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Guide to ‘Stranger Things’ Season 2

Deryn Younger, Editor

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On October 27th, the highly-anticipated and long-awaited Stranger Things 2, the second season to the acclaimed Netflix original, premiered. Needless to say, myself and many others across the world tuned in as early as possible to get the first glimpse of the second seemingly final season.

As someone who’s a pretty big fan of the show –considering I woke up at 4:30 am the day it came out to watch the first few episodes before school – I think it’d be fitting for those who haven’t seen the second season, or those who have, to get an honest and fulfilling review of it from me! Of course, these are only my opinions of the season, and everyone is entitled to their own.

 

*NOTE: Obviously, there are spoilers ahead for both seasons one and two of Stranger Things; turn back now if you want to avoid them!*

 

It’s hard to know where to start when there’s so many things that happened in season two, a lot more than season one for sure!    To make this review easier to read and less of a novel, it will be divided into two sections: characters (developments and roles) and plot development.

 


CHARACTERS

Mike:

Mike Wheeler’s role in season two is drastically different than the role he played in season one. In season one, Mike was the character focused on most, although some may argue he competed with Eleven for that spot. Mike was the main character for a majority of the season and now in season two, he is no longer focused on as much.

In this season, Mike becomes another background character as Will Byers is put into the spotlight as curing him, the town, and finding Eleven become the greater issues in the show. While Mike is still there to comfort his mentally troubled friend and be the support system for both him and his mother, the shift of Mike to Will and Eleven as the main characters is something important that takes place in this season.

 

Will:

Will Byers is back from the Upside-Down in season two, yet isn’t really back at the same time. Will may be physically present in Hawkins, however the rest of the demons and monsters he encountered in the Upside-Down have slowly begun to take over his body and mind to make him mentally absent from what is going on around him. He has “episodes” of seeing the Demigorgon throughout the whole season.

These episodes grow to concern his mother at first, however everyone soon realizes they might be the key to solving Hawkins’ problems and to destroying the Upside-Down once and for all. Will quickly becomes possessed by his monster and doesn’t really act like himself for the rest of the season until the monster is expelled through the Upside-Down’s gate closing. (Thanks, Eleven!)

 

Eleven:

Oh, Eleven. The most beloved character from season one quickly became, arguably, the most beloved character one again in season two. Not only did Eleven emerge from the Upside-Down and go on a physically exhausting and long journey in the middle of winter for Hopper to eventually take her in, she also had her own share of internal struggles as well.

Eleven is the key force in sealing the gateway to the Upside-Down for good. Eleven has had her power of telekinesis, however the audience now recognizes her newfound talent of being able to mentally pinpoint the locations of people of her choosing, which really becomes an important ability that later helps her not only find Mike, but also for the others around her to find those that they want to as well.

 

Dustin:

Dustin, an adorable character who had a rather uneventful first season, now gets the attention he deserves in season two. Between being, quite literally, the direct cause of the newest problems in Hawkins as well as being involved in a love triangle with his friends Lucas and Max, Dustin certainly had bitten off a little more than he could chew.

Of course, though, Dustin couldn’t help taking in the stray, odd-looking, reptilian creature he found in his garbage can outside – that’s just his nature. Little did he know, though, that this specimen would grow rapidly and wreak havoc on the entire town.

Dustin also acquires a crush on the new girl in town, Max, and ends up competing with Lucas to win Max’s heart – which, sadly, ends up going to Lucas instead. This love triangle distracts Dustin most times, especially when Max is around.

 

Lucas:

Similarly to how Lucas was treated in season one, he is still somewhat neglected in this season. Lucas was really nothing more than just a basic background character that still had a role as one of the friends in the group, however he never really got to do much.

The same situation happens in this season as well. While Lucas is given the opportunity to be in the spotlight whenever scenes with Max occur, since they both like each other, there aren’t any other important ways in which Lucas is incorporated into season two of the show, it seems.

Lucas was never really focused on much in either season, and it feels as if he was jipped in a way in terms of having enough screen time to really show his full potential.

 

Max:

One of the fresh, new faces that appeared in season two of the show was Max. A new girl in town, she moved from California because of her parents’ separation. She now lives with her mom, abusive stepdad, and antagonistic older brother, Billy.

Max is a typical tomboy and is always on the run to escape the troubles of her family at home. She doesn’t have any friends when she arrives, and the boys quickly gravitate towards her. Things are complicated though, because the boys are iffy about her. Due to this, Max doesn’t really know how to feel about the new kids she’s met and isolates herself.

Needless to say, though, it was nice to see a new face in the show. In a way, Max sort of took the place of Will in the boys’ friend group, since he wasn’t able to hang out with them frequently. Max added something different to season two and the show in general that was definitely well-needed.

 

Nancy:

In season one, Nancy was seen as merely the center of a fight for affection between Jonathan and Steve. Still the center of this battle in season two, Nancy now takes on having definite feelings toward Jonathan and realizing that having Steve as a boyfriend isn’t important anymore. Along with Jonathan, she helps to finally defeat the monsters terrorizing Hawkins.

Nancy does take on physical combat, however she plays a different kind of important role by going out of her way to gather important information from elite officials (or even conspiracy theorists), and really asserts herself to get what she wants.

Similarly to Eleven, Nancy as a character grows immensely during season two. She  too dumps the toxic people in her life, finds who she is really meant to be with, and, together with those people, finds her calling to become a force to be reckoned with and help the others save the town.

 

Jonathan:

Johnathan didn’t play that big of a role in season one, and though he does play a somewhat larger role in season two, his character still isn’t brought to its full potential.

Not only does Jonathan have to deal with the emotional struggle of still not having his brother mentally present, he also has to deal with balancing his new romantic life and helping to save brother from potentially dying all over again.

Because of this, Jonathan doesn’t play a part in really taking down the monsters towards the end of the season in terms of actually being in one-on-one combat, however he is there to comfort his brother before and after the Demigorgon is expelled from his body. Jonathan endures the intense heat and the emotional rollercoaster he is sent on while his brother is in incredible pain. He may not have been a hero, but he was certainly an important character this season.

 

Steve:

Steve was believed to be the bad boy once again in season two, but that wasn’t the case! He was definitely hurt when Nancy dumped him, but he rather quickly got back onto his feet and put his sadness where it was needed most.

He took his crushed heart and gave pieces of it to Dustin – helping him try to get Max to like him back – and also gave some pieces of it to the other kids as well. In a way, Steve realized that he wasn’t what Nancy needed, but he could be what the kids needed to get through this difficult time.

The kids’ parents weren’t necessarily present during this time, so Steve being there to be not only a protective force but also a comforting figure for all of the kids was something special about him during this season, and really exemplified his character growth this season as well.

 

Joyce:

Joyce was completely crushed for the entirety of season one until she got Will back. Now that he finally is back, Joyce can’t stand to let him go. She becomes extremely protective of Will and can’t bring herself to let him out of her sight. It’s all in a mother’s nature, however when things begin to get out of control, there isn’t much more Joyce can do to take care of her son besides bring in Hopper and some doctors.

Having other people take care of her son and having her son’ health officially out of her control is something that is emotionally straining on Joyce, and it really messes with her the rest of the season.

The one thing to keep her sane is the rest of Will’s friends, Hopper, and her new boyfriend, Bob. Bob was one of Joyce’s main support systems, however when Bob died while battling the monsters who terrorized her son, Joyce really didn’t know what to do anymore besides fight to her best ability to get her son back.

 

Hopper:

Similarly to how Steve became the caretaker for the rest of the kids, Hopper became Eleven’s caretaker. The two lived together in a cabin in the middle of the woods in order to have ultimate security and privacy, however this really strained Eleven and Hopper’s relationship.

Hopper was always gone doing both regular police business and battling with the lab, and Eleven  was always left alone in the cabin trying to find Mike. Hopper’s relationship with Eleven was continuously back-and-forth, having both its ups and downs.

Ultimately, their ties were broken when Eleven left without warning, and Hopper was emotionally destroyed because he both missed Eleven and feared for her safety the most. Not only being a police chief with a lot to do but also having a child to look after really put a lot on Hopper this season.

 

Barb: 

Still dead.

 

 


PLOT DEVELOPMENT:

Will and Eleven Are Back:

As said in the very beginning of this review, in season one’s case, Will Byers was missing until the very last episode when he was saved; however in season two, Eleven – the telekinetic and powerful young girl who started this whole thing – has now seemingly gone missing, when that turns out to not be the case at all.

Will being found again brings both joy at first, yet complete sorrow and despair once everyone realizes that they can’t truly have him back until the monster inside of him is gone.

Eleven actually turns out to be rather similar to Will in many ways. While she may have been present while Will disappeared in season one, at the end of that season she ended up sacrificing herself and Will came back from the Upside-Down. Now in season two, both Eleven and Will came back, however both were lost in their own ways before eventually “found” again at the end of the season. Wil was lost in the sense that he lost himself through having a monster inside of him, and Eleven was literally lost from all of her friends until she wound up finding them again.

 

Eleven Finds Her Mom:

One of the greatest parts of season two was definitely Eleven finding her biological mother, as well as finding out her real name: Jane. Eleven’s mother was seemingly crazy and unresponsive, however little did Eleven know that her mother shared her same power of being able to transmit memories and other images through the brain. Eleven realizes the struggles her mother went through and why she’s the way she is now, but she also realizes the heartbreaking reality that her mother will never be who she used to, and will never be able to truly talk or be with Eleven.

What made it even more saddening was that Eleven had gone through so much trouble to find her mother, such as being caught up with the gang of misfits and being confined to Hopper’s cabin, and yet she couldn’t end up taking her mother back to Indiana with her.

Although Eleven had to let her mother go eventually – sort of the last part of her past she was able to find – she did find a new family member: Hopper. It is revealed at the end of the season that Hopper got a birth certificate for “Jane Hopper,” Eleven, which made her his legal adopted daughter. How sweet! Eleven may not have had a normal family, but she definitely has one now.

 

The Upside-Down Becomes Known to Parents and The Police:

In season one, the Upside-Down realm that Will and countless others were stuck in was unknown to the police and the parents of those children. In season two, now, that world becomes known. Hopper discovers the world first-hand, nearly getting himself killed in the process.

After that, Joyce has Will draw pictures of the vines that are preset in the Upside-Down, and places them all over her living room in a pattern. While Joyce may have never been able to experience the Upside-Down herself, the way Will draws his photos helps her understand.

Having the Upside-Down shown to those who don’t know really helps them to get a better grasp on the direness of the situation and help stop it from growing.


TO BE CONTINUED?

The town was saved, Will and Eleven came back, Jonathan and Nancy are officially together, and Lucas had a girlfriend… everyone seemed happy at the finale of Stranger Things 2. But is it really over?

As seen at the end of the Snow Ball scene, where everything came full circle and there were some rather cute moments, the school was shown in all black, covered in vines, and appeared to be in the Upside-Down.

This frame immediately had a lot of fans questioning whether or not there would be a third season. According to the Duffer Brothers in an interview at the premiere, the creators of the show said that there will most definitely be more seasons. Apparently, they are aiming for four, though one said there might be five in the works.

Fans would definitely be super excited to see additional seasons of Stranger Things, but who knows what the future has in store!

 

 

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Guide to ‘Stranger Things’ Season 2