Warning! STRANGER THINGS 2 SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have not yet watched all of Stranger Things 2, turn back now. You have been warned. In this piece, we’ll go over eleven quotes from the second season of Stranger Things, and talk about a few hidden Easter eggs along the way. So grab your twenty-sided die, some walkie talkies and maybe even a makeshift morning star, and come along for the ride.
#1 – “I’m going to be honest with you. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.”
This understatement of the century was spoken by Dr. Owens of Hawkins Lab to Joyce Byers, about her son, Will in the first episode of the second season. At the end of season one, Will coughs up what looks like a small slug into his bathroom sink (that turns into “Dart” a baby Demadog that Will’s friend Dustin later befriends) and then experiences a brief vision of “The Upside Down” before returning to reality. Things definitely get worse for Will before they get better in season two. He continues to have visions and eventually, during a particularly violent one, the shadow monster from The Upside Down enters his body and begins to use him as a human host.
#2 – “So if your friend jumps off a cliff, you’re gonna jump too?”
This was said to Mike Wheeler by his father, Ted. Mike’s mother, Karen is telling him to pack up some toys to sell at the family yard sale. Mike protests, claiming that his toys have too much “emotional value” to sell. While his mother is listing off the things Mike has done wrong recently, she mentions that he did graffiti in the bathroom stall, to which Mike replies “Everybody graffiti’s the bathroom stall.” Ted, in true dad form, says “So if your friend jumps off a cliff, you’re gonna jump too?” As you probably know, Mike literally had to jump off a cliff in the first season to save Dustin from getting his baby teeth cut out by a bully. Luckily, after he jumped, Eleven showed up just in time to save him.
#3 – “Pure fuel! PURE FUEL! WOO!”
This quote is from the second episode, at a Halloween party that Nancy Wheeler is attending with her then boyfriend, Steve. Steve is approached by the new guy in town, Billy. Nance, not wanting to get involved, walks into the kitchen where she finds a guy wearing a bed sheet toga, drinking at the punch bowl. She approaches him and asks “What’s in this?” He replies “Pure fuel! PURE FUEL! WOO!” This articulate fellow makes two more appearances in the episode. Once later in the party, vomiting, and again the next day while Steve and Nance are arguing during gym class about their drunken conversation the night before.
#4 – “See? Zoomer.”
This quote comes from one of the second season additions to the cast, Maxine Mayfield, or as she’s known around Hawkins’ Palace Arcade, MADMAX. In episode three, Max is trying to become a member of the party but Mike, still holding on to hope for Eleven’s return, is reluctant to accept her. He says that the group is already full. Max offers to be their Zoomer, but Mike tells her that’s not a real thing. Max replies, “It could be.” Then she skates a circle around him and says “See? Zoomer.”
#5 – “It’s about the shadow monster, isn’t it?”
In episode four, Will is deep in the grips of the shadow monster which has taken his body hostage to work as a spy through which it can see into and interact with the real world. His mother Joyce is hesitant to let people see him because she isn’t aware that anybody else knows about the monster. Mike asks to see him but she says no, and Mike answers with, “It’s about the shadow monster, isn’t it?” In that moment, Joyce immediately knows that she has to let him see Will.
#6 – “Is this Will’s map? Are we in Will’s map?”
Oh, Bob Newby. Joyce’s new boyfriend in season two is a lovable, fun dad type. True fans will recognize him as Sean Astin from his major roles such as Samwise in The Lord of the Rings films and even earlier as Mikey in The Goonies. In episode five, after helping Mike, Will and Joyce figure out Will’s map of The Upside Down, they all pack up and head to the opening where Hopper entered and became stuck earlier. Joyce drops through the hole, and Bob follows, asking, “Is this Will’s map? Are we in Will’s map?” He is understandably confused and concerned.
#7 – “Bitchin.”
In episode seven, Eleven leaves the safety of Hopper’s cabin to search for her mother, after finding evidence under the floor boards that she is still alive. She finds her, but unfortunately, her mental state is not ideal. However, she is able to communicate to Eleven that her condition is because of the people at Hawkins Lab and that Eleven was not alone there, as a child. There was another girl, named Kali. (or Eight, according to her tattoo) Eleven finds Kali and her friends living in an abandoned warehouse where they give her a punk rock makeover. Her reply is “Bitchin.”
#8 – “It’s going to be okay. Remember, Bob Newby, Superhero.”
This one is rough. Bob is a great guy. He treats Will nicely and Joyce genuinely seems happy with him. In episode eight, while he and Joyce are at the lab with Will, Joyce is clearly upset. Bob reassuringly says “It’s going to be okay. Remember, Bob Newby, Superhero.” Such a sweet gesture. Sadly, later in the episode, after making what looks like a miraculous escape from the Demadogs, Bob is attacked and killed by a pack of them as Joyce, Will and Hopper make their escape. In the last episode we get a glimpse of a picture on the refrigerator that Will drew of Bob, dressed as a Superhero.
#9 – “Bitchin.” (again)
In the finale, Hopper and Eleven are finally reunited after she broke his rule and left the property. On their way to close the gate to The Upside Down, effectively killing all of the Demadogs and other hosts acting through hive mind, (Sorry, Dart!) Hopper apologizes for being so strict with Eleven during their time in the cabin. He then says, “I don’t hate it, by the way. This whole… look. It’s kind of cool” (referring to the punk rock makeover her “sister” Kali gave her in episode seven) Eleven replies, “Bitchin” again.
#10 – “I told you. Zoomer.”
Also in the finale of season two, is this gem of a callback to episode three. Max is still trying to solidify her place in the party. While Steve is watching the kids, Billy, Max’s older brother who confronted Steve at the costume party in episode two, is busy looking for Max. When he arrives at the house where Steve is watching the kids, Steve lies and says Max isn’t there. Unfortunately, she is peeking out the window and Billy sees her, causing him to hit Steve and go into the house. After a tussle, Max uses a syringe to sedate Billy, then steals the keys to his Camaro and says “Let’s get out of here.” With a box attached to the gas pedal for extra reach, she drives Lucas, Dustin, Steve and Mike (extremely fast) to the entrance of The Upside Down that Hopper had previously dug. They skid to a stop just outside the hole, Max looks to Mike (who looks terrified) and says “See? Zoomer.”
#11 – “Pure fuel.” (again)
In the final scene of the final episode of the season, the kids are all pairing up to dance at the winter formal or “Snow Ball.” Jonathan is working the photo booth and Nance is serving punch. They both sneak glances at each other. Suddenly, a young boy approaches the punch bowl and asks Nance, “What’s in this?” She says, “Pure fuel” with a smile. A clear callback to episode two. The kid looks at the cup and walks away, looking confused. A well placed funny moment to contrast the absolutely heart wrenching scene of Dustin standing alone on the dance floor just moments later. Luckily, Nance saves the day by dancing with him and telling him that it’s all going to be okay.
As this is happening, Max and Lucas share not only a first dance together, but a first kiss as well. Also, Eleven shows up and surprises Mike. They learn to dance together and for the first time, they too share a kiss on the dance floor of the Snow Ball in Hawkins, Indiana, 1984. However, as Sting’s Every Breath You Take reaches the point where he sings “I’ll be watching you” we get another glimpse into The Upside Down, as the shadow monster looks menacingly down from directly above Hawkins Middle School. As much as I wish these kids would catch a break from the craziness happening around town, part of me is excited to see that the monster is still creeping close by. Mostly because that means we’re definitely in for a third season!
There you have it! Eleven quotes (only some of which are from Eleven herself) that really help tie parts of the intricate Stranger Things 2 storyline together. Each one, regardless of it’s immediate and/or long lasting significance to the characters themselves, has an interesting connection to the story and sheds a bit of light on the writing style of the Duffer brothers as well as their amazing team of writers.
By Bill L. Wallis