A few days before Halloween this year, Netflix released the anticipated second season of “Stranger Things,” which was slated to be even more intense and action-packed than the first season and boy, was it a rollercoaster of emotions.Stranger Things 2
From the moment I watched the trailer, I felt that this season wasn’t just a nostalgic pastiche of the 1980s, in which my parents could reminisce about the vintage video games and upbeat, new wave music; Instead, this season seemed to be about delving into the characters fears and traumatic experiences.
Furthermore, the creators, the Duffer Brothers, masterfully used cultural tropes to heighten the suspense and uncertainty that awaited the eerily enigmatic town of Hawkins.
An example of this can be seen immediately in the second scene of the first episode, where the directors creatively use an arcade, something of a reference to old hangout spots for kids back in the 1980s, to showcase the beginning of what the characters are up against this season, specifically Will Byers.
The main focus of the scene is on a game that Dustin Henderson, one of the kids in the friend group, is trying to win. After losing the game, Dustin says he doesn’t care because he holds the top scores for other games in the arcade.
However, one of the employees tells him that a new gamer has beat his top scores and much to Dustin’s chagrin, an argument ensues between him and the employee.
Meanwhile, Will notices something outside the arcade and before he knows it, he’s in the Upside Down, alone. The door in the arcade swings wide open and as Will walks outside, a brooding shadow of red and black clouds begins to get closer to Will, frightening him.
Suddenly, he’s back in Hawkins standing outside the arcade seeing nothing but the sky and his friend Mike.
This is the first glimpse into the way the events that took place last season have yet to dissipate from the characters’ lives.
Moreover, the Duffer Brothers demonstrated that though the series is focused on the 1980’s, the cultural references are merely lending a hand to further the plot.
Many articles I read after I binge-watched the show said that while “Stranger Things 2” was full of good moments, it was mostly a mess full of redundant scenes, one unnecessary episode, and plot lines that deviate from the theme.
While I agree that the show was at times, all over the place, I also admire that the Duffer Brothers took a leap of faith in an attempt to expand and add to the town of Hawkins and the characters.
It’s tough to surpass the high standard the first season set for the series because the show is of itself its own zeitgeist.
The Duffer Brothers attempted to take the show further in a way that would still keep audiences and critics alike, charmed.
They retraced back to Will’s fear about the Demogorgon, Eleven’s curiosity to find out more about her past and even the secret romance between Jonathan and Nancy.
These are topics I’m glad they touched on because without them, I would feel like the second season wouldn’t be worth watching.
Then there’s the addition of a couple of new characters that, with time, became part of the exclusive Hawkins crew.
Some of the new characters include Sean Astin, which is a nostalgic nod to the film “The Goonies” and Sadie Sink, a new up and coming actress.
Overall, I congratulate the Duffer Brothers because the second season exceeded my expectations so much so that I am ready to binge watch it again with my sister, mom and dad because to me it was outstanding.
In the time that I binge-watched this show, I found there were moments where I felt that the characters were more grounded than they were in season one and though there could be some reworking in areas of this season, overall it left me feeling closer to the characters than ever before.
I enjoyed all the emotions I felt. Despite the show being a little derivative at parts, each episode left off on a suspenseful cliffhanger that begged me to watch more.
If I’m being honest, it takes a certain kind of show to make me forget about my responsibilities and sit on a couch and watch a 45 minute episode, one after the other but I’m glad “Stranger Things 2” is that show.
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