“Stranger Things 2” exceeds expectations


With the huge success of season one, fans of “Stranger Things” had high expectations when season two was released on Oct. 27. Anytime a show begins a new season, my biggest worries are if the storyline is going to repeat last season with just substituting in a new problem to handle, or if new characters will be added that don’t fit, or on the other hand, changing up the style of the show to the point that seasons don’t connect in the slightest.

Fortunately, “Stranger Things: Season 2” exceeded my expectations and expanded a variety of side stories from season one. As a disclaimer, I won’t drop any spoilers, but to describe the strongest part of the new season, I must vaguely mention some character development.

By far, the most interesting, heartbreaking, and sweet part of this show is the relationships between Eleven, Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas, played by Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin, respectively. Their light-hearted banter and emotional bonding moments help to break up the gloomy, thrilling events occurring around the town of Hawkins, which only get darker as the show goes on.

In season two, Will finally gets the screen time he deserved, and missed out on, in season one while he was trapped in the Upside Down. Haunted by his past trauma, Will brings increased tension to the show now more than ever as strange events recommence around our favorite characters.

The presence of this trauma affecting many, if not all of the main characters is shown extremely well through the development of Will’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder). If you thought she was stressed and crazy during season one, it only gets worse. This season speaks volumes for Ryder’s acting and will make you love her even more, if you don’t already.

Another actor whose limits are being tested is Millie Bobby Brown. This season is separated into multiple interconnected storylines that flip between memories, locations in and around Hawkins, and groups of characters. One of these stories focuses around Eleven recuperating from the events ending season one. Brown’s superb acting shines through her story and tugs at your heartstrings until the very end.

On a lighter note, “Stranger Things: Season 2” takes place one year after the events of the first season, which brings with it a wide selection of 80’s music and cultural icons.  One of the most prominent being the kids’ Ghostbuster costumes. Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas capture the style of one of the most well-known four-piece groups of the 80’s, which fits seamlessly with the supernatural, comedic aesthetic of “Stranger Things.”

Cultural icons like this are littered throughout the show, sometimes remaining through multiple episodes. Dustin embellishes his Ghostbuster costume with a handmade Ghost Trap, which, little to his knowledge, becomes a useful tool when he finds an unexpected visitor outside his house, but I won’t give that away.

“Stranger Things: Season 2” has expanded on season one in every way and added new elements to the past of some characters that makes you rethink how they acted during the first season. Netflix released all nine episodes of the season at once, which makes it extremely difficult to stop at the cliff-hanger endings between episodes. If you loved season one, the character development alone makes season two worth watching, and the gripping story is just gravy on top. So clear your weekend, sit back with some snacks and start binge watching.