‘Stranger Things 2’ was a rollercoaster ride of both character development and story arc: though a few minor characters were introduced here and there, the elements and characters of Season 1 were fleshed out and given new depth, i.e. the nature of the Upside Down, bits and pieces of Eleven’s origin story in the lab, Steve’s paternal side, baby versions of Demogorgons, etc.
In a nutshell, Stranger Things 2 dealt with how the Upside Down steadily seeped into Hawkins and laid down firmer roots, particularly in Will Byers: that quiet and possessed kid who just happened to have the most rotten luck among everyone else. But lo and behold, Eleven came to save the day and finally closed the “gate”. So everybody hoped to be over and done with all that mess in the hopes that they could live like normal adolescents and dance to The Police at the Snowball.
Wrong. The lyrics of Every step you take, every move you make…I’ll be watching you echo into the distance, lending an ominous note to the end of Season 2. As the camera pans downward, the Upside Down is shown very much alive and kicking beneath the safe floors of Hawkins Middle School: watching and waiting every move you make.
So besides the impending presence of the Upside Down, what are other knots left untied by Season 2? Obviously, there is the question of the insidious Hawkins National Laboratory, connected (supposedly) to the US Department of Energy: just what exactly does the lab hope to achieve by institutionalizing innocent adolescents and giving them powers too heavy for the world to handle?
Speaking of the lab, what’s their basis for choosing patients, i.e. other numbers? As it was shown in Season 2, Eleven is only one among an entire group, with Eight being her “sister”. Just how similar are the experiences of all the other numbers? Do they also call that weird old man “Papa”?
Jumping from Season 2, it can be expected that Season 3 will flesh out the history of the lab and very possibly touch on the stories of the other numbered patients, with a little bit of summer romance sprinkled at intervals (gotta please the fans). In any case, the final trailer presented an interesting premise: Eleven’s shutting of the gate locked whatever evil had seeped into Hawkins with them. Looks like Will can’t live in peace with himself and only himself just yet.
The Stranger Things franchise has been highly thematic, beginning with Christmas in Season 1 and taking place around Halloween the following year for Season 2. As such, it is only appropriate that Season 3 will premiere on the 4th of July, just at the height of summer festivities in the United States (both in Hawkins and in real life). You can only wonder: will the Hawkins crew put an end to the Upside Down once and for all?