Stranger Things 2: Worth the Hype?

Marlie Applegarth

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Since October 27, 2017 Stranger Things 2 has been dominating the Netflix platform. With around 8.2 million people watching season one in its first sixteen days on Netflix, fans had high hopes for the second season.

Stranger Things is set in the early 1980s in Hawkins, Indiana. The show focuses on five children by the names of Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Season one focused on the frantic search for Will, when he went missing one night after playing with his friends. Will’s worried mother is portrayed by award-winning actress, Winona Ryder. In season two, the children are trying to live normal lives. However, they find that it’s not possible for them to live like ordinary children, as their past problems return and new problems arise. A couple of new characters include siblings Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), are also thrown into the mix.

One of Stranger Things 2’s positive aspects is the casting of actors in the show. Every actor portrays their character perfectly. For example, Millie Bobby Brown depicts her character Eleven with just the right amount of curiosity and confidence while Winona Ryder makes the role of the afraid and protective mother seem genuine. In season two, the viewers feel a connection to every single character. This is because of what they go through and their personalities. The casting of the children is especially great. They make the characters more relatable to the show’s audience, which largely consists of children and teenagers. The viewer can also tell that the actors are very professional and dedicated to making their performances believable.

The character Steve Harrington, is portrayed exceptionally well by Joe Keery. In most of the first season, Steve was seen as an antagonist, and he only had interactions with a couple other characters such as Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton). In Stranger Things 2, we see Steve develop into a more caring and considerate person. He also becomes a big part of the show by developing a relationship with the children, especially Dustin. Some even consider this a fatherly or “motherly” relationship, as Steve tries to protect the children and offers Dustin advice to help him deal with his girl troubles. He helps them save everyone from Demidogs and The Upside Down, which cause a lot of conflict throughout the show. Steve also gets in a fight with Billy when trying to stand up for the children. The audience’s attachment to Steve increases due to his vulnerability.

Another positive is the multiple plot twists throughout the show. Everytime you think you know what’s going on, someone or something surprises you. For example, I thought that all of the characters would easily get out of the building that was swarming with Demidogs, but this is not at all what happened. One character met his gruesome death at the mercy of a pack of Demidogs. This dark and tear-jerking scene proves unpredictable and leaves the viewer needing to binge and rewatch the entire season again.

Another noteworthy character is Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things 2. Since the beginning of season two, Billy is viewed as an antagonist. He is seen as a bully and a cruel person. He’s especially mean to his step sister, Max, and tries to control who she is friends with. In the beginning of the season, nobody knows why Billy is like this. However, soon we see that he has his own reasons for acting the way he does. In one episode, we see Billy’s father hit and scream at him. This kind of abusive behavior gives us an insight into Billy’s problems. Billy’s actions devillanizes him and allow the audience to sympathize with him in a way we didn’t expect from season one.

The show has very few negatives but one thing that could be improved upon is the prolonging of some of the plot. Occasionally, it feels as though the reunion of characters is drawn out too much. In the beginning of the season, Eleven was separated from her friends and they didn’t know she was alive. As is the case with Eleven making the audience think that she will make herself known to her friends, but then she doesn’t and it is a disappointment to the viewer. However, it does somewhat build anticipation for the audience about what might happen with Eleven.

If I were to rate Stranger Things 2 on a scale from 1-5, it would be a five. It’s exciting, entrancing, mysterious, and has optimum replay value. The complexity of it allows you to rewatch it and still be thoroughly engaged, as you might have missed some details the first time through. I highly recommend this show to anyone who enjoys the genres of drama, fantasy, or science fiction, along with a little scare now and then. But beware, once you start watching, you’ll want to binge the entire season. So clear your schedule and get to it!

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Stranger Things 2: Worth the Hype?