Stranger Things’ second episode begins where the last one left off. We see Billy managing to run away from the factory but as he reaches a nearby phone box, he has a flash back where he had a monstrous tentacle pumping something into his face. He suddenly reaches the Upside Down with people walking towards him, one of which being his doppelgänger.
The next morning, Mike tells El he can’t see her and lies about his Grandma, prompting a delighted Hopper to relay the good news to Joyce. He asks her out for dinner but makes it clear that it is not a date.
At the local newspaper, Nancy receives a call about diseased rats and decides to go and investigate it with Jonathan. Dustin then reunites with Steve who works with a new girl, Robin. Dustin tells Steve about what he heard on the radio and asks for his help to translate the Russian dialect.
El visits Max for some girl advice on her relationship with Mike. At the same time, Mike speaks to Lucas about the situation. He tells him that Hopper had a chat with him and that he’s scared to defy him. Acting like an expert on relationships, Lucas tells Mike that he will help him. Unfortunately, Will seems to be forgotten again as he desperately wants to play Dungeons and Dragons like they used to.
At the pool, Billy seems to be having trouble clinging to reality and doesn’t act like himself. He ends up in the Upside Down again where his doppelgänger tells him to build what he sees.
While Robin offers her help at translating the Russian tape Dustin recorded, Nancy and Jonathan visit the woman who reported the diseased rats. She shows them her basement and fertilizer bags eaten by the rats. She has also caught one the rats which is very agitated and violent. It later explodes in a goo-like mess that takes on a life of its own and starts moving across the room.
To keep her mind off Mike, Max takes El shopping in the new mall whilst Lucas takes Mike to buy something to make up with El. As they leave the mall, Eleven comes across Mike and realizes that he has been lying to her so she dumps him.
Convinced that the strange occurrences are linked to electromagnetic fields, Joyce decides to speak to her son’s science teacher, Mr Clark. As they experiment, he explains that a large machine could be causing what she has seen happening to all the magnets.
We cut back to Dustin, Robin and Steve who have managed to translate the Russian tape but don’t know what it means as it looks to be nothing but codes. As they walk past a musical horse, they recognize the music from the Russian tape and realize that the Russians are closer than they thought.
Later that evening, we see Billy driving back to the factory with his colleague tied up in his boot. He then takes her inside to what we assume is the new monster.
The second episode carries on with the same tone and pace as the first. Building nicely on the relationships established from before, Steve and Dustin settle back into their newfound bromance and have excellent chemistry together, leading to some really funny moments. Max and Eleven bonding over shopping and boys is also a nice touch after their rocky times in the last season whilst Will desperately clinging to the past adds some depth to the episode too.
While some of the Coca Cola product placement is a little overkill this time around, there’s enough here to make for a very solid episode nonetheless.