Stranger Things 2 recap – Chapter Nine: The Gate

Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix /

Everyone coordinates to give one final push against the demo-dogs in the Stranger Things 2 finale.

Mike and Eleven embrace as they finally see each other after nearly a year. Hopper and Eleven are both relieved each is safe but also upset the other one was exposed to danger. Mike realizes Hopper was hiding El the entire time, and the two have a verbal fight that turns physical when Mike pounds on Hopper’s chest; Hopper simply holds Mike as he lets all his anger and sadness out.

Mrs. Wheeler is taking a bath, listening to Barbra Streisand, and reading a romance novel when the doorbell rings. Mr. Wheeler is predictably sound asleep in his recliner, which prompts Mrs. Wheeler to throw on a robe and answer the door; it’s Billy, Max’s stepbrother. Billy and Mrs. Wheeler (who have very similar hairstyles in this scene) flirt while Billy tries to find out where Max might be. Mrs. Wheeler directs him to the Byers home, and Billy is off. Mrs. Wheeler is left flustered and confused by the encounter (and I’m sure we’ll see this explored more in-depth next season, right?).

At the Byers home, everyone is gathered around discussing how they can stop the growing number of demo-dogs, and close the gate. Eleven immediately volunteers herself, which upsets Hopper. Nancy theorizes that since the virus considers Will a host, they must make the conditions for the virus uncomfortable. Joyce remembers that Will prefers it cold, and a plan is set into motion to burn the virus out of Will.

Jonathan, Joyce, and Nancy take Will to Hopper’s cabin in the woods and strap him down to the bed. The plan is to isolate Will somewhere he is unfamiliar, so he can’t report back to the shadow monster, and they can work at burning out the virus; heaters are turned on, and a fire is roaring as soon as they get Will settled.

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On the way to the energy lab, Eleven and Hopper discuss (almost) everything they were up to since their big blowout at the beginning of the season. Eleven tells Hopper she went to see her mother, and Hopper apologizes for keeping that information secret from her. Hopper confides in Eleven about his daughter, Sara, and explains he thinks his daughter’s death is what causes him to fear losing Eleven. The two both admit to acting stupidly, which goes against their number one rule.

Billy shows up at the Byers household, and Steve meets him outside. Steve denies that Max is there, but Billy spies her through the window. Billy and Steve come to blows after Billy attacks Lucas. Max finds a syringe with medication used to sedate Will and injects it into Billy’s neck. Once Billy has been rendered unconscious, Max steals Billy’s keys; the group haul Steve with them, and set off for the pumpkin patch.

Will wakes up inside the cabin to find himself tied to a bed. He begins screaming as he feels the virus rebelling inside of him. Joyce refuses to give up and cranks up the heat even more. Jonathan begins to weaken and begs Joyce to stop this. Joyce won’t relent, and Will – possessed by the virus- begins choking his own mother. Nancy grabs a poker out of the fireplace and pokes Will to save Joyce.

Hopper and Eleven arrive at the lab, and Hopper instructs Eleven to follow his lead. As they make their way through corridors. Hopper turns a corner and finds a severely injured Dr. Owens. Hopper gives aide to Dr. Owens and promises to come back for him. As he’s tending to Dr. Owens’ leg, Hopper introduces him to Eleven and asks if the doctor can help Eleven find a normal life when this is all over.

Steve, Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and Max arrive at the hole and lower themselves inside. They follow the trail marked on their paper and find “the hub.” The group starts pours gasoline everywhere, and sets the place on fire. Will continues to writhe in pain as the virus feels the heat from multiple locations in Hawkins. As the group begins making their way back to the surface, they run into D’art. The group and Steve are ready to fight D’art, but Dustin asks his friends to trust his judgment. Dustin feeds Dart nougat and makes amends as the others quietly make their way towards the exit.

The heat underground and the heat in Hopper’s cabin force the virus out of Will; a black, ghostly substance leaves Will’s body. Jonathan gets on the walkie-talkie and tells Hopper to shut the gate to the Upside Down. Hopper gives Eleven the all clear, and Eleven tries her best to shut the gate. Eleven recalls Kali telling her to harness her anger for something good. Eleven begins remembering her papa and summons enough strength to close the gate.

One month later, we find the lab is closing after the journalist Nancy and Jonathan met created a watered-down version of the damage the laboratory caused. The town is finally able to lay Barb to rest after the story placed blame on the laboratory. Dr. Owens has ditched the white lab coat and is meeting Hopper for lunch in a diner. Dr. Owens presents Hopper with a birth certificate for Eleven (or Jane, as the certificate reads), and tells him Eleven now can start a new life – once it’s safe. Hopper asks Dr. Owens how much longer, and the doctor tells Hopper another year. Hopper requests one night out for Eleven, and the doctor agrees.

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Dustin is doing his hair Steve-style for the 1984 Snow Ball. Steve gives Dustin a ride and gives him a pep talk before Dustin joins his peers. Steve sees Nancy volunteering her time at the dance, but she doesn’t see him outside. Joyce and Hopper comfort each other in the school parking, as they come to terms with what they’ve been through. Nancy is serving punch while Jonathan is taking photos for the dance. The boys and Max arrive, and Lucas and Max quickly pair up. Dustin tries and fails, to find a dance partner, but Nancy intervenes after she sees an emotional Dustin sitting by himself. Nancy dances with Dustin, Will dances with a girl who asked him to dance, and Lucas and Max share their first kiss on the dance floor. Mike sits at a table looking forlorn when Eleven walks in out of the blue. The two dance and share their first kiss.

As the camera pans out, we are taken upside down and underground to Hawkins Middle School. The mirror universe still exists, and the monster is still strong as before when the screen fades to black.