“Stranger Things” Season 2 Review
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I really want Steve Harrington’s hair.
“Stranger Things 2” brought me back. It made me feel nostalgia for a time I have never known.
Much like I compared “It” to the scene of Elliot first meeting E.T. in his shed, this season of “Stranger Things” is like the first 20 minutes of The Goonies, but stretched out over nine wholesome episodes.
“Stranger Things 2” does exactly what the last season did, but even better. The show’s distinct 80s setting that influenced so much other media in the last year has returned and is more prominent than ever. The characters are all back and the casting continues to be fabulous on all accounts. But most importantly, the incredibly compelling character interactions return, but are distinctly different from last season.
Which leads me to the fact that many of our beloved characters from last season are split up. This is concerning, but turned out way better than I thought it would. It really gave us a chance to see how some seemingly unrelated characters would interact and how the dynamic between them is. This is my absolute favorite part of season two. Although some might be upset about not seeing as much of some relationships as they did last season, I found that it was very refreshing and created even more memorable and compelling relationships.
Visually “Stranger Things 2” is absolutely stunning. The muted backgrounds that are commonly used in contrast with bright neon colors or, other objects that pop out of the background, to great effect, and drive your eye to the parts of the screen that you need to be looking at for the story’s sake. For example, from last season the lights inside Will’s home.
The costume and set design serve to immerse you completely in the 80s vibe. Long puffy hair and ridiculous cloths. The houses we see don’t stand out as strange or out of place, but they definitely feel old. The most amazing part about it is that I can’t even tell you what makes them feel old, yet they still manage to make them obviously from a different generation, constantly reminding you “THIS IS THE 80s!”
All of this is amazing and alone may stand as a decent show, but what makes “Stranger Things” more than a cheap nostalgia-driven horror show is the phenomenal storytelling. First and foremost, there is never a question who the villains are in this show. Today no good villain would be complete without being somewhat sympathetic; the same can be said for the heroes in many of today’s most popular pieces of media. “Stranger Things” throws all that out the window once again. Not once does anyone try to reason with the Demogorgon, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What saves this season from being disjointed is that the actions of some people are felt by all others. The groups that are split do not exist in a vacuum. The result of this is one of the most satisfying season finales I have ever seen. Every story arc converges and is tied up flawlessly, and more importantly, seamlessly.
Stranger Thing 2 is a definite watch. If you watched season 1, what are you doing here? You don’t need a review to know you want to watch this. But, if you haven’t, watch season 1. Enjoy it slowly. Really watch it carefully. If you’re the binge-watching type, limit yourself to one a day. This will make you feel 10 times more fulfilled when you reach season 2. Then when you do reach season 2 dive in. The pace of season 2 is much more suited for binge watching.
I love “Stranger Things”. It is without a doubt my favorite show of all time. But, there is one problem.
I just can’t grow hair like Steve Barrington.