1) We get it -- people smoked a lot in the 80's. But people did not smoke that much.
2) "I am on a curiosity voyage, and these are my paddles!" Dustin was great in season one. He was pretty damn near sublime in season two. His "cool" haircut was -- wow.
3) Speaking of hairstyles, Eleven / Elle's boy haircut was really confusing. Sometimes I honestly thought she was one of the boy characters.
4) As great as the Winter Ball scene was at the end and how it tied so much together, I think one of my favorite things about this show are the less obvious moments of chemistry, and how even characters who don't really share an arc are still guaranteed to have a really human moment or two.
5) The Nancy love-triangle is still fantastic. They frame Jonathan as the moody, Clash-listening poet dude, and Steve as the rich dumb jock from the beginning. But by the end of Season Two I was kind of rooting for Steve to get back together with Nancy, or at least find somebody new. He's genuinely a protector of the kids, even when he's still the dumb jock who doesn't know what Morse Code or the history of National Socialism are. (Arguably my favorite laugh lines of the season.)
6) The theme of this season, and probably the show, is that "friends never lie." But of course, they end up lying to each other constantly. They couldn't protect each other, otherwise. They couldn't survive, otherwise. (I'd argue tying up your son / brother and jamming him with sleep medication when needed in order to save the world is somewhat deceitful, at best.)
7) I liked Max. Was she necessary though, beyond just "filling in" for Eleven and establishing a bit of romantic tension? Eleven and Mike certainly don't seem to think so.
8) I didn't know what to make of Max's brother. It seems like he was supposed to do more, probably something awful, but beating up Steve was pretty inconsequential. I will give no fucks if he isn't back for season three.
9) Speaking of fucks, kids should curse more in movies and TV. And they should do it in these off-hand, spontaneous ways, just like how kids (and adults) curse in real life.
10) The only major letdown for me was episode seven, where Eleven goes to Chicago to find her sister. I think fleshing out her backstory is fine, but everything with Kali and her gang just doesn't work. Kali's buddies were very Destroy All Movies!!! (in a bad way), and loosening up the action of the last two episodes into three might have worked well.
11) Goddammit Bob, as with most characters on this show, they set you up as boring and flawed and then manage to develop you in genuinely funny and sympathetic ways. I wanted Bob to live. I had many a feel when he died. R.I.P. Samwise. I mean Bob.
12) Barb shall have her revenge on Hawkins, Indiana. (She really did! At least on the governmnent scientists who managed to get her killed, thanks to Nancy and Jonathan and the crazy conspiracy dude!)
13) My Stranger Things season three betting pool: What insanely neurotic behavior will Mrs. Byers engage in next season (decorating the house with Christmas lights, Will's crayon drawings) before being proven absolutely correct about everything she thinks is going on?
14) I hated the fact they used The Police's "Every Breath You Take" for Eleven and Mike's first kiss (an admitted stalker anthem) but then, right on the line "I'll be watching you," we get the big old reversal into the Upside Down which ends the season. For a show about inter-dimensional space demons, this show really has the lightest of touches at times. That's not easy to pull off, and I think that's why I love it so much.