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Home Articles TV Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 1 Recap – MADMAX

Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 1 Recap – MADMAX

BY Harris

Published 1 year ago

Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 1 Recap - MADMAX

The Arcade

A gang of masked youngsters hurriedly enter their van as a chase between them, and the police ensue. More cars come along, so they ask their friend Kali to do something. She orders them to take a right into the tunnel, where she lets it collapse, causing the front police car to stop. The other cops berated the driver as it turns out the collapsing structure was just an illusion. Kali reveals her tattoo that says “008”.

Dustin and Lucas radio each other on how many quarters they’ve saved. Mike doesn’t have a haul, so he steals from Nancy’s piggy bank, promising to pay her back. Nancy tries to go after him, but he speeds away on his bike. The three boys go to the arcade, followed by Will, who an overprotective Joyce drops.

The boys cheer on Dustin as he plays Dragon’s Lair but doesn’t manage to beat Lucas’ score. Dustin proudly says he’s still top score at Centipede and Dig dug, but the attendant, Keith, tells him to check again. They find the top score has changed to someone named MADMAX. Keith offers to tell them who MADMAX is in exchange for a date with Nancy. Mike refuses, but the others think it’s for a good cause.

Will senses something outside, suddenly, everyone disappears, and he’s back in the Upside Down. The doors open, leading him to see a gathering storm of flashing lights. Mike catches up to Will, and he snaps out of it, his friend unaware that something unusual happened.


Hopper returns to the station to find conspiracy journalist Murray Bauman hounding him for information. Bauman is convinced that a Russian spy is still present at Hawkins. He heard rumors of a girl with psionic abilities and learned from a Bestbuy employee that she shattered a door with her mind. Also, Ted Wheeler talked about a girl who lived in his basement, but he now denies this. Bauman also connects the Russian girl with Barb, but Hopper merely ridicules him. Hopper dismisses the writer and receives a call about a citizen’s ruined crops.

Nancy coaches Steve to help him write his essay for college. He doesn’t think it’s worth going as he’d end up working for his dad anyway. Another car pulls up at the parking lot with a high school boy and a middle school girl with a skateboard. Carol and the other girls ogle the boy as he passes by.

Will returns to his locker and finds a note that says Zombie Boy. Mr. Clarke explains the human brain to his class when the skateboarder girl comes in as the new student. Mr. Clarke introduces her as Maxine from California. She says she’s called Max, and the boys think she might be MADMAX.

Joyce and his new boyfriend/high school acquaintance, Bob Newby, make out in the back room. She asks to get back to work and reminds him that Jonathan will be with them at movie night. He tells her not to let Jonathan pick a scary movie.

Will’s Storm

Hopper visits Merrill Wright’s pumpkin patch, which has now all but withered when they were healthy the day before. Merrill thinks a business rival sabotaged his crops, but Hopper believes it’s unlikely given the size of the patch. The Chief inspects a cornfield nearby and gets startled by a crow.

Nancy takes two fliers for the Halloween Bash and gives one to Jonathan to get him out of his shell. He refuses, saying he’ll accompany Will for trick-or-treating. Steve surprises Nancy from behind, and they make out by the locker rooms, which prompts Jonathan to leave quietly.

The boys watch Max as she practices skating and argues whether she’s Mad Max or not. They follow her to another building, where she drops a note that says, “Stop Spying on me, creeps.” The principal tells Will that his mother is here. Will walks the halls with everyone staring as he’s being led to Joyce’s car. Mike and the others watch him and notice he’s been different lately.

At the car, Joyce assures Will that it’s okay to tell people what he saw and that she’ll be there the whole time. They go to meet Hopper at Hawkins lab. The staff take Will’s vitals and put instruments on his head to record his brain waves. Hawkins’ new head, Dr. Owens, listens as Will explains the terrifying storm he saw the night before and the evil sense he felt. He says the entity wanted to kill everyone else but him.

The real Mad Max

Later, Dr. Owens explains the anniversary effect that often happens with post-traumatic stress. He advises Joyce to let Will live as usual and promises that the bad men from last year are gone. At the parking lot, Hopper advises Joyce that what Owens said made sense and to call him if something happens. Dr. Owens supervises as one of his men conducts a clean-up at the gate with a flamethrower.

Lucas and Dustin see Max dropping off at the arcade and arguing with the driver. They see her play and dig dug and confirm her skills. Karen Wheeler punishes Mike for stealing from Nancy by letting him give up two boxes of toys for a yard sale. He complains but can’t go through after a string of recent misbehaviors.

Steve and Nancy visit Barb’s parents, where they learn that Bauman has been hired to investigate Barb’s disappearance. They’re selling the house to pay for him but think it’s worth the cost. Nancy asks to excuse herself and weeps as she remembers her friend.

Mike picks up his toys and sees El’s fort. He uses the Supercom to find her for the 352nd consecutive day. Suddenly, he hears her voice call him but gets interrupted by Dustin reporting what they recently learned about Max.

Dustin goes home and hears something rattle in the trash but ignores it.


Bob records Joyce while she prepares food, despite her protests. Jonathan shows Will the movies they’ll be watching that night and finds him drawing Zombie Boy. He asks him to open up to him, but Will lashes out and asks him to stop treating him like there’s something wrong with him. Everyone lately has been acting like he’s fragile and can’t handle things independently, making him feel like a freak. Jonathan assures him he isn’t, but Will is persistent. Jonathan then doubles back and says he is a freak, but at least he’s not dull.

Joyce gets startled by the phone while watching Mr. Mom, but Bob asks her to ignore it as it’s probably a prank call.

The alarms start blaring at Hawkins Lab, and the instruments go Haywire. Will wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom but sees the lights flicker outside again. The door opens by itself, and he goes out to see the storm raging, with a spider-like creature emerging from its epicenter.

Hopper goes to a cabin in the woods and steps over the tripwire. He knocks in a coded fashion, and the person inside answers. He turns the TV off and takes out a beer, telling the person inside that they should eat first. The person in the room says he didn’t signal and he’s late. She turns out to be Eleven, who joins him during dinner.

Our Thoughts

We have a new giant threat and new characters, and the show’s quality didn’t seem to dip. Rating: 4/5.

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