Artwork by Lorena Garcia
Well, after waiting more than a year for it, Stranger Things season 2 arrived and the majority of us all watched it within the first 48 hours. But, it was 100% worth the wait and the hours of our lives.
This season had a lot of highlights. Undoubtedly, one of the best things to happen was Steve Harrington’s character development.
Steve was a character I only started to root for towards the end of season 1, but he’s grown considerably since then. From unexpectedly adopting a group of kids to putting his life on the line multiple times, Steve quickly made us all fall in love with him.
Steve and Dustin
I love it when unexpected friendships develop in TV shows, and Steve and Dustin’s was certainly unexpected, but it was also one of the most enjoyable elements of the season.
After Nancy broke his heart and Billy became the new “King” of the school, Steve didn’t have a lot going for him. Meanwhile, Dustin’s friends were all too distracted with girls and possession (fair enough) to have time for him. So, when he’s unable to control his new friend Dart and has to lock him up, he turns to the first person who he finds – Steve.
In season 1, Steve likely wouldn’t have given Dustin and his strange request the time of day, but now, it seems like he needed the distraction and Dustin didn’t give him much of a choice.
At first, Steve is just helping Dustin capture Dart but the more time they spend together, the more Steve starts to act as a kind of father figure to Dustin.
The scene where the two are walking down the train tracks is the first sign of their relationship developing. Dustin thinks that Dart is the key to impressing new girl Max, but Steve tries to teach him that that isn’t the way to get someone to like you.
Dustin doesn’t have a father or a brother around to talk to him about girls, so seeing Steve become that figure for him was really heart warming.
The true sign that Steve isn’t just helping Dustin out because he feels obliged to? Because he lets him in on his hair routine. Not wanting to lose his “Steve-ness” too much though, he ends his advice with a quick death threat not to tell anyone. Classic Steve.
Whilst watching Steve singlehandedly take on the demo-dogs, you can see that Dustin genuinely admires and is in awe of Steve. This new found friendship is reinforced in the final episode at the Snowball, when Steve takes Dustin to the dance. Possibly the best thing about this friendship is the confidence that Steve gives to Dustin. Although their plan doesn’t work so well, he gives him the courage to ask someone to dance with him. Something I can’t imagine him being confident enough to do in season 1.
Dustin styling his hair in the exact same way as Steve is another simple moment I adored. By the final episode of the season, Steve becomes someone Dustin looks up to and depends on.
Steve the babysitter
Steve doesn’t just take on the responsibility of helping Dustin, he becomes the babysitter/dad of the other kids too. This quickly became one of the most hilarious aspects of the season, especially as Steve was a much better parent than the Wheeler’s who hardly see their kids throughout the course of the 9 episodes.
Seeing Steve with a towel over his shoulder, pointing his finger at the gang and telling them that they need to stay in the house added a good 10 years onto my life. Obviously, they all held the power and didn’t listen to a word he said, but seeing Steve genuinely care for their safety whilst calling them shitheads was amazing and I need more of it.
I’m not sure how Steve went from jock to adoptive parent of multiple kids, but it happened and I’m here for it.
The Steve we saw in season 2 was completely different to the guy we first met in season 1. In the one year time jump, you can see that he’d genuinely changed for the better for Nancy. Even though he clearly didn’t want to, he went to awkward KFC dinners at Barb’s parents house, despite hardly knowing her.
When Nancy was getting drunk, he looked out for her and tried to prevent her from drinking too much. He was respectful of her and didn’t just leave her or take advantage. Steve genuinely loved Nancy and his face when he found out she didn’t feel the same broke me.
He was clearly still in love with her and he could have handled the situation completely differently. He didn’t get in between her and Jonathan, he didn’t lash out, he just let them be. He matured a lot this season and changed a lot of people’s initial perceptions of him.
Then there was Billy. Billy constantly taunted Steve and made a point about taking his status. Steve didn’t react and didn’t seem to care. He could have easily got into a fight with Billy early on, but instead, the only confrontation he had with him was when he posed a threat to the kids. He got severely beat up, again, but didn’t hesitate to stand up to Billy if it stopped him from hurting the others.
Steve put his life on the line multiple times because he promised he wouldn’t let anything happen to them. He wasn’t able to keep them inside as they dragged and drove his unconscious body to the tunnels, but he didn’t let them go down there alone and led them so that he was at the front ready to confront whatever lay ahead.
When he thought he and Dustin were going to get killed by the demo-dogs, he instinctively grabbed Dustin in an effort to try and save him.
— spooky nat???? (@nathaliemasonn) 29 October 2017
There was a lot I loved about Stranger Things Season 2, but Steve Harrington has to be top of the list. I’m rooting for his happiness and future and have high hopes for what he’s capable of. I’m sure his father duties will always come first from now on, but I also hope he’s able to figure out who he is and what he wants in the next series.
So, thank you Stranger Things for the blessing that is Steve Harrington.
Sincerely, the world.