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Show Review: Netflix's Stranger Things Season 2 (Spoiler Free)

Updated on November 1, 2017
Season 2 poster
Season 2 poster | Source

Initial Impressions

Having been a fan of the first season (like a grand amount of Netflix users apparently), I was excited for the second. For those returning from the first season, it carries on the same spirit, same atmosphere, and same quality while providing a new story rather than one rehashed. For those new, I would highly recommend watching the first season.

The returning party from season 1 From left: Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Mike (Finn Wolfhard)
The returning party from season 1 From left: Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) | Source

The Plot

After a terrifying creature from another dimension wrecks the lives of several individuals and a boy is lost and found again, everyone deals with life moving forward. Mike misses Eleven, the new doctors at the lab are overseeing Will's unsteady recovering and managing the gate to the Upside Down. Sheriff Hopper keeps his own secret, and Nancy deals with her guilt over Barb.

As mentioned before, it carries the same delivery as the first season. The show is pretty fast paced (although I noticed a bit of filler this time around) and there's almost always some kind of development towards the end of most of the episodes. The big climatic 'finish' actually feels as though it arrives early and lasts awhile which is good and bad, as the pacing is a bit off while observing side plots simultaneously.

There's also at least one full episode that explores things outside Hawkins and I found it distracting at best since it doesn't add much to this season. It obviously leads into the next but I found it rather grating that this story couldn't have just been told without it and to keep the foreshadowing elements at the beginning of the next season. It does not harm the show overall but I found myself impatient to get back to Hawkins and uninterested in this plot that was being developed.

This season also spends some time far away from Hawkins, although I am of the opinion that it serves as filler and only setup for a future season.
This season also spends some time far away from Hawkins, although I am of the opinion that it serves as filler and only setup for a future season. | Source

While Paying Homage to 80's Horror, Subverting Its Common Cliché

This is something I appreciated from the first season. You'll easily find your common horror stereotypes (unbelieving/uncaring authority figures, misuse of science, the funny sidekick dies) but Stranger Things actually goes against the grain more often than not. You'll find an incredibly emotional and hysterical woman that actually reacts smartly to situations and does what's best for her child despite the pain it may bring him, for example, or an outsider to the darker world that is the Upside Down who you'd expect to drop all relation and get out of Dodge who actually decides to stay and does whatever they can to help. Again, it doesn't subvert all of its tropes and when it doesn't it sticks out rather obviously. Still, this is only because it's the exception to the rule, making you appreciate the subversion. You'll notice it and may find it refreshing.

Returning character Will gets considerably more screen time this season.
Returning character Will gets considerably more screen time this season. | Source

Rating PG-13

If you've seen the first season, it's more of the same. Possibly a little more gore, same amount of profanity, more disturbing monster screen time but ultimately it's all in the same vein.

Trailer for Season 2

Closing Thoughts

So, all in all it's a successful sequel to its first season. There are parts where it lags a little, sure, but it's only exaggerated because you really want to see what's happening elsewhere (as mentioned elsewhere, the pacing is off in these parts). What you liked about the first season is all here with bits and pieces of new material while the show avoids repeating itself to stay safe. It's entertaining and a little impressive.

Tl;dr

  • It carries the same spirit and quality of its first season.
  • It has Sam Astin in it (your favorite hobbit, Sam)!
  • It also has that guy who played the Red Power Ranger in the most recent movie! He won't be your favorite though.
  • It actually makes some characters that were a little lackluster in the first season become more interesting.
  • Some characters almost feel like they're here only because it'd be more awkward if they weren't there.
  • They address Barbara's whole deal, if you're into that.
  • Some noticeable filler and setup for the third season.

Additional Reading

Enjoyed this review? Take a look at my other Stranger Things articles like my unpopular opinion on who the best character is.

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