by Megan Bunner and Ryan McCoy
We took a trip back to the 80s over Halloween weekend as Netflix’s hit, “Stranger Things,” returned for a second season. I’m sure some people binged the entire season that day, but I’m trying to savor this season.
With only a glimmer of paranormal activity, the first episode started off slow. “MADMAX” introduces a few new characters while catching up with most of the cast from season one. There’s a new experimental runaway who dons a tattoo revealing her to be “Eight.” We see very little of her, only that she is speeding away from cops, and from the looks of it, she isn’t afraid to use and abuse her abilities.
But, there’s another female on the scene who’s already turned the boy’s lives upside down. Max skateboards in as the newly-crowned Dig Dug champion, leaving an impossible new high-score with the gamer tag, “MADMAX.” Dustin is overly curious about this proficient girl gamer. Maybe, his pearly whites can spark a new friendship?
While Dustin is preoccupied over the new girl, Mike can’t seem to let the old one go. He still hangs out in his tent fort trying to contact Eleven. But, he’s not the only one unable to forget about the Upside Down.
Joyce is paranoid as ever after Will’s time spent trapped in the Upside Down, and with good reason, as Will can’t seem to shake it either. He seems to be in some sort of limbo between the two worlds. The trips reveal something much worse than the Demogorgon from season one; this new terror looks like something right out of Pacific Rim, and its heading straight for town.
Will isn’t keeping his trips a secret. He’s sharing them with Dr. Owens, who seems to be at Hawkins Lab. Does this set off any alarms? It seems to for me, and Hopper.
Barb, whom I’m sure most of us have forgotten about by now, is back, kind of. Her parents have spent their last dime and are selling their house to hire a private investigator to get to the bottom of what happened really happened to her.
Finally, we see Eleven with a head full of curls. Hopper has taken her in (a perfect fit for the man who had lost his daughter previously). The closing scene shows the two quietly unwrapping their microwave TV dinners.
Now, we’re ready for some supernatural phenomena to hit town!
“Stranger Things” is back with season two. Released early in the morning on Oct. 27, the greatly anticipated season had many fans staying up to start their binge, and this season was worth it. Warning: spoilers ahead.
Season two starts off on Oct. 29, 1984, nearly one year after the events of the first. The anniversary of Will’s disappearance is a major part of the new season, and at the beginning of the season, we see his struggle with the post-traumatic stress that he deals with now that he’s back. Season two deals with the aftermath of season one’s events and brings back many of the characters. It ties up some of the loose ends from the first season and marches forward with a new threat from the dark depths of the Upside Down.
This season was absolutely fantastic. It capitalized beautifully on the success of the first season. The 80s nostalgia felt in the first season returns. There are even things in the new season that make younger people get the same feeling. The references to “Ghost Busters” and Dungeons and Dragons are among these.
The season is also set on a grander scale. It still focuses on the small town of Hawkins, but also has greater implications for the world as a whole.
The new characters are well done, and all of the performances are great and viewers were even graced with Bob Newby (Sean Astin), a nerdy RadioShack employee and Joyce Byers’ boyfriend. Astin is perfect for the role, and his character has become a fan favorite. Another new character is Max, a new girl from California. She becomes a center of conflict between Dustin, Mike and Lucas; and even the center of a love triangle. Another major, new character is Dr. Owens. He is a nice change from Dr. Brenner who was a major antagonist in the first season.
The new season also does some world building. Season two sets up a new major antagonist that seems to have long-term plans that are beyond even this season. The season also answered some of the questions. Among the biggest of these questions was what happened to Eleven. Another major question being, what happened to the slug from season one.
For all of its glory, “Stranger Things 2″ is not perfect. Episode 7, “The Lost Sister” seems out of place in the otherwise local, small town setting. This episode takes the viewers into a major city to find one of Eleven’s “sisters.” The episode is even an important part of Eleven’s arc and has implications in the season’s conclusion. However, it just does not feel right. The rest of the series is set in small rural areas, and it deals directly with members of the local population, not an urban gang.
In the end, this gang had no direct impact on the overall plot and there just is not really any need to have this episode other than to act as training for Eleven. Unless the creators have other long term plans in mind, this episode is just too different from the rest of the series to fit in.
For those who may not know, “Stranger Things” can only be found on Netflix. “Stranger Things 2″ is nine episodes long, and it is roughly eight hours long.
I absolutely loved the new season. From beginning to end, this season had me on the edge of my seat. I was shocked by some of the events, and the conclusion of this season has me ready for the next one, which cannot come out soon enough.
My biggest complaint about this season is that the whole thing came out at once. It was impossible to avoid binge watching this addictive series, and not even a week after it was out, I had finished it. Now, I join my fellow fans in the long wait until the next season.
This show contains violence, some sexual situations and images that younger viewers may find scary. I’d recommended the show for anyone 13 or older. I highly recommend this show for anyone that loves science fiction or mystery. Overall, I give “Stranger Things 2″ a 4.5 out of 5 stars.