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Spoilers ahead for Season 2 of Stranger Things.
It's been a week and change since Stranger Things finally released its second season, and the fandom is reeling from all the binge watching goodness. Stranger Things 2 (as the Duffer Brothers call it) expanded the mythos and characters of Hawkins, while also building upon the precedent set in the first season. In particular, the subject of Barb's disappearance and death was finally addressed in a heartbreaking matter. We met Barb's family, who were holding out hope their daughter would return to them. And Nancy's primary motivation throughout the season was #Justice4Barb. But was this all fan service?
CinemaBlend's Conner Schwerdtfeger recently sat down with the Duffer Brothers at a Master Class event at Chapman University. When asked if Barb's plot in Season 2 was crafted due to fan adoration for the character, Ross Duffer said:
That's hard to say, just because we had broken a lot of Season 2 by the time Season 1 came out so we were always going to have Nancy be the only one dealing with it. Whether it added an addition episode or two of Barb talk, it's hard for us to say. Season 2 was always about the trauma of Season 1 and these characters dealing with it in their own ways. So that's really what we wanted to focus on was. It was always going involve in some ways Nancy dealing with it, but of course that point of Barb maybe made us hyper-aware of making sure that we felt that her story got the closure that it deserved.
Although Barb's massive popularity may have granted her Season 2 plot an extra scene or two, it looks like The Duffer Brothers were always planning on having Nancy struggle with the death of her best friend. After all, if she hadn't dragged Barb to Steve's party in Season 1 she wouldn't have gotten taken by the Demogorgon.
The Duffer Brothers really did handle Barb's death great in Stranger Things 2. Seeing her family essentially ruin their lives in an attempt to find their missing daughter was heartbreaking, especially with Nancy unable to tell them the truth. What followed was she and Jonathan attempt to expose the truth about Hawkins Lab, and they ultimately succeeded. The facility was blamed for her death, and Barb was finally given a proper funeral.
It was actually surprising that actress Shannon Purser didn't show up at all in the show's second season. While Barb was 100 percent dead, I thought maybe a flashback or dream sequence would allow her to briefly reprise her role. But perhaps adding Barb back into the show would have been fan service. After all, she ended up getting an Emmy nomination mostly due to the character's popularity.
Stranger Things 2 is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix. Check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.