Review: Stranger Things Season Two Is Above And Beyond Expectations


Sometimes a show or film has an aura around it. It causes a longing for a sequel that makes the anticipation and expectations of the fan sky rocket into almost impossible heights. It makes them watch an online countdown for close to six hours, checking every so often as they do homework. And finally, at 3 a.m. all that anticipation zeroed in on one play button, click and “Stranger Things” season two begins.

After a thrilling scene revealing a big new plot point, the beloved theme music plays and chills run through my entire body.

For those who may have forgotten what happened in season one, let’s do a quick recap. A young boy, Will Byers was kidnapped and stuck in the Upside Down, a parallel dimension filled with darkness and horrifying monsters. Will’s friends Lucas, Dustin and Mike vow to find their friend no matter what. In their search they come across Eleven, a young girl that was subject to underground experiments in their small town set in the nostalgic 1980s.

With help from Will’s mom Joyce, his brother Johnathan, Officer Hopper and Mike’s sister Nancy, these four fight off the “Dungeons and Dragons” inspired monsters to save Will from the Upside Down. But while saving one friend they lose another. Eleven was transported to the Upside Down after defeating the “Demogorgon” with her Carrie-like powers. But she isn’t stuck for long, she escapes using her powers but is on the run to protect herself and her friends.

This basic recap doesn’t even come close to showcasing the masterful work done by the creators of the series, the Duffer Brothers, (Matt and Ross) and the cast of season one. Stranger Things season one was an instant cult hit playing off people’s love for the 80’s and the many terrifyingly great horror movies from that era. Season two continues to build onto this world in such wonderful ways.

Throughout both seasons of this series the best aspect which stands out are the relationships between the characters. Don’t get me wrong the sci-fi plot is also spectacular, but the way the Duffer Brothers and director Shawn Levy shape these characters can bring a tear to a T.V. lovers eye. Especially because the majority of the cast is kids.

The entire cast of kids return from season one with the addition of a new party member Max. She’s comes from sunny California and quickly insights a love triangle with Lucas and Dustin, she’s not a willing participant until much later in the season. With Eleven hiding out with Hopper, the group, except for Mike, welcome her in gradually as a new party member, the Zoomer.

The scope of this season is much bigger than the first season, which makes the party have to split up for many episodes. This allows new relationships to form and old relationships to grow stronger. The best of these relationships is Eleven and Hopper.

We know from the first season that Hopper lost his daughter when she was very young. Eleven has to hide from the bad people that experimented on her and eventually runs into Hopper who takes her in and gives her a home. There is, however, a power struggle between the two.

Hopper wants to protect her but to do this he has to be stern with her, not allowing her to leave to see her friends. Eleven has always wanted and needed a father. Papa, the man who experimented on her betrayed and hurt her. She knows Hopper cares for her but she is a young girl stuck in a secluded cabin who wants to see her friends. And to top it all off she has unbelievably strong telekinetic powers.

There will be times that a young girl fights with her dad and that is exactly what Eleven is doing, she’s growing up. The culmination of her relationship with Hopper is the culmination of the series, leaving us with a beautiful shot of them embracing like father and daughter.

This is just one of the relationships that shines in this series. The performances by these young actors and their older counterparts are superb across the board. The cinematography throughout the series is exactly what’s needed for this genre of show with classic 80’s inspired songs that wraps it all up.

There are scenes of reunion and scenes of achievement that will bring a tear to the viewer’s eye, especially between Eleven and Mike. We’ve seen these kids grow up and evolve and overcome seemingly impossible odds. Season two expands on the first in wonderfully strange ways.

Throughout the season, keep an eye out for the “memeified” confused face that Winona Ryder’s character makes. Look up the supercut of all they crazy faces she makes in the show and during press tours. They are hilarious and I can’t wait to see more in season 3.