Stranger Things was a show last year that took the nation by surprise. Within the first week of its release, it was one of the most watched and talked about shows on Netflix. I was one of the few people to watch it before it blew up, which allowed me to go in to the show without a lot hyping me up. I was the better for this because I had some friends that watched it after the hype came through and felt a little disappointed. People have been hyping up Season 2 for the last few months, so my one fear is that it won’t live up to the hype. I loved last season, and I hope to get the same feeling from this one.
I got up early so I could watch the first few episodes before it’s all the rage later in the day. Here’s what I thought about them. I’ll be remaining spoiler free until the end.
These first three episodes have been great and have me excited for the rest of the season. I do fear, though, that the story will become too predictable. I can kind of tell where it will go, so I hope they subvert my expectations. There’s still a lot they haven’t shown that I’m looking forward to. As of now, I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the first season, but it has the potential to surpass it if they keep going in the right direction. It definitely lives up to the hype, but let’s hope it stays that way.
Chapter One: MADMAX
The season starts out with a bank robbery scene in Pittsburg. It caught me off guard at first because it doesn’t really fit the tone of the series, but it introduces something that will probably play a major part later down the road. When we go back to Hawkins, though, it’s a welcome return. We see all the major characters that we’ve grown to love. It’s been about a year from the end of last season, and we get some conclusions to some of the ambiguity surrounding the story.
The main group of friends seems to be acting normal, but Will is obviously still facing the repercussions of the incident. He’s had quite a few visions (like the one from the end of last season) that clearly traumatize him. He has to go in for “checkups” at the same government facility from the last season. He informs them of his visions, but they don’t seem to take it too seriously. He also get’s teased at school, being called “zombie boy.” Will is the main focus of this episode and get’s some much needed character development considering he was more or less shafted for screen time last season.
We see that Steve and Nancy are still madly in love and in a stronger relationship than ever. Nancy is still friends with Jonathan, though, so this leads to some awkwardness when the three of them are together. Barb also finally get’s some attention this episode considering it seemed no one cared when she went missing. There’s a great story line that comes out of this which I won’t spoil here.
The title of the episode is called ‘MADMAX’ because someone with the same name has taken all of Dustin’s high scores at the arcade. They find out later who this is, and it doesn’t really seem like it’s of importance, but it will probably play a larger part in the coming episodes.
We also get our first look at the potential main monster of the season. It looks scary and huge, but I hope it’s still contained to just the town like the Demogorgon was and not a worldly threat.
The ending of the episode is fantastic and much better than what I could have seen coming. It leaves so many questions that keep me wanting to watch.
Overall, this was a great episode. It wasn’t very eventful, but it set up storylines that will be played out throughout the season. I am very excited to see what comes next.
Rating = 8.5/10
Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak
We finally see what happened to Eleven after the final battle last season, and it’s not really much of a surprise. That’s all I can really discuss on this topic, but we get flashbacks to Eleven throughout the episode which keeps it interesting.
The group of boys prepare to go trick or treating, and Dustin invites a girl to go with them which causes some tension with Mike.
Steve and Nancy go to a Halloween party and have some relationship issues.
Chief Hopper searches for the answers to a mysterious wave of poisoned pumpkins and crops in the town. This is no doubt connected to the Upside Down world/ monster.
We see the government going into the Upside Down world. I hope they aren’t villains again like they were last season because that story line has been played out in several shows and movies.
Overall, this episode was good. It wasn’t as eventful as the last one and it didn’t really keep me on the edge of my seat. It seemed like more of a filler episode just to get to the next one. The flashbacks to Eleven are the most intriguing thing even though they’re few and far between. The end of the episode does raise some interest though.
Rating = 7.5/10
Chapter Three: The Pollywog
Dustin finds something.
Will’s mom’s boyfriend, who was introduced in the first episode, hasn’t felt necessary until now. He finally serves a purpose by giving Will advice on how to confront his nightmares.
Nancy deals with the repercussions of getting drunk the night before.
Chief Hopper does more investigating on the poisoned crops.
We get more flashbacks to Eleven.
Mike isn’t on board with Dustin inviting the new girl into their group.
We finally get the ball rolling with an event that will likely affect the rest of the story. This was a much more heavy episode than the last one. As you can tell, I’m trying not to reveal anything too big because you’ll want to experience some of this stuff for yourself. This was another great episode.
Rating = 8.3/10
The end of episode one reveals that Eleven has been hiding and living with Chief Hopper. I didn’t see this coming, even though it was hinted at in the end of last season.
The Barb story line that they set up is that her parents have hired a private detective to find her. Nancy knows of Barb’s true whereabouts (spoiler alert: she’s dead), so this leaves a great deal of guilt on her shoulders. I’m very interested to see how this affects Nancy and Steve going forward.
I absolutely LOVE the relationship between Hopper and Eleven. It’s a very father/daughter dynamic, and you get the sense that they really do love and think of each other that way. Eleven is getting much more verbal, learning new words each day which will allow for much more intimate scenes when she finally reconnects with Mike. We see her entering the “black room” and seeing Mike trying to contact her.
Nancy get’s drunk at a party and says she doesn’t love Steve. It’s unclear wether she’s lying or not, but I really hope she’s not. I think Steve is a great character, even though many are hoping she get’s with Jonathan.
Dustin finds a pollywog type creature in his trash. My first thought was that this is the same creature that Will spit out last season. This turns out to be true. The creature grows and gets lost in the school leading the children to find it. Mike wants to get rid of the animal but Dustin has an emotional connection to it. It looks like this will become the big monster that Will keeps seeing, but I hope that something more unpredictable happens.
Eleven runs away from home and starts towards the school. There’s an almost heartbreaking moment where she sees Mike talking to the new girl, Max, and Eleven get’s upset and decides not to confront Mike. I hope these two meet soon, though, because it feels like they’re holding it off for too long.
I could also see the possibility of Eleven being or contributing to the main threat in one way or another. This would be a really interesting idea.
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