Full spoilers for Stranger Things episode “Trick or Treat, Freak” continue below. Make sure to read all of our Season 2 reviews here.
Nothing comes easy for the town of Hawkins, so why would Halloween be any different? On a night usually filled with a few harmless scares and an upset stomach, our colorful cast of characters are forced to deal with real-life horrors after memories from the past come back to haunt them. Since we only spent a short time with Eleven during the premiere, let’s start with her journey.
Eleven’s story throughout this episode is a mixed bag of flashbacks and scenes involving her roommate, Sheriff Jim Hopper. The Duffer Brothers take us right back to the events immediately following last year’s finale, where Eleven is back in the Upside Down after destroying the Demogorgon. Her powers are definitely growing, as she showcases her ability to open doorways to other dimensions.
There’s always that trickle of blood on the nose though. Her power is tempered, depending on how long she uses it for. Looking back on the premiere, the mysterious Eight suffers from the same side effects. These enhanced teenagers are powerful, but only for a limited amount of time. It makes you wonder if there is a way for them to control their strength more efficiently?
The facilities Eleven and Eight come from most likely have testing areas where the scientists can observe the limits of their power. So, hypothetically, if the test subjects stayed in those facilities until maturation, wouldn’t they be even stronger? To use the X-Men as an example, many of the new students that attend Professor X’s school are extremely gifted but don’t reach full potential until they are properly taught how to use their power. Hopefully, there is a Charles Xavier somewhere in the Stranger Things universe. Also, who’s working security at these laboratories? They need to hire a more capable staff.
On the other side of town, the boys gear up for a night of Trick or Treating they hope will be a memorable experience. Those Ghostbusters costumes are out of this world good, and it’s nice to see the writers embracing all that 80’s nostalgia we fell in love with last season.
There’s a divide slowly developing within the group. Dustin and Lucas are too busy focusing on Maxine, while Will and Mike are more concerned with “real world” issues. Will’s visions appear to be intensifying, but it’s difficult to know how close the danger is. After all, we don’t have a grasp on how time and space work in the Upside Down. Will could easily be a kind of seer, or prophet. His visions of the shadow demon may be a sign of what’s to come. Stranger Things has more seasons still to be developed, so this large monstrosity could be a Voldemort-type character that will be dealt with in a later season.
At Tina’s Halloween Bash, while teenagers are doing keg stands and drinking something referred to as “Pure Fuel,” Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Steve (Joe Keery) are having a difficult time adjusting to this post-Barb world. Unlike a typical procedural cop show, Stranger Things doesn’t reset its story with each new episode. The writers are doing a marvelous job at forcing these young teens to face the consequences of their actions from last year.
Nancy’s put the burden of Barb’s death on her shoulders. She’s losing her mind over the fact that she couldn’t save her friend, who was just an innocent bystander. In the battle that is inevitably coming, her role in it remains unclear. Steve is only worried about their relationship, which could come back to bite him in the end. Nancy’s guilt might be her salvation if she continues to seek justice for Barb. Knowing is half the battle as the old saying goes. Obtaining a clearer view of the otherly worldly elements at play will giver her an advantage. Or she could continue to drink herself into a stupor for the rest of the season. The latter scenario seems unlikely. Steve on the other hand… He may not be so lucky.
Before signing off, let’s talk about that final scene with Dustin and the trash can. What could be at the bottom of that bin and will it be a friend or foe? It’s safe to say that this creature is something from the Upside Down, which appears to be slowly merging with Hawkins. All the rotting pumpkins point to an eventual collision of sorts that could have catastrophic effects on the town. Let’s keep watching to see what happens next.