“Stranger Things” Season 2 Episode 9: How Our Favourites Are Doing After ‘The Gate’

The Season 2 Finale of Stranger Things was one of the most jam-packed, intense episodes of the series yet. It had some hilarious moments (cough, cough, Dad Steve) to break up the suspense, but truly it was one of the most beautifully crafted episodes yet. And what made it so wonderful was not just the epic climax, but the closure. ‘The Gate’ gave us fifteen minutes of debriefing, allowing us to come down after Eleven closes the gateway to the Upside Down. And what happens in those fifteen minutes? A lot! This epilogue style sequence takes place a month after the incident, and it contains some of the most memorable moments of the series.

Hawkins Lab Has Been Shut Down

It turns out that Murray, Nancy, and Jonathan’s plan was wildly successful after all! Hawkins Lab has been exposed and held responsible for Barb’s death. They blame it on a leak, but the details aren’t that significant. What matters is that her parents can begin to grieve, Nancy can let go of her guilt, and the people who killed Barb are being punished. Justice has been served, and Murray’s enjoying every second of it.

Jim Hopper Has Full Custody Of Eleven, Now Legally Jane Hopper

Dr. Owens continues to prove that he is genuinely a good person, despite the people he worked for and with. He has the documents completely drawn up. A certificate of birth saying that Jane Hopper, daughter of Jim Hopper and Terry Ives, was born in Hawkins, Indiana. He is officially her legal guardian. Dr. Owens suggests to wait awhile before going public, a year to be on the safe side. There are a lot of people who would still love to get their hands on Eleven. But Jim asks if one night would be okay. A night that is very special, one that she’s waited for long enough.

The Hawkins Kids Finally Get To Go To The Snow Ball

Many of you will remember Mike asking Eleven to go to the Snow Ball with him back in Season 1. This was right before he kissed her. It was a beautifully sweet moment, made all the more heartbreaking later when Eleven was transported to the Upside Down after defeating the demogorgon. But now, one year later, Eleven finally gets to go to her first dance. And she’s not the only one!

Joyce Teaches Will How To Dance

One month after having the Shadow Monster expelled from his body, Will is back to normal! Or at least, as normal as things can get in Hawkins. Joyce teaches him how to dance while Jonathan films it all, and it’s hard to tell who looks happier. Things seem to be actually good for the Byers, and quite frankly, it’s about damn time! This family has gone through more than enough, and they deserve some good times. Will is a little skeptical of the dancing, but the lessons ended up paying off! A girl at the Snow Ball asks if he wants to dance! Surprised but excited, he ends up having the great time he has long deserved.

Lucas And Max Finally Get Together

Lucas is almost ready to go to the dance. Almost. But before he can go, he looks in the mirror and practices different ways to ask Max to dance with him. It’s hilarious, adorable, and super relatable. At one point he says, “We should, you know, get out there, and…do our thing,” and does a little dance. Then, he drops his head in shame and just tells himself to stop. Same, Lucas, same.

When he gets to the dance, he’s even more nervous. And the way he asks Max to dance is really unclear. He’s just stringing together any words he can find! But luckily, Max knows exactly what her stalker means, and drags him onto the floor. Later, while they dance, she kisses him. It’s a very bittersweet moment. After all, while Max and Lucas are adorable together, what about Dustin, who also likes her? But even if it isn’t Max, Dustin always has a couple of people in his corner.

Steve Is Now Like A Big Brother To Dustin

Dustin is running around the house, freaking out before the dance. He can’t find something incredibly important. His mom tells him he looks great, but Dustin clearly isn’t ready. That’s when he finds it. And it is exactly what we hoped for. That’s right…it’s the Farrah Fawcett Spray! Steve’s got him covered, and in more ways than one! Steve comes to Dustin’s house to drive him to the dance!

This is honestly one of the sweetest moments of the series. No one would ever put Steve and Dustin together in the first place, but it’s truly heartwarming to see that after everything calms down in Hawkins, they’re still hanging out and, from the looks of it, are closer than ever.  When he drops Dustin off, they go over the strategy one more time. “Pretend like I don’t care,” Dustin says, shrugging his shoulders and acting nonchalant. Steve nods. “You’re learning, my friend. You’re learning.” Dustin then adjusts the mirror to look at himself and a new Steve (aka older brother Steve) comes out. “Hey, come on. You look great, okay? You look like a million bucks!” He pumps Dustin up and gives him the confidence he needs to go in there. And it works! Dustin struts into the dance looking confident as hell. But back in the car, Steve sees Nancy, who’s serving the refreshments. It’s clear that he’s not over her, that he may even still be in love with her. But he drives away, knowing that she doesn’t love him. It feels really unfair, but it’s probably one of the reasons Dustin and Steve get on so well. Truthfully, they’re both underdogs.

Dustin’s face falls when Max and Lucas start dancing, but Dustin doesn’t let it deter him. He starts walking up to the girls and asking them to dance, but they all decline. Some even walk away as soon as they seem him coming over. He ends up sitting on the bleachers alone, crying. And that’s when Nancy sees him and decides to do something. She walks over and he wipes his eyes as she asks him if he wants to dance. He looks up in shock. “What?” he asks. She takes his hand and pulls him onto the dance floor, teaching him how to move the right way. All the girls are looking on as he dances with Nancy Wheeler, a high school student! And as if that wasn’t enough, Nancy tells him something very special.

“You know, out of all my brother’s friends, you’re my favourite. You’ve always been my favourite…girls this age are…dumb. But give them a few years, and they’ll wise up. You’re going to drive them nuts.”

Dustin may not have gotten the girl. But both Steve and Nancy, even though they’re no longer together, have his back. What more can you ask for?

Eleven And Mike Finally Get To Dance

Will, Lucas, and Dustin all have someone to dance with, but Mike? He’s sitting alone. Luckily, not for long. Eleven walks through the doors in a beautiful dress, makeup and hair all done, ready to attend her first dance ever. Mike, the perfect gentleman, tells her that she looks beautiful as soon as he sees her. He asks her if she wants to dance, but she looks worried. She doesn’t know how. He tells her it’s okay, he doesn’t either. But they can figure it out together if she wants. And so, they share their first dance together and their second kiss. And, tonight, at least, all is well.

Even Joyce is doing alright. She waits with Hopper in the parking lot, too scared to leave Will completely on his own. And really, who can blame her? She’s giving him space, but she needs to be close by. At least for right now. Everything in Hawkins is actually okay for once. But if the last scene is any indication, things won’t stay quiet for long. Stay tuned for more on that, and where Season 3 will take us!

I love the epic moments of Stranger Things. It wouldn’t be Hawkins without some monster slaying! But this season, they took a bit of a step back and really honed in on their characters, and it was the best decision they could have made. It made this season a very special one. I don’t know how any of us are going to be able to wait for the third, but feel free to geek out over the amazing second season in the comments!

For more Stranger Things updates and previous recaps, check out our Stranger Things Page here! And as always, thanks for reading.

Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress