Given that the entire first season of Stranger Things was a smorgasbord of nostalgic references to everything from classic '80s sci-fi to horror to adventure tales, it's no surprise that the second season of Stranger Things is once again loaded to the brim with Easter eggs. But while some of Stranger Things Season 2's Easter eggs are obvious – the gang's Ghostbuster costumes are about as clear an '80s sci-fi reference as one can get – there are plenty that may have slipped by even the most attentive viewers during a weekend binge.
After all, Stranger Things is a show about nerds, written by a bunch of nerds, intended to entertain nerds, so of course it's going to make us work to find every special little detail, be that callbacks to Season 1, allusions to what was happening in America in 1984 (get ready to Google search Walter Mondale!), or references to some of nerd culture's most prominent cultural touchstones of the 1980s. So while it's totally okay to re-watch all of Season 2 just for fun, we've gone ahead and made a list of all those nifty references you may have missed the first time around in Stranger Things Season 2.
Bob Newby, Treasure Hunter
Bob Newby is nostalgia personified. He works at a Radio Shack, is fluent in '80s computer languages, and is played by none other than Goonies actor Sean Astin. The show even calls out Astin's cinematic past with a reference to The Goonies when Bob asks if they're looking for "pirate treasure."
It's All In The Numbers
Eleven has become one of Stranger Things' most iconic characters, and in Season 2 she was joined by fellow psychic sister Eight. And since we're talking about characters named after numbers, the writers sneaked some clever mathematical Easter eggs into the show. When Mike and Eleven finally reunite, Mike explains that he's contacted her every day for 353 days. 3 + 5 + 3 = 11. As if that weren't enough, when Eleven tries to track down her sister, she rides on bus 2422. The first 2, however, is scratched out, leaving the number 422. 4 + 2 + 2 = 8. Expect even more subtle math references if other numbered psychic characters show up in Season 3.
Let's Get Political
Stranger Things Season 2 takes place a week before the 1984 presidential election, in which Democrat Walter Mondale went up against Republican Ronald Reagan. Hawkins, Indiana, seems to lean Republican, as Reagan signs are prominent in the season, but it's interesting that the only Mondale sign seen in Hawkins sits on Dustin's front lawn, underscoring one of many ways that Dustin's pet-loving mother is the complete opposite of Mike's conservative parents.
Baby Fae’s Baboon Heart
The election isn't the only piece of real-life '80s history that finds its way into Stranger Things. A front-page story in The Hawkins Post, right beneath the local mystery of the pumpkin patches, is a true one about an infant heart transplant. In 1984, an infant diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome was given a baboon-heart transplant in an effort to keep her alive. The transplant worked for nearly three weeks, but Baby Fae eventually passed away on November 16th.
It Lives In Maine
When Bob is trying to help Will overcome his nightmares, he refers to being terrorized by a clown in his childhod nightmares. Earlier in the series, we learn that his parents have a house in Maine. If you're looking for famous '80s stories about children in Maine being terrorized by clowns, look no further than It,, another story about small-town children taking on a monster from another dimension. The 2017 film adaptation even stars Stranger Things' own Finn Wolfhard.
One of the biggest arguments that plagues the gang when Halloween comes around is who will be playing which Ghostbuster. Lucas says that he has no interest in being Winston, but before the end of the season quotes one of the character's most famous lines when he mentions that it is "judgment day."
Eleven The Friendly Ghost
Eleven's makeshift ghost costume isn't just adorable – it's heartbreaking. Eleven spies on Mike numerous times over the course of Stranger Things Season 2, so it's entirely possible that the reason she dressed up as a ghost is because she knew he would be a Ghostbuster. When these two grow up, their couples costume game is bound to be on point.
Risky Things or, Stranger Buisness
While there was no mistaking the Ghostbusters outfits, Steve and Nancy had a more subtle couples costume for their more mature (er, sloppy) Halloween party. They dressed as the characters played by Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business, although they're a bit late to the punch, as the film came out in August over 1983, over a full year before Halloween 1984.
Jump Off A Cliff
In Season 2, Mike's dad asks him, "If your friends jump off a cliff, are you gonna jump too?" Little does Mike's dad know, Mike already did this in Season 1 – and he didn't even need someone else to do it first.
Heart Of Thunder
Pray for Mrs. Wheeler, whose love life is not going well. It's doubtful that Ted "We're All Patriots Here" Wheeler is capable of the passion she reads about in the book Heart of Thunder by famed romance novelist Johanna Lindsey. The main character in the book encounters a "rough-hewn, insolvent outlaw," which in Mrs. Wheeler's mind seems to inspire an attraction toward mulleted bully Billy.
Bob Newby, the precious, warm biscuit of a man that he is, sits down the Byers family for an evening of wholesome comedy with a viewing of the Michael Keaton comedy Mr. Mom. While the choice of film may seem innocuous, it mirrors the Season 2 plotlines of Hopper and Steve Harrington, two men who are tasked with taking care of children.
While Season 2 of Stranger Things opens with the gang trying to take on the fully-animated arcade game Dragon's Lair, it's the NAMCO classic Dig Dug that introduces the gang to "Mad" Max, who quickly becomes an arcade legend in Hawkins. Dig Dug, a game about traversing underground tunnels and killing monsters, foreshadows the final episode of the season in which the arcade group wanders the tunnels beneath Hawkins to distract the fleet of Demodogs and help save the town.
The Snow Ball
The finale of Stranger Things 2 was bound to get tears out of everyone who watched, but some viewers may have missed the most heartbreaking detail. At the end of Season 1, Mike asks Eleven if they can go to the Snow Ball together. Over a year later, they finally get the chance to dance together and be normal teenagers for a day. As if that weren't tearjerky enough, some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Eleven is wearing a blue hair tie on her wrist. It's the same hair tie that Hopper used to wear on his wrist, as it belonged to his daughter who passed away.
While we most certainly have a bit of a wait before Stranger Things Season 3, we can already start to imagine what kinds of nerdy references we'll get once the show chronicles 1985 — get ready for Hawkins to feel the effects of Back To The Future, the first ever Nintendo game console, and New Coke. Sure, they'll also probably have to deal with the massive, death-craving shadow beast that's looming over the town from an alternate dimension, but even that probably isn't as bad as New Coke.