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Stranger Things 2 Review: It Only Gets Stranger

(Left to right) Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, and Noah Schnapp in a promotional photo for Stranger Things 2. P

(Left to right) Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, and Noah Schnapp in a promotional photo for Stranger Things 2. P

Photo Credit Netfilx

Photo Credit Netfilx

(Left to right) Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, and Noah Schnapp in a promotional photo for Stranger Things 2. P

Kira Downs, Section Editor

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In July 2016, the Netflix original series Stranger Things was released, instantly captivating audiences with its 80’s nostalgia, strong ensemble cast, and gripping supernatural plot. However, over a year has passed since the finale left viewers with a plethora of burning questions: What happened to Eleven? How did the Upside Down affect Will? Will the Nancy/Steve/Jonathan love triangle be resolved? Will there be #JusticeForBarb? Luckily, a superb season 2 came just in time for Halloween, not only answering these questions but providing new ones.

To put it without spoilers, the show’s sophomore season was incredibly entertaining and deepened the Stranger Things universe with new characters, relationships, and plotlines, all supplemented by the stellar performances of the large cast. This season gave many actors who were either underutilized in season 1 or only introduced in season 2 a chance to shine, notably Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Sean Astin as Bob Newby, and Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield. Once again, the complicated supernatural plot was balanced with the characters’ emotional and personal journeys, culminating in a thrilling and satisfying season finale.

And with that, the spoiler free discussion has concluded. Continue at your own risk.

The effects of Will’s traumatizing time in the dark parallel universe of the Upside Down were a main focus of season 2, manifested in harrowing flashbacks and a full on possession by the Shadow Monster. Will’s struggle to return to normal, along with his heartwarming relationship with his loving mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder,) broke my heart up until the very end, in which he was freed from the possession by his family. Not only did Will suffer, but when a horde of mini Demogorgons (affectionately dubbed “Demodogs” by Dustin) terrorized Hawkins, it was up to the whole gang to defeat them. They were eventually destroyed, but not before they killed Joyce’s new love interest, Bob Newby. This death was especially poignant due to his kind heart and selfless nature. RIP Bob Newby, Superhero; you deserved to make cheesy dad jokes with the Byers family for the rest of time.

The close friendship of Will, Mike (Finn Wolfhard,) Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo,) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) was both tested and strengthened in the face of supernatural threats and the new presence of tomboy Max, who caused some love triangle-esque tension between Lucas and Dustin. Although Lucas and Max ended up sharing a dance (and a kiss) at the Snow Ball, Dustin’s pining allowed for what may be the greatest TV friendship to ever grace our screens: Dustin and season 1’s resident popular jock, Steve Harrington. Between girl advice, hair advice, and monster fighting together, Steve basically adopted Dustin to cope with his breakup from Nancy (Natalia Dyer,) who had since moved on to brooding photographer Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton,) and subsequently became the babysitter for all the kids. The bad boy everyone loved to hate in season 1 became one of the best characters on the show, and I personally can’t wait to see even more in season 3.

What about everyone’s favorite Eggo-loving, telekinetic lab rat? In the first episode, it was revealed that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) had been sheltered from “the bad men” by Chief Hopper (David Harbour) for the past year; however, no other character was aware of her whereabouts. Hopper and Eleven’s relationship was the father-daughter relationship I never knew I needed, and seeing how much Hopper cared about Eleven and missed his own deceased daughter behind his tough guy exterior was heart-wrenching to say the least. Eleven’s personal journey of finding her mother and long lost “sister” from Hawkins lab also shaped her into an even more compelling and nuanced character as she began to see the world in less black and white terms. By the time she revealed herself to Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and the rest of the characters, Eleven was a completely transformed character, ready to take on the Shadow Monster and save the day. We may not be calling her Eleven anymore, however- the finale revealed she had been officially adopted by Hopper, with a birth certificate naming her Jane Hopper. Cue all my emotions at once.

Despite her grand total of maybe ten minutes of screentime, no character captured the internet’s heart quite like the ill-fated, iconically styled Barb (Shannon Purser,) Nancy’s best friend who met her end in the Upside Down back in season 1. Barb’s death sparked a social media revolution among fans, with #JusticeForBarb going viral. Season 2 finally gave Barb this justice; Nancy and Jonathan leaked a watered-down version of the story of Hawkins Lab’s experiments that inculpated them with Barb’s death, and fans were able to see her funeral and grieving parents. While Barb may be gone, she certainly was not forgotten in this season.

Season 2 ended in a truly adorable Snow Ball, between Nancy making Dustin’s night with a sweet dance, Lucas and Max’s puppy love, and Mike and Eleven finally getting the dance they wished for in season 1. That is, until the Duffer brothers dropped the cliffhanger that the Shadow Monster was still out there. Season 3, where are you?


14 Responses to “Stranger Things 2 Review: It Only Gets Stranger”

  1. Phillip Robles on November 14th, 2017 12:14 pm

    I haven’t watched Stranger Things but I’ve been meaning to, it seems really good.

  2. Tanner on November 14th, 2017 12:18 pm

    I never watched this show but now after reading this it seems entertaining and I would watch it, some word I gave never even heard but it is a big popular series.

  3. Lauryn on November 14th, 2017 12:22 pm

    I thought that the writer of this article used all the right words when reliving season 2 of Stranger Things. While reading this i got chills and smiled while i was reminded of all the things that happened in this season. While reliving what happened not much was spoiled in this article. It was very well written and i enjoyed reading it, well worth the time.

  4. Sarah Lang on November 14th, 2017 5:41 pm

    I very much enjoyed this article, especially how you chose a very popular topic.

  5. Danu on November 15th, 2017 9:53 am

    I love Stranger Things but my dad keeps spoiling it.

  6. Layla Severance on November 15th, 2017 3:24 pm

    I agree with everything in this article! Everything is very well written on your part! The actors to this show are just amazing and the story has only gotten better.

  7. Landen on November 15th, 2017 4:27 pm

    I watched both seasons and this article completely summarizes season 2.

  8. Serina Vadella on November 15th, 2017 5:06 pm

    I for one, am a huge fan of Stranger Things, so when I saw a school article written on it, I was so excited to read it. The recap on the show was well-written and captivated me. Love the topic and the show.

  9. Lukas on November 15th, 2017 6:05 pm

    Great topic! I like the review of season 2 and how you tied season 1 back into it.

  10. Peyton on November 15th, 2017 7:01 pm

    I really liked this article, Stranger Things is definitely one of my all time favorite shows . I watched the entire season in two days, it kept me entertained and so captivated at all the twists and turns. One of my favorite parts was in season 2 episode 6. The scene where Dustin, Steve, Max, and Lucas are in the junkyard was phenomenal. Can’t wait for that season 3!

  11. Abby Gomez on November 15th, 2017 8:46 pm

    This was an amazing article! I totally agree with the author’s thoughts on character development. I thought that the entire article kind of read like a Buzzfeed article… 😛

  12. Marley Gant on November 16th, 2017 10:55 am

    I didn’t finish the first season because I didn’t have the time to but now that I see it was so well received and how many people had positive reviews, I really want to watch all of it.

  13. Charlie Collins on November 16th, 2017 6:50 pm

    I loved this article. I’m a fan of the Stranger Things series. I thought this was a phenomenal article that really summed up season 2. In my personal opinion I think season 1 was better, but this was still a very well written article.

  14. Hannah on November 17th, 2017 12:38 am

    I really enjoyed this article and I thought it was very well written, I just finished watching season 2 and I loved it 🙂

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Stranger Things 2 Review: It Only Gets Stranger