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Warning: The following post contains spoilers from Stranger Things 2.
Finding #JusticeforBarb was always going to be a big part of Stranger Things 2.
The death of the bespectacled Barb (Shannon Purser) in season 1 turned the character into a viral, unavoidable sensation the Duffer brothers promised to revisit in season 2. It wasn’t hard to see why: Despite her minimal screen time, Barb embodied the archetype of the concerned-but-dismissed best friend, tagging along with Nancy (Natalia Dyer) even when Nancy failed to have her back.
Still, Barb wasn’t going to come back to life in season 2 after winding up in the Upside Down as the demogorgon’s latest dish. So the question is: Is there justice for Barb after all?
Click away now if you’d rather find out on your own…
Still here? Then here’s the short answer: Yes, there is justice for Barb.
The long answer: There’s justice for Barb at the expense of Nancy’s well-being. In season 2, Barb’s death weighs heavily on the elder Wheeler sibling a year after the events of season 1. Nancy imagines seeing Barb in the school library and can barely hold herself together when she visits Barb’s parents. Her discomfort at keeping everything about the Hawkins lab a secret drives her and Steve (Joe Keery) apart, and later in the season, she skips school with Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to carry out a mission to uncover the lab’s secrets.
The two succeed in recording Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) admitting to the lab’s involvement in Barb’s death and pass the evidence to an investigative reporter Barb’s parents had been working with named Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman). After a night at the eccentric Murray’s home, the trio figure out how to expose the lab in a believable way, by attributing Barb’s death to a chemical leak — a scandal familiar enough to average Americans, making them more likely to help push for, well, justice for Barb.
The story goes to print, high-ranking officials in the U.S. Department of Energy are forced to step down, and Barb finally gets a funeral attended by her family and friends:
So yes, there is bittersweet justice for Barb in the end.
Plus, Purser herself got to stop by the set and give Barb a proper goodbye:
Stranger Things 2 is streaming on Netflix.