Ok, so you just finished Stranger Things 2, and you can’t believe it’s already over. Well, nurse that cloud of depression with a look into the new relationship dynamics that were introduced this season!
The original show was focused on the story of bringing young Will Byers home. At the conclusion of season one, just that happened: Will returned home just in time for Christmas while introducing the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana to something a bit… strange.
One thing that separated Stranger Things season one and season two was the character development. In season one, everything was based on the story of bringing Will Byers home. In season two, instead of a firm plot, we got lots and lots of character development and mini arcs of stories.
It was hard to keep track of the various plots points throughout season two, but we’ve managed to compile a list of the characters (that we think are important) and where they are in relationship to the other characters in the story at the close of season two.
Lucas & Max
When Max first arrived on the scene, she was the new girl in town and the center or a love triangle when it came to Dustin and Lucas. Despite the fact that Mike never wanted Max to be a part of the group (probably because he was still hardcore missing Eleven), Lucas and Dustin accepted her into the group and invited her trick-or-treating and also told her about Dart, Dustin’s adorable, yet terrifying Demodog. Of course, Lucas ended up being the honest one, telling Max the truth about Will and Eleven and the Hawkins Lab (despite the threat to his own life), and it looks as if honesty won the day! When it came to choosing between Dustin and Lucas, Max (no surprise) went with Lucas who trusted her enough to tell her the truth. They ended the season together, dancing and sharing a first kiss at the Snow Ball.
Mike & Will
Despite the fact that in season one, we learned that Lucas and Mike were best friends, it looks as if Mike and Will shared a very special bond in season two. Mike no longer had Eleven to impress, a friend to try to save, or even a Dungeons & Dragons campaign to run in order to impress his friends. He’s still missing Eleven and his life seems to have changed completely since the start of season two. The same goes for Will. Ever since returning from The Upside Down, he’s been treated like a baby, as if he might break by everyone around him–Joyce and Jonathon, Hopper and the doctors at the lab, the principal at his school, and even his friends. Both feel as if they are outsiders, incapable of being understood by those around them. Will is seeing flashes of The Upside Down, and Mike thinks he is hearing Eleven in his walkie talkie. They are both broken, kindred spirits, who seem to somehow understand where each other is coming from. And while Will is fighting the possession and control of the Mind Flayer, Mike is there at his side while he is drawing a map of the vines to when he is brought into Hawkins Lab. There’s no doubt that their friendship–which was already strong–has grown to inseparable.
Nancy & Jonathon
One of the biggest debates of season one was Team Steve or Team Jonathon. While I, myself, am a firm supporter of Stancy, it looks as if fans of Jonathon and Nancy have won this day despite the fact that Nancy was solidly with Steve at the close of season one. After experiencing a somewhat traumatic event–Jonathon losing his brother, Will, and Nancy losing her best friend, Barb, the two of them set out to find the perpetrator, the Demogorgon. It’s no surprise that surviving the loss of people so close to them and an attack on a supernatural being would be more than enough to solidify their unlikely bond. On top of all that, Nancy starts to feel an immense amount of guilt in Barb’s death, and she begins to resent Steve. Together, she and Jonathon set out to reveal the shady deals of Hawkins Lab while also finally realizing their feelings for one another. Perhaps, Steve was too good to be true: Nancy choosing Jonathon is her realizing that her life is anything but normal. Steve is the promise of a nice, normal life and Jonathon is the truth that Nancy’s life is strange.
Related: Amanda’s Stranger Things 2 Review
Dustin & Steve
One of the biggest surprises of season two was the bromance between Steve Harrington and Dustin Henderson. From hair care, to Demogorgon slaying, to dating advice, Dustin and Steve cover anything and everything. With Lucas concerned with Max, Mike with Will at the lab, and Hopper MIA, Dustin has no one to call on when Dart begins to turn into a Demodog. In his desperation, he calls on Steve, Nancy’s ex-boyfriend, to try to solve the problem. Steve ends up becoming the unofficial baby sitter of the kids, fighting off the Demodogs, successfully taking them into The Upside Down and back again, and keeping them safe from Max’s wicked brother, Billy. At the end of the season, Steve drops Dustin off at the Snow Ball before offering his finally bit of advice about haircare and girls. It seems as if Dustin has found a big brother in Steve and Steve has found someone to help him through his breakup with Nancy. This is a bromance for the ages, and one that I hope survives into season three.
Mike & Eleven
Perhaps the moment that everyone was waiting for was the reunion between Mike and Eleven. At the end of season one, Mike had asked Eleven to the Snowball and the two of them had shared a kiss. Unfortunately, Eleven disappeared into The Upside Down at the end of season one, and the two of them had to wait another eight episodes until they were reunited in season two. Mike spent most of season two being “Emo Mike” pining away for Eleven and hating on Max because she was a new girl coming into the group. And Eleven was stuck hiding out in Hopper’s cabin, waiting (impatiently) to finally see Mike again. The two are reunited in the final hour of the Mind Flayer’s invasion as the world seems to be falling apart. After the Gate is closed and the monster is stopped, the two of them share a dance and another kiss at the Snowball. It’s happily ever after… for now…
Joyce & Hopper
If there was any sense of justice in this show (don’t even get me started on Barb), this would be listed as Joyce and Bob. But sadly, Bob died to save the others in the show in episode eight and because of that, we get Joyce and Hopper. This is a fan favorite pairing (I, myself, am a firm believer of Jopper): Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper. We know that they went to high school together, along with Bob Newby. There is a rumor that the two of them hooked up in the past. And of course, we cannot forget the wild adventure the two of them went on in order to bring Will home. That would no doubt bring them together in a way that others could not hope to come between, even Bob the Brain,. We can even see in season two that Joyce is very protective of Hopper when he disappears in The Upside Down, and she also trusts him more than anyone else. After Bob dies in Hawkins Lab, Hopper is the one to comfort Joyce. And when all is said and done, the couple reenact their high school days by sharing a cigarette behind the middle school. It’s only a matter of time before they finally admit their feelings to each other… please?!?! This is my canon dream for Stranger Things 3!
Hopper & Eleven
Perhaps the most unexpected relationship–but also the most satisfying–was between Hopper and Eleven. Despite the fact that these two barely spent anytime together in season one, the two of them were stuck together in season two. After Eleven returned from The Upside Down, she wandered through the woods surrounding Hawkins. It wasn’t until Christmas time that their paths crossed and Hopper took her to his cabin in the woods. He spent almost a year keeping her locked up, safe, away from the bad men. Of course, teenagers will be teenagers, and Eleven began to rebel against his control for a few episodes only to show up once again to save the day. Their bond was a strong one, and one that took them to the Gate of the Upside Down. While Eleven fought against the Mind Flayer, Hopper was at her side, protecting her and watching over her. Despite the fact that they very rarely saw eye to eye, they were an unlikely duo but an ideal allegiance. They protected one another while also learning to love one another . In the end, Eleven returns to Hawkins and Hopper adopts her, making them one dynamic father/daughter duo to contend with.
What relationship was your favorite in Stranger Things 2? Did we miss any? Who do you hope to see back in Stranger Things 3? What did you think of Stranger Things 2? Let’s get chatting in the comments!
Amanda Woomer-Limpert is a writer for The Geekiverse and is just as obsessed with Stranger Things as everyone else you know. She officially ships Jopper (JoyceXHopper forever!) and would watch a show solely dedicated to the shenanigans of Dustin and Steve.
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