Netflix original “Stranger Things” unleashed a spooky second season just in time for Halloween. If ’80s throwbacks and a mountain of nerdy Easter eggs aren’t enough for you, here are eight more reasons to put “Stranger Things” on your Christmas binge list.
01 Eleven Returns
If you made it through the bittersweet ending of the first season, you already know that Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) saved Will (Noah Schnapp) and the boys at great cost to herself. Luckily, she kept the receipt. Eleven has escaped the world of Upside Down and she’s back in ours. Unfortunately, she didn’t come alone.
02 Not All is Well With Will
Will Byers, whose disappearance is the center plot of the first season, is back as well. Though things seem to be fine on the outside at first, Will did not return without some serious baggage. He begins having visions of a new and terrifying monster that is far worse than anything he and the rest of Hawkins could have imagined.
03 Papa Hopper
In season one, we learned that Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) had a young daughter. In the second season, he puts those fatherly instincts to use and does everything he can to protect Eleven and keep her safe after she comes into his care. Naturally, there are plenty of bumps in the road. Waffles and cartoons can only keep a psychic kid happy for so long. Even so, the interactions are as heartwarming as they are heartbreaking.
04 New Characters
A new season also means new faces, some of which fans will recognize. Sean Astin (“Rudy,” “Lord of The Rings”) joins the cast as Bob, the kind, loving and protective boyfriend of Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). The season throws a tribute to the Alien franchise with the addition of Dr. Owens (Paul Riser), who now runs the Hawkins lab where all of the strange events began. Riser’s role in season two as a shady manipulator is awfully similar to that of Carter Burke, the character he played in the 1986 film “Aliens.”
Dacre Montgomery (“Power Rangers”) and Sadie Sink also join the cast as dysfunctional step-siblings Billy Hargrove and Maxine “Mad Max” Mayfield. Right from the get-go, the two seem to have a few issues, though Billy’s take the cake. Violent and manipulative, Billy quickly proves to be a threat.
05 Steve’s Adventures in Babysitting
If you want an example of character growth, look no further than Steve (Joe Keery). In the beginning of the first season, Steve quickly establishes himself as a jerk and a bully. By the end of the season, he (mostly) redeems himself. In season two, we learn that great hair and a heart of gold are only two of his best qualities. As it turns out, Steve is an awesome babysitter. He essentially adopts the group of geeky misfits while the grown-ups are off fighting evil. We see him trying to win back Nancy‘s heart, discussing love with ladies’ man Dustin and laying down the law like a single stressed-out soccer mom.
The memes might be the only thing better than Steve’s “not on my watch” pose.
06 Reunited (And It Feels So Good)
Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and his affection for Eleven may actually be the purest thing in existence. Throughout the second season, Mike is seen blaming himself for what happened to Eleven. It is heartbreaking to see how much he wishes she were there. Fortunately for Mike, wishes come true once in a while. Eleven reunites with Mike, Dustin, Lucas and the rest of the gang toward the end of the season, and they’re overjoyed to have her back. While Eleven isn’t terribly pleased to see newcomer Max, and Mike blames Hopper for hiding Eleven from them, surviving monster attacks and saving Will (again) quickly become top priority.
How will the gang fair in the second season? Only one way to find out. Both seasons of “Stranger Things” are available on Netflix. Make some waffles, get comfortable and be sure to tell us what you love about season two!