Review by J.T. Johnson
Here we are, finally! The season finale of “Stranger Things 2”. This means that tomorrow, Netflix will finally premiere “Stranger Things 3” and we’ll get to see what our heroes are up to this time in Hawkins, Indiana. For now, though, let us take a look at what is currently the latest episode and see how our heroes will fare against the Mind Flayer in ‘Chapter Nine: The Gate’!
QUOTE OF THE EPISODE:
“It’s okay, you put up a good fight. He kicked your ass, but you put up a good fight.” – Dustin
Mike and Eleven are finally reunited, but Mike gets mad at Hopper when he realizes that Hopper was hiding Eleven. They have a heart-to-heart where Mike finally releases his anger that he’s been holding onto for the whole season. Meanwhile, Dustin and Lucas are also happy to see Eleven as is Joyce.
Eleven asks to see Will and she soon reveals that she can close the gate because she is the one who opened it. We see that the Demogorgons are guarding the gate as it gets even bigger. Boom! Opening credits.
THE BYERS HOUSE
While trying to figure out a plan for closing the gate, Mike points out that Will is connected to the Mind Flayer, so closing the gate will probably kill Will too. This means that they have to figure out a way to get the Mind Flayer out of Will’s body. Joyce points out that ever since it possessed Will, it likes it cold and that maybe if they heat Will’s body up enough, the Mind Flayer will leave its host.
They decide that Joyce and Jonathan will take Will to Hopper’s cabin because Will doesn’t know where that is and the Mind Flayer won’t be able to send its forces after them. Steve points out that Nancy should also go with them in order to be with Jonathan. He’ll stay behind and watch after the other kids.
Meanwhile, Hopper and Eleven head out to take her to the lab so that she can shut the gate. While waiting at the house, the kids decide that they need to head into the tunnels in order to create a fire to draw the Demogorgons to their location. This will distract them long enough for Eleven to get to the gate and get it closed.
Unfortunately, Billy then shows up looking for Max and they have to deal with him first. Despite putting up a good fight, Steve gets his ass handed to him and he’s knocked out. However, Max eventually drugs Billy and threatens to kill him if he ever harms her or her friends again.
After this, the gang heads out to the tunnels in order to distract the Demogorgons.
Joyce, Nancy and Jonathan get Will to the cabin and set up shop. They start up a fire in the fireplace and set up several space heaters around Will. They strap him down to a bed and begin the process of “exorcising” the Mind Flayer from Will’s body.
After remembering Bob, Joyce turns up the heaters despite hearing Will’s screams. She knows that this is not her boy and that they must get the Mind Flayer out of his body if Will has any chance of succeeding. When one of Will’s straps breaks and he begins strangling Joyce, Nancy grabs a hot fire poker and jams it into Will’s side and finally, the Mind Flayer leaves Will’s body, meaning that Eleven can now close the gate without killing Will.
STEVE AND THE GANG
When Steve wakes up, he freaks out when he realizes that they are heading to the tunnels. Eventually, though, Max gets them there in Billy’s car and Steve doesn’t really have a choice but to go along with the plan. Their plan to start a fire works and soon enough the Demogorgons are coming after them, meaning that they have to escape before the monsters find them.
HOPPER AND ELEVEN
On the way to the lab, Hopper questions where Eleven has been. She reveals that she found her mother. Hopper reveals that he shouldn’t have lied to her about her mom and that he just doesn’t want to lose her like he did his own daughter. They both apologize to each other and their father/daughter relationship is mended as they head to the lab.
After Hopper and Eleven get to the lab, they try to head for the gate. They soon find that Sam survived despite a mangled leg. Hopper states that they’re about to go close the gate and that after all of this is over, Sam better do his best to establish a new identity for Eleven so that she doesn’t have to remain in hiding anymore.
Hopper is about to take on the Demogorgons when the fire set by Steve causes them to leave. This clears the path and he and Eleven make their way down to the gate. Using the full extent of her powers and drawing on her emotions, both good and bad, she finally manages to close the gate and everything tied to the Mind Flayer falls dead, including Dart.
After closing the gate, life goes back to normal, albeit with a few changes. Sam comes through for Hopper and manages to get Eleven a new identity as Jane Hopper, officially making her Jim’s daughter. The lab is officially closed after Nancy and Jonathan’s tapes force its closure and Barb’s parents are notified of her death, allowing them to give her a proper funeral.
Finally, the episode ends with the Snowball dance. Lucas and Max end up kissing, officially starting their relationship. Dustin, despite getting some confidence from Steve, gets shot down by the girls but Nancy dances with him in order to make them jealous. In the end, Mike and Eleven (who I guess I should be calling Jane now) end up dancing together and they also share a kiss.
The episode ends by showing that the Mind Flayer is still in the Upside Down looking down on the school gym and the second season of “Stranger Things” comes to a close.
This is a hell of a closer for the season. It’s action packed and all of our characters come together in order take on the Mind Flayer. There are basically three separate storylines that go on in this episode and all three compliment each other very well as they all add to the final showdown.
It struck me that we really do find ourselves caring for these characters and the hook of ‘80s nostalgia doesn’t really matter anymore. You care about the story and you really want these characters to overcome their common enemy.
The only weak point in this season for me was Billy, a character that didn’t really add much to the overall story. However, his story may be justified in the next season as it looks like he’ll play a bigger role in “Stranger Things 3”. There’s not much more to say beyond that except that I hope the third season turns out to be as good as the first two.
I’ll let you know tomorrow what I think of “Stranger Things 3” after I finish binging the season throughout the night. It won’t be individual reviews of each episode like I’ve been doing. Instead, it’ll be a review of the entire season itself. Until then, I’ll see you later and hope that you also enjoy the new season of “Stranger Things” and I also hope that I’ll be returning with a positive report!