Stranger Things S02E09 [FINALE] Recap

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SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.

The party is back together and just in time to save Hawkins – and the world – all over again. It’s nice to see all five of them reunited and all, but the reunion that we all care about the most, is the one between Mike and Eleven. And I have to say, it was kind of…disappointing.

Am I the only one who wanted them to run up to each other and kiss? I mean, yes, they are children (13 at the most given Max’s age) so it’s kind of creepy that I want to see them kiss. But and however, Mike and Eleven are OTP! They’re seeing each other for the first time in a year and all they do is hug? We need a little more than that Duffer Brothers.

Mike was so flooded with emotion upon Eleven’s return that he berated and hit Hopper because he kept her away from him. I honestly feel like Mike should have – and he probably did – understood why Hopper kept her hidden, even from him. He’s totally aware of the danger that they were all in, especially Eleven. In that moment, though, I think he was just upset that she had been so close to him and he didn’t even know. He missed her so much.

Which only brings me back to how he could have felt that much, that strongly and not, as Sebastian would say, “kiss the girl.” And then we got teased with an almost kiss when Hopper and Eleven were leaving for Hawkins Lab. The Duffer Brothers knew exactly what we would want and they knew what they would do to us by teasing us with it and drawing it out.

I really don’t like that Eleven dissed Max the way that she did. Initially it was funny, but it just fed into the that tired old trope of women and girls hating each other because of a boy. Eleven could have begrudgingly shaken her hand. She has to know that there is nothing between Max and Mike.

Finally! Someone (Mike) pointed out that killing the Mind Flayer would kill Will as well. They really should have realised that sooner. In any case, they came up with a pretty good plan to make sure that that wouldn’t happen; raising Will’s body temperature in order to make the Mind Flayer leave his body. I had never even considered that they could, or should, have done that in the first place. Long before this very direct threat to his life. It would have saved them so much trouble. But I don’t blame them for not thinking about it sooner.

I was afraid that Joyce would carry things too far because of her anger and pain over Bob’s death and wind up hurting, and maybe even killing, Will. It looked like she came damn close to it too before it tried to strangle her. For a few seconds there I thought that “Will” would have died and taken Joyce with him. Which would have been a terrible and tragic ending for both characters. But Nancy jumped in and saved them both.

I loved Billy’s flirting with Mrs. Wheeler. It was quite amusing. Despite his being an endlessly despicable character, with the flimsiest of dimension and no development, I hope he comes back next season just so he can have an affair with her. And I want Mike and Max to find out about it just for the added awkwardness of his friend’s brother sleeping with his mother.

I didn’t think that Billy showing up at the Byers home would have played out the way that it did. I thought that something would happen to make him wise to what was going on and then he would fall into line. What we got was a brawl between him and Steve. I really expected Steve to finally show him who’s boss and beat the life out of Billy, but that wouldn’t have made sense since it was established that Billy was physically stronger than Steve all season. I’m glad that wasn’t the case because we got Max being the one to finally put him in his place instead.

I was as proud of Max for standing up to Billy, as the boys were surprised to see her do it. That was quite the triumphant moment for her character and it was great to see. However, like Billy, she was flat and one dimensional all season. She didn’t add much of anything to the show, if at all, and it would have hardly been different had she not made an appearance this season.

Hopper and Eleven would never have been successful with their plan had it not been for Steve and the kids going down into the tunnels and setting the vines on fire, that’s a fact. But I really didn’t want them to go down there. I was firmly on Steve’s side when it came to staying at the Byers home. The kids only got their way because Billy showed up and knocked Steve out.

But man did Steve truly step up and become one of the most loveable characters this season by taking care of the kids. Like he told Nancy, he’s an awesome baby-sitter. He saw how determined the kids were to help and did his best to protect them and keep them safe. It was only then that I felt sorry for him about his break up with Nancy and rethought my shipping her with Jonathan.

Eleven closing the gate did not go the way that I expected it to. Her very brief training with Kali prepared her to do it, but I really thought that, like in most other narratives, at some point during closing the gate that Eleven would come to realise that it wasn’t anger that she needed to fuel her powers, but love. And not just the romantic love she feels for Mike, but her paternal love for Hopper and her platonic love for the rest of the kids. Anger got the job done, though, so I’m not complaining.

Her powers seem to be evolving outside of her learning to channel her anger to be more powerful. She freaking levitated! Does that mean that she will eventually learn how to fly? It would be cool if she learned how to fly. It looked incredibly painful pushing her power so far; bleeding out of both nostrils, the veins around her eyes and how dark  they became was quite unsettling. Is she ever going to be able to use her powers without that happening?

Nancy and Jonathan ‘s (and Murray’s) plan to bring down Hawkins Laboratory worked and had none of the negative consequences that I thought that it would…so far. Well, except for Owens being out of a job. I did not like him at all for much of his appearance, but he proved to be a much better man that I gave him credit for. Especially by following up on Hopper’s request to set Eleven free. I didn’t think he’d have gone so far as to arrange for Hopper to legally adopt her, but I love that he’s her legal guardian now. He’s officially her dad.

They finally went to the Snow Ball! I completely forgot that Mike had asked Eleven to go last season. It was well worth the wait. As was the kiss that they finally shared. It was the perfect moment for it to happen. As to other kisses at the dance, I was rooting for Dustin to end up with Max, just because he liked her so much and tried so hard to impress her. Plus, he’s the most adorable one in the group. I can get behind her and Lucas though.

Even Will, who’d been a social pariah at school had gotten asked to dance. It hurt seeing Dustin sitting on the bleachers crying because none of the girls wanted to dance with him. On the bright side, he got to dance with his original dream girl, Nancy. The way his face lit up as they danced was so endearing. She even stroked his ego a little. It was adorable.

Hopper and Joyce had great chemistry this season. Perhaps even more so than the last. As much as I love Bob (R.I.P.), I hope that the two of them wind up together by or in the next season. That would complicate Mike’s relationship with Eleven quite a bit, though. Still, Joyce and Hopper all the way.

I really liked this season. It took a while to get to the point where I found it captivating and enthralling, but once it did I was thoroughly hooked. I loved spending time in this world, with these characters again and seeing how they’d grown and changed. The Mind Flayer confusing somewhat, especially in terms of what it is exactly and how it tied into season one. Apart from that, though, I was a good season and I can’t wait for the next one.

Random thoughts:

  1. Aww, Eleven hugged Dustin and Lucas too.
  2. Steve is surprisingly okay with Nancy and Jonathan.
  3. Did Steve just call Mike Nancy?
  4. I knew the demodogs would run past Dustin and Steve!
  5. Sure, nothing ever happens in Hawkins.
  6. Does Mike ever smile for pictures?

All 9 episodes 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.