12 Clever Details You Might’ve Missed In Stranger Things Season 2


Heads up, this article contains SPOILERS for Stranger Things Season 2.

1. The first arcade scene predicts the outcome of Dustin and Lucas’ love triangle

The first scene centering on Stranger Things’ main cast was hugely important in foreshadowing the events of season one, and something similar happened in the opening minutes of season two. Lucas, Will and Mike meet up at the arcade, watching Dustin play a round of Dragon’s Lair. When Dustin inevitably loses because Dragon’s Lair is in fact overpriced bullshit, Lucas consoles him in a roundabout way.

Lucas is referring to the video game damsel in Dragon’s Lair, but those lines also predict the outcome of the love triangle between Lucas, Dustin and Max. 


At least if the foreshadowing follows through, Dustin will “get there some day.” For now though, he should probably think about not modeling his hair after the dude Nancy dumped.

2. Tons of cheeky dialogue callbacks

In addition to feeling like every 80s movie ever made, sometimes Stranger Things sometimes just spells out its influences in dialogue. One of the easiest ones to catch is from Bob, who jokes that the map scrawled around the Wheeler house leads to pirate treasure — a pretty clear callout to The Goonies, in which Bob’s actor Sean Astin searched for pirate treasure.

But the influences and homages don’t stop at the 80s. The show also has a well-established love of all things Steven Spielberg, and that includes his 70s work like Jaws. If that whole bit where Bob went downstairs to jumpstart the breakers while avoiding vicious predators felt a hell of a lot like Jurassic Park, you aren’t alone in that feeling. Right when Bob initially succeeds, Hopper even quotes Jeff Goldblum’s character from JP:

Maybe the weirdest line of mirrored dialogue comes from a movie that released this year: Stephen King’s IT. In both the movie and the show, actor Finn Wolfhard (Richie in IT, Mike in Stranger Things) says the exact same line. 


This could be a product of Finn ad-libbing, unconsciously repeating a line from another one of his megahit franchises. Either that, or this somehow proves Pennywise comes from the upside-down.

3.  Hopper returns to the place where his daughter was sick

This is a strange one, because it’s not entirely clear if it’s intentional. If it is, however, it has big implications for the seriesWe first see the above stairwell at the end of season one; during a flashback, Hopper sobs in the corner while his sick daughter succumbs to illness in a hospital bed not far away. 

Towards the end of season two, we see this exact same hallway again, only it looks a tad different:

This is where Hopper finds Paul Reiser’s character immobilized on the ground. It doesn’t seem like there are any real thematic ties here, but it does make you wonder whether Hopper was treating his daughter at the Hawkins facility. If that’s the case, Hopper might have deeper ties with the organization than we once thought. Or you know, someone just wanted to re-use a set.

4. Tons of references to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

If you’re going to reference an Indiana Jones movie, the last one you’d think of to get a nod would be, well, Crystal Skull. But after that, the least likely easter egg you’d think to see from the series would be from Temple of Doom. But it turns out there are not one but several instances that hint at the second Indy movie, the simplest of which

Stranger Things masterminds The Duffer Brothers have gone on record stating that there are many Indiana Jones influences in the second season. So it makes you look a little bit harder at moments like this:

The tone and inflection of Dustin’s line evokes this classic bit from Temple of Doom:

In the very same episode, we had Nancy and Jonathan’s will-they-won’t-they romance culminate in a scene where they murmur to themselves in their rooms…

…which according to the Duffer Bros. is a direct reference to a similar sequence in Temple of Doom.

Unfortunately, season two didn’t feature anyone’s heart getting torn out — unless you count Dustin getting turned down by almost every girl at the Snow Ball.

5. Dustin had a warning about Dart’s true nature

If there was one big reason to shout at the screen this season, it was to yell at Dustin for harboring an obvious upside-down monster. Yeah, it’s easy to get attached to a pet, but the insidious nature of Dart was painfully obvious to everyone else in the show.

In case those watching were still on the fence, Stranger Things included a hint in the form of bathroom graffiti during Dart’s chase scene.

Just look a little to your right, Dustin! I swear this 7th grade defacement of public property is very significant!


6. Hopper and Eleven’s storytime has a special meaning

Hopper isn’t exactly equipped to be a dad, and that’s not his fault — he lost his daughter when she was young, and hasn’t fully recovered as of the time that Stranger Things starts. But as we see in flashbacks, he’s trying his best to pick up where he left off with Eleven.

One flashback shows him reading to Elle in bed. Listening to the passage, it becomes clear that it’s from Anne of Green Gables, a story about an orphan girl. Here’s a larger segment from that part of the book.

“I would feel so sad if I was a disappointment to her — because she didn’t live very long after that, you see. She died of a fever when I was just three months old. I do wish she’d lived long enough for me to remember calling her mother. I think it would be so sweet to say ‘mother,’ don’t you? And father died four days afterwards from fever too. That left me an orphan and folks were at their wits’ end, so Mrs. Thomas said, what to do with me. You see, nobody wanted me even then. It seems to be my fate.”

Sounds pretty relevant to Eleven’s situation, and it may have played a part in inspiring her to search for her mother.

But there’s arguably more significance for Hopper, who was seen reading Anne of Green Gables to his late daughter in a season one flashback. 

Hopper probably kept that book around as a memento to remember his daughter and the time she spent with him. In reading the same book to Eleven, he connects with his new ward by remembering a lost loved one. It’s a little messed up in a “replacement child” kind of way, but it’s still kind of touching from a man who struggles with his emotions.

7. A throwback to Risky Business (and season one)

From the moment we first saw the initial trailer, many pointed out that Steve Harrington’s Halloween costume sought to replicate Tom Cruise in Risky Business, which would be a timely costume in 1984. It’s part of a couples costume, as Nancy wears clothing reminiscent of Rebecca De Mornay’s character.


So okay, characters wearing Halloween costumes based on then-popular movies isn’t a huge detail, but the Risky Business references actually date back to season one. When Steve says that he wants to go see a movie to get her mind off of Barb, he plies her with her “fave” from Risky Business, and the questionable opinion that he himself resembles Tom Cruise. 

No doubt Steve entertains the fantasy that he’s Cruise’s doppelganger, which would explain why he was all-in on that Halloween costume. Nancy played into it as well, but given the unstable nature of their relationship, it makes you wonder whether she only went along with it because she was fooling herself into thinking her boyfriend was Cruise-tier material. As we know, that was “bullshit.”

8. Dart’s soundtrack is ripped straight from Gremlins

Stranger Things’ soundtrack is stellar, both in its original compositions and licensed material. There’s one moment that seems to count as both, specifically the scene in episode three where Dart transforms and scampers out into the school hallway.

Right at this moment we hear a series of pulsing notes that sound a heck of a lot like the main theme to 80s classic Gremlins.

It makes a lot of sense in the context of the scene, in which a cute but dangerous creature transforms thanks to the unwitting help of a naive youth. Let this be a lesson to you: It’s probably not a good idea to feed a mysterious critter you know nothing about, whether it’s after midnight or not.

9. Mrs. Wheeler’s bathtime reading tells us a lot about her fantasy

Karen Wheeler is a pretty terrible parent. Her kids are always absent, but she doesn’t even seem to care, preferring to drink at home and be ignored by her shitbag husband. Her biggest spotlight this season was in the finale, when hearththrob/abusive asshole Billy comes around looking for Max. Before the doorbell rings, we see Karen in peak thirsty wine mom form, lounging in a bubble bath surrounded by candles and reading a romance novel.

The book is actually real — it’s called “Heart of Thunder” by Johanna Lindsey, and the plot synopsis sounds a tad familiar. 

No man had ever dared to force his attentions on stunning, fiery Samantha Kingsley — until Hank Chavez, the rough-hewn, insolvent outlaw, aroused the spirited hellion’s wrath…and her passion.

So, right as Karen is fantasizing about a rough-hewn, insolvent outlaw in a book, a rough-hewn, insolvent outlaw shows up at her door and flirts with her.

Karen is obviously thrilled to get attention from a man that isn’t the human trashbag that is Ted Wheeler, and the fact that it’s basically her book come to life makes it all the better. This detail gets even more interesting when you realize that the show’s version of the book has a different cover.

As far as I can tell, the cover seen in the show was never actually released to the public — the first printing of the book can be seen on the right. It looks as though a member of the production team actually painted a new cover so that the featured lovers look more like Mrs. Wheeler and the young rebel who came to the door (note that the book’s beefcake now has a mullet like Billy’s). Someone probably spent a lot of time inserting this detail that was only on the screen for a few seconds, so let’s take this moment to appreciate their dedication to smut.

10. Graffiti references comics and crew members

Any time you see graffiti in the background of a popular piece of media, there’s usually an easter egg or two to be found. Above you can see a few interesting tags in the warehouse where Eight and her gang are holed up. “O’Bedlam” and “King Mob” stand out, seeing as the DC Comics series The Invisibles features characters named King Mob and Tom O’Bedlam.

Though The Invisibles comic was published in the 90s, it has a lot in common with the group of misfits in Stranger Things. On Wikipedia, The Invisibles is described as starring “a secret organization battling against physical and psychic oppression using time travel, magic, meditation, and physical violence,” which sounds a good deal like the underdogs under Eight’s leadership (minus uh, the time travel).

Another bit of graffiti makes the connection even more implicit.

There are probably scores more easter eggs like this, but the other one that stands out is on the left side of this shot:

In the bottom left you can clearly read “Grabowski,” which may very well be a reference to Lori Grabowski, the script supervisor for Stranger Things.

11. One of 8’s crew has a very specific name

I know the episode wasn’t everyone’s favorite, but I want to go back to 8’s crew again. Funshine’s role as “the muscle who’s really a teddy bear” seems a bit cliche, but in this case they at least put some thought into it. See, “Funshine Bear” was a name of one of the Care Bears, an 80s franchise that ancient thirty-somethings will be familiar with. And what mask is Funshine wearing during the gang’s big break-in?

To be fair, the hue of Funshine’s mask looks a bit more like Tenderheart Bear or maybe even Birthday Bear, but we’ll still give them points for effort.

12. Hopper passes on a treasured keepsake

This is a tough detail to revisit because it’s so damn heartbreaking, but the show built on it from season one so we should definitely cover it here. One of the best unspoken bits of continuity in the first set of episodes was Hopper’s blue ribbon, which he wears around his wrist. We see from flashbacks (and later confirmed in an interview) that the blue ribbon originally belonged to Hopper’s daughter, and he kept it on him at all times after her passing. 

Flash forward to the first episode of season two, and Hopper is still wearing the bracelet. 

Here’s where the waterworks come in. During the epilogue of the season at the Snow Ball dance, Eleven can be seen wearing Hopper’s bracelet. 


This is right after the scene in which we see Hopper become Elle/Jane’s legal father. Nobody makes a big fuss over the bracelet or anything — it’s not even mentioned aloud —  but this one detail proves that part of Hopper has moved on from grieving for his daughter and is looking forward to his future with Eleven.


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