REVIEW: Stranger Things 2 — greater and stranger

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Veronica Wernicke, Assistant Opinion Editor

On October 27, hundreds of Netflix users, myself included, jumped right back into the upside down as the second season of “Stranger Things” was released. As a fan of this cult series I was super pumped to finally get to watch the newest season and see what would unfold after last season ambiguous ending. It did not disappoint. Might I add that October was the perfect release date as it coincides with the spooky and sci-fi Halloween vibes.

An important thing to note during this season is the awesome 80s hair abundant throughout the nine episodes. Not only do we see radical hair, but we are blessed with awesome 80s music — a personal favorite for me — and well-fitting instrumental pieces (thank you, Kyle Dixon). Aside from the radical hair and 80s music, we are introduced to a few new characters this season. At first these characters seem pretty average and almost unessential to the season plotline, but as the show progresses, we see them serve an important role.

We also see an outstanding performance by Noah Schnapp, who plays Will. In this season, things get a hell of a lot crazier and Will has a huge role to play in that since he was the one trapped in the Upside Down last season. I give major props to the depths Schnapp went to to add to his fantastic and awestruck portrayal of Will this season. Another notable performance was obviously Winona Ryder as Joyce, Will’s mom. She gave a stellar performance in season one and she definitely kept it up for the second season as well.

Another favorite this season for me was the character Steve Harrington — and no, not just because he is nice to look at and has kickass hair. Aside from his looks, we actually see a decent amount of character development for Steve; in the first season, we see Steve as the popular high school hotshot that Nancy is crushing on, and he is there to sort of help Nancy fight off the monsters lurking in the Upside Down. In season two, he is upgraded to series regular and we see him transform from Cool Guy Steve to Stand Up Guy Steve. We see him interact more with characters outside of Nancy, letting his whole personality as opposed to seeing only what he’s like around his girlfriend. Even as Nancy grows apart from him this season, Steve lets her know he’s okay and understands: “I may be a pretty shitty boyfriend, but turns out I’m actually a pretty damn good babysitter.” We wouldn’t have seen that in season one. If that quote and Steve’s character growth doesn’t make you love him more, then you don’t know love.

We also see some character growth from Hopper and Eleven as their relationship takes on more of a father-daughter feel. Aside from Hopper, we get to learn more about Eleven as she seeks to learn more about herself and to fight the demons of her past.

A downside to this series is it’s only nine episodes — each roughly an hour long — so you can breeze through it pretty quickly. As much as I love to binge watch series, I wanted to take this season a little slower instead of watching it all in one night because I love it that much. Of the nine episodes, they were all good, except for the seventh episode — titled “Chapter 7: The Lost Sister” — where we see Eleven run off to Chicago. This episode focused entirely on all her and that trip, and none of the other crazy stuff going on back in Hawkins, which made it a little disappointing — especially since it took me out of the intense action that the rest of the gang was going through, and I wanted to know what would happen next. It was almost like you were on one path and then it veered completely over to another, but went back to normal in the following episode (thank goodness).

I was also disappointed in the fact that Barb and what happened to her in the first season wasn’t really resolved. Of all the articles I read talking about what season two might entail they really amped up Barb’s storyline and resolution, but it didn’t really play out with all the hype until the very end. Yes, they do acknowledge Barb’s demise, but in a nonchalant way and as if she didn’t matter as much as a character. I think Barb deserved better. #JusticeforBarb!

Overall, this was a great second season of “Stranger Things” and I think for the most part the Duffer brothers definitely lived up to the first season and achieved the success they were hoping to. This season was filled new characters, character development, outstanding performances and even crazier moments compared to season one. The moment I finished episode nine I was already ready for season three, because nothing is ever fully resolved when it comes to the Upside Down. So, here’s three cheers to “Stranger Things 2” and what I hope to be an even better season three in the near future.