Stranger Things Season 2 Review

Updated on November 9, 2017
Ross Tanenbaum profile image

Ross is a student at the University of Maryland. He is planning on majoring in Film Studies and English.

Successfully Builds Upon Season 1 With More Characters and Cool Monsters

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The first season of Stranger Things was one of the most talked about TV shows of 2016. The 80's nostalgia mixed with the sci-fi mystery made for an entertaining experience. It is a bit of an understatement to say that the second season of the show had a lot of anticipation. Season two definitely lives up to the hype by expanding the story and developing characters people loved from the first season.

*Spoiler Alert* There may be some spoilers from season one in this review

Plot

After Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is rescued from the upside down, he still feels some connection to the upside down. He keeps having episodes where he returns to the upside down where an unknown creature is coming after him. His mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), and his friends are trying to figure out what exactly is going on with him. Meanwhile, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has escaped the upside down and is being taken care of and kept secret by Chief Hopper (David Harbour).

Characters

The main reason the first season of this show is so successful is the tremendous cast. The kids in this show are fantastic. I think the one who stood out to me the most is Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). He has really great comedic timing and he definitely is the most charming of the four main kids. He also has really good chemistry with Steve Harrington (Joe Keery). They have a lot of great scenes together.

Steve has the most interesting arc out of any of the characters in the show. He went from being somewhat of a jackass in the first season to being one of the most likable characters. The show did a great job at developing his character this season. I also liked seeing Will get more to do this season after being somewhat sidelined in the first season. Schnapp gives a really good performance this season.

One situation I thought was really interesting was the relationship between Eleven and Chief Hopper. They have a somewhat father-daughter connection as Hopper does his best to take care of her. I became thoroughly invested in their relationship throughout the season. Harbour gives a great performance and his character is well developed.

Ryder also gives a good performance but her character doesn't really develop. She is pretty much doing the same things she was doing last season. Same thing goes for a couple of other characters in the show.

There are a couple new characters in the show who are good additions. One is Max (Sadie Sink), who the kids call "Mad Max." While I did like her character, I think her background isn't explored enough. It is hinted at, but isn't as explored in-depth as I would've liked it to be.

Brown gives another great performance as Eleven. However, I don't think she stole the show like last season. She goes off on her own to discover what happened in her past and while it is interesting, I don't think it tied into the main narrative of the show well enough.


Episode Structure

The way that the show is paced is pretty good. It starts off slow as it should because everything seems to be back to normal. However, the second half of the show is a lot more suspenseful and action packed as we finally realize what is actually happening. My only issue with this is that it didn't seem like the monsters became an immediate threat until the last couple of episodes, except for episode seven. In the first season, the threat felt more urgent because we needed to save Will from the start of the season and the enemy felt a lot more mysterious.

I know that the internet is currently hating on episode seven and they are somewhat justified. It isn't necessarily a bad episode, it's main issue is that it has no connection to the main narrative except for a small arc for Eleven. The events in this episode shouldn't have taken up a whole episode. However, episodes eight and nine definitely make up for episode seven. Eight and nine might be the best episodes of the show. They are suspenseful and have a lot of great character moments.



Music

The music in this season is just as good as the first season. It has a very retro, synthetic sound that adds to the 80's nostalgia. The song choice also really fits the scenes that they are used in. The music creates a cool sci-fi atmosphere which captures the setting of the show.

Final Thoughts

Stranger Things season 2 is a great continuation of the first season. It develops certain characters really well and adds some new cool elements. However, the pacing of this season is not as good as the first and I think that there are certain moments which stop the show's momentum. Overall, I think this will live up to fan's expectations.

Rating: 8.5/10

Comments

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    • profile image

      Shoya Lee 

      12 months ago

      Stranger Things has changed my life forever. I 'may' reveal more as the discussion progresses.

      There are unconfirmed reports that there is to be a Season 3 & 4 - but we shall see.

      I think the production team and Netflix ought be careful of ruining a Good thing, but there is a blossoming cliffhanger and storyline.

      We have to see how the two girls gel in the group. El is Mike’s girl, and Mad Max is Lucas’s girl.

      Dustin was after Mad Max but Mad Max became interested in Lucas whom she nicknamed ’Stalker’. The question is, will Dustin find his own girl to join the group, or will his trusted and fully grown pet and ’deme-dog Dart’, find his way back to Dustin's house to protect the group from 'the underworld', like pet dogs do, linking Dustin to the Upside Down World instead of Will Byers? Will Will ever be free of being connected to the Upside Down World?

      Has Barb’s parents truly accepted the official story of what happened to their daughter - that she died from an experimental chemical asphyxiant leak or will they seek to sue the government for the ‘X’ files kept on their daughter - which will amount to nothing, just like it was in all of the’Terry Ives’ cases in Hawkins?

      Will ‘Bob the Brain’ come back to life - a theme not unheard of in TV Series - and what as - a ‘deme-dog’, a deme-gorgon’ or a living organism of computerised brain cells?

      My main disappointment with Stranger Things was that Lucas Sinclair’s family life wasn’t featured more. Lucas Sinclair played by actor Caleb McLaughlin - (which has the word ‘Laugh’, in it or Laughin). Lucas packed his bag ready for a stake out ‘search for Will’ adventure with binoculars from ’nam’ and an army knife from ‘nam’. That means there’s a ‘nam’ story to be told to the viewers. Every family has their ‘story teller’. The story is even better if the story teller is a ‘joker’. That 'hair piece' that Mr Sinclair is sporting is 'a bit of a joke'.

      The comedic interaction and group dynamo between (a) Lucas, Mike, Dustin, Will & Eleven, nicknamed ’the weirdo’ by Lucas; (b) Lucas’s sister Erica Sinclair played by actress Priah Ferguson; (c) Lucas & his parents - (Mrs Sinclair played by actress Karen Ceesay and Mr Sinclair played by actor Arnell Powell) - they works so well that this Black family should be a prominent feature of future Stranger Things as the new ‘Blackish’ family in town. They emerge as a better 'Blackish' family, than the family in the TV Comedy Series ‘Blackish’.

      See, plenty of room for the development of a few more seasons.

      I think what’s happened to El/Eleven/Jane played by actress Millie Bobby Brown is the same thing that happens to a lot of child actors/stars - they grow up, their growth changes the potency of ‘what works’ - something which can’t be explained, and our facination with them changes. In theory it’s only been a year between Season 1 and Season 2. In practice it’s probably close to two years between the start of filming season 1 & ‘the end’ of filming season 2. In reality, one year let alone two years makes a huge difference in the child developmental growth stages of both the physical and the mental. In Season 1 Dustin had no front teeth. In Season 2 Dustin has front teeth that even El was surprised when she re-establishes her connection with the group and makes her big entry into Season 2.

      Season 1, El is comfortable with the group of four boys. She notices that Mike has a family and develops her own interest to find out about her own family. This leads us to ‘The Lost Sister’ episode in Season 2. The character is developed further as El ‘chooses’ the life she wants to live and the life she wants to lead. She’d rather be a Hero to her new founded family & friends, than live a Zero tolerance life with a sister whose illusions of revenge are real, stemming the outskirts, outcasts and dregs of society.

      Human nature is that we all want to live heroic lives. We would rather think of ourselves as Heroes & Sheroes than Zero’s. We subsequently play those parts and choose the roles that make us stand out as better individuals. El is no different.

      Thank You!

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