I know I am a bit late to the party, but I have finally finished season two of Stranger Things.
A year has passed since Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) returned home and the residents of Hawkins, Indiana are attempting to return back to normal. Unfortunately nothing is normal.
Will is plagued by visions of the Upside Down. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is living secretly in the woods with Hopper (David Harbour) frustrated by the fact that she can’t communicate with her friends or find out more about her own complex history. Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is confused about her feelings when it comes to Steve (Joe Keery) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and wracked with guilt over Barb’s disappearance. Dustin (Gaten Matazzaro) has a new pet, who might be a mini demogorgon and he and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) are caught in a love triangle with new girl, Max (Sadie Sink). Oh… and why are all the pumpkins dying?
Stranger Things continues to be great fun. It mixes the nostalgic 80’s setting with a strong coming of age story, a meaty conspiracy and lashings of creepy monsters.
Once again I really enjoyed the relationships between the kids and their loyalty to each other. It was nice seeing Joyce (Winona Ryder) happy with a new partner (Sean Astin)… even though we all quietly know she is destined to be with Hopper. There was some strong character development as Hopper showed his paternal side and Steve developed some real depth beyond being an insensitive pretty boy. I also enjoyed the addition of some of the new characters. Max is a legend and Paul Reiser does a good job playing a Hawkins Labs worker who actually seems to have a conscience.
I wasn’t sure about all the new characters though. Max’s bullying step-brother, Billy (Dacre Montgomery) was a walking cliche and Eleven’s former fellow captive Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) was really underused.
I also don’t think we’re any closer to understanding why Hawkins Laboratories wanted to make connection with a new dimension in the first place. Are we just going with sheer human curiosity?
I am interested to see where season three takes us, as in many ways things were pretty tied up at the end of the season. I am hoping it’s not going to involve a descent into soapification.