‘Stranger Things 2’ season premiere recap: ‘Chapter One: MADMAX’

Stranger Things

Stranger Things is back!

We don’t return right to Hawkins, Indiana as we first visit Pittsburgh. We see a robbery in progress as a bunch of teens are fleeing from the cops. One of the girls tells them to drive under a bridge and she appears to make it fall on the cops as they drive through. We find out that it was actually a hallucination and we notice the one girl starts bleeding from the nose and has a tattoo with number 008 on it. Sound familiar?

It’s 1984 and we are back in Hawkins, Indiana. It has just about been a year since we last saw the crew. Halloween is right around the corner as Mike, Dustin and Lucas are all scavenging quarters to go to the arcade. Will is dropped off at the arcade by his mother Joyce. She still seems to be very protective of him. Understandably so. It was quite a year last year for the Byers family.

Someone named Madmax is beating all of Dustin’s scores at the arcade and he is not happy about it. They can’t figure out who it is. Will is still feeling the effects from his time in the Upside Down. He has a vision where he sees a giant storm heading towards Hawkins. Mike can tell that things are still off with Will. 

Chief of Police Jim Hopper is deflecting from Murray Bauman. Murray has conspiracy theories about the Russians and believes they abducted Barb and also heard the stories about the things Eleven did. Hopper continues to deflect as he gets a call out to a pumpkin patch. He is investigating the rotten pumpkins and is spooked when he goes into the cornfield. The rustling sounds only turn out to be a crow. Seems like Hooper is also on edge right now.

Steve and Nancy’s relationship seems to be in a good place. She is reviewing his college entrance essay. He would be ok not going because he could spend more time with Nancy. Nancy and Jonathan still seem to be friends as she wants him to come to a Halloween party. Jonathan isn’t sure about it and quickly leaves when Steve comes up and starts kissing Nancy. Seems we still have some lingering feelings hanging around.

We are also introduced to some new characters. We meet a guy with a sweet mullet and his redhead younger sister who immediately catches the attention of the crew. They meet her in science class as Max from California. The crew all seem to have taken an interest in her. She even knows they are doing a bit of creeping on her. Mike is especially more concerned about Will. Especially when Joyce picks Will up from school for his usual checkup.

Joyce and Hopper take Will to Hawkins Lab for his checkup. The lab is run now by Dr. Sam Owens. He asks Will about this episode. Will tells him he was back in the Upside Down and had a vision of this giant storm. He tells him that he was frozen in fear. He is afraid this thing wants to kill everyone. Dr. Owens tells Hopper and Joyce that Will is going to have more episodes and is suffering from ‘The Anniversary Effect.’ He advises them to treat him normal.

Hopper is glad that Joyce is doing well (Joyce even has a new boyfriend named Bob.) Hopper tells her that if anything happens to call him. We go back inside the lab and find out that they continue to burn The Gate (which is the portal that leads to the Upside Down) so that it doesn’t spread.

Dustin and Lucas are convinced that Max is Madmax. They report this to Mike, but he seems uninterested. He is getting lectured from his parents and told he has to give up some of his toys. He sees the old fort that Eleven used to stay in and goes to the walkie talkie to try and reach her. He has tried for 352 days with no response. Dustin arrives back home and hears noises outside. He ignores them and as he goes inside we see his trash can start to violently move.

Nancy and Steve go to The Holland’s house to eat dinner with Barb’s parents. They tell them about hiring Murray Bauman to investigate Barb’s disappearance. They are even selling their house to afford his salary. Nancy completely blames herself for Barb’s death. Jonathan is trying to get Will to open up to him but Will feels like a freak. The good brother Jonathan tells him that being a freak is a good thing.   

It’s after midnight in Hawkins and we have plenty going on. Alarms are going off inside Hawkins Lab. Will goes to the bathroom and walks outside and has another vision. He sees flashing red lights outside and sees the storm again. He also notices a monster appearing in the middle of the storm.

Hopper drives out to an isolated cabin that looks like he visits on a regular basis. He goes inside an finds an Eggo on the table. He starts talking and we hear “No signal. You’re late.” We then see Eleven sit down at the table (with a full head of hair.) She wants to eat her Eggo but Hopper tells her first they eat dinner…then they can have dessert.

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