Stranger Things season 2 was just as addicting as the first. Staying up until ungodly hours of the day because the cliffhangers were just too much, happened again; even while knowing what I was getting myself into this time around.
I had an immediate interest in Eleven finding Eight and bounty-hunting their oppressors together. The problem with this episode (and evidently the entire season) was at no point was I ever convinced Eleven would be in Chicago longer than one episode. We only had two more episodes at this point before the end of the season, and it was clear the only way Hopkins was going to be at peace again was if Eleven went back to save it. Knowing this almost made episode 7 feel like a filler, while entirely messing with the flow of what was happening back in Hopkins. I absolutely loved the idea of Eleven tracking down her other super-powered siblings, but the timing of it all just felt off.
Fast forward to the ending of the season, where everything is wrapped and tied with a nice bow, with a teaser that the upside down is still lurking (which one could assume without the teaser, since Eleven didn’t do anything besides close the gate). This season’s ending was less exciting than season 1. Season 1 shows us that the link between the worlds remain within Will. Season 2’s finale shows us both worlds still exist, full stop.
How it should have ended:
Hear me out, we make tiny adjustments to the current story:
Eight stumbles onto Eleven instead.
Before episode 7, Eleven did not venture outside of Hopkins once. Eight, is a vigilante outcast who travels around the US killing anyone involved with her past. It would make perfect sense for her to eventually take a trip to Hopkins where she’d find someone involved with the experiments, kill them, and be caught square in the middle of our world vs The Upside-Down. Here, she meets Eleven and together they defeat the Shadow Monster, which now sets up a much more interesting Finale.
We know that Eleven’s determining factor of not traveling with Eight was to save her friends. With her friends already safe, Eleven can truly be torn between continuing with her new-found sister or remaining in Hopkins with her friends. It’s already been confirmed that Season 3 will have a time skip so at worst, the directors could have started season 3 with Eleven and Eight united, allowing the audience to put together that some time has passed since the last episode, and setup for a dramatic return to Hopkins, maybe even with some new and improved powers…
Episode 7 was great for a spin-off/ backstory mini-series, but having only 9 episodes in a season made the episode feel almost pointless when looking at the season individually. It will however, setup an interesting story line for the next season!