My Top 3 Fave Chapters of Stranger Things 2
Two weeks ago I binge watched the first season of Stranger Things and picked my top 3 favorite chapters. We’re getting closer to the premiere of season three, so I binged the second season (maybe several times, don’t judge me) and picked out my favorite chapters from it, too.
(Speaking of “it, too”, I’m so excited for IT 2. Bill Hader is the grown Finn Wolfhard and I am here for it. Anyways…)
Season two upped the ante from season one, between the attempted cover-ups, the spreading of the “virus”, the multiplying of the creatures, and Will’s life being risked again (along with everyone else’s, this time). But it also brings us more nostalgia, more aesthetics, and more character developments than we deserved.
And even though Stranger Things 2 is just as good as Stranger Things 1 (if not a thousand times better) and every chapter is amazing in it’s own right, I didn’t have as hard of a time picking favorites this time around, and you’ll see why. Here they are!
Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak
As an autumnal baby, a horror fiend, and a fan of obscure or low-budget costumes, Halloween is my favorite holiday (and happens to be a week and a day before my birthday). So this chapter is obviously a no-brainer for me and is one of my absolute favorites specifically for that theme.
At the very end of the first chapter we find out that Eleven is alive and well. At the start of this chapter, we get the first glimpse- through a flashback- of how Eleven got out alive. Following said flashback we watch as Eleven and Hopper eat breakfast together in the cabin and discuss the holiday. Eleven wants to go out for the night, but Hopper suggests that it isn’t yet safe for her, and that they should just stay in and enjoy candy and scary films.
Nancy and Steve have a disagreement about whether or not to tell Barbs parents about her death, and Steve convinces her to just try to relax and enjoy the costumes they had spent a long time preparing for the Halloween party that night.
Mike, Will, Lucas, and Dustin have made Ghostbusters costumes and excitedly wear them to school, only to realize no one else dressed up. Dustin and Lucas invite Max to join them for trick-or-treating later, but she rejects the invitation. Max goes home with her stepbrother Billy and we get another glimpse at how bad this new, mysterious bad boy might really be as he tries to run the four boys over in the road. Max grabs the wheel at the last second, sparing them.
Nancy and Steve attend the Halloween party in their Risky Business costumes. While Nancy is getting drunk off spiked punch, Billy is crowned the new Keg King, taking the fratty title from the former King Steve Harrington. This is a blow to Steve’s pride, but he’s quickly distracted when Nancy drunkenly tells him that everything is bullshit and admits that she doesn’t love him. Steve leaves the party with his head hung low, leaving Jonathan (who was only at the party because of Nancy’s insistence earlier that day) to be her designated driver.
Still in their Ghostbusters get ups, the boys go trick-or-treating. Max, in a Michael Myers mask complete with knife and coveralls, jumps out and scares the boys, but then joins them excitedly. This bothers Mike, thinking she had invited herself and could ruin the best night of their year. Will falls behind and has another episode, experiencing the Upside Down as a shadow monster appears in the sky.
Mike shakes Will from his episode and brings him back to the Wheeler’s basement, and Will explains that he’s been having these experiences and feels trapped between Hawkins and the Upside Down. Meanwhile, back at the cabin, Eleven tries to reach Mike, who is also trying to reach her, but they both fail, as they have every day for the past 353 days.
This chapter gives a lot of insights on what’s been happening with each character, mentally and emotionally, since the end of the first season, and gives us some peaks at what is to come. But the whole chapter is beautifully laced with Halloween aesthetics and nostalgia inducing costumes, it’s impossible to only watch it once.
Chapter Six: The Spy
Okay, so this chapter might be my favorite of the whole first two seasons, and it’s for one specific reason. This is the chapter where Steve Harrington bonds with Dustin Henderson and slowly begins his transformation into Mom Steve, who isn’t afraid to wear a dish towel on his shoulder or wield a nail-riddled baseball bat to protect his kids.
And yes, sure, there are a lot of other really important things that happen in this chapter. Will is rushed to the Hawkins National Laboratory infirmary. Dart has shed another layer of sticky skin, grown again, and escaped from Dustin’s cellar. Nancy, Jonathan, and Murray make copies of the tape that will incriminate the scientists at Hawkin’s Lab and prove the cause of Barb’s death, and prepare the tapes to be sent to newspapers across the nation. Hopper sees the Gate and the network of tunnels, Joyce fills Bob in on what the hell is going on, and Will is losing some of his personal memory. Dr. Owens discovers that Will is affected when they burn a piece of tentacle, and thus concludes that there is a hive mind connecting the hosts (which includes Will). Will suggests he knows how to stop the monster, but later reveals that it was the monster that convinced him to lay a trap. A lot of fun, crazy, important stuff.
But the only thing that really matters here are the conversations that are had between Steve and Dustin as they trudge along the train tracks leaving a trail of raw meat, ending in the junkyard where they are joined by Max and Lucas. Later, Dart arrives, but he doesn’t take the bait, so Steve steps out of the barricaded bus to confront him. Lucas quickly realizes that Dart brought friends of his own- more adolescent Demodogs. Demopups, if you will.
With warnings from Lucas and a pleading from Dustin to abort mission, Steve makes it back into the bus just in time, but now the bus is surrounded by these creatures. Dustin, in a state of panic, tries to call anyone he can, but fails. But just as the Demodogs close in, they’re suddenly called away to the tunnels and then to the lab, sparing Steve and his children.
This chapter exists solely to mark the start of Steve’s transformation, and for that it is my favorite one.
(Oh, and there is a brief scene where Hopper attempts to apologize to Eleven over the radio, and man is it tear-jerking.)
Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer
Just like last time, my final favorite is not the finale itself, but chapter just before it. The finales are amazing in both seasons, don’t get me wrong. It’s just something about these second to last ones that get me.
This one opens up with the Demodogs invading Hawkins National Laboratory and just wreaking havoc. Joyce realizes that Mike is right- these Demodogs are honing in them because Will, or the monster inside of him, revealed their location. So she sedates him, and they take shelter in a security office with Hopper, Bob, and Dr. Owens. They watch the security footage as the Demodogs kill everyone in their path (so pretty much everyone else inside the lab).
The building’s system crashes and the group gets locked inside the office. Bob bravely volunteers to get the power back on and the system running again, even though the lab is still riddled with Demodogs. Before he goes, he urges Hopper to get the group out of Lab without waiting for him.
Meanwhile, Steve and his gang track down the Demodogs to Hawkins Lab, and they run into Nancy and Jonathan who were searching for Will and Mike.
Bob successfully restores the power and the systems, and Dr. Owens remains in the security room to guide everyone out using the surveillance screens. Bob has to hide in a closet to avoid getting attacked by a roaming Demodog, but the creature eventually passes and he’s able to continue on his path to the exit. Hopper, Joyce, Will, and Mike manage to escape alive and unscathed, but Bob is not so lucky- he gets caught by one of the Demodogs just as he reaches the foyer. May Bob the Brain Rest in Peace.
Everyone, once again, reconvenes at the Byers house, and Mike convinces everyone that they cannot let Bob, the AV Club icon, die in vain. Dustin points out the similarities between the shadow monster and the Mind Flayer, and that they need to kill it, but they can’t do this while Will is still a host. They try to interrogate Will, who at first seems to be completely controlled by this shadow monster, but with use of Morse code he communicates with the group.
They had disguised the tool shed they were holding him in so that the shadow monster wouldn’t learn their location, but when the house phone rings, the shadow monster realizes where they are and summons the Demodogs.
The group arms themselves, preparing to fight to the death, but in the final moments just before the Demodogs get them, we hear thumps and squeals as someone outside takes the creatures down. The lock on the inside of the front door moves, as if with a mind of its own, and the door creaks open, and for the first time in the entire season, Mike (and the gang) stand face to face with ELEVEN! Chills, I tell ya’. Chills.
That chapter, and that last scene especially, gets me every time. It’s so good. And it’s one of my favorites.
Those are my favorite chapters of Stranger Things 2. I can’t wait to see what chapters will stand out to me in the third season, and in the meantime, I think I may have time to watch season one and two one more time… What is your favorite chapter? Tweet me and tell me why!
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