So you've finished Stranger Things Season 2 (if you haven't, get out of this post), and you've learned a few things.
Steve (Joe Keery) is the best, Steve and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) are even better, and you probably have some weird feelings about Billy (Dacre Montgomery) that you can't really explain. That's what everyone's talking about now that their first, and maybe second, binges are over. However, the acknowledgement for three people that made it possible for our favorite gang of misfits to survive the latest attack from the Upside Down has gotten lost in the mess of demodogs, shadow monsters and Farrah Fawcett hair spray.
It's time to correct that wrong and hand out some praise to three unsung heroes that kicked ass and kind of got the raw end of the stick in the process.
1. Bob the Brain
"What does she even see in him?" Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) rudely asks about her mom's new boyfriend early in the season. Sure, Bob (Sean Astin) works at Radio Shack and he's a little earnest, but you know what? He did nothing but care about Joyce (Winona Ryder) and her two boys. He just wanted to provide them with a safe, stable life and for most of the time he was with them all he got was sass and disrespect. Before Will (Noah Schnapp) ended up back at the lab for observation, Bob was the one who managed to decode the vine drawings all over the Byer home and use it as a map to find Hopper (David Harbour) lost in the tunnels. That's right, Hopper would be dead if it weren't for Bob.
No one really seemed to understand Bob's value until he sacrificed himself to go reset the power grid at the lab once the demodogs took over. It was his brains once again that saved the day. He made it all the way back to the lobby and six feet from safety before he was eaten by the demodogs. It's important to note that the demodogs took small chunks out of everyone else in the lab, but they converged in a pack to make sure there was nothing recognizable about Bob left. Joyce and Hopper briefly acknowledged Bob's great sacrifice after he died, but they were still smoking cigarettes and taking a luxurious swim in their own sexual tension by the end of the season. Was Bob even cold in his casket?
Bob, your brain saved so many people on this show and gave them the key to defeating the shadow monster. We wouldn't have made it without you and you deserve a holiday, or at least a Radio Shack annual sale, named after you.
2. Dr. Owens
Okay, Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) set us up to think the worst of him because he's a doctor working at the lab that started the Upside Down nightmare in the first place, but at the end of the day, he turned out to be a valuable member of our team. He was pretty callous when it came to covering up Barb's (Shannon Purser) death, but he seemed legitimately committed to helping Will get better. He was the one that refused to continue burning the roots in the tunnels when he knew that it was harming Will and he is the reason that Bob made it out of the lab's basement after resetting the computer system. As a bonus, he got Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) off the government watch list, allowing her to at least attempt a normal teenage life.
So what did we learn? Not everyone employed by the government is the bad guy on Stranger Things and we can work with the other side of the aisle. Paul Reiser understands if you doubted him, but he has some ideas of how you can make it up to him.
"To whatever extent I am unsung, I would like the people now to sing," Reiser told TV Guide on the Stranger Things premiere red carpet. "I would like them all to sing my praises. Even the people who had a bad thought about me, come over on the street and say, 'You know what, we got you all wrong. I'm sorry.' I would like an eye to eye apology from everybody and then some sort of monetary [compensation] — even if it's just $1 and I'll give it to charity — but just to show me that they feel bad."
Do you feel bad enough to pay up?
With Eleven on her own adventure for most of the season, The Party was in some serious need of some estrogen energy. That came in the form of Max (Sadie Sink), whose baller video game skills made her the apple of Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin's eye. And yes, she primarily functioned as a love interest for Lucas for the season, but she became a clutch person to have around when the kids got sidelined to the bench in the final episode.
Steve may have been the one to throw the first punch to Billy's face, but Max was the one that made sure her abusive step-brother stayed down so that the kids could get away and divert the demodogs away from the lab to give Eleven and Hopper a chance at closing the gate. Max not only faced up to her tormentor, but grabbed the keys and drove the Party to the Shadow Monster's central nervous system to help complete the plan.
She did all of that despite the fact that both the boys (Mike, mostly) and Eleven did nothing but exclude her every time she tried to help. Eleven was straight up rude even though Max was nothing but excited to meet her, all over Eleven's misconceived notion that Max was after Mike (Finn Wolfhard). It was really disheartening to see this new girl risking her own personal safety to help the guys out only to have them dismiss her and treat her like she was an annoyance rather than the MVP she turned out to be.
We salute you, Max, Zoomer. Here's to you getting the respect you deserve in Season 3.
Stranger Things 2 is now streaming on Netflix.