Warning: This article includes spoilers from season two of Stranger Things. If you haven’t watched it yet, bookmark this story and come back later!
After 353 days of being hidden by Hopper (David Harbour), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) was reunited with the Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and her BFF Mike (Finn Wolfhard), at the end of episode 8 of Stranger Things season 2. That’s right — fans had to wait eight long episodes for the reunion.
Will’s (Noah Byers) body was linked to the Upside Down, so it was a good thing El arrived just in time. By using heat — the demogorgon liked it cold — they pushed Will to the edge, and right before they left him, Eleven closed the portal, locking all of the demo-dogs inside.
The final scene of season 2 was at the Snow Ball — the dance Mike had asked Eleven to in season 1, but they never made it to. This time, all the boys had girls to dance with. Lucas and Max (Sadie Sink) finally kissed, Dustin danced with Nancy (Natalia Byers), and El showed up just in time to kiss Mike.
Outside sharing a cigarette, was a broken Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and the now adopted father of El, Hopper. But when the shot panned out, we saw that the “shadow monster” was bigger than ever.
So what does that final shot mean for next season? Well it means that Hawkins is definitely not all in the clear, and the Upside Down is definitely still there.
“They shut the door on this thing but it’s still out there and it wasn’t aware of Eleven and now it very much is,” cocreator Ross Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. Next season will also bring puberty, which could be an even bigger monster for the boys.
“Even if we didn’t want to deal with it, we have to deal with it because our real-life actors are going through it,” Matt Duffer added. “I think that’s exciting because it forces the show to evolve and become something different every year. It’s going to test their friendships. Obviously, like, Lucas and Max are together, but really, when you’re that age, how long do relationships last? They usually last about two weeks if you’re lucky. I think that’s going to be fun to explore.”
Stranger Things season 2 is streaming on Netflix now.