Season Two of Stranger Things starts off with a rush, opening on Oct 28th, 1984, as a group of bank robbers charge out of a bank and jump into their getaway van.
This is just the beginning: We’ll be recapping and reviewing the whole season. Come back for more strange things!
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Lots of spoilers here, so stop if you haven’t seen it yet!
They are chased by the cops but can’t lose them until they turn into a tunnel. As they do, the young girl directing the thieves closes her fist and the top of the tunnel appears to explode behind them, and the lead police car brakes and the cops all crash together, closing off any possibility of pursuit. The cop staggers out of his car to see a perfectly intact tunnel ahead, and the theives’ van gone. As the scene ends, we see the young girl has the tattoo ‘008’ on her arm.
Next we see the old gang, Lucas, Mike, Dustin and Will scrabbling for quarters to rush to the arcade. Dustin finds his all-time high score on the game “Dig Dug” has been eclipsed by a user with the pseudonym MADMAX, someone unknown to the group. Obviously we’ll see Max later in the episode, since the episode is literally named after this mysterious character.
All is normal until Will is suddenly transported (at least from his perspective) into the Upside Down, and it looks even worse than normal with a massive storm system visible in the distance. That’s a bad sign for the characters this season. If the first ten minutes include the Upside Down, the rest of the season is going to get pretty intense.
Mike calls out to Will and Will turns to find himself back in the real world. Phew. I don’t think I could take another season of desperately trying to rescue Will. Though I guess they didn’t rescue him completely. He still has some portion of his psyche in the Upside Down since he’s having visions of the place.
Jim Hopper the sheriff is called to a farmer’s pumpkin patch, where all the pumpkins have become black, rotten and eaten away overnight. This is obviously related to the Upside Down touching our reality, but they don’t know that. This must be connected to the storm Will saw in his vision. Something very bad is coming.
Two new students arrive this episode, one in the high school and one in Will, Mike, Lucas and Dustin’s class. Her name is Maxine, and the gang is incredulous that MADMAX is a girl. “Girls don’t play videogames!”
She is smart as well as talented, noticing the group spying on her and leaving them a note in the trash to stop watching her. They of course ignore this completely understandable demand and Lucas and Dustin continue to stalk her. Yes, I know they’re kids, but there’s no other word for it when you’re watching a girl from a distance with binoculars and following her around.
Joyce and Hopper take Will to therapy. However, the doctor is not solely interested in Will’s recovery as he is working (unknown to them) for the same sinister government project from the last season. Will explains his vision, and his feeling that the storm he saw wants to kill everyone except him. Now that’s interesting. Does the Upside Down have a soft spot for Will? Not likely. More likely it wants to eat him alive or something even nastier.
Will wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but his trip back to his room is interrupted by giant flashes of bright red lightning. He walks outside as the door opens on its own to see the storm much closer than before. As the lightning flashes, it reveals a massive, spidery monster in its center. Yes, something bad is coming.
Jim Hopper comes to a dark house to a table set with two plates, and yells to someone else in the house. Eleven’s voice responds! She’s alive, and she talks easily! She sits down across from Jim with a curly bush of dark hair. How the heck did she get here? Is Jim the only one who knows she’s alive? Why hasn’t Hopper or Eleven told Mike, at the very least? The episode ends with Hopper and Eleven eating dinner, a very pleasant and domestic scene. Luckily this is Netflix and we don’t have to wait a week for the next episode!