When we last saw Eleven in season one of Stranger Things, she had disappeared with the Demogorgon as she obliterated the monster with her powers. They both burst into black dust. The idea being that Eleven could also have died with the creature, especially because it took a ton of energy to create the power that ultimately rid Hawkins of the inter-dimensional predator.
Next thing you know, she’ s having dinner with Hopper. But Eleven didn’t just magically end up on Hoppers doorstep in a nice basket filled with hickory smoked cheese and beef sticks. This episode we get all the details on how she ended up back in the real world and where she ended up after the last battle of Season one
Have you seen Stranger Things Season 2? Spoilers below read at your own risk
After the Demogorgon was killed, Eleven ended up in the upside down. I’m going to reach and say that as she was using her powers to kill it, it was using its powers to try to take Eleven into the upside down, the same way it would drag its prey over there. There’s no proof as to whether this is really what happened though.
Eleven ended up inside the school but the upside down dark and creepy version, with the distant Demogorgon like sounds. As she walked around looking for Mike or one of the other boys, Eleven spots a glowing wall of gelatinous pink glowing goo. From behind the goo, Eleven can hear the sounds of police that have now swarmed the school.
I would have been dying to run out of the upside down and into the hands of real humans, but Eleven was smart enough to wait it out. She knew that she could end up back at the lab if she walked in and the cops saw her. Once the school was silent again, she stretched out the gooey hole and used her powers to stretch it out big enough to walk right through.
Eleven walks straight to Mike’s house from there. The idea of making Mike’s home her own was probably still fresh in her mind and Mike is bae. But the lab or FBI have Mike’s house surrounded. They have convinced the family that Eleven was part of some Russian interference and they even try to convince Mike to tell them where she is by making her out to be a lying undercover spy.
Funny enough, Eleven is just a few feet outside of the Wheeler’s house watching as Mike gets interrogated. Mike notices her and it tips off the agents to have the perimeter searched for Eleven. But by then, she’s long gone deep into the woods. They send out droves of agents to canvas the woods and poor Eleven hides through the night under a log away from their search lights.
Eleven makes the woods her home in the dead of winter. She uses her powers to knock out a squirrel against a tree and then cooks it. The fire from her roasted squirrel attracts a man in a lumber jacket hat and warm jacket who wants to know what this kid is doing in the middle of the woods. He probably meant to help Eleven but she couldn’t risk the man tipping anyone off that she was in the woods, so she uses her powers to throw a burning log at the man. I believe the guy died, but we don’t get to find out if he ever wakes up. All I know is that Eleven took his hat and jacket. It’s cold as hell out there.
Eleven ends up in the part of the woods, where Hopper left the food in Season one. There’s a cupboard in the middle of the woods and when Eleven opens it she finds eggos and Tupperware. During one of Hoppers drop offs, Eleven follows him and reveals herself to him. How did Hopper know to leave the food in that cupboard? How did Hopper know she was there?
Based on the fact that Hopper was still communicating with the lab, I’m sure they had figured out that Eleven survived the Demogorgon battle and was in the woods. But the connection between Hopper’s food drop offs and Eleven is still a little sketchy.
Halloween: Ghostbusters Edition
Joyce is running around like a chicken with her head cut off in the morning and Jonathon is making breakfast. This is the Byers house at it’s finest. When Joyce realizes that Will hasn’t woken up yet, she goes into full panic mode checking rooms, until she finds him in the bathroom about to take his morning pee. It’s been a full year and Joyce is always on pins and needles. Joyce is the true mom MVP, alert and aware for her boy.
It’s Halloween! The boys are all dressed in Ghostbusters costumes complete with proton packs. Dustin even has a functional ghost trap. Their mothers take advantage of the Halloween cuteness and each of them is forced to participate in a photo shoot by their moms. Dustin’s mom is excited and probably has too much caffeine in her diet. Lucas’ mom busts with joy and she clicks away with her camera, as his sister, Erica, doesn’t fail to remind him that he’s a nerd.
The boys ride in to school on their bikes singing the Ghostbuster anthem. Super cute! Then everyone else gets to school and they realize that they are the only ones in costume. This is the worst nightmare for every adolescent. There’s a thin line between still being young enough for costumes at school and being too grown for them. Finding out when that switch takes place is practically impossible.
They also have a problem with their Ghostbuster assignments. They have a Ray Stanz, an Egon Spengler, and two Peter Vekemans. Dr. Vekeman, played by Bill Murray in the movie, was clearly the lead Ghostbuster and the funniest of the group. Both Mike and Lucas come as Vekeman assuming that someone else would take the part of Winston, the most unpopular Ghostbuster ever.
If you didn’t know, Winston’s character is criticized for being a poor attempt at diversifying the cast. They added a black Ghostbuster, who wasn’t a scientist like the others, and gave him no purpose. He was just another pair of hands and supposedly wasn’t funny. They even mentioned it on the Golden Girls that they couldn’t even give the guy a good line. The Golden Girls would shade all of the things wrong during the 80’s and everyone took it and smiled because they were old ladies. The writers of Ghostbusters could have done better in developing Winston as a character. In short, no one wants to be a Ghostbuster whose existence is decorative.
The other issue that this double Vekeman situation addresses is the assumption that Lucas should be Winston because he is the only black child of the group, an assumption that Mike made when he chose to be Peter Vekeman. But Lucas’ character is far from Winston. Stranger Things isn’t diverse, and I’m not going to get into that now, but Lucas is not a token character either. Lucas is not only one of the funniest but he’s also a character that propels the story forward and is a vital part of the Stranger things storyline. Two Vekeman’s is the only way this Ghostbusters troop was going to work out.
So the boys go to school to the sound of nerd references and jokes because they’re the only ones dressed up for Halloween. Dustin and Lucas have true guts because they decide that they will approach Max in their costumes. Only, they chicken out when she slams the door to her locker and heads for class. They approach her later in the day and invite her to go trick or treating. Dustin shows off his functional ghost trap, you know, cause all the ladies love that type of stuff. Max doesn’t decline or accept the proposal and the guys are left to wonder if she will show up.
Actually, Dustin is left wondering if Max calling him presumptuous is a compliment.
Justice for Barbara
Nancy and Steve hit the library to study in old Nancy fashion. But Nancy isn’t the same oblivious A student she once was. She sees a girl that looks like Barbara from behind and remembers the last words she ever heard her friend say to her. She almost expects it to be Barbara and feels stupid when she sees that it’s someone else.
Steve and Nancy close themselves in a small study room to talk more on what’s been bugging Nancy. She hates that they’re pretending that her best friend didn’t just die in the upside down a year ago. Barb’s parents are sadly on a mission to find the truth about their daughter’s disappearance and it looks like there is no way they are really going to find the truth. It is killing Nancy that this family is not going to have closure and move on from this. She wants to tell them what happened.
And although I agree with Nancy’s stance, I understand Steve’s practical thinking. Steve isn’t acting unconcerned because he doesn’t care, but because he knows the consequences. He knows the reach of Hawkins lab and proposing to tell Barb’s parents the truth could only mean putting the lives of their own family at risk, should the lab get a whiff of what they’re planning. After a year, you also have to wonder at what point these teenagers will get to live a normal life away from the Hawkins lab scandal and the other dimensional crisis that seems to loom over everyone. Steve just wants to be normal again and he wants Nancy to try. In his opinion they should go to the Halloween party, have a good time, and most importantly, forget about everything that happened the previous year.
Trick or Treat
Max went home from school with Billy in his flashy car. Billy, who is originally from California, finds Hawkins to be a complete dump. The smell of manure in the air reminds him that this place is bullshit. Living in a small city in the middle of nowhere has him moody as ever and he’s surprised that Max seems not to mind it so much.
Billy implies that its someone’s fault that they ended up in Hawkins, but it’s a sore spot for Max and she won’t agree with him on whose it is. All the anger about the move gets Billy racing recklessly down the road and he picks up his pace when he sees the boys peddling their bikes in Ghostbuster costumes. He almost hits them but swerves out the way, causing Max and the boys to almost have a heart attack. Billy is reckless and filled with a lot of anger he doesn’t know how to channel.
Later that night, Bob Newby is in the Byers home in a cheesy vampire costume. As a radio shack tech, that loves his technology, he teaches Jonathon how to record with his state of the art VHS recorder. Jonathon is in charge of taking Will trick or treating, because Will has to be under observation at all times, so Jonathon is recording the boys on their trick or treating track.
Bob and Joyce have a quiet night at home dancing. Bob is all the way in love with her and she seems just as smitten with the cornball. Joyce tries to explain that they aren’t a normal family. The guy has no idea as to what really happened with Will and what continues to be a threat in their lives. Bob seems genuinely convinced that he can make a normal life for them. They can move away and start over. Although you can tell Joyce doesn’t know if thats going to happen, she looks happy about the idea should it come to pass. Bob loves the boys though he notices that Jonathon is a little ticked off the guy is swooning over his mom. He’s ready to be a stepdad and a husband,by the looks of it. Makes you want to call Bob up and tell him to save himself. He’s about to enter another dimension, literally.
Well, Will has just about had it with all the babying. Jonathon arrives at the designated street where they are to meet the other boys but Will tells him he’s tired of being watched. He wants to do something alone. So Jonathan passes him the recorder and makes him promise to meet at Mike’s when they are done. Jonathon has decided he will take Nancy’s advice and head toward the teenage Halloween party.
None of the adults giving candy on Mulberry Street know what the kids are for Halloween or even what they want. One of them thinks that the boys are dressed as exterminators. And all of them seem to be giving out Three Musketeers, a candy made mostly of nougat, which they all seem to hate, except Dustin. I hate this candy too. Someone jumps out at them dressed as Michael Myers and the boys all almost lose their shit. Max, the only girl, has the Michael Myers mask and knife as a costume. She took Lucas and Dustin’s offer to go trick or treating.
The boys are ecstatic, all except for Mike. This new girl is ruining the best night of the year. How quickly Mike forgets that he was the one excited about a girl while the others weren’t too inviting of Eleven and her weirdness. But all that moodiness from Mike, comes from his obvious depression and longing for Eleven’s return.
Will continues to record as they approach another house when a group of scary looking teenagers knock him to the ground on their way out of a house. They call him zombie boy and Will goes quickly into the upside down. When he turns around, he sees the giant tarantula looming over him. Will runs into one of the side passages of a house toward a backyard and crouches against the wall.
Will wakes up from the upside down as Mike finds him in present Hawkins hiding behind the house. Mike decides to take Will home with him. He wasn’t having any fun because he hates Max, so it wasn’t going to be a loss. He rudely tells the others that he doesn’t need any help taking Will home. And most likely, it was an attempt at deterring them from bringing Max to his house too. Lucas and Dustin haven’t a clue as to Mike’s behavior and they don’t even realize that Mike is not a fan of Max.
Back at Mike’s house, Will opens up about his recent visions. He explains the tarantula shadow monster. He describes these visions as using a home viewmaster and being stuck between the slides.
Remember those toys from the 80’s?
Will also says that he feels like the shadow tarantula is a live. He feels like he’s going crazy. Mike offers that Eleven would understand Will if she was still with them. And he assures him that should he go crazy, they’re going to go crazy together. Boy, what I’d give to have a friend like the boys in Stranger things.
Hopper ruins Halloween
Eleven dressed up in a sheet the morning of Halloween. She wants to go trick or treating. She’s never done anything remotely normal as a child, and now that she has Hopper as a foster dad, she’s hopping he’ll let her go. She is the absolute cutest.
Hopper is now the male version of Joyce, always aware of the Hawkins lab threat. One of his phrases to Eleven is that they don’t take risks because their not stupid. So, he offers to compromise. Instead of trick or treating, Hopper will come home with Candy and they’ll watch a spooky movie together. That sounds great, except Eleven can’t live a sheltered life for eternity. She doesn’t even have any form of human contact other then Hopper.
Earlier that day, While Will was getting ready in his Ghostbuster costume; Joyce found a drawing he made of the shadow monster. He lies and says it s a drawing he’s been working on for school, but Joyce is the supreme MVP of moms and she doesn’t take his word for it.
Joyce brings this drawing to Hopper and tells him that she thinks these are fresh visions. These are not reminiscent of anything that happened in the upside down. She also mentions that Will lied about its origins. Using the doctor’s advice as guidance, Hopper suggests that this is what they meant when they said it would get worse before it got better. But Joyce is noticing these new patterns and she knows this has to be a new threat. Way to go Joyce, for not falling into the “it’s all in my head” plotline.
It looks like Joyce may be considering going back to the expensive doctors but Hopper tells her that those are pricey dead ends. They share a cigarette and reminisce about a time when they were kids smoking behind their teachers back and avoiding getting caught. It makes you wonder why they never hooked up and what made Lonie so appealing to Joyce. I mean, Hopper truly is badass.
Back at the Sheriff’s office, Eugene shows up with infected pumpkins. He thinks this was all Merle. Just a day ago, Merle had come pointing fingers at Eugene. Eugene makes reference to every other farmer having infected crops and the light bulb goes on in Hoppers head. This isn’t a feud between farmers; something has to be going on if so many crops are being affected.
Hopper takes a trip to Eugene’s farm and finds that all of the pumpkins are rotting and covered with flies. He follow the trail of rot to a tree covered in slime. Slime that is similar to upside down related goo. Past the tree, none of the vegetation is effected. Hopper calls his deputies to go to all of the farms and mark the circumference of pumpkin infection. This way Hopper can find out the source.
Sometime in the night, Hopper is marking Eugene’s crops and bumps into his kid. The little boy is dressed as a cowboy and shoots a play gun at Hopper. That’s when he remembers his promise to Eleven. Hopper is late for movies and candy, in fact, he doesn’t even have any candy. He gives the kid money to take some of his. Then he out out through morse code that he’s late. A morse code transistor is their basis of their communication to avoid lab spies. Eleven is probably pissed.
Eleven visits the void, while bored out of her mind watching TV. She could travel to the void now by blindfolding herself and channeling a static TV. She visits Mike, who spends his loneliest moments calling Eleven via walkie-talkie and spilling out his guts on how much he misses her. She doesn’t respond to him and he turns off the Walkie. He walks out of the room and breaks her connection from him in the void. Eleven remains in that darkness crying and it makes me want to beat Hopper. Yes, Hopper, because the girl is cut off from the world and he doesn’t see the harm that it’s causing. Hoppers out all day and he’s trapped in a house. What’s the difference from their house in the woods and Hawkins lab then?
The teenage Halloween party is in someone’s lofty house, minus the parents, and is more about drinking then it is about wearing costumes. They open a keg and Billy chugs some beer to everyone’s admiration as he yells out that this how you do it Hawkins. Billy’s established himself as a California boy that knows how to really get down compared to these small town kids and becomes the beer keg king. But they don’t forget to remind him that Steve Harrington was formerly the cool boy in school and he eagerly approaches Steve as an envious rival.
Nancy gets bored with all the machoness and heads to the kitchen to get a drink from the obscure Halloween spiked punch. What’s in the punch? Pure FUEL!
Nancy isn’t the type to indulge in drinking anymore; she doesn’t care much about being cool. Drinking the punch is more about mocking Steve’s request to forget everything that happened with the upside down.
When Jonathon arrives, Nancy is already loose from drinking and is dancing with Steve. Some random girl approaches Jonathon and asks about his costume. He’s not wearing any and she’s intrigued.
Meanwhile, Nancy tries to go for some more punch, even though she’s smashed. Steve tries to reel her in from getting any more drunk. He tries to take the cup out of her hand and he ends up spilling the red drink all over her white shirt. For the record, Nancy was in costume but I couldn’t figure out what she was. She looked like the Colonel from Kentucky Fried Chicken crossed with someone from little house on the prairie. Steve looked like a cool kid. Maybe a cool adult cause he looks older with the blazer and shades.
Nancy heads to the bathroom to clean off the drink and to perform the worst acting I’ve ever seen. Drunk Nancy speaks like a toddler unable to put together sentences. I’ve seen my share of drunks ranging from incomprehensible to silly, but Nancy was down right unbelievable even for a drunk. She tells Steve that she thinks everything is bullshit. Not only they’re pretending that everything is okay, but apparently, their relationship.
Steve storms out the party and Jonathon ends up having to take Nancy home. Since he was picking up Will at her house anyway, he takes her shoes off and puts her to bed. She only recognizes him before she goes to sleep and says his name. Once again, the Wheeler family is unaware their teenager daughter was drunk and was brought into her home by a guy friend.
The Upside Down Update
The tarantula visit that Will experienced the night before fried the wiring at Hawkins lab. The lab has gone as far as setting up devices that record within the upside down. Those devices also were fried with the surge of energy from the tarantula monster. They went back in and replaced the devices and everything is up and running again.
Back at Dustin’s house, there’s also a visit from the upside down. The trashcan is still rattling out of control and Dustin finally realizes it’s not his cat. He opens the trashcan and discovers something that makes him say one of his famously delivered curse words.
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