The spookiest day of the year is almost upon us. No, not Halloween. Stranger Things season 2 is set to release this Friday. As you prepare to “come down with something” so that you can binge watch the entire second season, a refresher of sorts not only provides context for what happened, but also what we want to see resolved.
Although Season 1 wrapped up the major storylines in a fairly satisfying way, The Duffer Brothers also left some big questions unanswered.
We've compiled the questions that have been weighing on our minds since Will Byers first went missing and Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Eleven were left to uncover the mystery.
Can the Duffer Brothers Strike Gold Twice?
The Duffer Brothers came out of nowhere to create one of the season’s most beloved hits. The '80s nostalgia-fest resonated with audiences, and the show became a pop culture phenomenon.
Punctuated by winning the Golden Globe for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama” and racking up 18 Emmy nominations, it’s hard to imagine a better victory lap for a TV show. But, even great shows can fall victim to a sophomore slump.
Even if the new season is excellent, Stranger Things may not find the same cultural cache the second time around. Fellow sci-fi darlings Mr. Robot and Orphan Black drifted out of the public eye as they went on, even though hardcore fans and critics still enjoyed both shows. It’s hard to predict how season 2 will land with the public, but the early buzz and advance footage have been promising.
What Happened to Eleven?
At the end of Season 1, Eleven saved the day and then promptly disappeared. It is hard to imagine Stranger Things without breakout star and Emmy nominee Millie Bobby Brown. And it looks like we won’t have to. All signs lead to Eleven’s return.
The trailer released last summer seems to indicate that Eleven begins the season trapped in the Upside Down, and will spend at least some of the season trying to return to our dimension. But how and when this happens, only time will tell.
What About the Other 10?
Since Millie Bobby Brown was the breakout star of the season with her badass powers and stye to match, it wouldn’t surprise us if we meet some of her predecessors. Eleven got her name because she was the eleventh supernatural child test subject at Hawkins National Laboratory. What became of the other 10 kids who underwent the heinous experiments in the lab? Did any of them survive? Were there more test subjects that came after her?
With the introduction of two new cast members in season 2, Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery, they give added dimension to both the pre-adolescent and teenage crews. But we can’t help but hope for at least one more supernatural badass tween to join the fray in season 2.
Who Is Eleven’s Real Dad?
We know that her mom’s name is Terry Ives, and we also know that she calls Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) "Papa." But, let’s be real: do we think that two mere mortals birthed this ultra-powerful being? Or is it possible that she was a common kid who was turned into something truly, scarily special in the MKUltra program?
Whether Eleven’s real dad is someone special, or some schlub we just haven’t met yet, this secret is likely going to be an essential key to the larger story behind Stranger Things. Though there are a lot of missing puzzle pieces, this is one of the biggest ones we’re waiting to fall into place.
Is It All in Will’s Head?
Spending time in the Upside Down is kind of like going to war: even if you come back, there’s no way that all of you comes back.
The last time we saw Will (Noah Schnapp), he was spitting giant slugs out of his mouth as they slithered down the bathroom drain. If this was actually happening, young William has some problems. But even if it is all in his head, the Upside Down has left a lasting impact on the poor boy.
Whether this is a matter of PTSD or slugs inhabiting his body, Will’s entanglement with the Upside Down seems far from over. You know what they say: you can take the boy out of the Upside Down, but you can’t take the Upside Down out of the boy. Season 2 will tell us just how much of the other dimension lingers inside Will’s brain and body.
Where Did Hopper Go and Is He the Same Man We Once Knew?
David Harbour’s turn as Jim Hopper was a fan favorite in season 1. He played the role of the heroic sheriff gone to seed with the perfect blend of a surly disposition, reluctant bravery, and a heart of gold.
Events at the end of the season raised some serious questions about Sheriff Hopper. A black car appeared to abduct Hopper in the season finale, but he later appeared in the precinct in the “one month later sequence”.
Is Jim Hopper back in Hawkins, Indiana, and if so, is he the same person he was when he left? Did he make a deal with the devils at Hawkins lab to protect the kids? Has he been compromised or even brainwashed? It would be heartbreaking to see Hopper turn heel, but it will be exciting to see what went down in the trunk of that black car.
What Are the Bad Guys After?
Whether or not Dr. Brenner survived the season finale, we can rest assured that the mind control and extra-dimensional work at the Hawkins National Laboratory is far from over. Was the the CIA drug stuff just a ploy to get funding to tear a rift between dimensions? Are the scientists breeding and weaponizing other creatures from the Upside Down? There are infinite possible layers to their dastardly plans. Hopefully season 2 will shed some light on the dark activities going on behind the Lab’s fence.
Does Mr. Clarke Know More Than He’s Letting On?
Science teacher and dimensional enthusiast, Scott Clarke (Randall P. Havens), sure knows a lot about the Upside Down. While he didn’t exactly call out any extra-dimensional geographical specifics, he was always ready with an answer when the boys needed one.
While we have nothing but love and respect for our local science teachers, is it possible that Mr. Clarke knows more than he’s letting on? Is he more than a mere mild-mannered science teacher? Was he once an employee of the Lab? Does he sense something suspicious is going on in Hawkins as well? Regardless, it’s probably a safe bet that he is more than just a convenient tool for exposition.
Is Nancy Really Going to Stay With Steve?
Let’s depart from sci-fi mystery questions for a moment and address a straight-up soap opera issue. Is Nancy (Natalia Dyer) really going to stay with Steve (Joe Keery)?
If you were bummed that Nancy chose the douchiest kid in school at the end of season 1, you aren’t alone. We aren’t saying that she should necessarily end up with Jonathan (Charlie Heaton); he acted weird enough that we would understand it if he is forever relegated to the friendzone. But Steve performing a redemptive gesture or two doesn’t negate an entire season of douchebaggery. Maybe Nancy will go off to college and meet someone worthwhile, or maybe the man of her dreams is just waiting for her in the Upside Down, covered in some kind of extra-dimensional slime. One thing’s for sure: even a lab-created mutant would be a better romantic fit than Steve. Uggh. Steve.
Are We Going to Get Any Barb Fan Service?
No small role in 2017 had as much outsized cultural impact as Barb (Shannon Purser). She showed up as a wet blanket at a pool party, disappeared, and a meme was born. Purser went on to enjoy internet meme stardom and a role on The CW’s Riverdale.
But, will she return to Hawkins with the rest of the gang? If not, will we at least get a couple Barb-related Easter eggs? The role was clearly written as an afterthought, but television has proven time and again that nothing is quite as powerful as fan love. Who knows: all of those memes might be enough to resurrect Barb from the dead.
What Other Secrets Are Contained in the Upside Down?
We only spent limited time in the Upside Down in season 1 and were left with more questions than answers. If the Upside Down is some strange mirror or “dark echo” of our world, then shouldn’t there be a population of more than one? Is this dark echo an ill omen for the future of our world? Is this a post-apocalyptic, burned out version of our reality? Or are there plenty of other creatures lurking, ready to break through into our world and wreak havoc? There are many secrets left to be gleaned from this demonic otherworld, and here’s hoping season 2 takes us on a deep dive into this alternate universe.
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