Stranger Things‘ second season dropped with a lot of new adventures, dynamics, and characters to unpack. Since a few of our staff members crossed the bingeing finish line already, they got together and listed their favorite moments this time around from our favorite misfits. Letting yall know off the strength, this article is littered with spoilers. Mad spoilers. All the glorious spoilers
Aren’t Are Alright
Izetta Nicole: I’m a sucka for a cute kid. Blame my momma. Blame my siblings. Blame it on the rain. I don’t care. When Dustin flashed them new pearls with his upturned top lip grin in the first episode, I lost it. On top of that, he kept pairing that grin with the sound of a wookie, That’s the most adorable shit I’ve seen this year. My man fell head over heels in love with the new girl and the only thing that he kept thinking about was how much she was going to love his teeth. My auntie-mom of a heart just wanted to jump through the t.v. (skipping past the upside down) and pinch them cheeks. Dustin was right, I was not able to resist those pearls.
Speaking of the new girl. Can we talk about Mad Max for a minute? Not Maxine, homie. Mad “kickin’ ass and taking names in your hometown arcade” Max. You know you a badass when you name yourself Mad Max. Stranger Things 2 is set in 1984, so it wasn’t lost on me that she shares a name with Mel Gibson’s character from the Mad Max trilogy. Mad Max arrived in Hawkins, Indiana with no clue as to what she was about to face. She kept those stalking boys in their place. Mad Max never wanted to replace Eleven. She had her own role in the gang, “zoomer.” Mad Max was driving through the woods on some fast and furious with a box on the pedal to give ‘em that gas.
When it came time to finally face her personal Demogorgon, the wicked ass stepbrother Billy, Mad Max gave him that WERK. She grabbed that needle full of Will’s knock out juice, stabbed Billy in the neck, and then ran up on him with Steve’s bat full of nails. Mad Max did not come to play. Once Lucas gave her the full story and she saw the Demogorgon, she quite literally came to slay.
Meet The Sinclairs
Oz Longsworth: Fam, we have to talk about the Sinclair family. One of the biggest mysteries of season 1 was, “Where the hell are Lucas’ parents?” Yes, I know there’s that one scene the fandom talks about at Will’s “funeral” where those two unspecified adult black people that are never seen again for the rest of the season can be found standing behind Lucas as he and the rest of his party “mourn” Will the Wise. But let’s face it, y’all….that shit didn’t count. Those were clearly some throwaway actors we weren’t going to see again.
For the most part, that young brother showed up, reminded the gang that they were implementing a bad idea, held the crew down with some precision slingshot work and went to the off-camera home shaped void a lot of Black friend characters go until the next time white characters need a magical negro or a sassy Black friend or someone who just says “That’s crazy” repeatedly like Tyrese does. The second season clearly went out of its way to further develop Lucas’s home life. He got two cool ass Huxtable type parents and a sister that probably has the smartest mouth in all of Hawkins. She got Murda Mook bars for Lucas at every turn and I loved it.
Hopper Grounds Eleven… Well, Tries To
Bee Kapri: Can you imagine being Shaq’s mom and having to climb up on a step stool to chastise that monstrous motherfucka? That’s what I liken Hopper trying to relearn how to be a father with a supercharged middle schooler…but raised to the tenth power. I would totally watch an after-school special, not on Disney Channel, where parents try and raise mutant/genetically engineered children.
My favorite is when Hopper tried to ground 11 by taking the TV, cause if he was a Black momma as soon as she wouldn’t have let go the cord would have been cut followed by “well now ain’t nobody watching TV in this motherfucka” and if she had dared even thought about hitting a Black momma with a book or couch she would have been praying to go back to Papa, cause ain’t no Black woman working a full-time job and lying to everyone she knows “to keep your ungrateful ass safe” gone put up with that type of shit. Black mommas be done smacked you for thinking about using your powers on them. It was adorable to see the tough as nails Chief of Police and Eleven’s unsocialized ass learn the soft sides of life together.
Steve Harrington Is Cool Dad Now
Omar Holmon: Aye, Steve Harrington got the arc he deserves. I’m still fucking with King Steve. Steve got his redemption last season from 80’s shitty boyfriend into a everyman-good guy. Steve’s depth expanded even more this season. Steve had to deal with new guy Billy Hargrove taking the “king of school” slot, Nancy drunkinly wylin’ on him, her finally leaving him for Jonathan, and then having to get the
Hot Sauce, Lucille, Anti-Demogorgon Bat back up out the trunk and square up with the demo-dogs. Steve is having a rough second season man but ya mans comes through.
When the world was falling upside down, Steve was level-headed and empathetic enough to tell Nancy she should go Jonathan. Plus, Steve willingly took on responsibility for guarding the kids? Depth. When he was bonding with Dustin and gave’em 80’s era advice on women (that you shouldn’t really follow but he’s trying)? Growth. When he finally squared up against Billy and was rock’em sock’em bopping dude in the face (till dude fought dirty because he couldn’t keep up with the hands)? Bars! Steve kept the kids safe when they all got neck deep in “end of the world” shit then led the kids on a damn near suicide mission to burn the hub in the Upside Down. Steve is cool dad now. Cool dad with no fear in his heart! You’re not fucking with my guy.
My man is dependable. Who else was willing to square up one on one with a Demogorgon in both season with nothing but the equalizer?! Nobody. Steve Harrington is the WCW era Sting with the crow face pain as far as I’m concerned.
“It’s A Conspiracy, I Tell Ya”
Lauren Wheeler: One of my favorite moments was when Murray Bauman, the crackpot journalist, blowing up Nancy and Jonathan’s spot when they seek him out for help blowing the whistle on the Hawkins National Laboratory. The second he gets some liquid courage in him (to help with his “thinking”), he turns into motherfuckin’ Dr. Phil and breaks their shit all the way down about how they’re clearly in love with each other but both hiding from it for their own reasons (trauma and trust issues, primarily). Of course, in a scene reminiscent of Love Jones, they end up finally doing it.
The next morning over breakfast, he can’t even handle his glee at knowing Jonathan ended up in the guest room with Nance for a little post-trauma playtime: “How was the pull-out?” is possibly the best line in the show this season.
It’s Safe To Say, We’re A Bunch Of 8’ers
Lauren: After its first episode, as much as I was enjoying the second season, I don’t think more than half an hour went by when I wondered when we were going to get our van full of misfits back–so I was all about Eleven getting sorted and trying to track down her sister. Not only was I in love with Kali’s powers, but her style, her calm, her commitment to her chosen family of murderous outcasts–and that she was a woman of color. (I mean, the number of characters of color increased by an order of magnitude the second they rolled on-screen.) But Kali felt like a real force, and in all the ways her first meeting Eleven could have played out, that it was love from jump made my heart sing.
Oz: I really enjoyed Kali and the prospect of other kids out there that might add layers to the Stranger Things mythology. I suspect she’ll be visiting her sister in episodes to come, adding some much-needed color to the joint. I just hope the story doesn’t venture too far off the rails in an attempt to raise the stakes. The thing that makes the show awesome (to me, at least) is that it’s got that Welcome to Night Vale/Twin Peaks vibe you could only get with the real action revolving around a small town like Hawkins. Hopefully, the show doesn’t lose that trying to fly too close to the sun.
Omar: All I’ma say is I want all the 008/Kali funko pops. All of’em. A brown girl fucking up folk’s minds with illusions? Out here getting her revenge on the Hawkins corp the hard way? The ski mask way? Kali is bout that “murder, murder, my mind-state” life and I was all the way here for it. All. The. Way.
Izetta: Stranger Things 2 threw me for a loop with Kali aka 008. I was happy for Eleven to have found some framily. That whole “I’m looking for my sister” thing gave me Orphan Black vibes. This is sestra. Sestra is life. Kali had Eleven in the back training on some Fight Club type shit. She had her digging into her soul and pulling trains with all that pent up frustration and anger. Kali was playing the role of Eleven’s sensei, sestra and later her subconscious. Kali failed at that last bit. El too woke to be out here taking away kids’ fathers and shit. When they split ways, Kali shed that good thug tear to let us know her story ain’t over. We’ll see Kali again in Stranger Things and I’m looking forward to it.