Jonathan performing emergency surgery on Eleven's leg to get the part of the Mind Flayer out and then freaking Eleven doing it herself really set the tone about how real and gruesome shit was going to be getting for this one!
Hopper's death (or is it "death"?) definitely took me a little bit by surprise. I figured if anyone was going to bite it, it was going to be Murray since Brett Gelman is a guest actor, and usually whenever a guest goes on a dangerous mission with regulars, it doesn't end well for them. Then again, Joyce asking Hopper out on an official date really should have made me see it coming. But, again, I'm curious to see if he's actually dead. I guess it's possible he either somehow wound up in the Upside Down world or is the Russian prison somehow. I guess it depends on if David Harbour wants to stick around or not. Either way, his final voiceover was perfectly heartbreaking. Poor Eleven.
Billy's death wasn't as surprising, but at least he went out on his own terms and buying the gang more time. His character still wasn't that well developed and I wish we got more of his and Max's relationship, but it was still an emotional enough of an exit thanks to Dacre Montgomery (and Sadie Sink's) performance.
Suzie does exist! And she and Dustin not only have cutsey nicknames for one another, but even have their own special song! Everyone's reaction to that was hilarious!
Looks like Scoops Ahoy is no more, but now Steve and Robin are getting into the business of movie rental stores! That should be fun! I wonder which behind the scenes/props guy managed to find a standee of Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?!
I guess I really can't blame Joyce over going through with the move, and I can buy that maybe she and Hopper worked something out so that she'd get custody of Eleven in case something ever happen to him (I'm sure Paul Reiser's character could work some covert military magic to help out.) Still, this certainly changes things for everyone as now Nancy and Jonathan are apart, as are Mike and Eleven, and poor Will has to leave all of his friends behind! Curious to see how they'll all reunite next season.
All in all, I thought this was better than last season (which I still enjoyed), and while it has its shares of quibbles, misfires, and mistakes, I still find it to be extremely enjoyable, with a pitch-perfect cast, setting, and feel to it. Hopefully the Duffer Bros will be able to finish out what they have planned.