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This article is about the episode. For the inter-dimensional doorway, see Gate.


"Chapter Nine: The Gate" is the seventeenth episode of Stranger Things and the ninth and final episode of the second season. It premiered on October 27, 2017. 

Synopsis

Eleven makes plans to finish what she started while the survivors turn up the heat on the monstrous force that's holding Will hostage.

Plot

Eleven and Mike Wheeler finally reunite

Eleven and Mike Wheeler embrace, reunited after almost a year. He tells her that he called every night, and she admits that she knew, Jim Hopper explaining that he had been hiding her the whole time. She and Hopper hug until Mike, enraged, confronts him over hiding her. Mike shouts at him in a back bedroom, venting his rage until he calms, understanding why Hopper hid her. Eleven hugs Dustin Henderson and Lucas Sinclair, and coldly brushes off Max Mayfield when she tries to greet her. She also hugs Joyce Byers and looks at the unconscious Will, and confirms that she is capable of closing the gate.

Billy Hargrove goes to the Wheeler house looking for Max and casually flirts with Karen Wheeler, who informs him that the kids are likely at the Byers'. The group lays out their plan: Eleven and Hopper will go to the gate to close it, but only after Joyce, Jonathan Byers, and Nancy Wheeler extract the Mind Flayer from Will, as closing the gate could kill him while the Mind Flayer is connected to him. Joyce remembers Will saying the Mind Flayer "likes it cold," and concludes that they need to overheat him to get it out. Hopper tells them to use his cabin so Will cannot draw the demodogs to them by recognizing where he is. Steve Harrington accepts that he and Nancy are no longer together and stays behind to guard the kids, while Eleven promises Mike that she will come back, but is interrupted by Hopper before they can kiss.

Eleven explains to Hopper that she saw Terry Ives, and Hopper apologizes to her for lying about her mother. He expresses that he feels like a black hole that destroys everything it gets close to, and that is what he feels happened to his daughter. Eleven takes his hand, and they both acknowledge they have acted irresponsibly. He compliments her new look, which Eleven refers to as "bitchin'," and he agrees. Wanting to preserve the demodog's body for science, Dustin has Steve clear out the Byers' fridge and place its body inside. A restless Mike demands that they distract the demodogs, worried that they will swarm Eleven and Hopper. Mike suggests they go to the tunnel system's graveyard and start a fire to lure them away, which Steve vehemently objects to. Billy arrives outside looking for Max and shoves Steve aside when he notices her in the window, reminding him that he should have planted his feet. He bursts inside and attacks Lucas, stopped from hurting him by Steve. In the ensuing fight, Billy breaks a plate over Steve's head and pins him to the ground, stopped from doing serious damage by Max, who injects him with the rest of Will's sedative. She threatens him with the nail bat to leave her and her friends alone, and she leaves him on the floor and takes his keys.

The kids enter the tunnels

Joyce, Jonathan and Nancy arrive at the cabin and tie Will to a bed, rigging the cabin with a lit fire and several heaters, while Hopper and a troubled Eleven arrive at Hawkins National Laboratory. As Will wakes up and begins shrieking in pain, Joyce considers untying him until she thinks about Bob Newby. Max drives Billy's car to Hopper's dig site as a protesting Steve comes to, and Dustin convinces him to come into the tunnels with them. Hopper finds Sam Owens injured in the lab and dresses his wound, explaining that he has been hiding Eleven for the past year and asks if he can help her live a normal life if they survive, which Owens agrees to. The kids arrive at the graveyard and begin dousing it in gasoline.

Jim Hopper and Eleven prepare to face the gate

Will's veins blacken and he rips free of his bindings, strangling Joyce until Nancy burns him with a fire poker while Steve ignites the graveyard. The Mind Flayer exits his body as a cloud of black smoke and flies off into the night. Will awakens, cured. Jonathan calls Hopper and clears him to close the gate, and he and Eleven descend into the pit, the demodogs distracted by the graveyard burning. Eleven lets go of Hopper's hand as they face the gate and begins to use her powers while the Mind Flayer's physical form appears to her behind it. Mike trips and is almost taken by a tendril while the group flees the tunnels, but is rescued by his friends. They are confronted by d'Artagnan, but Dustin removes his face mask and gives him some Three Musketeers, invoking their bond to let them pass.

Eleven uses her rage to increase her power and close the gate

Eleven remembers Kali Prasad telling her to use her anger to boost her powers and thinks about her mistreatment at the hands of Martin Brenner. The gate starts to close and the demodogs converge on it as the kids arrive at their escape rope. Steve and Dustin prepare to sacrifice themselves for the rest of the group only for the demodogs to run past them, more concerned about stopping Eleven. Hopper shoots away the dogs that try to attack them while Eleven remembers opening the gate and Kali's illusion of Brenner. The Mind Flayer reaches a tendril out for her, and her powers become so intense that she starts to levitate. The lights across Hawkins begin to glow and Eleven pushes the Mind Flayer back through the gate before closing it completely, killing the demodogs. Hopper cradles an exhausted Eleven, telling her she did well. One month later, the lab is shut down as a smug Murray Bauman watches, while Barb Holland is given a proper funeral. Hopper meets a recovering Owens in a restaurant, giving him a faked birth certificate that legally makes Eleven his daughter. He tells Hopper to wait a year for things to cool down, and Hopper agrees on the condition that she is allowed to go out on one specific night. The boys are photographed by their mothers as they prepare to go to the Snow Ball, Will's drawing of Bob as a superhero hung on the Byers fridge. Lucas practices asking Max to dance while Erica Sinclair teases him. Dustin's mother has gotten a new kitten, while Susan Hargrove does Max's hair. Max glares at a passing Billy, and he leaves without comment.

Mike Wheeler and Eleven at the Snow Ball

Dustin has done his hair using Steve's routine, who is driving him to the dance and hypes him up. As Dustin enters, Steve stares at a chaperoning Nancy before driving away, content. Nancy shares a smile with Jonathan, who is photographing the dance. As "Time After Time" starts playing, Lucas awkwardly fails to ask Max to dance, but she accepts regardless. Will is invited to dance with a female classmate. Dustin fails to get a dance, and Nancy, feeling bad for him, tells him he was always her favorite of Mike's friends and dances with him. Joyce and Hopper share a smoke outside. He promises her that dealing with Bob's death will get easier every day and puts his arm around her. As "Every Breath You Take" plays, Eleven enters the dance wearing Hopper's bracelet made from Sara's hairband around her wrist.

The Mind Flayer looms over Hawkins Middle in the Upside Down

Mike invites her to dance, and agrees when she says she does not know how. She accepts when he asks if she wants to figure it out with him. As the boys dance with their respective partners, a shot of Hawkins Middle goes through the ground and comes out in the Upside Down, where red lightning illuminates the Mind Flayer.

Cast

Music

Soundtrack

  • "The Way We Were" by Barbra Streisand - Mrs. Wheeler is interrupted by the doorbell.
  • "I Do Believe (I Fell in Love)" by Donna Summer - When Mrs. Wheeler gives Billy the directions to the Byers house.
  • "I See Charcoal (You See Scarlet)" by Cameron Brooks - Steve and Billy fight as the kids watch.
  • "Rare Bird" by Tangerine Dream - When the military locks up and closes Hawkins Lab.
  • "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms - Everyone getting ready for the Snow Ball.
  • "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar - Steve dropping Dustin at the Snow Ball.
  • "Twist of Fate" by Olivia Newton-John - Steve stares at Nancy in the school hall as he prepares to drive off.

  • "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper - Hopper comforts Joyce's grief by sharing cigarette.
  • "Every Breath You Take" by The Police - When Eleven makes it to the Snow Ball and Mike dances with her.

Original Score

  • "What Else Did You See?" - Joyce asking El what she saw in her visions when checking Will.
  • "Hawkins Lab" - Joyce asks Eleven if she can close the gate.
  • "Symptoms" - The group plans to save Will by forcing the Mind Flayer out.
  • "Shouldn't Have Lied" - Eleven and Hopper talking in the truck on the way to the lab.
  • "The Hub" - Joyce, Nancy and Jonathan begin the exorcism of Will . Again when he kids enter the tunnel, reach the Hub and begin soaking the tunnel in petrol.
  • "Time For A 187" - Steve freaks out at the sight of Max driving.
  • "Never Tell" - When Hopper finds Dr. Owens severely injured and suggests him to help Eleven to lead a normal life after everything she's done for everybody's safety.
  • "Crib" - The Mind Flayer is successfully exorcised from Will; Hopper and Eleven observe their now free path.
  • "Descent Into The Rift" - Eleven and Hopper descend to the gate.
  • "Escape" - Eleven remembers her past trauma and begins channeling her anger. Steve and the kids escape the tunnels.
  • "Levitation"- Eleven channels her strength and closes the Mind Flayer's Gate.
  • "I Can Save Them" - Hopper and Eleven hug as all the Demodogs die.
  • "To Be Continued" - The school turns upside down and the Mind Flayer is shown to be alive.

Behind the Scenes

One of the things the Duffers wanted for the season finale was to pull off the story lines climax of all the subplots simultaneously, a challenge they couldn't perfectly overcome the previous season. The hardest part for them was to build the story lines at almost the same pace. "That’s the final challenge: getting them to crescendo at the same time and making it clear how one story line is affecting another story line," Ross stated. In the end, they managed to pull it off with a three-part climax and ending it on a happier note with the Snowball.[1]

As told by Matt, the reunion of Mike and Eleven at the beginning was Finn and Millie's first scene together this season and the duo did a great job to make the scene feel powerful. For Mike and Hopper's confrontation, the Duffers wanted their performances to be akin to an argument scene of Almost Famous, and Matt liked the end result saying that, "Finn was really hitting him as hard as he could."[1]

The sequence with Hopper, Eleven and the Demodogs at the lab; the kids at the tunnels and Will at the cabin were all interconnected with each other and had to be mostly rendered by visual effects. So there was almost nothing there when the Duffers began editing. The 30-45 seconds sequence took them atleast 20 hours to edit.[1]

The showdown featuring Eleven and Hopper fighting the Mind Flayer was the only scene in the show which didn't have anything practical. Visual-effects producers Paul & Graff explained that the sequence took them a day and a half because the entire environment had to be modeled out and they had to storyboard the scenes frame by frame.[2] It was also very difficult for Millie and David with Matt explaining, "We were lifting Millie in the air, David’s firing a shotgun that’s loud, the cage is shaking back and forth, and Millie thought she was about to throw up". Nevertheless, they were very happy with how the sequence turned out.[1]

Gallery

View Gallery.png For this subject's gallery, see The Gate (episode)/Gallery.

Trivia

  • On August 31, 2016, the second season was announced through a trailer published across social media, listing the titles of the nine episodes. However, because the titles were not in order, it is difficult to determine which one belonged to this episode. The official title of the episode, "The Gate", was revealed on October 27. 
  • Mike takes Eleven to the Snow Ball school dance, which he promised to take her to in the season one finale. 
  • This is the final time in the series that Sean Astin and Paul Reiser are listed as being part of the main cast. Astin's name appeared during the opening credits sequence despite the fact that his character Bob Newby had been killed during the previous episode

References

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