Hopper explores the infected tunnels but ends up getting trapped when his exit hole is sealed off and vines emerge from the walls and trap him. Will realizes Hopper is in danger.
Lucas tells Max the truth about Will's disappearance last year. While she at first doesn't believe him, she notices how deadly serious he is about it, and resolves to give him the benefit of doubt.
Jonathan and Nancy meet up with Bauman and tell him everything they know about the events in Hawkins, using Owens' recorded confession as evidence. Bauman readily believes them and agrees that the story needs to be told, but points out that it is far too incredible for the general public to swallow. The three eventually agree to tell a modified and more believable version of the story about Barb dying from toxins released by the lab. Owens and the lab scientists realize the soil from the infected pumpkin patches is part of a hive mind.
Dustin, realizing that Dart is growing increasingly dangerous, traps the creature in his root cellar and recruits Steve to fight it.
Eleven hitchhikes to Terry's house. She telepathically communicates with Terry, seeing images of another child kept in Hawkins Lab and of Terry being crippled by forced shock therapy.
By examining Will's drawings, Bob figures out Hopper's location, and he and Joyce enter the tunnels to rescue him. They are joined by scientists from Hawkins Lab. As the scientists burn the vines filling the tunnels, Will screams in agony and collapses.
This episode provides examples of:
- Bad Black Barf: Hopper spits up some black goop after he wakes up in the tunnel.
- Brick Joke:
- Eleven correcting the truck driver about Ives's address of being 5:15 and not 515.
- When Lucas asks his dad for advice about fixing a friendship with a girl after an argument "even if she's wrong", Mr. Sinclair only half-joking replies that "she's never wrong". The theme is continued when we see Steve approaching the Wheeler household with a bunch of flowers practicing an apology to Nancy, only to briefly interrupt himself with a bitter gripe that he's not actually got anything to apologise for in this situation.
- The Bus Came Back: Martin Brenner makes a small cameo during Terry's loop.
- Call-Back: "Pretty," when Eleven sees the room Terry kept for her.
- Cassandra Truth: Discussed by Murray when he's told the truth about Barb's death and Nancy insists that they need to tell the world: the whole situation regarding the Lab is so fantastical that it would be laughed off by the world. However, if the truth is given out phrased just right, the public would be outraged and demand the Lab's closure regardless.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Bob and Hopper don't seem at all surprised to see each other in the tunnels. (They do know each other, as it's been established that Joyce, Hopper and Bob all went to high school together.)Hopper: Hey, Bob.
Bob: Hey, Jim.
- Catapult Nightmare: Will wakes up this way from a nightmare in which he saw Hopper being in trouble.
- Compartment Shot: A shot from inside the fridge as Dustin fetches some cold meat for Dart.
- Crazy-Prepared: Steve reveals to not only have kept the spiked baseball bat from Season 1 but also keeps it in the trunk of his car as if a new Demogorgon threat was something he already anticipated.
- Did Not Think This Through:
- Hopper doesn't seem to have thought through how he was planning to get out of the hole once going through. He also doesn't seem to have had a plan of what to do once getting there, besides exploring. This immediately gets him trapped there.
- Murray points out what would have happened if Nancy and Jonathan went directly to the media instead of approaching him first.
- Considering that his initial response to finding out the actual truth about Hawkins Lab from Nancy and Johnathan is to try to get drunk, it's probable that Murray believes he did this when he accepted the case of Barbara's disappearance and started to posit theories about a teenage Russian spy (Eleven) being somehow involved (considering that the threat of being Killed to Uphold the Masquerade is clear and present).
- Dissonant Serenity: Bob is only mildly surprised to see that Joyce has wall-papered her home with a tangle of crazy drawings, to be asked to solve an inexplicable puzzle related to those drawings, to learn that there's a large network of tunnels under Hawkins mapped out by Will's drawings, and to find Hopper tangled in a mass of fast-moving vines that scream and retreat when cut with a knife.Hopper: Hey, Bob.
Bob: Hey, Jim.
- "Eureka!" Moment: Three:
- Hopper realizes he can build a makeshift torch using his lighter and materials from the tunnels, and burn a breach back to the real world.
- Bob realizes that the map of tunnels Will has drawn is actually a massive map of Hawkins (with the lakes as boundaries), and is able to scale it down enough to locate Hopper.
- Murray's vodka is so strong that he needs it watered down, which in turn inspires Murray to edit the content of the tape to make it much more believable to the public. In other words, saying that Barbs death was caused by the lab's experimental toxins rather than an evil monster from a parallel dimension.
- From a Certain Point of View: Barbara died because of an experiment gone wrong on the Hawkins Lab. That much is true. And while it ticks Nancy off that the exact details need to be buried, she's happy that the public may still demand an investigation and Barb's parents can get closure.
- Happily Married: Lucas's parents.Lucas: Dad, how do you make Mom stop being mad at you?
Mr. Sinclair: First, I apologize. Then, I get your mother whatever she wants.
Lucas: Even when she's wrong?
Mr. Sinclair: She's never wrong, son.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: After Nancy fills Bauman in on the facts of Barb's fate, he sits in gobsmacked silence for a moment before he immediately goes to his kitchen, pulls out a vodka bottle, and starts mixing a drink.Nancy: What are you doing?
Nancy: With vodka?
Bauman: It's a central nervous system depressant. So yes, with vodka.
- Internal Reveal: Several:
- Jonathan and Nancy reveal the entire scope of the conspiracy as they know it to Murray Bauman, who believes them.
- Lucas reveals the conspiracy to Max, who doesn't believe him.
- Joyce reveals very small bits of the conspiracy to Bob, but not the full picture.
- Just in Time: Bob manages to crack the code and arrive at the last possible moment to rescue Hopper. Then the Hawkins Lab team shows up just in time to rescue them.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Max thinks Lucas's recounting of the events of the first season was "derivative in parts," referencing how the show wears its influences on its sleeve.
- Lobotomy: We learn that Terry has been trapped in a memory loop ever since she received an electro-shock lobotomy at Hawkins Lab meant to silence her. Eleven is not able to get through to her but does learn the meaning behind the litany of numbers and words Terry keeps repeating.note Through her mind.
- Lock-and-Load Montage: Dustin gets one when he's suiting up in hockey pads and oven mitts in preparation to lure Dart out of his room.
- Mama Bear: Terry Ives was fully ready to storm a government facility, singlehandedly, not caring about her life if it meant watching Jane (Eleven) safe. Too bad the guards got to her before she got to Jane.
- Mind Meld: When she notices the lights flickering in the house, Eleven realizes that this is her mother trying to get in touch with her. She then sits down with her mother and taps into her "dream circle". It's there that she sees her "lost sister" for the first time. This leads Eleven to try and find Kali two episodes later.
- My God, You Are Serious!: Max's initial reaction to Lucas taking his "tale" dead serious.
- No Time to Explain: When Steve asks Dustin what's going, the latter replies he will explain on the way.
- Oh, Crap!: Hopper yells "shit!" when he realizes that the walls of the tunnels are sealed.
- Phoney Call: Dustin pretends to be talking to a Mr. McCorckle while we hear the operator's error message on the other end. This is part of the Snipe Hunt he puts his mother on to find Mews.
- Psychic Link: Will has one to the shadow monster, which also results in him developing Synchronization with the tentacled vines spreading underground through Hawkins. When the Hawkins Lab people begin torching the vines, Will feels pain and begins to convulse and screech inhumanly.
- Seen It All: Downplayed, but Bob's reaction to his and Joyce discovering an extensive series of tunnels under Hawkins, filled with moving vines, slime, and Hopper is quite subdued.Bob: We're inside Will's drawing.
- Self-Deprecation: Max thinks Lucas's summary of the events of season 1 is made-up. Her review of the story echoes much of the critical reception the show received after its debut:Max: It's crazy, but I really liked it. I mean I had a few issues. I just felt it was a little derivative in parts. I just wish it had a little more originality, that's all.
- Shrine to the Fallen: As shown in Season 1 when Hopper and Joyce visited, the room that Terry had prepared for Jane is exactly the same when Eleven arrives over a decade later.
- String Theory: Conspiracy Theorist Murray Bauman has a pin wall in his home with plenty of red strings to link all the evidence. The main portion of it is dedicated to tracking Barb's movements on the day she disappeared, but according to Nancy, the timeline is off just a bit.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Several times:
- Max does not believe Lucas's story for a moment, as he has absolutely no proof.
- Hopper tries El's method of breaking through the Upside Down back to Earth, but he is still about 15 feet underground without any sort of digging tools, exhausted, and breathing toxic air. He's able to dig about three feet before collapsing.
- Nancy and Jonathan's relationship fell apart because she is still a relatively fickle teenager and only waited a month for him to stop caring for Will before she went back to Steve.
- 450 Volts of continuous electroshock therapy will fry even the sturdiest of human brains.
- While Murray easily buys the teens' proof, he thinks his plan will work because the government screwing up is something that is believable but the "real" situation is too fantastic for the regular people to believe.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: The trucker who gives Eleven a lift is listening to "Green, Green Grass of Home" by Bobby Bare.
- Telepathy: Used by Eleven to try and communicate with her mother. Unfortunately, her electroshock-induced brain damage is too severe, and all Eleven can do is see details of the Photographic Memory loop Terry is stuck.note The visions include a little Indian girl, a clue that Eleven leads to another place in the episode after next.
- Villainous Rescue: The Hawkins Lab's team of flamethrower-wielding hazmat soldiers arrive just in time to rescue Hopper, Joyce, and Bob from the tunnels. Also overlaps with Big Damn Heroes.
- Wait Here: Joyce is very adamant about Will and Mike staying behind in the car while she and Bob head out to search for Hopper.