Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin
It’s fair to say that Stranger Things was one of the most anticipated shows of 2017, following the critical success of the first season. It was a blend of classic sci-fi horrors such as E.T and the X-files, set against an 80’s nostalgic backdrop. The same structure is carried on to the second season, where we follow our favorite group of friends from the small town of Hawkins, Indiana.
It’s been one year since the events of the first season (Which we will not spoil); and each character is still experiencing a level of trauma, especially Will (Noah Schnapp); he is still suffering from post-traumatic stress from his time in the ‘Upside Down’ and is seeing visions that he is not familiar with. There is an underlying fear amongst all the characters involved that the event will happen again.
What stands out immediately in the first episode is how some of the characters have grown, for example, Steve (Joe Keery) has left his childish ways behind and is now a likable character and Joyce is back at work where we meet her romantic interest Bob (Sean Astin). To add to the mix we are introduced to Max (Sadie Sink) and her brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery); who we don’t know much about until the 6th episode. All seems well in Hawkins, but as we know, “Stranger things” have been known to happen in the small town.
This season carries a plot device from Season 1 involving Will. If you may or may not recall, Will carries home an unknown entity from the Upside Down. The first two episodes focus on setting up the main story and the various character arcs. It is in episode 3 and 4 where the season begins to pick up, as Will’s visions get more intense and we get clarity on what the new threat is and what it wants.
Will’s mum; Joyce (Winona Ryder), is the first to spot that something is not right with Will. She carries the same grit and determination to save her son and she continues to show why she is one of the stars of the show and one of our favorite characters.
In addition, this season delves deeper into characters’ past. If there is one tiny complaint that could be made about the first season is that it did not explore EL’s (Millie Bobby Brown) backstory enough. We understood the character on a surface level like how she got her powers but not beyond that level.
This season resolves this issue as we see EL go on a journey of self-discovery which leads to her reuniting with close relatives. She is in search of a place to call home and she believes she’s found it in 3 distinct locations. She eventually settles on the best option. This certainly adds more depth to the character. Make sure to look out for punk-rock Jane (EL).
Our only nitpick with this season is in episode 5, titled ‘Dig Dug’. In a rush to advance the plot, the episode has a number of storylines occurring at the same time, thus the episode doesn’t flow as smooth as the rest.
The final two episodes have all the characters drawn together to face the threat. It’s here that you realize how excellent the writing is and in broader terms, how great the show is. Every character is crucial to the story and because the writing is good, the show that can introduce a new character and instantly make him/her a fan favorite. At its core, Stranger Things has almost-perfectly written character living in a chaotic environment that push the show to mighty highs.
The series comes to a climactic conclusion in Episode 9, titled “The Gate”. This is simply one of the best episodes we have seen on TV. The episode ends with a touching scene involving the band of kids and it also highlights the threat they will face in season 3.
In summary, season 2 is just as good, if not better than the first season. Definitely a recommended watch from us.