Despite diverging storylines, ‘Stranger Things’ cast found ways to bond in Season 2


Caution: This story contains some spoilers about “Stranger Things” Season 2.

It doesn’t take long for Season 2 of “Stranger Things” to solve the mystery of Eleven’s whereabouts. In the season premiere, which picks up the story about a year after the events of the first season, viewers learn that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has been living off the grid with Sheriff Hopper (David Harbour), safe from anyone who might want to harm her and even those who don’t, including her friends.

Eleven’s isolation is for her own safety, she’s told. But that doesn’t mean it sits well with her. She misses the outside world and especially Mike (Finn Wolfhard).

The first episode leaves it unclear exactly when Eleven will reunite face-to-face with her male friends.

Anyone who’s at least half way through binge watching the second season knows it takes more than just a few episodes.

Eleven goes on a journey of self-discovery in the fifth episode of the season that includes a few revelations about her backstory and, eventually, a brief flirtation with life as a law-breaking punk. (Sheriff’s Hopper’s reaction to that is something to behold.)

Meanwhile, back in Hawkins, the boys are dealing with a lot. A dark force gets its grip on one of the members of the gang and a new female friend named Max (Sadie Sink) that causes a bit of tension among the group.

Mike does make a few attempts to reach Eleven in unconventional ways. Largely, however, the diverging storylines leave little room for intersection on screen.

Behind the scenes, though, the cast found ways to spent time together, thanks to math.

“We all do school together so we all got to see [Brown] just as much,” Gates Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, told CNN at a “Stranger Things” premiere event on Thursday.

Brown concurred, saying she saw her cast mates “every single day.”

“We did pre-algebra all together, so I think it was fine,” she said. “I love working with them.”

On screen, Matarazzo admitted Eleven’s absence gave the show some time to highlight Mike’s bond with his friends.

“Filming, [Eleven’s absence] changed it a lot, especially for Finn because he had such a close connection with Eleven and that was where most of his interaction and emotion came from [in Season 1],” he said. “So it was a really cool twist to see him…interacting with us, with the boys a little bit more.”

“Stranger Things” Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.