There’s only one way to deal with Stranger Things withdrawal after spending the whole weekend in Hawkins fighting demodogs: break down everything from the entire season. Which is exactly what we did today on a supersized (super spoiler-filled) edition of Nerdist News Talks Back.
Host Jessica Chobot was joined by Nerdist editors Dan Casey and Alicia Lutes, along with Nerdist News writers Aliza Pearl and Joan Ford for today’s return trip to the Upside Down, to discuss everything about Stranger Things 2. What did everyone think? What did we like? What did we dislike? What valuable lessons did we learn about hair care?
What about the season’s biggest (literally) villain, the Shadow Monster/Mind Flyer? Was he a worthy successor to season one’s Demogorgon? What about Will’s role in his attack (which we totally predicted, just sayin’)? With the Shadow Monster still lurking, what do we expect from season three’s Big Bad? Were we happy that Paul Reiser’s Dr. Owens turned out to be a good guy? And did the show invert enough ’80s and horror movies tropes, or did it lean too heavily on homage this season?
There was a much smaller monster this year too, with Dustin’s “Dart” turning out to be a baby Demogorgon. Did we see that coming or did the adorable little slug catch us off guard? Was going from a single Demogorgon to a whole pack of them too big a jump, or did the show make the right call by upping the monster ante that much? And what did we think about season one’s voice-of-reason Dustin turning into the group’s rule breaker? Did we like the change as much as we did his new hairstyle?
Season two’s most heartwarming duo turned out to be the secret family of Chief Hopper and Eleven. What did we think about that relationship? What about the rest of Eleven’s family? Did the show rush through the story with her mother, or is there more there? What about her “lost sister” Kali (a.k.a. Eight)? Are there even more Hawkins lab kids out there who we’ll meet in the future? Do we want to see more of that vigilante group of punks? (I’m a big “no” vote.) What other secrets does Hopper have in those boxes Eleven found? And with poor Bob gone, could a Hopper and Joyce relationship finally happen?
Jonathan and Nancy also ended up spending a lot of time together this season (yeah they did). Was their journey through the world of journalism worth the time it took? Did Barb finally get the justice she deserved considering it was based on a lie? Does that end her story for good? And were we glad to see Nancy end up with Jonathan, or are we #TeamSteve?
Speaking of Steve, while replaced by Billy as the biggest jerk at Hawkins High, he did end up coming out on top as everyone’s new favorite babysitter. What did we make of his transition to Mr. Wonderful? And which high school king had the cooler look: Steve with his glasses or Billy smoking while working out? And what did we make of Billy’s role on the show? Could we see him redeemed in the future too?
Max and Lucas were the other hot new couple of the season. What did we think of Mad Max? What did she bring to the pack? Did we like how much the show leaned into the D&D lore this year? And where do she and Lucas rank among our favorite pairs this year?
And what about Sean Astin’s Bob? (Poor Bob.) Who was the season’s MVP? What parts of the story should have been left out? And, naturally, what do we hope to see in Stranger Things 3? (Boy, that’s a lot of questions!)