Warning: Stranger Things spoilers ahead! If for some reason you didn’t spend your whole weekend binge-watching season two of Stranger Things, then back up and save this story for once you’ve finished watching. For those of you who don’t have a life outside of Netflix and its programming (hello, friend), read on for the story behind that final scene.
Stranger Things is what I imagine would happen if Freaks and Geeks had a lovechild with every sci-fi horror movie ever, and season two felt like it leaned especially hard on the vibes of the latter. This show is scary! But despite the Demodogs, the dead cat, and the many near-death experiences., the show ended on a surprisingly heart-warming note: a middle school dance. Which, if you care to remember, can be a whole other brand of terrifying when you’re the one participating in it.
Interestingly, it was something showrunners the Duffer Brothers knew they wanted to do from the outset. “Literally, from the beginning, from the very first moment talking about season two, we knew this had to end at the Snow Ball,” executive producer Shawn Levy told Glamour. “We kept our mouth shut for over a year, but this was destiny. This is about all these characters coming together, and we were careful not to do things just because audiences wanted it. But you can’t deny the world Eleven and Mike at the Snow Ball! I don’t know that it gets better than that.”
Yes, after two seasons of bumbling middle school romance with a side of the supernatural, Eleven and Mike locked lips for the second time. It was awkward. It was adorable. It provided cringe-worthy flashbacks to our own school dance experiences. But it also serves as a reminder that the actors who portray the Stranger Things kids are, well, kids. Kids who feel understandably squeamish about the concept of kissing—not to mention kissing on television.
On the Netflix aftershow, actors Millie Bobbie Brown and Finn Wolfhard giggled through a discussion of the scene, with Brown saying Wolfhard was “like a ventriloquist,” who mouthed “OK, I’m comin’ in” to her through his teeth prior to the kiss. Yikes.
“If you look closely, I’m pretty sure you can see me talking to her,” Wolfhard added.
And it wasn’t the only bumbling kiss of the evening! Newcomer Max, played by Sadie Sink, kisses Lucas, who is played by Caleb McLaughlin. To make matters worse, it was both of their first kisses. Like, ever.
“Our first kiss was in front of 200 extras, and their extras, and the crew, and my mom,” Sink told the audience.
“The kids were mortified shooting those kisses,” Levy revealed to Glamour. “Mortified! We had to do it a lot of times because the steady cam was going around and around. If the camera was in the wrong place, you wouldn’t see the kiss.”
“We really agonized over, ‘Does one kiss take away from the other kiss?’ And yet, Caleb and Sadie are so winning, so charming. It kind of finishes that storyline,” he continued. “Mike and Eleven, though, that’s almost the beginning of something. It’s a reunion, but it’s also a bit of a promise. Maybe there’s some of the answer as to what’s in season three in that kiss.”
Having your first kiss in front of your mom, 200 extras, and everyone on earth with a Netflix membership: the only thing more terrifying than battling a Demogorgon.