Under Review: “Stranger Things” season 2


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“Stranger Things” season two continues an already successful 80’s aesthetic.

Leila Pulaski, Staff Writer

When an series with such a successful first season like “Stranger Things” finally releases their second season, the result is usually underwhelming or a seamless build from season one. Typically, there isn’t much middle ground, but “Stranger Things’” season two finds it.

While the show continued much of its momentum, season two lost some important elements. Eleven, the party’s mage and hero of season one, had a character arc that felt like an afterthought for the entire season. “The Lost Sister,” a full episode about Eleven’s self discovery, accomplished nothing for the plot or meaningful character development. Her appearance in the finale seemed like a magical solution to tie up the ending easily.

Billy Hargrove, new Hawkins resident, was a confusing addition to the show. There was very little development of his character, and his minimal interaction with other characters prevented him from fulfilling his supposed villain role.

One highlight among these questionable character developments was Max, whose progression throughout the season makes her a character to root for by the finale. A hardcore gamer and step sister to Billy, Max impresses the boys when she beats Dustin’s high scores in the arcade as MADMAX. She eventually becomes an honorary member of the group, even threatening her stepbrother with Steve’s legendary baseball bat until he agrees to leave them alone. Her spunk, skateboard and gaming skills make her the standout character of season two.

Each episode weaves in the series’ signature 80’s theme in a way that evokes a longing for all things vintage. From wardrobe to gaming to old school Three Musketeers wrappers, the integration of 80’s culture gives the series a feel unlike anything else on television.

The second season introduces a more mobile version of the demogorgon, the demodog, that multiplies rapidly and invades Hawkins through underground tunnels. The illustrated growth of this creature from worm to full size beast adds to the amazing computer generated imaging. The upside down’s living vines and mind flayer look as real as anything else in town (you can see the series’ supposed eight million dollar an episode budget). 

The party’s “Dungeons and Dragons” obsession, monster fighting, and group “Ghostbusters” costumes make for a funny and fearless ensemble who still feel like normal kids. Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas are the same wonderful, nerdy middle schoolers they were in season one and their middle school embarrassments and ‘normal kid’ looks make the fiercely loyal AV club lovable and relatable from the start.

“Stranger Things’” season two delivers such as much entertainment value and wholesome middle school cuteness as season one did. The nostalgia and unique feel are enough to make it one of Netflix’s best series, but the adorable AV club and incredible graphics take it to another level.