Stranger Things 2 was a start-to-finish delight, and one of the reasons is that everyone got to be a hero. Kids, adults, even animals -- this season was resplendent with thrilling heroics.
But who was the greatest hero of them all?
Oh, and obviously, spoilers will follow. Big ones. Don't proceed if you haven't finished the whole season.
First, let's start with the kids.
Will didn’t engage in the brave heroics quite so much as he actively got a bunch of people killed, but in his defense he had bad-news demon tornadoes up his nose. He still managed to use stealth Morse code to help save the day and endured sweating to death amid a bunch of space heaters (also known as me voluntarily on any standard January day), so for that, he is a hero. Additionally, Noah Schnapp deserves every award and accolade. We didn’t know what we were missing last season. Kid is incredible.
Mike’s heroism was more in the realm of friendship (the real Stranger Things were the friendships we made along the way), but what’s braver than a tween boy crying and telling his best friend how much he loves him?
It took us a while to warm up to "Mad Max." But by the time she took Steve's bat to Billy's balls, we were in love.
Not only did Lucas fight a bunch of “demodogs” but he braved a far scarier enemy: a (probably racist, right? Like there’s no other reason Billy hates him that much) sociopathic older brother of a girl he likes. That, my friends, is bravery.
Yes, she saves the day, channeling her powers to an extent she never has before to close the gate to the Upside Down. Very brave. She also spends an exorbitant amount of time on buses this season. Like, sure, a bus ride to and from wherever Hawkins is supposed to be in Indiana and Chicago can’t be too long, but as someone who’s ridden that approximate distance on a Megabus, it’s enough.
While his friends are busy falling in pre-teen love and sitting at another friend’s bedside, Dustin has to take on his own terrifying pet by himself before enlisting Steve. He had to watch that thing eat his damn cat and he was still trying to show Dart love and mercy. Also, he asked a bunch of girls to dance and they all said no and they are now my enemies.
Mews the Cat
You deserved better, poor kitty.
And now the grown-ups and grown-up adjacents.
Granted, the efforts to connect the Hawkins goings on to Dungeons & Dragons were far more tenuous than last season. The amount of reach involved would give us all Eleven-style nosebleeds. But our heroes couldn’t do it without D&D, and for that we are ever thankful to the game’s creator.
Let’s be real—no one actually likes Three Musketeers bars. As the other boys tell Dustin, it’s just nougat. But after the B-grade candy helps save our characters from certain death in the Upside Down, we are all decidedly pro-nougat.
Nancy and Jonathan
While the other thrilling heroics involve actually, like, doing things, Nancy and Jonathan’s efforts were more in the realm of journalism. Through their keen investigative work, they take down Hawkins Lab (and provide #JusticeForBarb) through pure media scandal. But they couldn’t have done it without …
Brett Gelman was a delightful and perfectly cast addition this season. Not only does he figure out how to properly disseminate incriminating info using the power of vodka, he gets Nancy and Jonathan to just bang already. “How was the pull-out?” Murray, you devil you.
Paul Reiser's Dr. Owens seems like a villain for most of the season, a New Coke Dr. Brenner. But we learn he truly does have good intentions, and he saves the whole gang through the power of science and security cameras.
Speaking of saving the day through science, we can't leave out the best teacher in the world. Our kids know what they're up against specifically because they have been properly armed with knowledge and support. Well done, Mr. Clarke.
We all know Jim Hopper knows his way around a shotgun and a face punch, but this season saw him stuck in the Upside Down, strangled by living vines and becoming a really pretty good father to a pre-teen girl who happens to have super powers. Daddy indeed.
But while Hopper ended up in the Upside Down largely by accident, Joyce went in on purpose to rescue her friend. She also risked losing her son to save him and the whole world from the Shadow Monster. Our girl Joyce had a rough year, and she’s powering through, even though it’s made her a little broken. We can all relate.
Steve’s turn from heel to hero has been a thing of beauty to witness. And while going through a breakup AND while becoming the world’s best babysitter and surrogate big brother? Give the man a trophy (the trophy is a bottle of Farrah Fawcett hairspray).
Bob Newby: Superhero
Sean Astin’s Bob Newby was absolutely the hero of the season. He was a good, kind boyfriend to Joyce, someone who needed a good, kind presence in her life. He tried to be a good dad figure to Jonathan and Will, standing by them when he finds out the truth about Will getting “lost in the woods.” And, finally, he gives his life to save the day. Bob Newby: superhero.