Spoilers Off applies to Moments pages. You Have Been Warned.
- In the first episode, Will basically does everything exactly right in terms of what to do when chased by a monster, not making a single classic horror-movie blunder, just pure, efficient Genre Savvy all the way. Against a less dangerous adversary, it would have had great results.
- Truly, this has to be seen to be appreciated. After finding his house empty, with something after him, Will immediately goes to the shed where he knows a rifle and ammunition is stored, loads the clip correctly even with visible nervous trembling, seats the magazine and readies the weapon. Remember that he is eleven years old. How many people, much less adults, could do any of these things in a panic? Never mind that the threat was too supernatural to deal with in this manner, by the end of the sequence, you will love this kid. Compare the first meeting of Joyce and the monster, she is so distraught she can barely fit a key into her car's ignition.
- Joyce's Christmas light set-up for communicating with Will is ingenious, especially considering how emotionally distraught she was at the time.
- Also, her eventual response to the Demogorgon coming out of her wall? Gets an ax from the shed and waits for it.
- Also her telling off Brenner, seeing through his lies about just wanting to help and basically tell him to shove it.
- Also, her eventual response to the Demogorgon coming out of her wall? Gets an ax from the shed and waits for it.
- Will managing to survive in another dimension against impossible odds on his own, when anyone else who so much as encounters the Demogorgon is killed rather quickly. He not only escapes it's grasp after it abducts him, but he continues to evade it for an entire week with no food or water, and is even able to communicate with our world using only lights and electronics. Will may be a child, but he proves that he's in no way a slouch.
- Any time El displays her powers, but in particular making the bully piss himself, and later breaking his arm. And later when she flips a van over that's chasing them.
- What led up to the former is also one for Mike. When he sees the bullies laughing during Will's wake, he confronts them both, and shoves one of them to the ground, initiating a fight with him. And when he gets up to retaliate, Mike looks completely unfazed and ready to fuck him up. One of the most satisfying moments in the series, even if you don't consider what happens next. As anyone who's confronted a bully in real life knows, it's not only exceptionally difficult to break the fear they instill, but most of the time, simply standing up to them is enough to convince them you're no longer a suitable target.
- As for the latter, in a meta MOA, the van flip was achieved practically. Nice going, Duffer Brothers!
- Jonathan's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Steve. Sure, Steve has a HeelFace Turn later, and Jonathan gets in trouble, but Jonathan dominated the fight and Steve had it coming.
- Afterwards, Steve's big "The Reason You Suck" Speech to his friends over crossing the Moral Event Horizon by mocking Jonathan's family and Will's (supposed) death, especially considering how he slams Carol and Tommy for being "truly miserable" that they have to resort with attacking Nancy and Jonathan. Especially considering how much Steve ends up growing from the Jerk Jock who was influenced by his poisonous friends to the below fight. Basically, Steve is in an abusive relationship with his "best friend" Tommy, and has the courage to tell Tommy to take a hike.
- El's triumphant return just in time to save Mike's life in "The Monster" deserves its own mention.
- The fact that Mike was willing to commit suicide to protect a close friend is also worthy of noting.
- Dustin being the Only Sane Man throughout the episode and saying that what Mike, Lucas, and El did in the previous episode was wrong.
- Hopper's rescue of the gang in Episode 7.
- Nancy's Heroic Resolve after learning that the Demogorgon killed Barb.Nancy: "I wanna finish what we started. I want to kill it."
- Steve saving Jonathan and Nancy in Episode 8 by knocking over the Demogorgon with Jonathan's nailbat.
- It's even better than that - all three of them save each other in turns: Nancy saves Jonathan by shooting the Demogorgon and drawing it away from him as it was about to kill him, Steve enters the picture with the nailbat just as the Demogorgon was about to kill Nancy, and then the Demogorgon stumbles into the bear trap Jonathan laid out and Jonathan sets it on fire, making the trio a literal case of Fire-Forged Friends.
- The Demogorgon is able to tear through almost any threat with ease. A dozen CIA agents with sub-machine guns barely slow it down. Steve, Jonathan and Nancy shoot it full of bullets, beat the shit out of it with a baseball bat, catch it in a bear trap, then set it on fire. They kick a Nigh Invulnerable alien monster's ass so hard it flees their dimension in fear.
- El disintegrating the Demogorgon in Episode 8.
- While El's blowing the Demogorgon across the room being mistaken for the result of Lucas's slingshot attack is played for laughs, it's a bit of an awesome moment as well: note how Lucas saves that particular shot for when the creature's mouth is open, which probably wouldn't have turned the tide, but is definitely a stroke of inspiration on Lucas's part that requires a very cool head, given the circumstances. Heck, just the boys facing this thing down with a slingshot after seeing trained black ops troops empty submachinegun fire into it to no effect takes some serious brass.
- Any time Joyce gets angry at somebody, you know they're in for a beatdown. When a character spends so much of her screentime showing her vulnerability and desperation, it's so satisfying when she puts somebody in their place. Her being unfazed by Lonnie's cruelly condescending attitude and telling him in no uncertain terms to piss off especially counts.
- Hopper rigs a homemade alarm system by drilling a bullet into a mousetrap and attaching it a tripwire. The bullet goes off if someone trips the wire.
- One word: Bob. Despite having only recently learned of the existence of the Upside-Down and all the weirdness that goes with it, he doesn't hesitate to put himself in harm's way to give everyone else a chance of escaping the lab. Not only does he brave the corridors of a building overrun with Demodogs, but he improvises a way to clear key places of Demodogs by activating the sprinkler system and luring them to other areas.
- Perhaps a more understated moment, but Will still finds a way to be able to communicate with his friends and family through the use of Morse Code even when under the influence of the Mind Flayer.
- Joyce replacing her grief over Bob's death with full blown rage and a clear lust for revenge as she whole heartedly states how she wants to kill the Mind Flayer.
- More so because this creature has possessed her son and is bringing her and her family nothing but constant pain.
- Towards the end of the episode, the kids, the teens, Joyce, and Hooper are all holed up in the Byers house, with Demodogs preparing to break the door down. Suddenly, the Demodogs screeching abruptly stops and begins whining. Then a Demodog goes flying through the living room window, dead. If that wasn't tense enough, the front door suddenly unlocks... and in walks Eleven, who killed the Demodog and scared off the others.
- Perhaps the most awesome moment of the whole scene is that most of the characters are armed and ready to attack. Even MIKE is willing to throw an object at the creature!
- Not to mention that after a year's separation, Mike and Eleven are finally reunited.
- The gang at Joyce's versus Billy, collectively; the latter effectively serves as season 2's human antagonist - a guy who has antagonized basically everyone over the course of the season - and no-one is having it in this scene. Steve blows him off when he tries to get him to tell him where his step-sister is, Lucas knees him in the balls when assaulted by him, and Steve actively beats the shit out of him before being cold-cocked with a plate; Max then steps in, sedates Billy, and threatens him with Steve's nail-plated bat to leave them alone. This actively seems to work as much as Billy receiving a harsh punishment from his father in the prior episode.
- Steve, all episode long. First, he stands up to Billy when the latter shows up at the Byers' house to forcibly take Max back home with him, and does pretty well in the ensuing fight. Yes, he does end up getting his ass kicked for the second season in a row, but that really happened because Billy started fighting dirty and smashed a plate over Steve's head. Then, when he wakes up in Billy's car as the boys and Max are driving to the hub to distract the Mind Flayer and force it to send the Demodogs to stop them, he rolls with the punches and steps up. (He tries to stop them from going at all, but once it's proven that's impossible, he not only helps, but insists on walking point, the most dangerous position, since these kids are under his protection.) Once their plan works and the Demodogs start descending upon them en masse, Steve immediately ushers the younger kids up the rope to the surface without a moment's hesitation or thought for his own survival; and when it seems like he won't make it in time, he turns and stands his ground to buy the kids more time and protect Dustin, who's still in the cave with him. And to wrap it all up, at the end of the episode he drives Dustin to the Snow Ball and offers him words of encouragement. For a guy who had been a bit of a Jerk Jock most of the first season, he has truly come into his own as a selfless, heroic character.
- El and Hopper's descent into the Gate to close it. While El focuses on closing the Gate and saving the world, Hopper uses an assault rifle and a shotgun to single-handedly fend off the swarming Demodogs to buy her time. In the end, El manages to push her powers further than she ever has before and close the Gate, which causes all of the Mind Flayer's agents in our world to simultaneously die.
- Hopper finally managing to kill the Demodogs with bullets. He barely manages to put down the first one with a shot to the face, which works far better than the failed body shots he (and presumably the rest of the lab staff) had been trying earlier. From that point on, he aims for the head and drops them one after another.
- A rather understated one for Dr Owens. After being built up for half the season as a potential new Brenner by his tests on Will, and threatening Hopper, Nancy and Jonathan should they divulge any information about the Lab to the outside world... the mask completely slips when he nearly loses it with a colleague who considered Will expendable; before performing a would-be Heroic Sacrifice to help the team escape in "The Mind Flayer". Then, he's discovered to be alive in "The Gate", and manages to top it off by arrange fake documentation (implied to be behind his superiors' back) to allow El to live a normal life - in a few episodes managing to go from an Expy of Brenner (or rehash of Carter Burke) to the complete opposite of Brenner in every way.
- Hopper going toe-to-toe with Grigori, a Russian expy of the Terminator. Given he's out of shape and seldom has to deal with anyone tougher than a petty crook or protester, he must be running on pure courage.
- They fight four times. The first time, Grigori overpowers Hopper, but Hopper still gets a few hits in. The second time, Hopper still gets taken by surprise, but fares better, and painfully injures Grigori's knee with a wrench, keeping him from effectively pursuing as Hop escapes (with Joyce and a captive Alexei in tow). The third time, being more prepared, Hopper gets the jump on Grigori and manages to shoot him repeatedly (unfortunately, he has Kevlar). The final time is a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the middle of the Russian lab, ending with Hopper tossing Grigori into the spinning blades of the collider with a pretty basic but excellently delivered Pre-Mortem One-Liner:Hopper: I'll see you in hell! (Grigori gets shredded)
- They fight four times. The first time, Grigori overpowers Hopper, but Hopper still gets a few hits in. The second time, Hopper still gets taken by surprise, but fares better, and painfully injures Grigori's knee with a wrench, keeping him from effectively pursuing as Hop escapes (with Joyce and a captive Alexei in tow). The third time, being more prepared, Hopper gets the jump on Grigori and manages to shoot him repeatedly (unfortunately, he has Kevlar). The final time is a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the middle of the Russian lab, ending with Hopper tossing Grigori into the spinning blades of the collider with a pretty basic but excellently delivered Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
- Dustin, Steve and Robin manage to crack a secret Russian code without knowing the language in a day, then with help from 10 year-old Erica, not only do they successfully infiltrate a secret Soviet facility but make it out with their lives (and with Steve actually winning a fight for once, against an armed Russian soldier no less), something repeatedly stated throughout the season to be impossible. Hell, Dustin and Erica never even get caught, and are able to rescue Steve and Robin when they do despite the two teens being high on Soviet drugs.
- The Mind Flayer's plan is one for showing how intelligent a creature it is. Upon getting a second chance to attack our world it immediately identifies Eleven as its biggest threat and reacts accordingly. It infects rats, the creatures in which it is easiest to spread infection with, and then multiple humans building up a force of people to do its will. Then it creates a physical manifestation for itself capable of healing itself from attacks, moving shockingly fast, able to break through walls and infect more victims. It's also implied it wasn't actually even planning of killing El but rather infect it and put her under its control. Even more impressive and horrifying is that is would have succeeded had it been able to stop Hopper, the only person it didn't realize was involved as well.
The Mall Rats
- After tripping over while trying high-heels, Eleven gets made fun of by Stacy and her friends, the same girls that cruelly rejected Dustin. El and Max follow them to the food court where she gets to use her powers to make the Orange Julius' drink explode in the faces of the Girl Posse. For everyone who disliked Stacy after witnessing Dustin heartbroken during the Snow Ball, this was cathartic.
The Sauna Test
- The fight against Billy at the sauna is a combined one for Billy, Lucas, Mike, and Eleven:
- For Billy: Eleven up until now has largely been unstoppable in a direct confrontation with the Party's antagonists.note Billy, with only a fragment of the Mind Flayer's power, was able to hold his own against her. While he may have been killed in a protracted fight, without the others helping her he may very well have won.
- For Lucas: After the first two seasons treated his confidence in the Wrist Rocket as a joke, he proves just how effective it can actually be by shooting Billy in the head and stunning him when he goes after Max.
- For Mike: What's his first thought when a Mind Flayer-controlled Billy is doing a Neck Lift on his superpowered girlfriend, preventing Eleven from using those powers to protect them? He grabs a pipe and beats him over the head. When Mike told Brenner that he'd have to kill Mike to get Eleven, he meant it.
- For Eleven: After Mike used the pipe, the Flayed Billy disarmed Mike and backed him into the wall. Eleven, still struggling to breathe from being strangled, goes full Violently Protective Girlfriend and uses the last of her strength to throw Billy through a brick wall. Given that Eleven has killed to protect Mike in the past, if Eleven had been at full strength and Billy hadn't been flayed, he probably would have been semi-liquified by the impact.
- Jonathan and Nancy fighting Flayed Tom and Bruce, eventually defeating them before they dissolve into goo. Sure, they may have been under the Mind Flayers influence, but few would disagree those two were primed for sweet comeuppance sooner or later.
E Pluribus Unum
- El flinging a sentient part of the Mind Flayer around in the hospital, slamming it from wall to wall and eventually out the freaking window with her powers.
- Hopper gets one via Awesome by Analysis. After Alexei complains that the strawberry slurpee wasn't cherry, Hopper throws him out of Murray's house with both the keys to the cuffs and the hot rod. Over Joyce and Murray's objections, Hopper stops them, saying that Alexei isn't scared of them, he's scared of the Soviets, and knows that Alexei will ultimately do what they want. After they hear the car, Joyce and Murray run outside...to find Alexei stopped at the fence line, before he parks the car and admits that strawberry and cherry are all the same. Hopper doesn't understand Russian, but that doesn't mean he doesn't understand Alexei or his situation.
- Dustin eloquently cutting Erica down to size, calling her out on her hypocrisy on insulting nerds despite all her interests being nerdy, and delivering a sweet validation for nerds everywhere:Dustin: (after Erica does a pretty complex math problem in her head) Holy shit. You're a nerd.
Erica: (extremely offended) Come again?!?
Dustin: You. Are. A. Nerd.
Erica: Okay, you better take that back, nerd.
Dustin: Can't put the truth back in the box.
Erica: But it's not the truth.
Dustin: Let's examine the facts, shall we? Fact one: You're a math whiz, apparently.
Erica: That was a pretty straightforward equation.
Dustin: Fact number two: You're a political junkie.
Erica: Just because I don't agree with Communism as an ideology...
Dustin: Fact number three: You love My Little Pony.
Erica: And what does My Little Pony have to do with this?
Dustin: Ah, let's recall the ponies' latest adventure, shall we? The evil centaur demon Tirek turns Applejack into a dragon at Midnight Castle, and then Megan and the other ponies have to use Moochick's magic to defeat his rainbow of darkness, saving them from a lifetime of enslavement. All the pink in the world can't disguise the irrefutable fact that centaurs and castles and dragons and magic are all standard nerd tropes. Ergo, My Little Pony is nerdy. Ergo, you, Erica, are a nerd.
Erica: (smugly) And how do you know so much about My Little Pony?
Dustin: (proudly) Because I'm a nerd.
(Dustin cuts the power to the fan)
Dustin: Let's go...nerd!
(Erica looking positively furious mouths "YOU!")
- Dustin rescuing Steve and Robin from the Russians by busting into the compound and electrocuting the torturer/doctor in the chest.
- The Party fighting the Mind Flayer's avatar at the cabin. Highlights include:
- Jonathan taking an axe to the tentacle that broke into the cabin. When that fails to stop it, Nancy shoots its maw off with a shotgun.
- Eleven using her powers to hold the Mind Flayer's tentacles in place, then ripping the mouths off it. All the mouths can do is scurry back to the Mind Flayer with their tails between their legs.
- Mike managing to grab ahold of Eleven before she's pulled out of the cabin by the Mind Flayer. The resident Non-Action Guy basically played a game of tug-of-war with an Eldritch Abomination over his girlfriend's life, and Mike manages to keep Eleven still long enough for the others to grab her.
- When Nancy's shotgun attack fails to free Eleven, Lucas grabs the discarded axe and hacks the tentacle off the main body, saving Eleven.
- Finally, Eleven, who can barely walk after being bitten by the tentacle, uses her powers to tear the avatar's head in half. This actually manages to have an effect on the Mind Flayer, disabling it long enough for the Party to escape.
- El saving Dustin, Erica, Steve and Robin from some Russian Mooks at Starcourt by flinging a display car at them.Dustin: You flew that thing like a Hot Wheel!
- Joyce punches and kicks the Mayor, after everything he put her, Hopper, the group, and Hawkins through. An onlooker cheers her on.
- Yeah lady!
- Hopper shoots the assassin. After that guy has been killing and terrorizing throughout the season, it's awesome to see Hopper take him down.
- Robin coming out to Steve is one, when you consider how (understandably) scared she is of how he'd react, especially after he'd just confessed feelings for her, at the very least expecting him to not want to be her friend anymore after finding out (and given she's a lesbian living in a small town in The '80s in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, the worst she was fearing doesn't bear thinking about), it's a moment of admirable bravery from her. And luckily, Steve (thanks to his Character Development) takes the rejection in stride, accepts her for who she is and teases her for her taste in girls.
The Battle of Starcourt
- Nancy's response to Billy ominously revving his engine and charging? Calmly tell Jonathan to start the car, stand her ground, and start putting well-aimed rounds into Billy's car. Okay, so he's Immune to Bullets but she gets points for the sheer balls it takes to stare down a car piloted by a Nigh Invulnerable monster.
- In another moment of Car Fu, just as the possessed Billy is about to ram the car the Party is trying to escape Starcourt in with his, Steve and Robin arrive in their car and ram his from the side.
- The Party and the other teens attacking the Mind Flayer with fireworks.Lucas: Flay this, you piece of shit!
- Billy challenging the Mind Flayer, not just for the sheer courage of it, but for personal reasons. His father wanted him to be rough and cruel to prove how macho he is, which meant Billy had been giving him power the whole time he was being a thug. This moment of nobility was Billy's ultimate act of defiance against an overly cruel man. When already fatally wounded, Billy gives the Mind Flayer an angry, primal scream, signifying that he is not afraid of it - which again, holds more power when you consider that it's essentially standing in for his father at this moment.
- Fridge Awesome for Billy as well. The Mind Flayer is shown to be able to control its hosts perfectly until they just give up fighting it. With its intelligence taking over Billy again would of been its first reaction when he showed resistance, Billy was not just physically defying the Mind Flayer but also holding it back from controlling him again.
- In a meta sense, it would've been so easy to just keep Billy the villain and have him die when the Mind Flayer did, but instead Billy manages a redemption. And you gotta admit it's a good way for him to go out: a pretty metal death for the one Metalhead character in the cast.
- Joyce managing to turn off the Soviets' Two-Keyed Lock machine to close the Gate. Both keys are far apart from each other so that it takes two people to operate, but Joyce managed to hook her belt onto one key just so in order to turn both at once, and at a moment's notice too.
- After already shooting the assassin in the previous episode, Hopper scores his final victory over him by (as stated before under "General") killing him via throwing him into the spinning blades of Alexei's machine (it being Alexei's machine makes it even better, as it gives the sense that his death has been avenged.)
- Props to the writers for making the dialogue of the kids so damn authentic!
- The acting of all of the show's young cast members was absolutely incredible. The cast even won the 2017 SAG Ensemble Award against giant competitors like Game of Thrones (a regular dominating force at the Primetime Emmys) and Downton Abbey (which had won the award 3 times in the last 4 years and was on its final season), while Carmen Cuba, Tara Feldstein Bennett, and Chase Paris won the Emmy for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.
- The Super Bowl 2017 commercial for the second season. It's disguised as an Eggo commercial that, through a series of Ominous Visual Glitches, turns into what it really is, giving us glimpses at such things as the kids dressed up as ghostbusters!
- David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, and Shannon Purser all being nominated for 2017 Emmy awards.
- The show was renewed for a third season before the second even premiered.
- Stephen King giving the show an enthusiastic A+ and saying it resembled a Best Of King compilation on Twitter. Yeah — you might just have nailed it, Duffer Brothers.
- Props also for the casting department, for acquiring one of the Goonies himself (Sean Astin, "Mikey") for a series partly inspired by The Goonies! (Not to mention one of the stars of Aliens, Paul Reiser, as well.)
- Eleven raps about Season 1.
- Stranger Things Boys as a Motown Super Group.
- With Season 3 set in 1985, Coca-Cola decided to use Stranger Things as a tie-in to resurrect the most infamous product it ever made: New Coke. Why is this Awesome? Because the website to order it crashed within hours of it going online, and those who got the cans said that while the traditional Coke formula is still the best, the New recipe really wasn't that bad, and thus called for it to be made more available to the public, if not returned alongside Coke Classic permanently.
- The producers were able to use the actual Back to the Future score for a scene in Season 3.
- After Millie Bobby Brown started an Instagram challenge for dances to the Neverending Story theme song after its use in the Season 3 finale, one of the takers was none other than the Childlike Empress herself, Tami Stronach.