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"Chapter One: MADMAX" is the ninth episode of Stranger Things, and the premiere episode of the second season. It premiered on October 27, 2017 along with the rest of the season.


As the town preps for Halloween, a high-scoring rival shakes things up in the arcade, and a skeptical Hopper inspects a field of rotting pumpkins.


In Pittsburgh, October 28, 1984, a group of masked individuals flee an apartment building in a van as the police pursue them. As the police pursue them towards a tunnel, the lead squad car's driver sees the tunnel collapse in front of them and swerves to stop, blocking the rest off. When he gets out of the car, he realizes he imagined it. As the van drives away, a girl identified as "Kali" wipes blood streaming from her nose on her sleeve, revealing the number "008" tattooed on her forearm.

Will sees an episode

Will Byers in the Upside Down

Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair all pool their change (Mike's haul stolen from his sister Nancy) and meet Will Byers at the Palace Arcade, where his mother Joyce is shown expressing overprotection of him. The boys watch Dustin play Dragon's Lair and be killed by the titular dragon before he can grab the magic sword needed to slay it, Lucas smugly professing his superiority at the game and love of the game's princess, Daphne. Arcade employee Keith informs Dustin that his Centipede and Dig Dug high scores have been beaten, and Dustin confirms this when he sees someone named "MADMAX" now holds the highest Dig Dug score by 100,000 points. Keith offers to inform on their identity if Mike can set him up on a date with Nancy, which Mike is vehemently opposed to but Dustin and Lucas are all for. As they argue, Will notices what appears to be snow falling outside and finds everyone in the arcade gone. The setting flashes into the Upside Down, and Will steps outside to see storm clouds approaching, flashing red lightning. He is snapped out of it by Mike, who has not noticed anything.

S2E1-Murray Bauman's first appearance

Jim Hopper is approached by ex-journalist conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman who has questions about Eleven, hearing reports of her being a Russian experiment with psionic abilities, referencing a story of her shattering a glass door with her mind and a report of her living in the Wheelers' basement. Wanting to find out what happened to Barb Holland, he tells Hopper his theory that Barb came across Eleven but was taken by her Russian handlers. Hopper dismisses him and goes to work on another case. Nancy revises Steve Harrington's college essay and they discuss the future of their relationship post-graduation as two new students, a high school boy and a middle school skateboarder girl, arrive in the same car, the former being ogled by girls as he walks by.

S2E1 Will discovers

Will finds a defaced clipping of the article about his mysterious reappearance on top of his locker with "ZOMBIE BOY" written on it. In class, Scott Clarke discusses the complexity of the human brain before the skateboarder enters his class, introduced as Maxine "Max" Mayfield. As she sits down in the back of the class, the boys stare at her, making the connection between her nickname and MADMAX. Joyce is visited at work by her new boyfriend, kindly RadioShack worker and high school acquaintance Bob Newby, becoming intimate in the back room and confirming their plans for a movie night. Hopper arrives at Merrill Wright's pumpkin patch, who believes his crop's sudden rot to be the work of his neighbor, despite having no evidence. Hopper hears something in a nearby cornfield, but it turns out to be a crow.


Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair speculate about Will Byers

Nancy receives two invitations to a Halloween party and gives one to Jonathan Byers, wanting him to come out of his shell. He refuses, and they are interrupted by Steve, who shares a public moment of affection with Nancy, during which Jonathan walks off quietly. Watching Max on the blacktop, Lucas and Dustin believe she is MADMAX, while Will and Mike do not. As she heads inside, she writes a note and drops it in a trashcan. The boys fish it out, only to find that it reads "Stop spying on me CREEPS!" Will is called away for a regularly scheduled appointment and his friends watch him go, Mike noting that he is quieter than usual.

Will, Joyce, and Hopper (posing as Will's father) meet with Dr. Sam Owens, the affable new head of Hawkins National Laboratory, for some routine medical tests. After getting weighted, measured, blood work and blood pressure done, he is hooked up to a machine that measures his brainwaves while he describes his episode from the day before, and is unknowingly monitored by lab staff. The more he describes of it, the more intense his neural activity becomes. He describes feeling an evil presence that wanted to kill everyone but him. Owens talks to Joyce and Hopper privately about the "anniversary effect," in which victims of trauma often undergo temporary personality changes around the anniversary of their incident. Owens recommends to continue treating him normally. Joyce later tells Hopper that she dislikes Owens, but he insists that she trust him. He states that he is happy she is comfortable in her relationship with Bob, but reminds her to call him immediately if things go south. Owens watches Hopper leave before overseeing a lab worker attempt to incinerate the gate in the still quarantined lower level of the lab.

Mike tries to contact Eleven for the 352nd day in a row since her disappearance

Mike Wheeler attempts his daily contact with Eleven

Outside the arcade, Dustin and Lucas watch Max be dropped off by the high schooler, the two loudly arguing before he drives off. Watching her skillful playing of Dig Dug, they confirm she is MADMAX. As punishment for stealing from Nancy, Mike is being forced to give up two full boxes of toys in a yard sale. Karen Wheeler notes his recent behavioral problems. Mike boxes up his toys in the basement, keeping the ones he attaches memories of Eleven to. He sits in her still preserved blanket fort and tries to contact her on his Supercom for the 352nd consecutive day since her disappearance to no avail. He hears her voice say his name over the speaker, only to be cut off by Dustin revealing their discovery, which he is not interested in. Nancy and Steve have their weekly dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Holland, who are selling the house to pay Bauman for his investigation of their daughter. Quietly distraught, Nancy excuses herself to the bathroom and weeps as she thinks about her and Barb's last words.

Chapter One - MADMAX

Will has a vision

Dustin returns home and hears banging and animal noises on his front porch, dismissing it as his cat. His trash can rattles as he leaves. Jonathan finds Will in his room, drawing a "Zombie Boy" version of himself. Will expresses anger at his friends and mother treating him like he is too fragile to do anything and that it makes him feel like a freak. Jonathan professes that he would rather be friends with Zombie Boy than someone boring. While they, Bob and Joyce watch a movie together, the phone rings, and Joyce gets impulsive anxiety from it until Bob calms her. Later that night, the lab's machinery goes haywire. Will gets up to use the bathroom and hears a noise outside, opening the front door to see the Upside Down. The storm clouds from before are in full effect, the lighting illuminating a large, spider-like creature looming overhead, causing the skin on the back of Will's neck to flare up.

Eleven revealed to be alive at a cabin with Hopper

Eleven is revealed to be alive and with Jim Hopper

Hopper avoids a tripwire set in the woods to reach a cabin, the door unlocking itself when he knocks on it with a specific pattern. He sees an Eggo on the dinner table and reminds an unseen party to eat dinner first, as per their rules. As the party reprimands him for being late, they sit down and reveals themself to be Eleven. The two eat dinner together.



Also Starring[]




  • "Whip It" by Devo - The boys arrive at the arcade; Max plays Dig Dug.
  • "Just Another Day" by Oingo Boingo - Chief Hopper arrives arrives at the police station.
  • "Talking in Your Sleep" by The Romantics - Steve and Nancy talk in the car.
  • "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions - Billy's grand entrance.
  • "Spooky Movies" by Gary Paxton - Song at Melvald's general store as Bob arrives; Hopper drives out to Merrill's farm.
  • "Every Other Girl" by Prehistoric Wolves - Playing through the headphones of the tech lab assistant.

Original score[]

  • "Kids" - The kids converse via walkie-talkies.
  • "Shadow In The Tunnel" - Will experiences a vision of the Upside Down.
  • "First Kiss" - Steve kisses Nancy, interrupting a moment between her and Jonathan.
  • "Symptoms" - Will is taken to the lab for an appointment.
  • "Power Maintenance" - Will explains the visions to Dr. Owens.
  • "Eulogy" - Nancy cries out of guilt over Barb. Mike tries to contact Eleven.
  • "Eight Fifteen" Hopper returns home to Eleven.


View Gallery For this subject's gallery, see MADMAX/Gallery.


  • On August 31, 2016, the second season was announced through a trailer published across social media, listing the initial titles of the nine episodes, the first of which was "MADMAX".
    • This episode is the only chapter title from the season two announcement teaser that didn't change in the final release.
  • The opening sequence is the first scene which doesn't take place in Indiana (excluding flashbacks).
  • This is the first episode in the series in which Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, and Paul Reiser are listed as part of the main cast. Schnapp and Keery were listed as recurring in Season 1 despite both having major roles in that season.
  • There is an inconsistency in the timeframe of this episode:
    • Mike says it's 7:50 PM when using his Supercom, and a few scenes later, Bob is videotaping Joyce while she is making popcorn on the stove and the time says 6:11 PM.
  • The episode title is a reference to the 1979 fantasy/science-fiction film of the same name. It also references Max Mayfield, one of the new characters introduced this season.
  • During the scene where Nancy and Steve are visiting the Hollands, Steve mentions that he "loves KFC", though the term KFC was not officially established until 1991.
  • Max Mayfield inputting her name as "MADMAX" is actually an error, as Dig Dig arcade machines only allow for three letter inputs.
  • This is the first episode to introduce a different test subject from Hawkins National Laboratory, Eight.
  • During Dr. Owens's regular check-up on Will's symptoms, Owens notably uses the term "the Upside Down" when discussing the other world with Will. This is the series' only instance where a government official adopts the Party's terminology to describe the supernatural.