Stranger Things: What was up with that weird standalone ‘punk’ episode? (spoilers)

Spoilers for Stranger Things up until the second to last episode
I gave up about halfway through Stranger Things’ seventh episode this season, “The Lost Sister.” It was a bottle episode feature Eleven visiting a ragtag bunch of 80s punk runaways in Chicago in an attempt to find another teen raised at the lab with her. It was cheesier than an after school special, complete with a ridiculous backdrop featuring lots of graffiti, mohawks and a cast of characters that seemed like cardboard cutouts. A friend finished watching it for me and told me that I didn’t miss anything and that I would have only been more pissed off if I invested the time. Then, when I got to the penultimate episode (I never get a chance to use that word!) I couldn’t finish it either. So I’m still halfway through the second to last episode and am just not motivated to finish the show.

Many people feel the same as me and there are think pieces about what a sh-tty throwaway capsule episode that was. The Onion even did a story about it. In case you were wondering, creators the Duffer brothers revealed that they considered scrapping that episode but decided to keep it because it told essential backstory for Eleven or something. Plus, it surely cost a lot of money to make. The writer credited with this episode was Jason Doble. He wrote two episodes last season and only this one this season. Was this terrible episode his idea or did he take the fall for the team? Judging from the Duffer’s comments, it was a group decision. Here’s what they told Entertainment Weekly about “The Lost Sister”:

Creators Ross and Matt Duffer knew that this risk would lead to debate. “Whether it works for people or not, it allows us to experiment a little bit,” says Matt. “It’s important for Ross and I to try stuff and not feel like we’re doing the same thing over and over again. It’s almost like doing a whole little other pilot episode in the middle of your season, which is kind of a crazy thing to do. But it was really fun to write and cast and work on.”

And while it’s a jarring departure from previous episodes, the Duffers say it was necessary. “Our test of the episode was we tried to pull it out of the show just to make sure that we needed it because I didn’t want it in there as filler — even though some critics are accusing us of doing that. But Eleven’s journey kind of fell apart, like the ending didn’t work, without it. So I was like, whether this works or not, we need this building block in here or the whole show is going to collapse. It’s not going to end well. The Mind Flayer is going to take over Hawkins.”

Adds Ross, “That Eleven story line overall is sort of the biggest risk we took. We’re going to continue to do risks moving forward to keep us on our toes. I didn’t want her to just magically save the day. Just like Luke Skywalker, she needed to go off on her own and learn something about herself.”

[From Entertainment Weekly]

This reminds me of how the Walking Dead showrunners kept defending their poor choices and promising there would be a payoff, which of course pissed off fans. The ratings this season have been the lowest ever for that series as many people subsequently gave up on it. (WD is still doing astronomically well though and I would suspect it will be the same for ST, which is less subject to ratings and fan opinions as it airs on Netflix.) Would it kill showrunners to admit that they made a misstep, to say that they hear and understand fans and that they’re going to self correct in the future? Instead the Duffers are doubling down in the face of criticism and promise they’re going to keep doing what they want. There’s a difference between taking risks and taking the show in a completely different direction that feels inauthentic and doesn’t fit with the storyline and characters.





Screenshots thanks to PopBuzz, Nerdist and Screenrant

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97 Responses to “Stranger Things: What was up with that weird standalone ‘punk’ episode? (spoilers)”

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  1. Nicole says:

    This episode was so annoying. And i think the fact that it was so late in the season made it more so. I would’ve disliked it less if it was…episode 3 or 4. Not 7 when we just hit a huge climax in Hawkins. It was so jarring because it seemed like they threw the episode in there.
    Plus the optics of 8’s anger being “bad” and 11’s being “good” was just…nope

    • Tara says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. Plus the writers didn’t really integrate that episode with the storyline as a whole… at all. The only minor thing I liked was that the scene with them all walking reminded me of the iconic punk movie Suburbia.

      And kudos to CB for linking to the Onion article which gave voice to my niggling discontent with S2.

    • Megan says:

      I just watched the final episode which made me give episode 7 an even bigger ugh. Eleven meets someone who can control minds, the next episode Dustin is talking about how they have to control the hive mind. Eight is obviously coming back next season to do that.

  2. Bluetop says:

    I watched the entire season and I agree with you about this episode. It was very tired, rag tag team of misfits feeling. Complete with the Mohawk and Afro representation and big, scary yet caring gentle black guy. It pulled me out of the story.

    • annaloo. says:

      Maybe I was the only one who enjoyed the season? I love that you can watch this show with kids (well, tweens and up at least), and Eleven’s ability to find people was showcased by her finding her sister. I loved that this show has a lot of diversity in the young people, their energy is sincere… I feel like Stranger Things may be like the band Arcade Fire….Not everyone likes what they are doing, but what they are doing is sincere and true to who and what they are. I was charmed again for the second season, and hope there is a third.

      • Kezia says:

        I preferred season two to season one And I loved season one so that’s saying something!! Need escapism in my Life/Work, ST helps!!

  3. C says:

    I think I’m the only person that doesn’t care about ST. I also gave up TWD this season… so boring.

    • Jerusha says:

      No, I watched part of episode 1, season 1 and never went back. I made it through approximately 15 minutes of the very first WD and dumped it.

    • Lindy79 says:

      The Walking Dead is beyond poor at this stage, same mistakes being made over and over again

      • Celebitchy says:

        I gave up on TWD last season but I saw the finale. I tried to watch it this season and it’s still so weird and hard to follow. I don’t care anymore.

      • Lindy79 says:

        I turned to Mr Lindy the other night, WD used to be our thing to watch on a Monday evening after work (we’re in Ireland so can’t watch live), and we were both like…meh we need another show. he first three episodes have been basically shooting randomly and running with a bit of crappy dialogue thrown in.

        He’s read the comics and even he’s bored with it and has no clue what they’re doing.

      • C says:

        You’re right!

      • M.A.F. says:

        I didn’t even bother to watch last year (it was last year right? when they finally got around to killing Glenn?) I’ll go back when they announce the end of the series. Pretty sure I can just pick it up again since nothing ever happens.

    • teacakes says:

      I’ve never watched The Walking Dead. It’s just not interesting to me on any level.

    • isabelle says:

      TWD is awful. Its really only had a few good seasons, 1-3, downhill after that and keeps getting worse and worse. They need to get rid of their showrunner or best for them if they just ended it.

    • Olive says:

      I watched the first season of Stranger Things because my boyfriend wanted to (he’s older and grew up watching those 80s movies), but the insane hype and media saturation for season 2 just about killed any affection we may have had for the show, so we’re not watching season 2.

      Generally, though, I don’t like movies where kids or teens are the main characters. Just not into those stories at all.

    • Melissa says:

      I didn’t mind the episode either. And I also enjoy and respect Arcade Fire partly because of their earnestness. So I agree that ST has a similar thing going on.

      For me, the worst part of the season was how Hopper got hit with the stupid stick all of a sudden. Why was he yelling at a telekinetic tween who has been abused in a lab her entire life? Why did he decide to explore the rotten pumpkin tunnels all by himself? Made absolutely no sense.

  4. Giulia says:

    I just watched it last night and it was not great. Mostly it struck me as an excuse to dress up in early 80s hard style and music. That’s it.

  5. Mia4s says:

    I get what they were going for but it was too rushed and two disconnected. Probably should have been part of a season 3 arc. Or it needed to have another main character involved (Mike runs off with her, or Hopper goes with her). Still, overall I enjoy the heck out of this show. It’s tons of fun.

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. Making it a standalone episode was a mistake. It called back to the beginning, which felt so random at the time, but the distance between them was too big. Weaving the story into the main story probably would have worked better. It also would have worked better if the “misfit” characters weren’t so one dimensional.

      I loved the first season but the second season didn’t work nearly as well for me. Even the music fell kinda flat, they didn’t seem to spend nearly as much time working 80s tunes into the story like they did in S1. Not sure if I’m motivated to watch a third season.

    • teacakes says:

      Same, I get the purpose but the execution didn’t work.

      And despite my bitching out this episode, I loved the rest of Season 2 and especially the finale. I’m just going to skip ep 7 on rewatch from now on (and I hope the Duffers don’t pull anything like this for Season 3).

  6. MESaenz says:

    It was the Hello Larry episode of Diffrent Strokes. Hopefully no spinoff.

  7. Purplehazeforever says:

    I disagree…the episode was necessary to show who Eleven is at her core. She’s there for her friends, she’s a good person. She just doesn’t kill people just because someone tells her they’re bad. They have to threaten people she feels a connection to and cares for deeply. She realizes Hopper & Mike are in grave danger at the end of episode 7 and goes back to Hawkins to save them. Yes, it was cheesy. Maybe it should have been earlier and the entire season better written because the first was stronger but I think this episode shows you who she is. And that she also cares for Hopper too.

    • Esmom says:

      I don’t disagree with what you’re saying but I think they could have woven into the main story over several episodes instead of making it a standalone piece. I think it would seemed less disconnected if they’d done that.

    • DiamondGirl says:

      Plus her sister taught her how to strengthen her powers which she needed later on.

      I tend to not overthink these things because they’re just for light entertainment.

      • Rocknrust says:

        Agreed. I thought it was to strengthen her powers which she needed to do, as well as possibly set up a story for next season.

      • Patricia says:

        Diamondgirl I’m with you on not overthinking. Eat some popcorn and enjoy. Sure i rolled my eyes at that episode and said it was corny… but I’m not acting like I was personally wronged just because a show made a misstep.
        People take it way too seriously. Enjoy the show! If you don’t like an episode, skip it. People work so so hard to make these shows but at the end of the day they are just people.

    • kibbles says:

      I agree. I was not really bothered by this episode. I kind of liked seeing Eleven outside of Hawkins and in the city. I would actually like to see a bit of that in Season 3 – have the kids explore 80s Chicago or some other major city in the Midwest on a field trip – I have no problems taking the main characters outside of their small town and expanding the ST universe a bit more. I also agree that it sets us up for understanding the type of person Eleven is and what she stands for as a decent human being who uses her powers for good – like any super hero versus his or her arch nemesis. Lastly, it might be possible to have her sister return in Season 3 to cause havoc. There might be a larger story arch here that we just aren’t able to see yet until the 3rd or 4th seasons.

  8. DesertReal says:

    Clearly they’re expanding the reach/implications that Hawkins Lab had. Elle is 11, the telepath(?) was 8…
    It’s reasonable to assume that we’re going to potentially see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, & 10. All of them might even be needed to permanently end the upside down threat.
    Maybe reading comics as a kid has me jumping to too many conclusions, but episode 7 made the above the next obvious step in my eyes.

    • jenn says:

      Exactly! Also, doesn’t it establish that Eleven and Eight are enemies now? That Eight would do everything she can to “turn Eleven to her side,” but wouldn’t hesitate to get her out of her way, either? We could mine this for YEARS. Pretty soon Hopper is trying to fight off TEN X-MEN SUPERSOLDIERS. Having a teen daughter is tough!

    • M.A.F. says:

      And that is fine. But I feel like there was a better way to introduce the other’s than have Eleven go on some self-discovery journey that didn’t tie in with the rest of season.

  9. Arock says:

    It felt like a bad pat benetar throw back video; almost like they only did it to give 11′s blazer a story arc. Billy was also a wtf addition for at the start but he gets there as a character. Once the family life scene is shown you kind of get it and it the “after school special” acting gets a little more tolerable. (Full confession, the scene with the mom- I was like, yep, I’d hit it)

    • Josephine says:

      I agree about Billy. It’s like they wanted the character but really had no idea what to do with him. I’m hoping he’ll be next season’s Steve? Billy seemed like an interesting character for about 2 minutes but they desperately need to do something with him.

      And the scene with Mike’s mom, hilarious and awesome. Totally worth the agony of his bizarre nothingness the rest of the time.

      • Pinetree13 says:

        Yes! I am here for mike’s Mom hooking up with billy LOL I loved billy, loved to hate him too.

        Also he was added as a reference to the lost boys (the duffer brothers incorporate Stephen king homages all the time)

        I’m glad they added billy

      • Ash says:

        Do you mean Stand By Me?

  10. tifzlan says:

    I generally find Stranger Things to be overhyped and mediocre writing at best, but the only thing that keeps me watching it is the acting. I think the kids are phenomenal and they really redeem the show. Oddly enough, i like MBB the least. Also, can we talk about wtf Billy was there for…. like, it truly annoyed me that there was nothing there, except for a potential illicit affair with Mrs. Wheeler next season.

    • HelloSunshine says:

      I feel like Billy was thrown in just because they needed a bully (who looks like he’s 30???) but it felt sloppy. They could’ve brought in Max’s character without him and the series would’ve been fine.
      I really enjoyed season 2 but there were a lot of missteps imo. The kids absolutely shined through all of those. The actor who plays Will is amazing!

      • Bree says:

        Totally random, but I also thought Billy looked crazy old. My husband kept harping on it, so we looked it up and the actor is supposedly…22. No way in hell.

      • Esmom says:

        Bree, I agree that Billy looks older than high school but if we’re going there then Jonathan looks even older than Billy imo. He’s always been jarringly un-high schooler like to me.

      • Shambles says:

        Yes. The Billy Storyline was weird and it was never quite made it to make sense. I was always expecting him to tie into something supernatural, and there was even a time that I thought he and Steve were going to end up together. Any of those options would’ve made more sense and made the story feel more cohesive. But Billy, as of right now, makes no sense to me. His arc was absolutely sloppy, but I’m at least glad they didn’t go for the obvious choice and try to pair him with Nancy. I thought the big reveal of who his “date” was supposed to be in one of the last few episodes was going to clear everything up, but… nope. No payoff. I honest to god thought his love interest was going to end up being Steve. I sensed sexual tension between them, at least from Billy’s side. I got the sense that his character was gay, but maybe I was just reading too much into it.

      • Hikaru says:

        Shambles, I thought his aggression was going to be revealed as some sort of compensating for being a gay kid with a military style strict homophobic dad. He had great chemistry with other male characters too.

      • Sylvia says:

        I agree about the Billy storyline, it was super weird and didn’t make much sense in the overall story arc. I also thought it’d tie into the supernatural – I actually thought him and the sister would turn out to be on the run from a government lab like eleven because they were portrayed so weird and parents were never mentioned. But when the parents do finally show up and you learn they’re just “normal” (because Billy was not normal, lbr) kids all along, it was very okayyyy and WTF to me. That whole storyline and characterization was just so extra and uneccessary to me.

    • Esmom says:

      I’m with you on MBB. I get that she’s supposed to be sort of robotic but when emotion is required from her it doesn’t ring nearly as true as the other kids’ performances. They are all really good.

      • HelloSunshine says:

        @Esmom I totally agree about Jonathon as well. Every other character in the show fits but those two really stick out as not looking their age.

        I think MBB is good for this part but I wonder how she would do in another role. I worry that after ST is over, she won’t be able to move into other roles and how her family will treat her :(

  11. MilaMartini says:

    When I watched Strager Things 2 I though about skipping that episode. It was so boring, didn’t have any connection to the other episodes and the acting of the other ‘kids’ was not great.

  12. NorthernLala says:

    Bad 80’s after school tv – I should know, I was raised on it ;)
    Cheesy writing that teens would like but since adults watch this too… ugh. And the acting …cheesy all around. Cheesy 80’s superhero vibe. Did I mention it was cheesy?

  13. Ally says:

    It was about Eleven/Jane leaping into teenage-dom, and also defining the nature and limits of her willingness to kill. Somewhat cheesy with the after-school-special gang, but definitely necessary as an episode. Eleven/Jane chooses to go back to her friends and adoptive father, Otherwise she’s basically a hostage in Hawkins.

  14. Nobody's fan says:

    I liked it.
    I also believe viewers should’nt get exactly what they want, a lil frustration and build-up is good.

    • Babs says:

      I liked it too. It was fun.

    • knotslaning says:

      Agreed, I liked it too. I had been waiting for 11 to become something other than a side note. I felt like she was honing in on her badassery! She needed that trip to get pissed and learn control!

  15. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    The whole show is cheesy, but that cheese has a history. Yeah the soundtrack is 80s. Yeah the set is 80s. But what they’re really nailing is 80s production. I feel like I’m actually watching 80s cheese. That’s the why it’s not over-hyped. It’s not just a throwback, it’s a time capsule and the dialog comes from the same can o’cheese. The New York episode is certainly an excursion, but it reminded me of eye-rolling much of what I watched in the 80s. It did feel disjointed though; I don’t mind staying in Hawkins, Indiana.

    • Esmom says:

      Agree, one of its main draws for me is how authentic the era feels. Although one thing about the Chicago scenes — I noticed the skyline was today’s and not from the 80s. It shows the Trump building, which was built in the mid 2000s!

  16. Lindy79 says:

    Yep, it was misplaced given what had just happened in Hawkins, and also could have been part of a slightly earlier episode rather than a total stand alone. I feel they may have been testing the waters for 8 making a return for Season 3. It kind of was necessary as it allowed Eleven to have that eureka moment which brings her back to Hawkins and how much she wants to be there. If it hadn’t been Netflix and we’d hate to wait a week after that it would have been worse in all honesty (Walking Dead take note!!)

    Also, why the hell am I so into David Harbour now??

    • susiecue says:

      Right??? I just want to cuddle with him and eat cheese

      • Lindy79 says:

        HAHA! I know! The more you tube interviews I watch now, he seems like an ace guy I want to have a drink with (with a cuddle thrown in, Id say he gives fantastic ones).

    • teacakes says:

      They could have achieved Eleven’s eureka moment by having her stick around and communicate with the actual mother she’s been hung up on all season instead of sending her on some wild goose chase to some girl she has no memory of before this.

      Literally the only justification for this episode was to explain Eleven’s punk look in the finale. Which didn’t even stick!

      (Seconded on the David Harbour love though, he’d be the best kind of papa bear and I love Hop best when he’s being a dad to Eleven, however clumsily)

    • Josephine says:

      Yes to David Harbour! And the character he plays is so compelling. The show definitely does not feel complete to me, but the pieces that they do well are worth it.

      I found the addition of Paul Reiser oddly perfect. I heard that before they named the doctor character or knew who would play him, they called him the “Paul Reiser character.”

    • Esmom says:

      Haha, my co-worker is in LOVE with him. She said he’s the main reason she watches.

  17. teacakes says:

    I understand what they wanted to do – give Eleven her own journey away from the Hawkins gang for a bit, focus on her, get some backstory and diversity in there.

    But the execution was TERRIBLE- the punk gang were irritating cardboard cutouts as characters, and terrible actors to boot (don’t even get me started on the annoying shrieky mohawk guy+head-bow girl, or Eight’s now-sorta-Brit-now-sorta-American accent and stilted line delivery). Millie Bobby Brown is a brilliant young actress , but she’s not enough to make up for such a catalogue of deficiencies and I hope to god we never see any of those characters again, the main cast is large enough and we don’t need to waste time on randoms when a season has only nine episodes.

    That said, I would definitely recommend finishing episode 8 (the ending of that, oooof) and then onward to 9. They more than make up for the waste that was 7.

  18. Jerusha says:

    Did anyone else see Corden last night? They did a skit with JC and the four boys from ST as a Motown cover band. Absolutely charming. And they can sing! Makes me want to give the show another chance.

  19. Rainbow says:

    Eh. I’ve watched it 3x now and I still like it. It didn’t really affect the momentum of the series for me and it contained, IMO, the most important aspect of Eleven’s character development: when she turned away from her ‘sister’, someone who fully understands her powers and struggles and who helped her control them, and chose Mike and Hopper as her “home”.

    Eight/Kali is what Eleven would have become had she not met Mike and Hopper. Kali had no guidance, no proper social and emotional development, and only has anger to keep her going. It shows the big difference between Eleven who has killed before but only out of necessity and survival, and Kali who has no roots and no home and no family.

    Eleven, at her core, is a good person. But she needs Mike and Hopper to help ground her, too. She recognizes this and walks away from what could be a life of moving from place to place and only seeking revenge. She is at a crucial point in her life right now. She is trying to find her own identity. She is a teenager and we’ve seen her behave like a brat in earlier episodes. She can be willful and stubborn, and she’s becoming more powerful. That means she could be easily led into taking the wrong path and ending up like Kali.

    It’s a testament to her as a person as well as her having known genuine love and support (from Mike and Hipper) that she was able to make the right choice between love and revenge.

    Also, it made her return in episode 8 all the more amazing. When she walked in the door looking badass and serious and ready to kill some more demogorgons? BITCHIN’!!!

    • teacakes says:

      In all fairness, I get why it exists. I just think people wouldn’t hate it so much if it was better written/had better actors. The Stranger Things casting directors have been so spot-on until now that it really sticks out when they weren’t.

      The ending of episode 8 was the moment that made me forgive episode 7, everything about it was perfect. Right down to the looks on everyone’s faces when they saw her.

    • AbbeyRoad says:

      In agreement with you, Rainbow. I get why most people didn’t like it, but I am wondering if, after another season or so, it will be viewed more favorably in hindsight. Everyone who wasn’t Kali bugged me a bit and I was surprised/annoyed that it completely stopped the action at first but I could have moved on to the next one if I felt that strongly about it. And I think MBB is so good that I was glad for her to have some room for her own story.

      Who better than your sister to give you your first make-over? I liked that they found a way for her “sister” to be the one to do that and while I had no issue with her looking like a mini-Cumberbatch in the woods (she DID with that hair) I thought it was a fun way to change her look and also acknowledge that a lot of times those first attempts are awkward until you find your own style.

    • Amelie says:

      I think what most people don’t like about this episode is its placement in the season. Had this episode been episode 2, 3, or 4 it would have made sense. Placing Eleven’s Great Journey of Self-Discovery/Big Adventure in the Big City right before the finale when things were hitting the fan in Hawkins was just a disruption in continuity for the people invested in the characters in Hawkins. I really didn’t care about Kali and her band of misfits nor did I really care about the revelation that there were others like Eleven from the Hawkins lab. I would have been more invested in it had they been introduced earlier in the season. The first scene of episode 1 features Kali and her misfits driving away from a heist/murder and Kali doing her hallucination trick and to have this episode so far removed from that scene makes NO sense story wise.

      I get Eleven had to go on a journey to find out who she is and to figure out where she wants to be and what she wants to be. Finding her birth mother was necessary (though is her father the scientist from the first season she keeps referring to as “Papa”?) and the realization there are others like her makes sense. But the episode was such a cornball cheese fest and too anti climactic to be so close to the final episode.

  20. Lindy79 says:

    As much as I’m sure it was corny, I loved the finale Snowball Dance sequence, including Joyce and Hopper outside.

    • teacakes says:

      SAME. I was just a huge pile of AWWWWWWWW through that entire sequence.

    • Esmom says:

      It was sweet, with Dustin’s hair and Nancy saving him at the dance. And the fashions, omg. As someone who was in middle school and high school in the 80s, they got it SO right. I had a version of El’s dress but in turquoise. That my mom made.

  21. Sayrah says:

    Oh come on. It’s clearly a set up for a spin off show with 8 and the punk kids.

    • Lindy79 says:

      Wonder are they rethinking that given the reaction it got. The actual characters seem to have not been well received even if you discount the criticism of the mistiming of the episode.

    • Purpeller says:

      That was what I presumed too.

  22. M.A.F. says:

    I hated that episode. It would have made sense to me if #8 showed up in Hawkins and Eleven found her and they both helped with whatever was going on.

    I also wanted more Steve. Loved Steve this go around.

    • ell says:

      yes, i also would have preferred if kali (8) was introduced in the story at hawkins, instead of a solo episode. also her friends were all annoying.

  23. frankly says:

    Season 3: Eleven looks for the rest of the numbers scattered across the earth and tries to bring them together in a season we like to call: “Stranger Things 3: Eleven and Stitch.”
    (You can laugh, but wait until 625′s secret power is delicious sandwiches.)

  24. ell says:

    i think the execution might have been a bit all over the place, but the idea is good! i love that there are others like jane, and that she has a sisterly bond with someone. kali mostly seemed misguided, but was instrumental in directing jane to channel her powers correctly. i want to see her again, not with her lot of friends who were annoying, just with jane & her gang.

  25. Bettyrose says:

    The 80s were full of cheesey movies featuring clownishly punk teens…and mygawd the episode could’ve been ripped directly ftom 21 Jump Street. It was a hilarious homage to 80s cheese. I loved it!

  26. Amaria says:

    It was so annoying and unnecessary. Then again, I think that creators should follow their vision, not give the fans everything they want – remember BBC’s Sherlock? This is how catering to fans ends. Two brilliant seasons, and then a giant jump over the shark with cringy fanservice and plodding, nonsensical plot, as if taken from bad fanfiction.

  27. Electric Tuba says:

    I loved it! I loved her choices, the punks, the run away and decision to save others over revenge, the costumes, the soundtrack, the backstory, her compassion, the recognition of her full power potential, the attempted tutoring by the older girl who didn’t have a protector and learned to survive. I loved it

  28. Nina says:

    One of my biggest pet peeves in TV/movies is when there is a ‘super bad-ass’ gang that obviously spends a lot of time on hair, makeup and wardrobe. Because nothing screams DANGEROUS like hair gel and eyeliner.

    So when Eleven joined the gang, I turned to my husband and jokingly said ‘And now is time for the super-cool makeover!’


    I screamed at the TV.

    Now, can we talk about how Steve Harrington is the best character? #TeamSteve

    • Bettyrose says:

      Nina, ITA!! But as I said in my post above, that was a trademark of 80s films. I thought the episode was perfect satire of all things 80s, honestly. The only thing missing was a a dance sequence or action montage.

    • KatC says:

      Yes and thank you, more Steve forever and ever. I would honestly like to see the show spend more time in his, Jonathan and Nancy’s high school stuff. I thought the bits where Steve was getting weirdly harassed/ I don’t know, recruited, maybe? by Billy were pretty compelling too.

  29. NicoleinSavannah,GA says:

    Didn’t the writers say that they did that episode as a kind of stand alone/spin off possible show?

    • KatC says:

      Oh My God, That’s exactly what this episode felt like! An awful and shoehorned mess meant to serve as an intro to a rag tag bunch of characters for a whole new (significantly less good) series!

      These episodes almost never work out, I don’t know why people keep making them

  30. Mina says:

    I’m not a fan of this episode either but I think a few good things could be taken away from it. But I do give credit to the creators for at least trying new things, it would have been easy to just repeat the same formula as the first season.

  31. Heat says:

    I got enough of ‘the lost sister’ at the beginning of the very first episode…I liked that it was acknowledged that there are others like Eleven, and showing the arm tattoo did that. No more information required, thankyouverymuch!
    I also didn’t really understand the point of Max & Billy. At first I thought, hey…maybe they’re also lab creations, but nope. Were they really just there to serve as story-line antagonist filler?

    • Mina says:

      Max is there because the creators wanted an outsider that hadn’t experienced the supernatural stuff all the others had, to have a fresher point of view. Billy was meant to be a homage to Stephen King, since he always has the local bully torturing the main characters aside from the bigger threat. BUT the issue is that none of the characters ended up being important in the story in the end. I think in Max’s case is part that the actress lacks the natural charisma the others have. Billy could have been good, but there were so many other things going on that it’s like they didn’t know where to put him in the end. Same with Mike’s mom, she was totally irrelevant this season and still got series regular credit.

      • Pinetree13 says:

        Billy was an homage to lost boys and I liked his character. Max I found grating as hell and totally unessessary

  32. the801 says:

    Redeeming quality: It’s not every day you hear Fad Gadget in the soundtrack of a hit TV show.

    But yeah–the show was odd, cartoonish and not otherwise likable.

  33. KatC says:

    My boyfriend kept saying eleven was having her yoda episode, I think he ended up liking it a lot more than I did. I don’t understand why the intro to this other girl couldn’t have been something that we were building to all season. Like, four episodes earlier Hopper could have introduced her to her mother, but refused to go to meet 008 in Chicago. Eleven meets 008 in the dream world thing, they have a few interactions and then she decides she has to meet her.
    There, perfect reason for her to run away, and we see enough of 008 that we’re sad to see her go instead of it being a forgone conclusion that Eleven will ditch back to Hawkins by episode end.

    I just thought this one was way to predictable.

    As far as how the teenagers are looking? I agree, Jonathon and Billy look older than they are. But I love that they shoot Billy )who looks 100% absurd and comical to 2017 viewers) exactly as he would have been as a super cool guy from the 80s. They did a similar thing with Steve and his hair last season. I love it! IMO it works perfectly, whereas the Punk Looks were the opposite effect.

    And Jonathan looks seriously jaundiced in about half his shots. I really don’t get what they’re going for there. I even checked the color balance on my tv.

  34. phatypopo says:

    I liked it and thought it was an important Eleven vehicle. There are a few open questions/holes in the storyline surrounding how she got there, and what the point will be later, but it was crucial to Eleven developing a new self identity, learning to harness her strengths, and it expanded the universe and leaves more room for potential connections between the storylines later. Plus, I tend to like capsule eps. But it was tonally very different from the rest of the show, so a little jarring.

  35. jana says:

    I’ve thought from the beginning this was sex related…an affair with the wife, daughter, Rand himself, but after raking up 23 bags of leaves today, I honestly would kick someone’s ass for blowing their leaves onto my clean yard.

  36. aenflex says:

    Failed juxtaposition. They should’ve left it out entirely, or devoted a few minutes towards 11’s soul searching. An entire episode was such a waste of time, IMO. It, along with the incorporeal, smoky mind flayer almost ruined the season for me. Flooding the world with those demogorgon dogs was overkill and desensitizing, too. Just my opinions.

  37. poppy says:

    idk if it was said in the comments but it seriously was a pilot, for mmb, so they can take her out of the little town and little series and present her as an adult.
    they wanted and needed to ditch the thin upside down business and all the extra junk they used to spice up season 1. the whole brain powers magical aspect was enough and would have made it creepier and more believable. but they kept throwing supernatural doodads into the mix.

    they should have started a whole new story thread for the entire 2nd season, maybe of the Chicago group, then weave both stories in a later season. while quietly dropping the whole “creature” upside down aspect.

    i guess that’s what happens when you create a story around a gimmick(s) -you have no way of extending or trying to grow and expand the story or characters because you created and anchored everything around tricks.
    these brothers are not long term thinkers tv/series wise 🙄