What do the Stranger Things season 2 episode titles mean?

Stranger Things season 2 has been confirmed and with it a few scant details. We know there will be four new characters, locations outside of Hawkins, Indiana, and a strong James Cameron influence. Then there’s just the small matter of those episode titles. The teaser trailer revealed nine ‘names’ and we know there are nine episodes in the new season, so we're assuming these could be the episode titles for season 2. But what do they mean? Here’s what we think...

MADMAX

Mad Max came out in 1979 so it’s in the right place for Stranger Things season 2 which is set one year after the first season, in 1984. We’ve already seen movie posters in season 1, like John Carpenter’s The Thing and The Evil Dead, but the spelling suggests this is more likely a nickname, possibly something like a license plate, label, or other badge that might be missing the gap between Mad and Max. It could also be an introduction to one of the new characters. What about a nickname printed on a hospital band for a new superpowered child like Eleven? One link we know about for sure is that that Eleven actor, Millie Bobby Brown, was encouraged to shave her head after being shown a picture of Charlize Theron Furiosa character from Mad Max Fury Road. 

THE BOY THAT CAME BACK TO LIFE

This is actually the headline from a newspaper at the end of season 1 after Will returns from the Upside Down. It’s likely then that this episode will deal with his adjustment to life after coming back. The Duffer Brothers have hinted that season 2 will deal with the emotional and physical ramification of spending time in the toxic alternate universe so this might be where we find out how it’s affected Will, his friends, and the town as a whole. 

THE PUMPKIN PATCH

This seems like an obvious Halloween reference but there’s another possibility - in season 1 portals to the Upside Down were characterised by plant like tendrils and growth. Could the pumpkin patch refer to an area tainted by the Upside Down? Or perhaps an area where it’s breaking through again? 

THE PALACE

Season 1 began and ended with Dungeons & Dragons prefacing things to come, such as the Demogorgon. ‘The Palace’ has a very strong fantasy feel to it so it could be a location named via a connection to the game. The previous season ended with a D&D match where the gang killed a Thesselhydra and presented its heads to King Tristan. No palace was named specifically, but where do kings usually live? Could this be a new Upside Down location? Possibly a cleaner, less monstrous one? 

THE STORM

Chances are this could actually be a storm. Well, duh. Historically 1984 was actually a big year for weather with several large storms caused by a low pressure front over the Atlantic Ocean. This could be a very literal storm in the real world that happens at a crucial point in the story. It could also be a very cool name for a monster.

THE POLLYWOG

This is both a word for a tadpole, or a slang term for a sailor crossing the equator for the first time. Obviously, it’s most likely a reference to the first one and could be about the slug-like thing that Will puked up at the end of season 1. It showing up that late in the season run suggests it might be coming back grown up. But into what?

THE SECRET CABIN

Could this be a location in the Upside Down? The ‘secret’ bit means it’s probably hidden in someway. It could be somewhere in the real world, but I have a feeling the Upside Down will play a bigger part this time around. There’s also Castle Bryers - the Upside Down version of Will’s club house where he successfully hid from the Demogorgon for a week suggesting that was pretty secret. 

THE BRAIN

In season 1 we saw moments where Eleven demonstrated her skills by crushing a coke can with her mind while her head was covered in wires. Obviously her abilities are telepathic in nature so this could be referring to the source of all her power, or even the Upside Down itself. It could also be another new character along the lines of previous dropped names like the the Knight and the Princess. Possibly even a new test subject like Elle only with different abilities. 

THE LOST BROTHER

Take your pick here. This could be another test subject and so a brother to Eleven? What about another Demogorgon or monster? In one Dungeons & Dragons book the demogorgon has a demon lord brother called Mandrillagon. And, probably the most likely - Will’s brother Jonathan. Does he get left in the Upside Down in the season finale? Or maybe even earlier and this refers to his return? I’m going with the third one. 

That’s our thoughts on what these Stranger Things season 2 titles could mean, but what about you? If you’ve got any ideas drop them in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In former lives Leon's been a scientist, a musician and teacher, stints that included a shoe full of liquid nitrogen, a small tour of Germany and oh GOD so much marking.
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