After hours of binge-ing and careful deliberation, Matt, Gaby, and Rachael have joined forces once again. This time they’ve put their ranking caps on and gotten down and dirty (a la Hopper digging up that pumpkin field) to dissect the folks of Hawkins, Indiana. How have Eleven and her party faired this season? Have any fan favorites crept their way up in the ranking? Read on to find out! And be sure to let us know in the comments who you think belongs at the top of the heap.
Let’s start with the worst:
18. The Mind Flayer
R: Anything with the word Flayer as part of its name and a Xenomorph head is bad news.
G: All I could think about was Ron Weasley freaking out at Aragog. I hope there’s no Netflix coverage in the Burrow, or wherever it is he and Hermione live now.
M: The Duffer Brothers definitely watched Lost in the past year and thought, “hey, what if we wrote mixed the smoke monster with a hentai tentacle monster?!”
R: Every time Dustin gave Dart some Nougat I thought of Chunk giving Sloth Baby Ruth bars.
G: When Dustin recognized Dart in the tunnels, I swore it was going to be a Nymeria/Arya moment. I will give Dart some credit for actually leaving them alone.
M: If you waste a precious Three Musketeers bar on a living booger, you deserve it eventually eating your cat.
R: Screw him and his greasy mullet.
G: What made me most uncomfortable this season wasn’t watching Will convulse like Emily Rose, but having to sit through a never-ending scene featuring Billy and his weirdass flirting with Mrs. Wheeler.
M: Give me the greasy mullet. I want it.
R: I have a sneaking suspicion that we haven’t seen the last of Kali yet. And with a name like Kali (i.e. the Hindu Mother of the Universe and Destroyer of Evil Forces) I can’t help but wonder whether Eleven will be turning to her for help, or if she’ll be one of the major antagonists next season.
G: I’m not feeling this tangent.
M: Hello, Netflix, this is Marvel and Fox. We’re suing you for your obvious Dani Moonstar rip off.
R: I need Murray to sit down with Joyce and Hopper to tell them what’s up like he did with Nancy and Jonathan.
G: I know Brett Gelman mostly from his work in the Twin Peaks revival and Netflix’s Love. In both shows he plays highly neurotic and stressed individuals. In Stranger Things, he delivers the most important line all season: “How was the pull-out?”
M: I don’t know what was worse, watering down vodka or encouraging two teenagers to bang in his home/apartment/thing.
R: I’m glad Jonathan and Nancy are officially a thing but she’s so much cooler than he is and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the fact he spent part of an episode in S1 taking creepy pictures of her from the woods (even if they did come in handy later.)
G: Steve’s character development did undermine Jonathan’s loveable-emo-boy allure. He also had a harder time keeping things together this season, but turning around and kissing Nancy made up for everything in the end.
M: Jonathan tried too hard to be the Jughead this season. “Who wants to be normal?” No thanks. Go back to being a creepy peeping tom, please.
R: Give Noah Schnapp all of the awards.
G: We have much love for Noah Schnapp over here for retweeting our ranking last year, but wow did that love multiply this season. What an amazing job handling so many difficult scenes. But back to Will, I hope this boy finally gets a break. And has time to update his playlist. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” had a memorable run, but time to put that in the backburner.
M: No child is nice enough to give their Tonka truck away to another child crying in a sandbox. I’m sorry. I don’t believe it.
11. Dr. Owens
R: I spent an entire season worrying that Dr. Owens had to be evil. I’m glad I was wrong.
G: Same here. I NEVER thought I’d be so glad to find him alive after the demo-dogs took over the hospital.
M: Imagine the guy telling you that your son will get over his PTSD with time is also preventing an inter-dimensional disaster. Who put this guy in charge?!
R: HOW DARE THOSE GIRLS NOT DANCE WITH DUSTIN?!?!
G: I love how the Duffer Brothers knew we’d love Dustin through everything and chose him as the Dart keeper. We forgive you, child. And we’re happy for you and your new pearly white teeth.
M: Local boy wants to impress girl. Accidentally lets monster from another dimension devour his cat.
R: Sure, Eleven has superpowers. But give MadMax a hypodermic needle, a baseball bat with some nails sticking out of it, and a snazzy chariot, and she’s un-flipping-stoppable.
G: I wasn’t sure about Max at first, mostly because the squad was already such a defined ecosystem. But the girl’s boss and makes Lucas more likeable. Win-Win.
M: Anyone else feel a little uncomfortable by how badly Max was treated by everyone but Lucas this season? I loved her but making her this season’s emotional punching bag was something I just did not enjoy
R: Lucas dragging Mike during their Ghosbusters argument was one of my favorite underrated moments to happen this season.
G: For real. Lucas has definitely worked on himself this season and isn’t half as annoying as he was when he was hating on Eleven all of Season One.
M: Lucas got all of the character development and he deserved all of it. What a turnaround from season one! The fact that he tried so hard to get Max to be in the group and understand so she wouldn’t be the outsider like he was last season. My heart!
R: Mike’s face when he finally saw Eleven was easily one of the most heartbreaking moments of this season, and his steadfast friendship with Will despite him being the host to a tentacle monster puts him in the top ten for me.
G: Mike is my favorite. He’s the most mature, looks out for Will when everyone else is too busy having fun, and learns to forgive Hopper for keeping Eleven from him. I’m glad he finally gets to be happy.
M: I don’t know what show you guys were watching. Moody teenager from episode one to nine. Little to no development from last season. Keeping him and Eleven separated for so long made their arcs so dry and boring this season.
R: Not to be too dramatic but the moment Jim Hopper casually threw Nancy Wheeler that hunting rifle is one of the best things to happen this year.
G: Nancy Wheeler is the baddest bitch in town, and I’m just sitting here waiting for her and Eleven to have the badass sister moment Steve and Dustin had this season.
M: Nancy getting drunk and breaking up with Steve but not remembering it happening is the most relatable thing to happen all season for me.
R: Angry Joyce is my favorite Joyce. (As a complete aside: I know Joyce is grieving ‘n’ all but if she and Hopper don’t make out at least once in the next season I’ll be deeply upset. We all saw that intense eye contact when they were sharing that cigarette early on in the season. And in the words of a certain investigative journalist, they’ve got chemistry, history, and the good shit, shared trauma.)
G: Joyce Byers getting everyone’s shit together for them is my favorite thing. She deserves only happiness and good things from now on. So, marrying Hopper and becoming Eleven’s mom is where it’s at.
M: There is no character who deserved a cigarette more at the end of this season than Joyce. The fucking stress and heartbreak that the Duffer Brothers inflict on this character is horrible but it just can’t break her. Hell yeah, Winona.
R: “Not all men!” You’re right. Jim “Let’s hug it out” Hopper would never.
G: Jim Hopper should be the president of everything. Sad dads just really get to me.
R: I believe the term you’re looking for is Sadd (Sad + Dad)
M: Hopper continues to be one of the best developed characters this season. Also, he joined tentacle gang this season and I loved it.
G: I never know where Matt is going with his tentacle comments.
M: How to ruin your main character? Put her in an irrelevant storyline that keeps her away from the rest of the cast for the season and make ¾ of her dialogue yelling and grunting.
G: Matt, if they locked you up for a year with no access to anything, you’d be throwing temper tantrums, too. Don’t worry, she’ll be back in full force Season 3.
R: Steve Harrington is what happens when you compound Marty McFly, Ferris Bueller, Brand from The Goonies, and Ren McCormack into a single person. He’s goofy, big-hearted, has the best hair in town, and was clever enough kept his monster killing baseball bat just in case sh*t hit the fan again. It’s hard not to love Steve, and if anything happens to him during Season Three, the Duffer Brothers will have to fight me.
G: Did I know I was going to love Steve Harrington more than Jonathan? No, I did not. Also, he should start a babysitting service next season.
M: I also tried to style my hair like Farrah Fawcett in high school because I thought I’d look cool. I did not look cool. His scenes with Dustin were such a highlight for me, I actually was rooting for Steve this season.
R: Should have known that the same man who played Samwise Gamgee would be the one to save half of Eleven’s party in the end.
G: Did anyone else notice the drawing Will did of him with a superhero cape? Now THAT’s justice.
M: I swear to God, if I don’t see you people out there demanding “Justice for Bob”, you’re all trash. Too pure!