I stayed up way later than I should with how crazy my life is right now to catch season 2 of Stranger Things. Like most people, I’m in love with the first season. The nostalgia vibes, the Stephen King like story, and the great acting all had me hooked.
I was pretty excited to see the next season, in spite of mixed reviews, so here’s my take on how the second season is going.
Just as a fair warning, spoilers are whited out between the !! !!.
The first thing I want to point out is my love of the writers ability to introduce characters through conflict. They did this every time they needed to introduce someone in the first season, and they followed it up with the same formula. You might argue, “Doesn’t this get old?” But they do it so seamlessly, you barely realize it’s happening until someone points it out.
We start the episode with a bank robbery, introducing a collection of characters that are almost cliche 80’s punks. Spiked hair, piercings, mohawks; they looked like cut outs from the British punk scene. After a quick chase scene with cops, !! it’s relieved one of these girls shares something in common with Eleven, proving many a fan theory true that there are other numbers out there. !!
From there, it’s basically a run down of how everyone’s life has changed since the first season. The one thing that was clear about this episode was that everyone’s still suffering from the aftermath of the demogorgon.
Each character is suffering from the loss of something, and most of them have some serious PTSD. I really loved the way the writers handled it, too. No one character was the same in how they handled stress. Some broke down in tears, others froze completely, and with the use of Dutch angles, some people’s worlds literally tilt.
One thing that the first season didn’t touch on that episode one promised was showing the other families in the town. There wasn’t a lot that went on with Barb being missing, and the absent parents of Lucas and Dustin, but it already gave us a glimpse of Dustin’s mom and Barb’s parents, so here’s hoping they keep that going.
The one thing I wasn’t thrilled about was Dr. Martin Brenner’s replacement. Paul Reiser takes up the coat as Dr. Owens, after Matthew Modine, and while he’s not horrible, he lacks the charisma Modine instantly brought to the screen. Maybe it’s because I’m only used to him playing comedy roles? Unlike Sean Astin’s addition to the cast, an actor I’ve seen wear many different masks, it was hard to think of Reiser as anyone other than Paul from Mad About You thanks to my mom. Sure he was in Aliens, but still.
Speaking of additions to the cast! One character I wasn’t sure I was going to like was Max, the sulky red head played by Sadie Sink. I always approach new characters to a franchise I like with a little bit of caution, especially young female characters. Writers usually write them very one sided. Preteen girls have to be flowery and rainbows, or bratty and annoying in adult shows.
I shouldn’t have doubted the Duffer Brothers, however. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I was plenty annoying as a 10-12 year old, but it’s nice to see them portrayed as something other than those two tropes. While she wasn’t much, she showed some promise. Overall, she’s talented.
So was it an episode to rival season 1’s first season? No, it wasn’t as great as the introduction to this universe was. Did it answer some questions and show serious character development? Definitely.
All in all, I don’t think fans of this show should write it off as some message boards have. There’s a lot of promise and I can’t wait to see what they do next.