9 Easter Eggs Hidden In Stranger Things Season Two

Origonaly written for theculturecrossing.com here.

After the success of its debut season, Stranger Things Season Two wasted no time taking us back on the whirlwind of 1980s nostalgia and suspense. The shows’ sophomore season saw more pop culture references and hidden plot details. But how many of these did you spot? With season four on its way, we look back to see what was disguised in plain sight.

Join us as we uncover 9 Easter Eggs hidden Stranger Things Season Two.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen Stranger Things, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

1. The map and the red bandana

A fresh face for season two is Joyce’s sympathetic sweetie pie boyfriend, Bob. Played by Sean Astin, who rose to fame from his role as Mikey in the ’80s classic The Goonies. An intentional casting as this allowed the Duffer Brothers sprinkle some parallels from their world, to the 80s pirate adventure.

Bob’ story mirrors Mikey’s from The Goonies. He figures out how to read and decode the map, always checks the rest of the group are safe before he leaves the tunnels. And mentions buried pirate treasure; the focus of his role in The Goonies.

The Duffer Brothers also play on the visual similarities when the group are in the tunnels. Steve sports the same red bandana Josh Brolin wears in The Goonies. Both characters act as the older leaders of the group, highlighted by this visual call back.

2. Dinosaurs and door handles

Season One was oozing wit Spielberg references and Season Two doesn’t disappoint. In episode 8, Hopper, Joyce, Bob, and Dr Owens discover they need to flip the breakers and restart the computers to escape the lab. From the shot of the breakers being switched on to the race out of the building and use of walkie talkies, Jurassic Park references are on show.

Will even spots a Demogorgon pause at the door before using the handle to open it slowly. Direct replication of the iconic ‘eye at the window’ scene in Steven Spielberg’s dino classic.

3. Reiser and the radar

Perhaps the most blatant reference in Season Two is the casting of Paul Reiser as Dr Owens. Reiser, famous for his work as the dishonest face of authority in Aliens, plays a similar shady character as Dr Owens.

Carter Burke is a manipulative, callus corporate shell who happily sends the charters into danger, much like the figure of Dr Owens. The Duffer Brothers were so set on Paul Reiser for this role, as they referenced him by name for the character in the script.

Alien is referenced again when Will sends a gaggle of scientists to their death in the tunnels. Hooper, Dr Owens and the rest of the lab team look on as the radar reveals the scientist are met by and so ravaged by a pack of Demodogs.

The scientists also carry flamethrowers and one is told to “stay frosty”. Two more references to Ridley Scott’s intergalactic classic.

4. The secret door

In ‘Chapter Four: Will the Wise’, Eleven discovers the secret door under Hoppers’ house and further information about her past. This sets up her quest for her biological mother and is a shot for shot homage to The Evil Dead. Sam Raimi helped launch the ‘cabin in the woods’ horror trope thanks to this horror staple and Hopper’s home conforms to this.

The remote location, the upward shot of Eleven from the secret hatch, to the shot of the swing on the porch and the vines capturing Hopper in the Upside Down. These are blatant Raimi-isms on display.

5. Possession and paediatrics

The second season of Stranger Things sees a pastiche of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. Will is tied to the bed and the Demogorgon is practically exorcized from his body. All following his ineffective examinations by medical experts.

This narrative runs throughout The Exorcist. Joyce’s outburst with the doctors replicates Ellen Burstyn’s performance. The exhausted mother of her possessed child, unable to find help.

6. The newspaper

The Duffer Brothers don’t just hide fictional references in Season Two. The Hawkins newspaper shows “Baby Fae’s Baboon Heart.” This is the non-fictional story of Stephanie Fae Beauclair, born on October 14, 1984, and the first infant to receive a heart transplant.

This weaves the genuine stories of the year into the Stranger Things universe. It helps establish the zingiest of the time, in relation to the rest of the series. 1984 saw some impressive medical achievements, but could they save Will?

7. The hat and the heat

Season Two is sprinkled with Indiana Jones Easter Eggs. When Hopper is fleeing from the Upside Down, he dives through the gate, but not before grabbing his hat from the ground in true Indy fashion.

The Duffer Brothers also admit they took the Jonathan and Nancy ‘hook up’ scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. “Nancy and Jonathan, that’s Temple of Doom, that’s the whole bedroom dance. Leaving the bedroom, fighting, going back out, coming back, that’s Temple of Doom.”

The season finale also sees Will being pulled out of his trance as Nancy scolds him with a hot poker. This is a final call back to Temple of Doom as Indiana Jones is pulled out of his trance via a burn with a flaming torch.

8. Films and foreshadowing

When the Byers house plays host to movie night, the films Jonathan rented are seen in the background. War Games and Twilight Zone: The Movie are both shown and feature the themes of Season 2. Supernatural threats and the general fear of Russian surveillance are focus points. They only become more prominent in the shows second series.

9. The subtle subtext

In Episode 7, ‘The Lost Sister’ Eleven runs away and discovers Kali, another victim of Hawkins Lab. When they both seek revenge on a lab technician named Ray, he is watching 80s TV show, Punky Brewster. A hidden Easter Egg that is easily missed, the main character of the show is retelling a bad dream she had involving doctors. This acts as a subtle retelling of Elevens arc in season one and mirrors her relationship with Jim Hopper.

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