Hawkins is back and better than ever. After more than a year’s wait, the Duffer Brothers gifted us with the highly anticipated second season of Stranger Things over Halloween weekend. When we return to Hawkins, a year has passed since the momentous finale and life has seemingly returned to normal, until Will begins to experience bizarre ‘episodes’. The nine brand new episodes are filled to the brim with hilarious, shocking and heart-warming moments; here’s a countdown of the top 10 most memorable across the season:
10. Max takes on Billy (Chapter 9)
As a newcomer to the Stranger Things ensemble, Max had a slightly tricky time this season battling both Mike’s opposition and her volatile step-brother Billy. Her relationship with Billy comes to a head in the season finale after he attacks Steve for lying about Max’s location. As Max picks up Steve’s nail-spiked baseball bat to warn Billy to leave her friends alone, she demonstrates her furious bravery and solidifies her position as the series’ best new addition.
9. Justice for Barb
Whilst season 1 left many dissatisfied with the lack of resolution for Barb’s storyline, season 2 shows us that neither her parents nor Nancy have accepted her disappearance (read: death) and they demand revenge. Both parties finally achieve closure in exposing Hawkins National Laboratory and its conspiracy to cover up Barb’s death, meaning a funeral can finally be held for the fan-favourite.
8. Lucas’ sister
Erica Sinclair arguably steals the show. Although her scenes are few and far between, they are highly memorable, thanks to her one-liners. For example, when Dustin is trying to contact Lucas shouting ‘CODE RED’ she responds with ‘I got a code for you instead. Code Shut Your Mouth’. Or when she taunts Lucas in his Ghostbusters costume ‘God, you are such a nerd. No wonder you only hang out with boys’. Her mother admonishes her, to which she replies ‘just the facts’. Iconic.
7. Eleven’s mother
After visiting her catatonic mother, Terry Ives, Eleven uses her psychic abilities to delve into her mother’s mind. This results in a disturbing sequence in which she witnesses her own birth in the form of an emergency C-section, the coverup of her birth as a miscarriage, then trying to rescue Eleven as a child, and finally being caught and subjected to electro-convulsive therapy which results in her vocabulary containing only the words ‘Breathe. Sunflower. Rainbow.’ Although upsetting and uncomfortable, this is a satisfying moment for the audience in understanding Eleven’s origin story and leads her to Kali, her ‘sister’ from the Rainbow room.
6. Steve’s glorious character development
Last season, Steve wasn’t the best. I hated Steve. But my, how things have changed. Season one was problematic, in that character development was at times inconsistent as seen in the character of Steve; transforming from preppy joke to credible hero. From the moment Nancy broke the harsh truth that their love was ‘bullshit’, the audience is gradually introduced to a different Steve, including his responsible babysitting abilities. Ultimately, Steve became the best version of himself, showing bravery helping the kids fight the Demodogs, and kindness giving Dustin dating advice.
5. Nancy and Jonathan (Chapter 6)
Nancy and Jonathan’s getaway subplot, carrying out #justiceforbarb, was surprisingly enjoyable and light relief from the increasing threat posed by the upside down. Possibly my favourite sequence from the whole season, Murray presents Nancy and Jonathan with some home truths about themselves which send them spiralling as they go to bed. They begin in separate beds, each unable to sleep contemplating what was said, until finally they meet in the hallway and kiss. The following morning Murray can’t help but ask ‘So, Jonathan, how was the pullout?’. By far the funniest moment of the season.
4. Hopper and Eleven’s reunion (Chapter 9)
One thing we learnt from Hopper and Eleven’s relationship this season is ‘friends don’t lie’. We also learnt that Millie Bobby Brown should seriously consider a perm in real life. Admittedly their relationship isn’t plain sailing, they still have some communication issues to work out. On their journey home, Hopper apologises for shouting and opens up about his deceased daughter fulfilling their vow of honesty. When he describes her ‘MTV punk’ look as ‘kinda cool’, to which she responds ‘Bitchin’, their future looks hopeful. I personally cannot wait to see Eleven’s reaction to being adopted by Hopper in future episodes.
3. The Snow Ball (Chapter 9)
Amid a fast-paced season filled with chaos and drama, Stranger Things slowed the pace down for the closing scenes as we watch the gang attend their middle school dance. The ‘Christmas Snow Ball’ is an amalgamation of everything great about Stranger Things from retro music to eighties fashion. This sequence is filled with memorable moments, from Nancy dancing with Dustin and calling him her favourite of Mike’s friends, to Mike and Eleven’s first kiss on the dance floor with The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” playing out.
2. Eleven and Mike’s reunion (Chapter 8)
Fans of Eleven may have been disappointed at her separation from the boys for the majority of the season, however, I would argue it was necessary for her character’s journey and amounted to a satisfying reunion which plays from the end of chapter 8 into the opening of the finale. As the lock turns and the Converse appear behind the door, I found myself on the edge of my seat anticipating Eleven’s triumphant return and a tear in my eye as the two embrace.
1. Bob’s death (Chapter 8)
I spent the majority of the season with my own theory that Bob was secretly a spy from Hawkins lab sent undercover as Joyce’s boyfriend to keep an eye on Will. I was wrong, but really I think the Duffer Brothers missed a trick here. ‘Bob Newby, superhero’ makes an appearance in the penultimate episode, however, this heroism unfortunately leads to his demise as he is eaten alive by a Demodog, with Joyce as witness. As much as I yearn for Joyce and Hopper to be together, I am under the impression that had Bob survived, he would have brought normality to the Buyers, which they’re desperately in need of by the end of the season. Aside from the fact that Bob is basically the new Barb, what made this so memorable has to be the gore. I’m not certain what I was more traumatised by, Bob dying or Joyce’s complete breakdown watching her boyfriend being mauled. The final image of Bob being feasted on by a pack of beasts confirms, his fate, like Barb’s is sealed. #justiceforbob
All episodes of Stranger Things 2 are available now on Netflix