photo credit: wired.com
Like most viewers, I wasn’t sure what expect going into the second season of Stranger Things.
Without a missing Will Byers to locate and “El” seemingly out of the picture, I couldn’t help but wonder: would the second season be as magical as the first? Or would the 1980s throwback lose its luster and fall into an oh, so common sophomoric slump?
But as everyone else continued to rave about it, I knew that my watching it would be fast-approaching… lest I be smacked in the face with a dreaded spoiler.
It’s only fair to admit I was pretty late to the party with the series.
I only watched the first season AFTER season 2 came out — though I devoured it in a matter of days — and clearly took my time getting to the show’s second installment.
It did not disappoint.
In fact, it was better.
The second season picks up with central character Will Byers being put through the ringer. I’m just going to say it — the season was not kind to him (not that the first season was either!). The trauma of being in the “upside down” for so long has a powerful grip on him… though to say more would be giving too much away.
It’s worth noting that while Will Byers is in many ways the conduit between the characters’ hometown of Hawkins, Indiana and the unknown dimension referred to as the “upside down,” Stranger Things is an ensemble show in every way imaginable. The actors play well off one another and each shines in their own personal relationship to the plot at large.
With nine episodes in the season, there are quite a number of twists and turns to keep track of. We see the evolution of Nancy and Johnathon’s relationship while they grow into a roles that protect their younger siblings. Winona Ryder is brilliant as Joyce… and the most attentive parent in the series.
Now, this is a personal pet peeve of mine in ANY series: when the kids are SO MUCH smarter than the adults. I mean, unrealistically so.
While I understand that many kids are, in fact smarter than their parents, that does NOT mean all common sense and rational thought has to elude the adults in scenes opposite their kids.
However, I can let that one slide because focus is mainly pulled to the many new and exciting characters introduced this season.
“Mad Max” appears on the scene as the perfect addition to the eighth grade gang’s posse, albeit with an abusive stepbrother who introduces the element of racism to the show with his clear contempt for Lucas.
On that tricky subject, I will express an annoyance for the scenes Lucas’s sister is in. They are few, thankfully, because her portrayal of the stereotypical “sassy black girl” is highly offensive, and something I positively CANNOT abide.
I don’t care if the series is set in the ’80s. This is 2018. Shame on the Duffer Brothers for directing her to act that way.
Other than that, the writing and directing was spot on… though this is coming from someone who was not alive in the ’80s.
However, the intricacies of the fictitious world of the “upside down” continues to create a beautiful and haunting allegory for forces beyond human understanding… and an unwillingness to give up.
The question remaining is: will there be a third season?
I certainly hope so.