Without a doubt, the first season of Stranger Things took us all by surprise last year. When it arrived on Netflix in summer 2016, no one could have predicted the level of success it would go on to achieve. But after becoming one of the streaming service's most popular shows, it's really no surprise that it was renewed for a second season.
But after months of waiting, #StrangerThings Season 2 has finally made its highly-anticipated debut on Netflix, and well, let's just say it didn't disappoint. But amidst all the epic, emotional and awe-inspiring moments, Season 2 managed to provide us with a lot of the answers to questions about the story and the characters that we have been craving for over a year. However, while doing so, it also left us with many more by the time the credits rolled on the season finale.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the biggest questions we're left with after Stranger Things Season 2 and see if we can figure out how these will play into Season 3.
Note: Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 2 will follow.
1. Have We Seen The Last Of The Shadow Monster And The Upside Down?
Despite the death of the Demogorgon in Season 1, we quickly found out that the gate to the Upside Down remained open. Even with their best attempts, the Hawkins Lab team were unable to close the gate (which had evolved in order to remain alive). And thus, the threat loomed over Hawkins for the whole second season.
However, the season finale saw the returning Eleven force the dreaded Shadow Monster back into the gate before sealing the Upside Down once and for all. With that, it was raining Demodogs, and all was safe in Hawkins once more. Or, at least, that's what we thought until the episode's closing moments.
As the students of Hawkins Middle School enjoyed the Snow Ball dance, we were transported to the Upside Down one more time. Just like Will had seen many times before, the sky turned red and an angrier, bigger Shadow Monster loomed over the school. It's worth noting that this version of the school also had lights inside the windows, and it's incredibly unlikely that the slimy residents of the Upside Down were enjoying their own Snow Ball dance.
But the biggest talking point is undoubtedly the fact that we were once again taken back here. This suggests that, despite Eleven's best efforts, we haven't seen the last of the dark netherworld. Moreover, the Shadow Monster's appearance also suggests that this season's Big Bad may very well return next year.
2. Will Mike And Eleven Finally Be Happy?
One of the things that made the first season of Stranger Things so endearing was the adorable relationship between Mike and Eleven. The two youngsters ended up spending a lot of time together when El hid at the Wheeler's house, and they ultimately fell for each other. But it ended in tears when Eleven presumably sacrificed herself to stop the Demogorgon. As Season 2 revealed, she was alive and well and hiding right under our heroes' noses the whole time.
While the season kept the pair apart, their reunion was even more heartfelt than expected. As Eleven saved the day once more, all seemingly returned to normal in Hawkins, which meant that both she and Mike were finally safe. Furthermore, now that she is no longer the subject of an FBI investigation, perhaps they can finally spend some time together as normal teenagers. So we have to wonder: Now that the world isn't about to end, will they finally get the chance to be happy, together?
The Mike and Eleven we saw in Season 2 were wiser, maturer and had a greater understanding of the world. Thus, we hope that after being apart for so long, they can finally be by each other's side, and find the happiness that they were denied before.
3. Is Will Finally Free Of The Upside Down?
Poor Will Byers has had a really tough couple of years, hasn't he? He was first kidnapped by the Demogorgon, held in the Upside Down and almost died there. But despite being rescued by Joyce and Hopper, he wasn't able to rid himself of the grips of the terrifying alternate dimension. As Season 2 highlighted, the Shadow Monster used Will's connection to the Upside Down in order to make its move, using him as a host.
Joyce, Jonathan and Nancy were finally able to force the creature from Will's body with heat. We can only assume that with its departure, Will is now free of the visions too. As they were the Shadow Monster's way of contacting (and terrifying) him, we have to wonder if Will is finally free of the Upside Down.
While the end of the episode certainly suggests trouble for Hawkins, Will may no longer be the target. With his connection to the Upside Down possibly severed, he may be finally able to fight back during Season 3. After all that he's been through, he really does deserve that chance.
4. Is Dr. Brenner Still Alive?
Matthew Modine's chillingly calm portrayal of Dr. Brenner was one of the highlights of last season. The cold, manipulative doctor was responsible for opening the gate to the Upside Down, and was willing to kill anyone who threatened to reveal his mistakes. But he didn't get out unscathed, as he met a grizzly end when he was killed by the Demogorgon in the Season 1 finale. At least, that's what we thought.
When Eleven decided to exact revenge on one of the doctors who tortured her "Mama," the man revealed that Brenner was actually still alive, and that he could take her to him. While he could have just been trying to save his own life with a lie, there's a strong possibility that he was telling the truth. After all, we didn't actually see the Demogorgon kill Brenner as it happened off-screen.
So, could Eleven's so-called "Papa" really be alive? Or was his former employee merely trying to lie his way out of danger. Either way, it was certainly great to see Modine reprise his role when Brenner appeared as a figment of Eleven's imagination. But could we be seeing more of him in Season 3?
5. Will The Hargroves Return?
While Season 2 saw a lot of new faces show up in Hawkins, the most interesting additions were the members of the Hargrove family. While Billy was busy being the world's biggest jerk, his step-sister Max was befriending Lucas, Dustin, Mike and Will. And although Billy was abusive, intimidating and downright rude to Max, she turned the tide in the season finale when she finally stood up to him. However, we also found out that Billy's behavior is down to the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father.
While we haven't found out if the Hargroves are returning to the show yet, Max's connection Lucas strongly suggests that she will definitely be back. As for Billy, it felt like he was lost for a storyline until the reveal of his abusive father. Make no mistake about it, this wasn't an accident. It's safe to say that there's a lot of uncharted territory in this family that the Duffer Brothers will undoubtedly be exploring in greater detail throughout Season 3.
6. Will Kali Come Back For Eleven?
Upon finding out that her mother was still alive, Eleven telepathically connected with her and discovered that Brenner experimented on another child: Kali, known as Number Eight in Hawkins Labs. Thus, she set out to find her "sister" in an episode that was solely devoted to her journey.
Arriving in Chicago, El eventually tracked her down. Kali was the leader of a group of outcasts and misfits who wanted to fight back against those who wronged them. However, she could also create illusions with her mind. The two "sisters" bonded over their psychic gifts and Eleven began to feel at home. But when the police finally caught up with them, and she figured out that her friends were in danger, she returned home to save her loved ones, leaving Kali and the group behind.
Despite using her for her own vengeful purposes, it was clear that Kali had grown quite fond of Eleven; she was heartbroken that El left her. So, I think it's safe to say that we haven't seen the last of her. Granted, this may have all unfolded in a single-episode arc, but Kali will likely play a greater role in Season 3. Now that Eleven is settled back in Hawkins, we're left wondering if Kali will come for her.
After a year-long wait, the return of Stranger Things certainly didn't disappoint. Not only did it make us laugh, cry and scream with #horror, it also managed to live up to the hype and exceed our expectations.
The second season of the beloved show shed some light on the mysteries we were left with last year. But in doing so, it also left us with a lot to think about for Season 3.
Did you enjoy Stranger Things Season 2? Let us know in the comments below!