Stranger Things 2 finale review: The Gate

Stranger Things- Credit: Netflix
Stranger Things- Credit: Netflix /
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It all goes down in the Stranger Things 2 finale. Here’s our review and grade for Stranger Things 2, episode 9 “The Gate.”

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What a wonderful way to cap off Stranger Things 2! Spoilers ahead, so turn back if you haven’t finished Stranger Things 2! 

There is so much to love about “The Gate,” the final episode Stranger Things 2, which featured Eleven and Hopper taking on the Upside Down to close the “gate.” And, that’s allowed to happen because Joyce, Jonathan and Nancy were able to burn the Shadow Monster out of Will, which happened because Steve, Dustin, Max, Mike and Lucas went into the tunnels and lit it on fire.

Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say.

While all those things are incredibly cool, it doesn’t even come close to the final scenes of “The Gate” at the Hawkins Middle School 1984 Snow Ball. In this episode, I was so caught up in the story and trying to figure out how the heroes would stop the demogorgons, the Shadow Monster and the Upside Down that I forgot these are just kids who don’t know how to dance yet. The Snow Ball is the best scene of this series, to me, because it’s so touching and heart-melting. But, it’s also the first sense of normalcy these kids have experienced in a while.

The performers are just kids, too, and they did a fantastic job throughout the entire series, especially in the season finale.

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I’ve mentioned this in several other episode reviews, but it needs to be said again. The Duffer Brothers know how to make great, compelling TV, and they structure each episode in a way that takes the viewer on an emotional journey. Other than the wonderful characters they’ve created, the pacing and how each scene unfolds is excellent. There are so many shows on the air that miss when it comes to structure and pacing. The Duffer Brothers hit all the right beats to keep viewers invested and give them a break from the action at the right times.

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Other than the wonderful characters they’ve created, the pacing and how each scene unfolds is excellent. There are so many shows on the air that miss when it comes to structure and pacing. The Duffer Brothers hit all the right beats to keep viewers invested and give them a break from the action at the right times.

With all the action in this season, it would have been very easy to jump from action sequence to action sequence. Instead, the audience gets a nice break in the action to fully understand what the characters are thinking and feeling. The perfect example is Hopper and Eleven’s ride to the Hawkins Lab before she tries to close the gate. The Duffer Brothers could have jumped right into their walk through the lab. Instead, Hopper opens up to Eleven about his daughter who passed away, and he also apologizes to her for his behavior. It’s a beautiful scene, and these touching, emotional moments are one of the best things about this series.

Yes, there’s a lot to love about the horror and sci-fi aspects of the series, the nostalgia, the comedy and all that, but at the end of the day, the moment Hopper and Eleven share in the car, the kiss scene at the Snow Ball, Nancy dancing with Dustin and all the other small moments make this  episode, and the whole series for that matter, so freaking good.

Stranger Things . S2E9. The Gate . A+.

What more could we possibly ask for in a season finale? All the loose ends are tied up. Our heroes win, the gang is back together again, and we get to see all the Hawkins Heroes be happy, except for the ones who were taken by the Upside Down and its creatures.

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Then, just to remind the viewers that this thing is far from over, Hawkins Middle School is flipped upside down and we see the Shadow Monster looming over the school. On to Stranger Things 3!