Stranger Things S02E01 Recap

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SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.

I love the promise of the opening sequence of this episode. We know, or at least hope, that at some point we’re going to meet one other child that was experimented on at Hawkins Laboratory. For me, just because of speculation leading up to the release of this season that Max would be such a child, it was obvious just from how much the camera focused on Kali, the expression on her face and that the others looked to her for guidance and that she was essentially their navigator, that she was a child from Lab. The tattoo on her wrist was just confirmation.

The sequence also works as an amazing reveal that there is at least one other person out there who escaped from Hawkins Laboratory besides Eleven. I always assumed that One through Ten had died and that Eleven was the only one not just to survive the experiments, but to escape. That Kali even exists and out in the real world (and looks older than Eleven to boot) is such a tease of going into how she got away from Hawkins Laboratory. Her powers also seem to differ from Eleven’s. Does that mean that every other child had different powers? This sequence raised quite a few questions.

At first I thought that Hopper was pretending not to take Murray seriously about his Russian and aliens conspiracy(ies). After all, Eleven was used to spy on Russians and the alien would be the demogorgon. Plus, Murray had all of the right clues and information, he was just drawing the wrong conclusions. Then he mentioned Eleven and Hopper perked up and went to speak to him privately, and I thought that that was because he was still looking for her. Lo and behold…she lives with him and he was just trying to make sure that no one saw her.

It’s kind of perfect that she’s staying with Hopper. She has no parents and he no longer has a daughter. They can fulfill for each other what the other is missing. Season one made it very clear that his involvement in the search for Will had a lot to do with the loss of his daughter and his coming to terms with that. Now here we come full circle and he more or less has a new daughter and Eleven has an actual father figure who isn’t twisted, evil and hurting her. I really wanted her to move in with Will, but I like this arrangement.

It confused me why Murray had brought up Barb and why he was investigating her disappearance to begin with. I assumed that he was just some conspiracy theorist or truther doing his own independent digging because, like those of such ilk, the official statement from the police about what happened didn’t make sense to him or add up. And it doesn’t add up to Barb’s parents either because they were the ones who hired him to look into Barb’s disappearance in the first place.

We as the audience know what happened to Barb and its sad that her parents don’t. I understand their wanting to believe that their daughter is somewhere out there, after all, the authorities said that she had run away, not that she was dead. And I don’t blame them for hiring someone to look into it. The police department in Hawkins isn’t looking into it, not from what we’ve seen so far at least, and that’s probably because Hopper knows that she’s dead. But Murray just seems like your run of the mill kook taking advantage of them. I do think that he will fall into the truth of what happened to Barb and what is going on in Hawkins on the whole, but his conspiracy theories are not going to help Barb’s parents.

And poor Nancy, she knows the truth of what happened to Barb and she can’t tell her friend’s parents. The weight of that must be incredible for her to carry and her crying in the bathroom confirms that. I do want Murray to find out the truth just so that Barb’s parents can have some closure and Nancy no longer needs to hide what she knows.

I didn’t blame Dr. Owens for assuming that Will simply had PTSD and it’s no more than that. I assumed that, despite him working with/for Hawkins Laboratory and what happened last season, that the Lab doesn’t fully understood the Upside Down and everything that comes with it. I thought that as far as they knew, the events of last season were it and that the whole thing was over and done with; that they had no reason to think that things were getting worse.

But…

They’re still keeping an eye on the gate! It’s still open and they actively burn the thing to – I assume – keep it at bay. They have to know that something is going on with it even if they don’t know what exactly. So I’m kind of  sure that Owens is hiding the truth from Joyce and Hopper. That Hopper told her to call him first if Will got any worse, stressed it even, seems to indicate that he doesn’t trust Owens or the Lab. And he shouldn’t.

Random thoughts:

  1. Glad that Mike doesn’t want to sell his sister.
  2. That dude has no ass though…
  3. I need Nancy and Jonathan to become a thing.
  4. They are terrible at spying.
  5. Are the Reese’s Pieces an E.T. reference?
  6. Jonathan is Best Brother.
  7. The Thessalhydra!

All 9 episode of Stranger Things are currently available for streaming on Netflix.

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About The Author

An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.