Stranger Things: Season 2 (TV Show)

The highly anticipated Netflix original series created by the Duffer brothers has returned for season two because we definitely didn’t get enough of it! This season, the boys are back and they’re ready to deal with the second monster to haunt them from the Upside Down. Will is home, Eleven is gone, Mike is sad, Dustin has teeth, and Nancy is still unbearable.

Just a heads-up, this review contains a summary and some spoilers. You can also check out my review of Stranger Things: Season 1 if you want my perspective on it.

The season starts normally enough with Will returning home from the Upside Down. He is now dealing with everything that comes with exiting the Upside Down, including not knowing how to talk about his trauma with anyone because no one else has been through what he went through. He has to undergo tests because he’s not quite the same as he was before he went missing, but he’s alive and reunited with his mom and brother.

Will begins having visions called “now memories” that look reminiscent of the Upside Down, but he’s not actually there. The new monster appearing in these visions starts following Will, and he runs every time. Once he receives some advice from his mom’s new boyfriend, Will tries to face his fears and stand up to the monster, but the monster is not deterred. Will becomes the host body for this monster from the Upside Down.

Meanwhile, Eleven has been found by Jim Hopper and is holed up in a shed in the woods. Her vocabulary has expanded, her powers have gotten stronger, and her desire to see Mike gets her into trouble more often than it should. Hopper has given Eleven three rules to follow so she will stay safe. She ends up breaking all of them.

Eleven eventually travels out into the world to find her mom. She knows she should have one, and after finding her mom in her visions, Eleven decides to go see her in person. Eleven then learns of a girl a little older than her who has abilities similar to hers. Eleven ventures out to find this girl who she thinks of as a sister.

In the midst of all of this important stuff, do I detect ANOTHER love triangle? Dustin and Lucas seem to have fallen for the new girl, Max. She has gorgeous red hair, a skateboard, and a winning streak at the arcade. They want to add her to the party, but Mike isn’t quite over Eleven’s disappearance yet.

What’s Nancy up to? Same old, same old. Nancy is grief-stricken over the fact that Barb, the best friend she abandoned, is dead and her parents will never know what happened to her. Nancy feels that she has to keep up appearances and this starts to bother her. Steve has decided that if Nancy thinks their relationship is fake, he wants nothing to do with her. But he still puts on his big-boy babysitting pants and grabs his nail-bat once it’s time to get serious.

Nancy and Jonathan decide they want the world to know everything.  But they had to sign legally-binding contracts to keep quiet, so they enlist the help of the local conspiracy theorist to spread the word. Together, the three of them come up with a plan to record a confession of what is supposed to be kept quiet and mail it out to several newspapers.

Will isn’t the only one affected by the Upside Down anymore. Somehow, the Upside Down has crossed over into Hawkins and some otherworldy creatures have begun to inhabit the place. Dustin finds a slug in his trash and thinks it would make a great pet! His cool new pet turns out to be a baby Demogorgon.

All of the individual stories collide in the final episode when Eleven makes herself known. She returns to Hawkins and decides it’s time to close the gate to the Upside Down. She just needs a clear path to get to the lab where the gate is. The team devises a plan to get her there safely so she can close the gate between Hawkins and impending doom.

Some thoughts:

I wish Hopper were MY dad. He took care of Eleven when she was surviving by herself in the woods. As soon as she showed herself to Hopper, he created a safe environment where she could learn and become a semi-normal kid.

Hopper had a daughter, but he must not have read her princess stories because we all know you can’t lock up a princess and forbid her from going outside. That never ends well. I know Hopper wants Eleven to be safe, but Eleven raises a good point when she asks Hopper when she will be allowed to see Mike. The answer “soon” again and again isn’t good enough.

Max isn’t allowed to be friends with Lucas because her older step-brother is racist. I absolutely love that this season seriously addresses race. I love it even more that Max doesn’t care what race a person is; she’s going to decide who her friends are, and she won’t let anyone dictate who she likes.

Eleven may have closed the gate, but the big scary monster in the Upside Down hasn’t been defeated yet. I hope Eleven’s sister plays a bigger part next season, too. It wouldn’t make much sense to feature her in one episode. They can’t expect us to forget about her so quickly. And Eleven’s sister is freaky lab experiment #8. So were there successful experimental girls before her? What about numbers 9 and 10? Was Eleven the last experiment? Was she the only one who was considered a success? I have so many questions, and I’m hoping season three has the answers.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t understand the hype for season one. Season two has everything that season one lacks. It has more action, gore, humor, horror, and a side of Hopper that I wanted to see more of in the first season. Season two was full of horrifying twists, and I found myself whispering “Oh, my god” as I watched this usually well past midnight. If you haven’t jumped on the Stranger Things train yet, it may be time to question everything and do so. I can’t wait for season three.

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