HADLEY COTTINGHAM / CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Hawkins, Indiana and its meddling kids captured the hearts of millions of Netflix connoisseurs in 2016. Stranger Things was an instant hit. The long-awaited season two finally dropped Oct. 27th, and the world’s favorite preteen dweebs took to our screens once again.
Season two welcomed us with it’s iconic intro, followed by a huge, glowing “2” in the background. And, quite honestly, it felt like the sequel to a popular movie. Instead of creating a new title for a new film, producers take the old one and slap a “2” on it. Instead of changing something about the intro (or just leaving it as-is), there was this huge marker that it was, in fact, part two.
Everyone had a haunting suspicion that season two would not be as good as the first, and I cannot say I did not have any my own reservations. Season one of Stranger Things was undeniably one of the best TV shows I had ever seen, but if anyone could continue such a masterpiece, it was the Duffer brothers. So, I sat down with Netflix and a hot cup of coffee, and went in for the kill.
The season was wonderful, the acting was top-notch, the character development was phenomenal, the effects were fantastic, and questions were answered. Everything that had left me pulling out my hair at the end of the first season was tied up in a package with an oversized 1980’s bow. Every prop was time accurate, the soundtrack was perfect for the era and the sci fi/horror theme of the show. There was nothing more I could have wanted.
Apparently, I did want more, though. This is where I am going to ask you to stop reading if you haven’t finished the new season. This is also where I am going to ask you to stop reading if you loved everything about this season, or do not want to question anything. From here on out, there are going to be spoilers, plot holes, and critiques.
Eleven is okay! Eleven is okay. Eleven has a father figure that does not experiment on her, and, most importantly, she has this punk look going on that I loved. Eleven lived in the woods for (what I am assuming) was at least a month. Which, yeah, if any kid in the show could have made it in the woods during a Midwestern winter, it would have been her. But her “escape” from the Upside-Down was just too easy. Her relationship with Hopper made up for it. The realistically of their relationship was just so well done, from their playful banter to her hormonal tantrum. I was so thrilled to see him invest in a child, which he so desperately needed to do after he lost Sarah.
Can we talk about the hormones this season? Eleven’s clearly hormonal breakdown, Mike’s angst, Lucas and Max’s middle school puppy-love, and the tension (that I did not really even notice until this season) between Jonathan and Nancy. This show really captures the essence of middle school aged kids battling the supernatural: messy. I loved that.
Here is what I did not love: I felt like the writers went on Tumblr, pulled some original characters out of some fourteen-year-old girl’s fanfiction, and threw them in the series. Eight? What was the point, other than to establish there were more children that were given abilities in the lab? The Lost Sister really should have been called Eleven’s Big Adventure. Also—the fly swatter? I cannot be the only person who noticed that.
I have no complaints about Eleven finding her mother. Everything was well-executed, the visuals were stunning, the raw emotion the actresses portrayed was amazing, and the symbolism was wonderful. The three women working together was empowering, and the strength of the bond between a mother and her daughter shown through bloody noses was almost chilling. Every time static appeared on a screen or lights started flickering, I was instantly drawn in. Is that a Poltergeist reference? Probably.
Back on a more critical note, what was the purpose of Max and her brother? They did not contribute anything to the plot other than giving Lucas and Dustin something else to argue about, and show us (once again) that anyone can beat up Steve Harrington. Their whole arc around Max turned out to be completely pointless in the end. And then there’s Bob. What was the purpose of Bob, other than to be another Barb? Forget justice for them, I want justice for Mews.
I will admit that the way they ended the season made me a happy camper. Eleven and Mike got to have their dance, Steve was not bitter about Nancy, Eleven is an official citizen, and Hopper and Joyce have a chance. And overall, it was a great season. This series is so well done that it puts a charred steak to shame. But, unfortunately, it does look like that from here on out, the characters are going to be fighting a big red cloud.