This is Why You Need to Watch Season Two of 'Stranger Things'

If you are anything like me (super nerdy and zero self-discipline whatsoever), you must’ve binge-watched season one of Stranger Things within an impressive, yet shameful, amount of time. Now, we all have a list of TV shows we say we need to watch but never actually did; but if you haven’t started season two of Stranger Things yet, you are seriously missing out. Although the show is based on science-fiction and fantastical themes in an era most of us didn’t grow up in, the development of and relationships between characters create a strong rapport with the audience. This season entails a series of awkward and uncomfortable challenges of adolescence, and it’s definitely getting its audience cringing, laughing and crying as the group embarks on a new adventure.

For starters, season one concluded with Nancy and Steve dating exclusively. This left some people, myself included, wondering about the undeniable chemistry between Nancy and Jonathan. This season wasted little time introducing tension between Nancy and Steve, which pushed her toward what seems to be her true love, Jonathan. This complex love triangle pulls at every girl’s heartstrings; and it leaves us just as confused and conflicted as Nancy is when it comes to her feelings about the two boys. Does she go with the dreamy jock who seems to have matured and wants a serious relationship? Or does she take the risk of choosing the mysterious, sensitive Jonathan Byers? The concluding scene seems to leave this decision somewhat open-ended, but it makes strong implications about Nancy’s decision.  

Also, Eleven struggles in a journey of self-discovery throughout the first few episodes as she learns more about her past. Her separation from the group gives her the independence to explore who she truly is and who she wants to become; and like every teenage girl can attest to, she goes through some not-so-pretty phases. Deciding who you want to be and where you plan on going in your life can be painful. However, the unveiling of the secrets about her mother’s past and the introduction of 008, a new character who shares similar abilities as Eleven, allows her to discover the home she truly belongs in.

Characters new to this season also creates a power struggle between Hawkins High School’s “It Boy,” Steve, and a new West Coast hunk, Billy. Billy’s role isn’t huge, and his sole purpose really seems to be making everyone’s life miserable — that is, until the show reveals that his destructive behavior comes from an abusive relationship with his father. It reminds us all just how difficult high school can be. Between attaining social status, spurring love interests and participating in academics and athletics, it can be difficult to remember that we don’t all go home to the same harmonious family dynamic. This character has received a lot of negative feedback, specifically about his relevance to the show. But sometimes in life, our biggest demons are neither demogorgons nor mind flayers — they are the people who surround us every day.

It was utterly heartbreaking to see Chief Hopper lose his daughter to cancer in the first season; but Hop finds himself taking on the paternal role once again in season two. As he faces the painful reality that he will never replace what he once had (his daughter), a brewing internal dilemma between holding on and letting go builds unexpected obstacles for him. The juxtaposition of being a bad cop and learning to become the vulnerable, reliable figure he once was introduces a refreshing way of looking at and understanding the character.

Lastly, amidst fighting off the evil of the Upside Down, Steve develops into the world’s coolest brotherly figure and babysitter to Dustin. Both characters blossom as Steve coaches Dustin through his love triangle (that possibly parallels his own?). As a result, the two form an unexpected camaraderie that will make your heart melt. Ultimately, these complicated relationships of young love and friendship reflect the importance of knowing who supports us — they can help us conquer practically anything.

I could go on forever about this season, but I would end up spoiling something. You probably don’t need much more convincing to go sit on your couch and procrastinate your assignments for a little longer, so you might as well turn on Stranger Things for the best emotional roller coaster of your life. Trust me, I wouldn’t lie — friends don’t lie.