Season 2, Episode 9
What a life affirming, triumphant, perfect hour of television. Stranger Things makes me feel how Back to the Future made me feel when I was ten years old. Or how Star Wars made me feel when I was thirteen. I’m not kidding when I say this, the show is that good. It is folly to start comparing shows like Game of Thrones to Stranger Things as they are completely different beasts but ask me right now what the greatest television show of all time is, and there would only be one answer.
Almost every scene in The Gate was worthy of ending an exemplary second season. Eleven and Hopper going back to Hawkins Lab to find Dr Owens alive was glorious. Even better was the stand off between Billy and Steve. To be fair, my boy Steve had his ass handed to him but he distracted Billy long enough for Max to put him into a long deep sleep where he undoubtedly dreamt of a forbidden night with Karen Wheeler. Meanwhile, the gang, headed by a reluctant but dashing Steve Harrington, made their way into the tunnels to provide a distraction for El and Hopper. The scene in which Dustin placates Dart with nougat was one of many emotional moments in The Gate.
Hopper’s speech to El in the car on the way to the lab was heart wrenchingly, gut punchingly, honest and raw. Show me a more emotional moment from any film or TV show this year and I’ll show you a liar. It is crazy that a show that features worm monsters called Demadogs roaming around the place still manages to be such a fascinating character study. I am totally invested in these characters at this point, in a way that is so intense that I can hand on heart say recalls my childhood. I know these are fictional characters but they feel like a family.
The Snow Ball was the perfect epilogue and a fitting end to a cinematic finale. Here we see the gang come of age and Nancy coming to the rescue of Dustin was a nice bit of redemption for a character who has become a bit aimless recently. We leave the gang exactly where they should be. Enjoying their childhood. The final scene sees the shadow monster looming large over Hawkins Middle School however so the inhabitants of Hawkins, Indiana shouldn’t get too comfortable.
I suppose the most pressing question of all is how the hell do they top that? Good luck…