Stranger Things is easily one of the best shows Netflix has to offer. Its a love letter to the classic sci-fi flicks of the 80’s and does a phenomenal job capturing the essence of that era.
The first season quickly made a name for itself when it premiered last fall and left fans screaming for more after they blew through the shallow 8 episodes it had to offer. With excitement and anticipation building around the encroaching new season, Stranger Things 2 had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, and not too surprisingly, the second season blows the first out of the water!
For those that have yet to watch Stranger Things 2 or have yet to finish it, I’d HIGHLY recommend scrolling to the bottom for our overview score and review. There will be spoilers!!
You’ve been warned…
Stranger Things 2 picks up about a year after the events of Stranger Things. Instantly there is a noticeable difference in the way things play out. There is a lot more going on in this season, with character arcs being all over the place. Not “all over the place” in a bad way, just a lot of moving pieces happening at the same time.
Instantly we are intrigued by the introduction of a new group of characters, one of which has psychic abilities that let her make you see what she wants your mind to see. Like if you have a fear of spiders, she might make you think you have hundreds of them crawling over you. Whats more interesting, she bears a similar numeric tattoo like our favorite X-Men wannabe Eleven. Hmmm intriguing! However, like any great TV series, you don’t see her again for over half the season.
Anways, transition to our favorite bunch of misfits. It is great to see how each character has been handling, or trying to handle, what happened almost a year ago. Will is having “episodes” where he keeps phasing into the Upside Down. Nancy and Steve are riddled with guilt over the loss of their friend Barbara, and watching her parents sell the house and do everything in their power to find her just sucks to watch. Joyce is now way over protective of Will and Officer Hopper… Well Office Hopper has some serious secrets he’s been dealing with. Mike still tries to contact Eleven and the other two, Dustin and Lucas, are just trying to live normal lives.
The character development in this season is great. Everyone is more grown up than when the season started, and their transformations are fun to watch play out. AND REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYONE SAYS, Steve is the REAL MVP of this season. We love you Steve, even if Nancy’s love for you is “bullshit”!
The pacing is smooth all the way through as well. Things start off fast and each episode just ramps things up. The last 2 episodes in particular just fly by. The Upside Down is extremely present throughout the season, and it doesn’t take long for us to realize there is a lot more at stake here than we initially thought. Dart is an interesting turn of events that have lasting consequences for the latter half of the season, but after watching who doesn’t want a pet Demidog?!
Eleven’s search for the truth throughout the season is an emotional roller coaster ride. She’s Eleven, she’ll always be Eleven to us, but finding out her real name is Jane and that she has a family of her own just melts your heart. The way her finding her “sister” plays out was a little odd to me. It didn’t feel entirely necessary, it wasn’t boring or awful to watch it just didn’t feel like it required as much time as they gave it. The way things were left, I’m not entirely sure we’ll even see her sister again, and if thats the case then what was the point? Eleven knew she had power, I feel like her unleashing that power was going to happen regardless of if she sought out her sister or not. But hey, thats just one guys opinion. It’s hard to watch Eleven not be a part of the group. It’s even harder watching her try to stay hidden, when you know all she wants to do is be back with Mike and company.
Max is a nice addition to the party. Her fiery gingerness adds to some fun comic relief moments, and seeing what her life at home is like makes you empathize with her. Her brother Billy is an interesting character as well. You hate him for a good majority of the show, but in the end you can almost sympathize with his situation as well. Almost. He’s a douche, theres no denying that, but seeing what made him that way tugs on your heart strings a bit.
I’d also just like to take a moment to point out that Mike and Nancy’s mom is GORGEOUS. That bathtub scene though.. Ugh, Billy and Mrs. Wheeler are going to bump uglies, I’m calling that shit right now.
But I digress..
Finally, this season is tonally much darker than the first. There are some seriously disturbing moments that I would strongly advise you not let your kids see. From Bob’s moment (why Bob, WHY?!) to Will’s seizure in the corn field, that shit you can’t unsee, the overall feel of this season is much more “horror” focused than the first season. It works for the show though, and partially I think thats because of the incredible cast. The performances in this season are an absolute joy and the kids play their parts so well, it’s genuinely scary to watch them have to go through what they do.
While I highly doubt we have seen the last of Stranger Things, it will be interesting to see what comes out of Season 3. The way the finale raps things up feels like closure. It is so well done. After the dust settles and the kids get to be kids again, we get to see some truly wonderful “awe” moments. The feeling of being a prepubescent, awkward teen is conveyed in such a relatable way, especially in the final moments of the season.
Overall, Stranger Things 2 is an incredible season. The 80’s come back to life in these 9 episodes. The sound track is like one greatest hits after another. The characters are brilliantly portrayed, and easy to relate to. Their growth through the season makes you view them in a different light by the end, and incase you missed it, Steve is the real MVP. While we get the closure any season deserves, the final moments of the finale was some serious ominous foreshadowing that leaves us dying for more.