So, the long awaited season two of Stranger Things has finally arrived, and the timing was pretty damn delectable. Being released a few days before halloween was a pretty heavenly idea. Myself and my friend did a little binge the saturday before halloween and had initially planned to carve pumpkins whilst watching episode after episode but then within minutes of the first episode realised that this should have our full attention, then changed tactics and watched three episodes before pausing for food and simultaneous carvings, got a pumpkin done each and then returned to another few episodes. Finally, and pivotally, on halloween night we finished off our last 2 episodes.
I had a few apprehensions about the quality remaining of a similar calibre, as they had only waited the one year to script, film and release a second season. I do think that this season has absolutely held up, but there were obviously a few tweaks and changes in the structure of the show. There was a considerably more amount of dialogue in this season as having the first season being the slow and stunningly paced reveal of Eleven. With inspirations for her character being notoriously quiet ones with extremely expressive eyes, our new characters were not of the same brand. With that in mind, the addition of characters and the lessening (at least initially) of Elevens screen time the season reads a little less philosophical than the last. That said, it was one i thoroughly enjoyed. With the premise of the first season being constructed around our protagonist and ridiculously intriguing ‘Eleven’, i was hoping that we would possibly see and or get to explore another of the Xmulta crew. As we know that there was at least 11 of them, some possibly dead, some possibly out there. Showcasing another with potentially different powers was something that i hoped for … and it delivers.
I had been hoping that a further delve into the mine of unknown information about the entire organisation of Mkultra, other than the snippets of information we get in season one with Hopp, Joyce and Terry Ives’ sister where they discuss the basis of the “experiments” that her Terry was involved in years before. There is a well of information to be explored and i imagine the potential for more and more eleven-like subjects to see. That said, there is no way anyone will ever top Eleven… that girl is next level badass. But the exploring a new “Head” of the Hawkins Lab (Or if we’re being technical, The Hawkins National Laboratory. U.S Department of Energy) adds a bit of intrigue.
Our boys are as adorable and nerdy as ever. Dustin was always by far my favourite in terms of humour and levels of that lovely coined word ‘adorkable’. Although i do miss his two front teeth being gone, he’s still as endearing as ever, as are the lot of our gang.
The season entered its new antagonist quite seamlessly, and the build up of anticipation, anxiety, fear or a concoction of all of the above is done so impeccably, as is the direction.. Juxtaposed with showing the physical fear and angst on Will’s face, we watch the hairs on the back of his neck literally, not figuratively stand up. Literal goosebumps. I enjoy that they’ve innovative ways of delving into an emotion further without needing to saturate the audiences with dialogue that detracts more than it adds. So many feels.
As the season finale of series 1 left us with ambiguous images of Hopp leaving out food in a wooden box in the woods with, the crux being, an eggo. So we know that he’s hoping that she’s still alive, or he knows and we don’t. But i remember thinking that it would be inconceivable for her to be written out as she was the cornerstone for every part of the perfection that cultivated this cult series. We know that our girl is coming back. With a metaphorical rebirth..
There was a few tweaks or suggestions that i would have liked to change, that said, this was not a weak series to follow the first. Given the fact that only a year passed and this was created rather quickly, it was done pretty damn well. Just look at another example of something similar, a show that did phenomenal in its first season even though years and years of work went into that beginning series, and then the following year a sequel came out that was beyond appalling… True Detective Season two ringing any bells? So with that in mind Stranger Things did far superior, i would also be very happy to wait if they decided to give it 2/3 years before we get the third season, let the cast grow and let the writers cultivate something significant and of a similar, high caliber. I think in the 90’s there was a fear that if you left a following series longer than a year people (the public and viewers) would lose interest or the series would lose momentum. But now that we have cult shows with insane followings but also immeasurable quality, the audience are happy to wait if the quality remains. There was a whole two year wait for that diamond of a Rick & Morty season 3, and man was it worth every minute. On this train of thought, watching Elevens metamorphosis into the queen that she will become/ already is.. is gonna be incredibly interesting. I can’t remember the last time the world collectively found a character so damn intriguing.
The only real ‘disappointment’ that i could pick out of the season was episode 7 (The Lost Sister) while the premise was really intriguing, the characters we meet (for that episode only) seemed incredibly flat, the entire episode is spent away from Hawkins and away from all but one of the characters we know. It rang out like they’d gotten a guest director for that one episode and whatever he was trying to put across fell a little short of its target. There were some interesting moments, and getting to see a glimpse of another of Mkultra’s creations powers did add a certain flair to it, on a side note, the CGI team of course continue to impress..
Now that’s concluded, sisters tangent aside, seriously solid season. Very much worth the wait and a watch. Also getting to actually delve into Will as a character as opposed to just seeing glimpse’s of him in the upside down (as in the first) was intriguing, and the posed PTSD on some of the characters was a little surprising for a Sci-Fi show but actually knitted into the structure well. As expected there are a few scares, but that’s part of the charm. One particular diamond of a moment, you even get to see our resident recluse and broody Chief Jim Hopper, bust a move.