Review: “Stranger Things” Season Two

Halloween weekend has come and passed but the spook shall not rest, at least not in Hawkins, Indiana.

I didn’t think it possible, but The Duffer Brothers achieved an infinitely stranger atmosphere in the second season of the Netflix original series, “Stranger Things.”

A year after we seemingly lost our mute psychokinetic friend, Eleven, the original gang is still up to their usual nonsense, but perhaps with a new lady friend in tow. Enter “Mad” Max Mayfield, a fiery redhead fully equipped in videogames and “zooming” around on her drool-worthy skateboard, the boys are in way over their heads, meeting the girl of their young, naive dreams. But what left myself, as well as what I assume many viewers, questioning, was her overtly masculine older step-brother Billy Hargrove; where does he fit into the mix? For the most part, he remains ambiguous in regards to plot line aside from stirring up some unnecessary drama that only proves the adorable Steve Harrington’s badassery.

Our resident boy-next-door’s efforts do not stop there. Steve adopts a much softer and caring persona when his relationship with Nancy Wheeler hits rocky ground. Soon becoming the town “babysitter,” Steve’s screen time is primarily shared with the younger stars on the show, making for quite a few endearing moments filled with quips and an older brother type of concern. Namely, the most prominent friendship enjoyed by fans would be the newly developed bond between Steve and curly-cued Dustin Henderson. After Dustin confronts him with problems of harboring feelings for a certain tomboy, the two begin to see each other as much more than a “pretty boy” and an “AV geek.”

Those who have yet to get with the times and actually watch the second season, should not fear- Nancy finds an alternate way to spend her time after taking a hiatus with Steve, avenging her late best friend Barbs, who had been killed a season prior due to the shortcomings of Hawkins Lab. Working in tandem with her usual problem-solving partner, Jonathan, Nancy is once again putting her nose where some might deem it does not belong, wanting to expose the experimentation responsible for her friend’s death.

Fans also may have been reeling in only the first two minutes of this second installment, having been introduced to what might be another of “El’s” kind when they catch glimpse of what looks like a number “008” on a young adult’s wrist. 

Speaking of El, after waiting over a year, squeals could be heard worldwide, as audience members jubilantly realized, maybe the “Upside Down” wasn’t as far away and hard to leave as we thought.

With the efforts of Indiana Jones replica Police Chief Jim Hopper, El’s happiness and safety might be much more achievable than audiences realized. 

Mike Wheeler, the assumed ringleader of the youngin’ tribe, will be more than thrilled, to discover that amongst the chaos, good news might be headed in his direction. Lucas Sinclair, on the other hand, has his hands full, trying to win the affections of his new frenemy. 

In terms of disappointment, the season bares none. While it’s safe to say that this season held a significant role in a lead up for the rest of the series, the show held true to its original kitschy aesthetic, acquiring a level of wholesome and eerie that in theory should never be paired together, but somehow works, and works spectacularly. Whispers of “overproduction” fall on deaf ears; viewers must remember that with more popularity comes a need for succinct production- an effort to do more than the series had done before.

Fully equipped with psychokinetic mischief, demigorgons and a whole lot of nods to renowned 80’s pop culture staples, the second season pulls out all of the stops, leaving people everyone everywhere wondering what is next for our friends in Hawkins.