Stranger Things 2 Ep. 2: "Trick or Treat, Freak" - Dread Central
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Stranger Things 2 Ep. 2: “Trick or Treat, Freak”

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Welcome back to Dread Central’s daily recap/reviews of the second season of Netflix and The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things”. You can find our recap/review of the previous episode right HERE. Now let’s get to it!

The previous episode of “Stranger Things 2” ended with the “shocking” reveal that Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven was alive and well and living with Jim Hopper in a cabin out in the middle of the woods. With Eleven’s fate now out on the table, episode 2 “Trick or Treat, Freak” kicks off with just how the hell Eleven went from being blown to ash at the end of season one to the curly-haired, overalls-sporting chick we know now.

Basically, the story goes that the telekinetic preteen awoke in the upside down because of science fiction, and she fought her way out of this ash-gray hell by birth-punching a glowing hole in the wall and then just sort of… walked out. But this is after all Eleven so fair enough, let’s move on, the episode sure as hell does.

A bleeding, gooey Eleven goes to Mike’s house and sees that he is surrounded by “men in black”. To protect her Eggo supplier from further danger, Eleven rushes off and hides out in the woods for months, eating squirrels and deer. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

Cut to present day and our Scooby gang of Mike, Lucas, Will, and Dustin are getting ready to show off their kick-ass Ghostbusters costumes at school… Only to realize too late that exactly zero other students dressed up this Halloween. Wa-wa. On a side note, it seems that there is now going to be a love triangle growing between Dustin “Stanz” Henderson and Lucas “Don’t call me f*cking Winston” Sinclair over Hawkins’ new resident redhead, “Mad” Max. My vote goes to Dustin. *Chewie gargle*

Meanwhile, Hopper and Joyce smoke cigarettes together and Nancy thinks she sees Barb’s ghost in a library, only to realize it isn’t her undead teenage friend (band name), but an actual 40-year-old librarian from the ’80s. I can totally see how Nancy got that one wrong though so fair enough.

After finishing his cigarettes with Joyce, Hopper goes back to, you know, being the sheriff of Hawkins and finds yet another pumpkin patch has been hit with the mysterious case of black-rot that stuck in the previous episode. Big things are happening here. But whatever, it’s the characters, not the pseudo-sci-fi plot that keeps us coming back.

While Hopper interrogates rotten pumpkins, wipes alien-goo off trees, and plants caution flags in the ground, we cut to Max and her older brother played by the Red Ranger from that recent Power Rangers flick. Her brother, Billy, drives a bitchin’ T-Bird and tries to run down Mike and pals. I hate this guy already and can’t wait for the gang to surely beat him up with booby traps or something. Bring it on.

Let’s cut back to the others now for a bit and see what Nancy and Steve are up to. Turns out they’re at a Halloween party with Steve dressed as Tom Cruise from Risky Business (right?) and Nancy dressed as… for the life of me, I have no idea. Didn’t get the reference. Now I feel left out. Anyhow, Nancy’s still upset about Barb and thus gets super drunk and tells Steve to go f*ck himself. Creeper Jonathan then drives her home. Ah, young love. Meanwhile Joyce and Samwise from The Goonies (dressed as Dracula) slow dance and make eyes at each other. Ah, old love.

While all these adult matters are going on, our teen Ghostbusters squad is out trick or treating with their new edition, Max who choose to dress as Michael Myers for the holiday, making her a new favorite character of mine. Just like that. It doesn’t take much sometimes. Anyhow, the gang tricks and treats and then Will has another flash, um, sideways? And we get the feeling that whatever’s coming, is going be here soon. Cue the ominous (synth) music.

Back at the cabin in the woods, Eleven watches TV blindfolded (yeah you read that right) and we realize that she can visit Mike in this new sensory deprivation ritual. Wait, so the makers of this TV series, just threw out the clever idea that watching TV is as much of a sensory depriving act as filling a kiddie pool with salt and eggs (or whatever they did last season). But these cats write and direct a TV series… who exactly are they playing to here?

Whatever, it’s still pretty clever so all’s fair.

The episode then ends with Dustin finding something in the trash cans outside his house. With all the Ghostbusters references flying about this episode that could mean there is one thing and one thing only in Dustin’s recycling bin: a f*cking Gremlin. But, unfortunately, I doubt it. That said, ten bucks says it’ll be his “My Pet Monster.”

Can’t wait to find out!

While this second episode didn’t do much to further the plot of this new season, I still enjoyed the hell out of it. I mean the episode was wall-to-wall spooky Halloween imagery and pop culture references out the wazzo (did you spot the Part XIII Jason in there?). In short, I dug “Trick or Treat, Freak” quite a bit and I’m happy the season is focusing on the characters more than some supernatural plot that we’ve seen before (cough – season one – cough).

I’m still looking forward to the rest of the season for sure, and in the words of Dracula Mikey/Samwise: “I hope it doesn’t suck.” Check back with us tomorrow for our recap/review of “Stranger Things 2” Ep. 3 – “The Pollywog”

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