The following review contains spoilers for Stranger Things season two.
In 2016 Netflix audiences entered into the “Upside Down” and became instantly enthralled with everything taking place in Hawkins, Indiana. Stranger Things was an instant hit and pop culture phenomenon. It awakened the 80s nostalgia within us, heightened our desire for mystery and introduced the world to Millie Bobby Brown. With so much positive momentum coming out of season one, could the Duffer Brothers deliver once again with season two? Simply put, they did that and so much more. Stranger Things is episodic television for a millennial generation.
Stranger Things season two takes the elements that made season one special and enhance those components. We see Will adjusting to life after being captured within the Upside Down, our favorite party members are meeting the new girl at school and Eleven has been with Jim Hopper for the past 353 days. From the opening episode on, the show accelerates while expanding the world of Hawkins.
Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazoo, Caleb McLaughlin and Brown continue to deliver honest and sincere performances, after all, they are supposed to be kids. They act like any middle schooler would react when being faced with the possible end of the world, swearing and all. Sean Astin joins the cast, playing the new love-interest for Winona Ryder. Astin is instantly relatable and loveable. Having Astin in the series could have become a gimmick, after all, he is forever part of nerd culture for Lord of The Rings and The Goonies, but Astin gives this series another level of emotional depth, as well as, some needed comic relief.
The standout of season two goes to Steve Harrington (Joe Keery). Kerry delivers an outstanding arch with his character, allowing him to go from being one of the most disliked characters in the series to someone you completely emotionally invest in and champion.
Overall, the series has momentum, action and emotional moments but there is one episode that will likely leave audiences with a lasting and polarizing impression, episode seven. This chapter feels like its own self-contained story. Eleven goes to meet Mama and learns about her “sister” Eight. She connects with her in Chicago and experiences the life of crime that Eight has chosen. Eight is using her powers for revenge and profit, but these actions to her are justified. Audiences can feel the longing that Eleven has for a family, for a home but her place isn’t amongst criminals. This realization within Eleven is needed to propel the series toward the finale, but it feels like this episode pulled audiences out of the momentum that was being gained back in Hawkins.
The finale of season two is close to being perfect television from the performances to special effects, its a fitting conclusion to an impressive season. This season feels like a complete story; it doesn’t rely on setting up another season. Instead, it told its own story and transported us all back into the Upside Down and Hawkins, Indiana.
Stranger Things season one and two is currently streaming on Netflix. What did you think of season two? Did you binge-watch the entire series this weekend? Comment below or tweet @LewisChelsea21.