‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 Review

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Wow, the Duffer Brothers managed to pull it off again. Season 2 of Stranger Things recaptures all of the 1980s magic and continues with several themes and directorial aspects that were inspired and aesthetically informed by the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, and Stephen King during that decade. Most of the actors returned for the second season with Noah Schnapp and Joe Keery being promoted to series regulars. The new additions to the cast include Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, Linnea Berthelsen and Paul Reiser. The second season is still set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana and takes place during the fall of 1984. This time around the show deals with attempts of the characters to return to their normal lives while dealing with the consequences of the events of the previous year. All the while supernatural events occur including the appearance of a mysterious creature and the sudden inexplicable rotting of pumpkins patches around the town. This show is truly something special. The Duffer Brothers managed to hit the same basic plot points from the first season while still keeping the story fresh and inventive. Everything from the score to the directing was perfectly executed and builds the right amount of suspense. All of the original characters are shown to have matured both physically and mentally. We see how much their relationships have changed in only a year. Once again Millie Bobby Brown is phenomenal as Eleven, now going by her birth name Jane. She has great chemistry with David Harbour and it is fun to watch their father-daughter dynamic. Jane is shown to be a stronger and smarter character this season. She sets off on her own adventure and discovers more about her past. This adventure leads her to discover Kali, played wonderfully by newcomer Linnea Berthelsen. Although her time on the show is brief, she is surely our link to the plot of Season 3. Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will still have great chemistry and balance each other well. Dustin and Lucas are given more spotlight this season as they both fall for the new girl Max (Sadie Sink). Max is shown to be tough, levelheaded and friendly. She fits right in with the guys although she feels they do not accept her as they accepted Jane. Max’s older brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is just as tough, but nowhere near as friendly. You want to hate him, but Montgomery brings so much charm and charisma to the role that you hope he eventually lightens up as Steve did last season. Johnathan, Steve and Nancy’s friendship is also more developed. The love triangle between them is explored in more depth than what was alluded to last season. The writers continue to do a great job at keeping the story and characters balanced. All characters are utilized to their full potential within the show. This elevates the viewers’ perception of the characters allowing us to care for them even though they have significantly less screentime than the others.  The best example of this elevation during Season 2 was with Bob Newby (Astin). I give Stranger Things Season 2 a Superb 5/5. Once again, the season ended on an interesting cliffhanger that could go in many directions. They can either continue following the story with Kali or with the entity controlling the Upside Down. The Duffer Brothers do a fantastic job in building on the events of Season 1 while also expanding this universe. If necessary, the show can be binged in one day. I have no doubt in my mind that Season 3 will be amazing!

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