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‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 Recap: Eleven Becomes a Superhero

AKA the season Will is possessed by the Mind Flayer

With Season 4 Volume 1 of “Stranger Things” imminent, many might be scrambling to remember not just what happened last season, but what has happened in all three previous seasons. After the first season launched on Netflix in 2016, Season 2 followed on its heels in 2017. To go with its fall release date, Season 2 begins during Halloween of 1984.

Season 2 introduces us to some new crazy creatures in the Upside Down: Demodogs and the sinister shadowy Mind Flayer. Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) also arrive on the scene. Our original heroes are still going strong.

Here’s what happened in Season 2 of “Stranger Things”:

Will Is Still Having Visions of The Upside Down

When the boys meet up at the arcade one night, several things go down. Dustin is told by employee Keith that someone has beaten his Dig Dug high score. Cue the introduction of “MadMax.” While Dustin freaks out over the loss of this record, Will starts to notice the same particles that come from the Upside Down falling outside. He turns back to his friends, but they are no longer there, and he is plunged into the alternate dimension, the door swinging open and beckoning him outside toward a giant storm cloud. Mike brings him back to reality.

Later in the season, when Will and his friends go trick or treating dressed up as the Ghostbusters, he has another similar experience, only this time a spindly shadow made of swirling dust is after him. He sees Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser) regularly, and Dr. Owens thinks it’s in his head and related to trauma, since the one-year anniversary of Will’s kidnapping by the Demogorgon is approaching.

Joyce finds some of Will’s drawings and worries that whatever happened last year isn’t over. Hopper tries to console her.

Hopper Gets a Call to Check Out Some Rotten Pumpkins

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Netflix

After it is established that Eleven now lives with Hopper (she scares him by dressing up as a ghost and asking if she can go trick or treating because nobody would know it was her), Hopper heads to work where he first deals with Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) whose latest conspiracy theory involves Russian spies and a certain child in Hawkins that might be connected (Eleven). Next, Hop investigates something infesting two rival pumpkin farms, which we learn more about later.

The Pollywog

Dustin finds a strange creature in his trash can. It does resemble a pollywog, with a long tail and two front legs. He feeds it Three Musketeers and names it D’Artagnan, or Dart for short. He shows it to Will, Mike, Lucas and Max, thinking it’s an undiscovered species of terrestrial pollywog. Will makes the connection between the end of the tentacle that he coughed up at the end of Season 1 and Dart. He also hears the noise Dart makes in his Upside Down episodes. Dustin tries to show the creature to Mr. Clark, their science teacher, but Mike stops him and tells him what Will has realized. As they are discussing Dart, he screeches inside the Ghostbusters trap, bringing Dustin to open it and watch as he sprouts two more legs. Max, who was locked out of the science room, picks the lock and opens the door, allowing Dart to escape.

Will Gets Possessed

The kids all spread out to search for Dart, and Will finds him, but he screeches (sounding like a Demogorgon) at Will and Will gets plunged into the Upside Down, where he runs away from the spider-like shadow until deciding to turn around and face it — but it looks like the creature wins out because tendrils of dust make their way into Will’s mouth, ears, eyes and nose. 

Joyce calls school after she finds more of WIll’s drawings to confirm he is safe at A.V. Club, and when she realizes Mr. Clark left school, she drives over and joins the kids in finding Will out on the field, stuck in a trance, his eyes rolling back into his head. Joyce takes him home, and he tells her it got him.

Nancy Is Determined to Figure Out What Happened to Barb

Nancy teams up with Jonathan again to conduct her own investigation into Barb’s death. She tries to tell Barb’s parents, but men who have been eavesdropping on her phone calls catch them. Murray Bauman later helps her dilute the truth just enough so that they can feed it to people without feeling as guilty. Bauman also gets Nancy and Jonathan together with his love doctor seneses.

The Tunnels

After Will can’t take a bath because the water is too hot and he “likes it cold,” Hopper comes over to try to get a better sense of what is going on. Will tries to explain, but starts crying, and Joyce gets the idea to have him draw what he now sees thanks to the monster that has possessed him. He frantically starts to draw out a large map of what look like connecting veins. Joyce realizes that they connect, and she wonders if it’s lightning or roots. Hopper gets a hunch, thinks of vines, and goes to dig into the pumpkin patch, where he finds that Will is drawing tunnels.

Eleven Does Some Soul Searching

While Eleven is feuding with Hopper after he didn’t keep his promise on Halloween and he won’t let her let her friends know she’s still alive, he leaves to help Joyce. Home alone, Eleven discovers his files on Dr. Brenner and Terry Ives. She goes into the black void and finds her mom, and then she decides to go find her in real life. Later on in the series, Eleven rediscovers her “sister” 008, Kali, who has similar psionic powers that are more telepathic. Kali teaches Eleven to master her powers before sending her back to her friends.

The Hive Mind

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Netflix

Hopper gets trapped in the tunnels for a bit, and Will knows how to find him, but so do the hordes of scientists and secret agents working under Owens. When they show up and try to burn the tunnels, Will falls to the ground in intense pain. Owens later connects that the virus possessing Will and the pumpkins has a hive mind. Will sends some Upside Down investigators into the core of the tunnel system, and a bunch of Demodogs (what Dart is) attack them and kill them. The dogs then climb out of the hole leading to the big gash that started from the smaller crack Eleven created into the Upside Down.

The Final Showdown

An emotional reunion ensues when Mike and Eleven reunite. Joyce has the idea to burn the Mind Flayer out of Will. She, Jonathan and Nancy take him to Hopper’s cabin so that The Mind Flayer won’t know where they are, bringing heaters that they crank up since the Mind Flayer “likes it cold.” Eleven takes Hopper to the Hawkins lab, which has become overrun with Demodogs, to close the gate. Bob Newby, superhero, died by Demodog trying to escape from the lab after overriding the computer codes to open doors and the front gate after the power went out.

Steve is tasked with babysitting Mike, Lucas, Max and Dustin at the Byers house, when Billy shows up looking for Max. Billy beats Steve up pretty bad until Max injects him with the tranquilizer they use for Will, and the kids take advantage of incapacitated Steve and Billy’s car to go down into the tunnels and burn the area where all of them intersect, distracting the Demodogs so that Eleven can successfully close the gate. Her epic effort to not just close the gate but hold off the Mind Flayer shows how powerful she really is.

One Month Later

Barbara Holland’s death has been explained. She was exposed to a chemical asphyxiant that leaked from the Hawkins Lab. The kids all go to the Hawkins Middle Snow Ball, looking real cute. Lucas and Max kiss, and so do Mike and Eleven. But the final shot of the season shows that the Mind Flayer is still very much alive in the Upside Down and has his eye on Hawkins.

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