Stranger Things: Season 2 Review

So…have we all watched Stranger Things season 2? Yes? Great, let’s talk.

I have to say, now that I’ve slept on the season, I have solidified that I think season 2 was an admirable sequel, but it was messier than the first. There was so much going on this year and the show kind of strained to get to the end. But the people who work on this show are so talented that they managed to hold onto the series where in lesser hands it would have fallen a part.

The Good
Steve – I hated this character in the first season but my goodness did the writers and Joe Keery work a miracle with this guy in season 2. Maybe it’s cause he broke up with Nancy, but he was really free to break free from the shackles of the stereotype he was last year.

Noah Schnapp – Will was barely in the last season but young Noah came for our wigs this season. He was ACTING! I thoroughly enjoyed him going thru it this year and even more importantly was him finding subtle ways to clue us into that character

Episode 6 – Episode 6 is about as perfect an hour of television as you can get. It moved the story and characters forward, featured new and exciting team-ups, and had one of the best cliffhangers of the show so far.

The families – I loved getting an idea of how foolish everyone’s family life is, an element the first season didn’t have. Lucas’ in particular, was welcome, even though his sister is a mess.

Consequences – Though Stranger Things wrapped up nicely, they did do a great job of making the consequences of the character’s actions stick, as well as upping the ante on our heroes.

Max – She’s delightful.

The Bad
Episode 7’s Placement – One of the most polarizing episodes of the television season so far, episode 7 of Stranger Things is a bottle episode that not only focuses on 011’s character growth, but introduces us to 008, another gifted child. I don’t doubt the noble intentions of the Duffer Brothers with this episode and it was interesting to see 011 out of her element and having to make big moral decisions. But this episode is in the worst possible place for it to be effective or really interesting. Episode 6 ends with a humdinger of a cliffhanger and 011 struggle, valiant though it was, just can’t hold the tension. Her storyline was so removed this season, so to remove her from Hawkins entirely in between what was a tense storyline was…not great. If you swap episodes 6 and 7 this might have worked better.

The love triangle – I’m just tired of love triangles and Steve is a better character not in Nancy’s orbit.

Closing the Gate – This moment felt kind of anticlimactic for a monster battle finale.

The Ugly
Billy – Look, I totally get what they wanted to do with this character and given Max’s convo with Lucas, the point was made clear. However, Billy, as played by the Red Power Ranger himself Dacre Montgomery, is just a black hole of awful. He’s just a constant annoyance with no kind of depth or ties to the main story and even when you meet the father, it still feels flat. They dedicated an unnecessary amount to his evilness.