The perfect finale to what has been nine episodes of brilliant 80s nostalgia. With terrifying demogorgons, plenty a love triangle and beautiful beautiful Steve, Episode 9 leaves you ready for more adventures in Hawkins, Indiana.
The end is here (well, until the inevitable next season) and what a rollercoaster it’s been. Following on from the success of its first season, Stranger Things Season 2 has been the consolidation we all needed. With tons of character development and a barrage of 80s nostalgia, the Duffer Brothers have kept avid fans of the show more than happy. With just the right mixture of moments which leave you close to wetting yourself with laughter and shouting from emotional trauma, it’s been one hell of a ride that we’ve all found ourselves on. The season’s culmination then sees all of the season’s loose ends somewhat tied, and a restoration of some kind of normality in Hawkins, Indiana.
Following on from *spoiler alert* Episode 8’s big ‘ol cliffhanger, which saw Eleven return to her friends (and most importantly, Mike) as well as that death scene, the show’s finale ties all of its characters together in a race to close the gate to the Upside Down. Definitely the most-action packed episode of the season, there isn’t much room for individual character development; we can expect that of a season finale. What it does do is finally reunite all of our favourite characters back together again, in a Goonies/E.T/insert 80s movie here-esque narrative climax. Each individual plotline is equally worthy of its place, unlike the divisive 7th episode, and works to keep us all on edge until the very end.
Whilst we were all focused on the reunion between Eleven and Mike at the end of Episode 8, there was another reunion between Eleven and Hopper which also took centre stage. As they make their way to the laboratory to close the gate into the Upside Down, a confrontation about where they’ve both been (ending in a recognition of El’s new “bitchin'” identity) is the reconciliation that we all needed after their unresolved argument in Episode 4. To crown the reunion, Hopper’s adoption of Eleven as “Jane Hopper” left all of our hearts brimming with happiness – their father daughter relationship, which has blossomed over the course of the season, combines to make a strong pair. It’ll be interesting to see how it progresses into the next season, and what Eleven’s inevitable enrolment into Hawkins Middle School will bring.
Steve Harrington’s character development is certainly one of the major narratives of Stranger Things Season 2. From pushy jock to loving bodyguard, his journey has been the most enjoyable to watch, and this episode is definitely him at his best. Unwillingly (he literally gets knocked out by Billy) following the gang on distracting the demodogs, his mumsy role has attracted many the meme and kept us all entertained on Twitter since we binge-watched the season the day it came out. All jokes aside, he really plays such a great character throughout this season, and his relationship with Dustin is especially fun to watch. As they douse the hive in gasoline and distract the demodogs, we see Dart return and it’s Dustin’s continued relationship with him – he gives him his “favourite” nougat to eat – that saves the day and allows them to escape unharmed.
Whilst all of this is going on, Will, Joyce, Jonathan and Nancy head out to Hopper’s hideway to try and exorcise the Mind Flayer out of Will’s body. Poor old Will, he’s had a pretty hard ride for both seasons of the show. It’s about time he got a break. Let’s hope that next season he can survive without the constant flips into the Upside Down – even just for the wellbeing of Joyce. It would be good to see a fun side to Will’s character, something which we’ve seen a lot of already in the other boys.
With action, action and more action, Episode 9 of Stranger Things Season 2 gives us all that we needed to end the season on a high note. The Snow Ball of ’84 brings all of our favourites back together in a cute 80s-style ending, complete with a new hairstyle for Dustin that I don’t think any of us will be forgetting anytime soon. With no major cliff-hanger in sight (which I personally greatly appreciated), there seems to be plenty of room for the Duffer brothers to experiment with new plotlines next season. It feels as though this season was the generally needed answer to all of our questions in the aftermath of the first – Stranger Things Season 3 will see some new and exciting revelations from the world of the Upside Down I’m sure.
Missed all the action so far? Stranger Things Season 2 is available to watch on Netflix now!