Review of "Stranger Things 2"

If you haven’t already watched the second season of Stranger Things, you MUST do that before reading this. Spoilers ahead!

Stranger Things 2, a Netflix original, came out on October 27th and I had to binge-watch it despite the fact that I had three midterms that week. Now, after having watched eight hours of a monster-infested Hawkins, I have some thoughts about the season.

Just for context, I originally only watched season one of Stranger Things last year because of all the hype around it; when I did watch it, I did definitely enjoy it and was fascinated by the amazing talent ability of the young actors, but I thought the hype was a bit excessive. However, when season two came out, I was definitely excited to try it out.

Season two has several plots all going at once: Will is having visions from the Upside Down, new kid Maxine (Max) moves to Hawkins and become friends with the boys, Eleven secretly lives with Hopper, Nancy and Jonathan wanting to achieve “justice for Barb,” and Joy has a new lover named Bob.

As I began to uncover the second volume of Stranger Things, I felt an emotional connection to the characters that I simply had not felt last season. I found Dustin’s fascination and protection of “Dart”, despite the fact that Dart turns out to be a demogorgon, endearing, Nancy’s sadness over Barb’s fate depressing, Dustin and Steve’s unlikely friendship hilarious, and Eleven’s realization of her mother’s past heartbreaking. That is what made me love this season: I felt a range of emotions; I laughed out loud and cried for characters. Compared to last season, my emotions were on a rollercoaster.

Just as a slight tangent, I particularly enjoyed the character development of Steve: last season, Steve did definitely go through a character change from being an unlikeable jerk to a guy who shows he actually cares about Nancy enough to fight the monster with her. But this season? This season he was great; the poor guy dealt with a lot: Nancy tells him she didn’t love him, Billy constantly antagonizes him, and he ends up babysitting eighth graders. And he handles it well. He doesn’t try to force the relationship between him and Nancy; he even encourages her to be with Jonathan. Steve even does, as he says so himself, a pretty damn good job of taking care of them, and just being a nice guy and friend.

Go Steve!

                                                                                                               Courtesy of TV Guide

Although I loved the feelings I got from this season’s cast, I did think the plot itself was a little… scattered. The multiplicity of the plots felt forced, especially since there was one clear central plot last season with minimal diversion from it. For example, why were Max and Billy even in the season? To be honest, they felt like slightly pointless characters to me. According to the Duffer brothers, the creators of the show, they wanted Billy to be a “human” villain; although this makes sense, I don’t think they implemented his role very well since he felt a bit random and did not contribute to the plot heavily. Eleven deciding to find her sister also seemed forced. Finding her mother was touching, but meeting her sister felt unnecessary. Will she even ever see her sister again?

However, despite the fact that the second season made me feel that the creators simply wanted to throw in a bunch of things together to make it bigger and better than season one, I still think the emotion I felt for the characters outweighed the slightly disorderly plot.

To conclude: did I think this season of Stranger Things was good? It was pretty good. The character development was the show’s biggest strength of this season. Although some parts of the plot were haphazard and felt superfluous, the feeling that we know the characters was much improved; personally, characters are what keep me watching shows, so I truly look forward to season three.