience emotional trauma over this?
Again, what is it with kids who think it’s a good idea to just go into dangerous places ON THEIR OWN? At least they find Eleven!
Chapter 2: The Weirdo on Maple Street
I love the debate over whether to tell Mike’s mom about Eleven. Kid-logic is so black and white, do or die.
Fast forward a bit and Eleven just placed the Demogorgon on the board. I am still very confused by what that actually means but the show has taken on an even more ominous tone.
Are you really chugging a beer Nancy? Not cool. And is Jonathan just going to creep on the party? This whole scene makes me uncomfortable.
Wait, Barb is already taken? It’s only been two episodes! Probably going to get a lot of hate but I was more upset about Benny than this.
Chapter 3: Holly, Jolly
Where did that thing take Barb? All of this rotting slime is giving me serious Alien vibes. And is that Steve’s pool?
Steve just dropped Jonathan’s camera, showing his true colors. Are you seriously going to stay with him, Nancy?
I need to break this down. So Dr. Brenner, also known as “Papa,” wanted Eleven to kill that cat. When she refused, she was taken to some isolation room and killed the guards. “Papa” is happy about this because I’m assuming it proves she can be used as a weapon. This is so messed up, I need a break.
I don’t know how to feel about Joyce speaking to lights and painting the alphabet on the wall. I know she probably isn’t insane, but sometimes it’s a little hard to believe.
Will’s body was just discovered in the quarry. Is he dead? Does this mean he isn’t communicating with his mom? Could it be something else?
Chapter 4: The Body
Joyce storming out of the morgue sealed my opinion that even if Winona is just playing a frantic mess, she is spot on. Plus Joyce is still one dedicated mother and strong individual, even if she is slightly crazy.
Eleven’s reaction after the boys give her a makeover breaks my heart. She deserves a normal childhood.
What is that thing growing in the lab? Is that where the monster came from?
After Eleven hears Will over that high-tech radio and Joyce sees him in the wall, I feel like this is all starting to come together, but I still don’t quite understand how. They all just need to team up.
PLOT TWIST: Hopper just discovered Will’s body is fake!
Chapter 5: The Flea and the Acrobat
The Chief breaking into the lab officially makes him the most badass character in this show.
Mike just figured out Will and Barb are trapped in some sort of parallel universe called the Upside Down. I want to say I am starting to figure this out, but I’d probably be wrong. Does this mean that the thing growing in the lab is the portal?
“Just wait until we tell Will that Jennifer Hayes was crying at his funeral.” – Dustin. Classic.
I like that Nancy and Jonathan are teaming up but I don’t have any faith in them.
Lucas and Mike’s fight over trusting Eleven is too real.
Why would Nancy just voluntarily go through that tree? And after seeing the Demogorgon’s face for the first time, I am going to have nightmares (I don’t do well with scary and I expect my eyes will be closed through various scenes in the coming episodes).
Chapter 6: The Monster
Nancy makes it out alive and Jonathan spends the night to make sure she is okay.
Steve catches them in Nancy’s room. Does this mean they just get together instead?
My frustration at Steve has reached its peak. Breaking Jonathan’s camera was one thing, but slut shaming is not cool and I can’t help but feel he got what he deserved after provoking Jonathan into a fist fight.
Also, the whole revelation about Terry participating in government experiments while pregnant with who is clearly Eleven is a very unexpected twist. Does she come back?
Eleven was the one who found the monster. Does that mean Eleven goes to a parallel universe to hear peoples’ thoughts? Was it able to follow her out? Now I’m back to being confused.
Chapter 7: The Bathtub
The speed is picking up like crazy but all you need to know is that the Chief, Joyce, and the kids FINALLY team up and my favorite scene so far has to be Dustin calling Mr. Clark and interrupting his date to ask about building a sensory deprivation tank for “fun.”
The tank worked! Eleven found Barb (sadly she is dead), but Will is alive and he better make it out alive because this whole season has revolved around him being rescued.
Chapter 8: The Upside Down
The Chief and Joyce got caught sneaking into the lab but made a deal to go into the Upside Down to find Will. Watching the Chief’s flashbacks of his daughter as they search are too much for me to handle.
Dr. Brenner gets killed by the Demogorgon in the best instance of poetic justice, as he is about to capture Eleven and do who-knows-what to the rest of the kids.
Eleven sacrifices herself to kill the Demogorgon in one of the most selfless acts to save her friends and I am supposed to accept that everything just goes back to normal?
The kids return to the basement to finish their game now that Will is back. Nancy and Steve are still together (ugh) and even if Steve replaced Jonathan’s camera, he is not redeemed.
And then Joyce, Jonathan, and Will sit down for a family Christmas dinner, but can things ever be normal in Hawkins again?
After processing the jam-packed emotional roller coaster that has been the last eight hours, I can definitely confirm Stranger Things lives up to the hype. For a more comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about the show, I recommend checking out The Unofficial Stranger Things A-Z .
As for season two, if you’ve watched the trailer then you know Eleven comes back, Will is suffering from side effects from his time in the Upside Down, and another monster is plaguing the town. But what about Eleven’s mother, Terry? Will Steve be the next victim of the Upside Down (fingers crossed)? Will Nancy and Jonathan ever realize they are perfect for each other? And will Mike ever take Eleven to the Snow Ball? Let me know what you hope will happen in the comment section below!