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What’s Happening in the ‘Upside Down’?

Billy Hargrove, played by Dacre Montgomery, is the new bully in Hawkins, Indiana. PHOTO/ express.co.uk
Billy Hargrove, played by Dacre Montgomery, is the new bully in Hawkins, Indiana. PHOTO/ express.co.uk

By Rochelle Kassin

Published: November 8th, 2017

Spoilers ahead! Season two of “Stranger Things” was full of insane twists and turns. Personally, I finished the entire season in only three days and then proceeded to brainstorm about season three.

Let’s recap from the first season. We ended off the season with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), our resident super girl, killing the Demogorgon, sending him back to the Upside Down, and following him into the mystical place. Soon after, Chief Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) save Will (Noah Schnapp) and bring him back to Hawkins, where he is sent to the hospital and brought back to health. The finale leaves us with Hopper sending food to Eleven and Will being tethered to the Shadow Monster, the new villain in the show.

The new season then starts off in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania as a robbery unfolds. The show introduces Eleven’s “sister,” named Eight, which was unexpected yet serendipitous. As the season progresses, Will sees doctors for his visions, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) searches the air waves for Eleven, and the rest of the gang – Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) –  chase the heart of the new girl in town, Max (Sadie Sink), aka “Mad Max.” However, everything goes south when Will becomes the spy for the Shadow Monster.

Throughout the journey of seasons one and two, we have seen many crazy things. The producers and creators of the show have taken an amazing new direction with this season. The Duffer brothers decided to end this season in a totally different way than they did the first season, giving room for imagination and growth. They also had a lot of character development with this new season. Steve (Joe Keery) definitely stepped up, helping Dustin and Lucas in their attempts to destroy the Demadogs, and Lucas and Dustin were caught in a love triangle with Max. The new direction definitely makes season two a winner, bringing everyone’s strengths forward and using them all to the show’s advantage.

Max and her stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery), the new ‘villain,’ move into Hawkins after her mom and his dad get married. Dustin and Lucas dub her “Mad Max,” and they start to chase after her and ask her to be part of their “party.” Mike is hesitant to let her in at first, which was understandable considering his love for Eleven, but he eventually warms up to her. She brings something new to the table: her fearlessness, possibly because of her abusive stepfather helps the party when they try to destroy the Demadogs.

We also meet Bob (Sean Astin), Joyce’s love interest in the season. Dedicated, he helps Joyce and Hopper find out what Will’s strange visions mean and how to stop the new and improved bad guy, the Shadow Monster, from killing everything in Hawkins. He ultimately saves Hopper, Joyce, and Will’s lives when he fixes the electricity in the lab and helps them escape, but this came at a price. Bob doesn’t make it in time and ends up getting eaten by the Demadogs, one of the larger surprises of the show. This could be Joyce’s big break to finally get her happiness.

Surprises—there was definitely plenty of those. We could start off with Eleven’s “sister” named Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), also known as Eight. Experimented on at Hawkins Lab when she was a kid, Eight has illusion-manipulation abilities. She managed to escape and joined a gang dedicated to killing “bad people.” She clearly has PTSD from her childhood experiences. Eight wants to eradicate all the evil that was and is part of her life. She causes Eleven to do the same, if only for an episode, before she realizes that she was not meant to live this way. This sends her back to Hawkins after running away from Hopper, and going to the lab to close the gate once and for all.

The memories of Eleven’s mother also shocked the audience. They showed the meaning of all of Eleven’s gibberish and also showed that she, too, possesses some kind of mental powers. Eleven finds her mother’s files in Hopper’s house, where she has been hiding after coming back from the Upside Down (another shocker!) and then runs to see her. She then discovers that she has a sister named Eight, and that her sister is alive!

The huge shock factor of the finale of season one left the audience with no idea that Will was tethered to the Upside Down. The finale of season did not mimic this shock. I was little skeptical about the ending. The final scene showed the enormous Shadow Monster, known as the Mind Flayer, in the Upside Down, looking over the school. The producers claim this was done purposely, allowing for an open interpretation, but it didn’t bring the expected shock. The ending didn’t really sit well with me: I thought that they had already closed the gate with Eleven’s help. It sort of seemed like season three would be the same as season two, but I really hope I’m wrong.

Regardless, the ending was still amazing. Will used his new spy senses to help destroy the Shadow Monster and save Hawkins. He ultimately tells them how to close the gate through Morse code, which Hopper figures out. Exorcising the Demogorgon from inside him, using heat, was also insane and totally freaky, which Helping the ending go from great to extraordinary, Will also used heat to exorcise himself from the Demogorgon.

Seasons one and two of “Stranger Things” were amazing. They were brought something new to Netflix and to the people of this generation. Let’s just hope that season three will live up to expectations.

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