Stranger Things 2 recap – Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak

Stranger Things - Jackson Lee Davis - Netflix
Stranger Things - Jackson Lee Davis - Netflix /

Here’s everything that happened during episode two of Stranger Things 2, Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak.

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The first few episodes of Stranger Things 2 feel distinctly more light-hearted overall than those of the first season, and episode two, “Trick or Treat, Freak,” is no exception. Still, the payoff is not lost in later episodes so stick with it through the subtle change in pace from season one, as well as the necessary introductions and recaps.

We open this episode with a flashback to Eleven, post-Demogorgon showdown. Using her abilities, she navigates the Upside Down school and pushes through a portal to the real world once more. Her first stop after her escape is Mike’s house, but it’s swarming with officials who are grilling the Wheeler’s for Eleven’s location. Will catches a glimpse of her through the window, but nothing more.

In the present day, Hopper and El have started keeping house in a fortified cabin in the woods. She pitches him an idea to secretly trick-or-treat. He rejects it but promises to “compromise” with a night of candy and fun at home. The boys have Halloween on their minds, too. As Will gets into Ghostbuster gear, Joyce finds his drawing of the shadow monster from episode one. No time for confrontation, though; the boys are off to school in costumes, where they find that no one else has bothered to dress up. Joyce shows Hopper the drawing on her own.

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Over at the lab, Dr. Owens is sending in a repairman of sorts to fix what appears to be government technology housed in the Upside Down. Although we don’t get any more on that this episode, I’d hazard to guess that this is pretty important.

In the land of the living, Nancy is struggling to cope with Barb’s death. Although she explains to Steve that she can’t keep “pretending like everything’s okay,” he rejects her inclination to reveal the truth, saying that the government would “destroy” them for it.

To lighten an otherwise heavy moment, Dustin and Lucas are next seen talking to new girl Max, who they invite to join their trick-or-treating. Sadie Sink fits a really nice gap in their “party,” and is a welcome addition. Way to go Duffer Bros for seamlessly expanding the gang’s social circle.

El, the gone-but-not-forgotten member of the party, is back at Hopper’s, watching TV. We get a brief flashback of her time spent fending for herself in the woods when she hunted squirrels for dinner and beat up a stranger for the sake of a disguise.

Hopper himself is back at the station, where a second pumpkin farmer is complaining of rotten pumpkins. This time, Hop is paying attention. He checks out the patch, where he finds sticky signs of the Upside Down.

Cut to Max and Billy, who are on the road. Billy—a grade A bully to say the least—speeds up his car in an attempt to run Mike and the gang off the road. Max spares them from Billy’s cruelty by jerking the wheel at the last second. This must have been the start of a beautiful friendship because Max catches up with the boys at Trick-or-Treating. Even Mike is there, despite Joyce’s many concerns. Unfortunately, Mike has a run in with some nasty bullies and ends up—of course—plugged back into the Upside Down. He sees the giant shadow monster once more, rising into the sky.

Meanwhile, Jonathan heads over to the Halloween Bash, where Nancy is getting straight plastered. Some spilled booze, coupled with her crippling guilt over Barb’s death, lead to an intense confrontation between her and Steve. Some drunken words can’t be taken back: Nancy’s phrase “like we’re in love” cuts Steve to the core.

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Despite Jonathan’s not being with Will to take him home, Mike has got his back. They head over alone to the Wheeler house, where Will tries to explain exactly what he saw. He’s right; it’s hard to put a monster like that into words.

Somewhere in another part of town, Hopper returns home to an upset El: he had forgotten to make it in time with the promised bag of Halloween goodies. While he tries to bribe her to come out, El tries to find her own comfort by using the TV and a blindfold to communicate with Mike. When her attempts at contact are unsuccessful, she clearly hurts.

To close out the episode, we come back to Dustin, who is returning home from a night of candy and friendly flirtation. As he’s about to enter his house, he hears a noise coming from the trashcan. He lifts the lid and finds. . .

How’s that for a cliffhanger? Be sure to check out episode three.