Smart Start to Stranger Things 2

Oh how I’ve missed this 80s nostalgia-ridden show: the clever characters, saturated scenes, the enthralling theme song and mezmorizing red neon logo.

Stranger Things 2 is evolving with its ever-growing fan base and deepening plot structure. Season 1 established that the characters the Duffy Brothers created are fully-fledged, genuine personalities, so the aftermath of the traumatic occurrences from Stranger Things are delved into, from the PTSD of returning from the upside down, to adapting to normal life and growing up, while an ever-present evil looms in the surface.

The first scene seems displaced, putting us right into action: a bank robbery heist from a group of diverse misfits. Displaced, that is, until we notice the getaway passenger using some serious otherworldly techniques to make the cops imagine a vivid explosion causing a tunnel to collapse in order to stop the chase. Then, a familiar nose bleed. Zooming into a close-up of the woman’s arm, we see the numbers 008 branded. This opens up the floodgates. Eleven isn’t the only supernaturally modified tested human who escaped and it seems we’ll be seeing what happened to at least one of the other 10 “tests” before her.

 

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It’s Halloween time, the anniversary of Will’s disappearance, so everything is hinting to a highly anticipated climax. We see Will having foreshadowing visions. He’s monitored frequently by a new lab, which we see has still not learned their lesson as they are shown testing some upside down-esque defense mechanisms, which hints at a preparation for the inevitable. Then, Hopper’s interactions with the conspiracy theory nutcase (who may be onto the truth after all) (who is also revealed to be hired by Barb’s parents to find their daughter), and a visit to a call from a concerned farmer whose pumpkin patch is suddenly filled with rotting pumpkins and the presence of a crow—proves to be an obvious omen.

Aside from the wary and scary, we see Joyce and Nancy trying to move forward in relationships. Will’s mom has got it going on! We’re introduced to Joyce’s new boyfriend and even though I’m still waiting for her and Hopper to please get together, she seems happy, so I’m all for it. (Especially since “Bob” is played by 80s icon Sean Astin, known for his role as Mikey in The Goonies!!!) Nancy is caught between being friends with Jonathan and dating Steve. Waiting for that to implode. Even the gang is excited at a new prospect—Maxine  the new girl from California, who skateboards and dethrones Dustin’s high score in Dig Dug. I’m all for the female power granted to this character and can’t wait to see how she plays a role into (hopefully) joining their side to stop the big bad and I guess play in the arcade, too.

The characters are cursing more, they’re still hilarious, and I can’t help but love the intimate interactions that single out one or a couple characters to really hit the pathos. Such as the sweet moment between Jonathan and Will, Jonathan proving his genuine personality and pure love as a big brother and “best friend” to his troubled sibling who finds himself being called names like “zombie boy” while his close friends and family treat him delicately.

Finally, the most exiting scene to wrap up an introductory episode—ELEVEN EATING DINNER AT HOPPERS like it’s just a normal Monday night. With a curly mop of hair and a pair of adorable overalls, it brings joy to see that Eleven is back. Her return also brings up so many questions. Why hasn’t she tried to contact Mike, since we see him try to reach her every night? How long would she be in hiding? Can Hopper adopt her and call it a day? Is Barb coming back (and do we even care? I thought we gained closure seeing her dead body people– stop trying to make Barb a thing!) Many inquiries which shall soon be answered, I imagine.

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