Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TV Show Review: Stranger Things (Season 2)

Netflix's 80s tribute and sci-fi adventure returns with another great season of monsters, twists, and a charismatic cast. The film begins with a bizarre scene where a group of punks flee including Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) who shares a similar tattoo to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) continues to reach out to Eleven over the radio but he never hears anything. Eleven is hiding out in a cabin with Jim Hopper (David Harbour), kept isolated from nearby Hawkins. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) are obsessed over a mysterious MadMax who continues to beat their high scores. Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) has some residual effects of staying in the upside down for so long and will warp into the other dimension to see a giant monster approaching. His mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) worries for her son and has started a new relationship with Bob (Sean Astin), a technology expert.

Mike's older sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) continues to try to learn more about her missing friend Barb, enlisting of Will's older brother Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) much to the detriment of her relationship with Steve Harrington (Joe Keery). The new characters in town are Maxine (Sadie Sink) aka Max who has been beating Dustin's high scores and her bully of a stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery). As the monster slowly creeps towards Will, stranger things happen around Hawkins even as Chief Hopper makes an arrangement with the Department of Energy's new project leader Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser). Pumpkins patches are dying and the scientists continue to try to burn out the encroaching substance from the dimension hole. Halloween comes as the boys dress up as Ghostbusters. Jonathan is supposed to watch Will but he leaves to hang out with Nancy at a party where she has got obnoxiously drunk and fought with Steve.

Will has a major episode as the creature approaches and Dustin discovers a small strange creature that steadily grows. Lucas struggles to keep the secrets of the last season from Max who starts to hang out with the group and ask questions. Eleven grows impatient with her captivity eventually journeying out only to find Mike talking with Max, making her jealous. As Mike sees the monster more and more, he stands up to it under Bob's advice and is attacked. He starts to act strange and when Joyce asks him to show what he sees, he draws a strange map. Eleven uses her telekinetic ability to seek our her mom and after an argument with Hopper, she flees. Hopper is distracted as he enters a tunnel beneath the pumpkin patch that is part of the upside down. Nancy and Jonathan fall deeper into the conspiracy theories when the lab takes them in to put them off the trail but then they go to the investigator Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), who helps them share the information with the public.

Eleven explores her past learning more about her mother and seeing Kali. She seeks out the fellow enhanced individual and they join up to take revenge on their torturers. Eleven doesn't support their brutal acts and when the police invade she decides to return to Hawkins. Will has grown worse so they take them to the lab as he is now linked with the large monster. Dustin and Steve work together to find the creature that had burrowed out of his cellar. Lucas confesses everything to Max and they join up with Dustin and Steve to fight the dogs, sorry Demodogs. They are about to be killed when the creatures retreat to the portal where they kill off the scientist. Bob sacrifices himself so Joyce, Hopper, and the kids can escape. They split up into three groups once Eleven, or Jane, returns. She and Hopper go to the gate so she can shut, Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy take Will to the cabin where they use heat to get the monster out of him, and Steve, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, and Max go to burn the center of the monster growth but not before Billy fights Steve and Max has to stand up to her abusive brother. The finale is spectacular and the season wraps charmingly at a dance though there are hints at what will happen in the third season.

Stranger Things has lived up to its stellar first season making this one of my favorite television shows and giving the streaming service a new solid title to promote. All of the characters are fun to watch and the young cast is so impressive mixed with astounding visuals to tell a very fun story. The mystery makes the show very easy to binge in a weekend and superb viewing of consecutive episodes. I even had to revisit the first season again and it was easy to watch a second time since the show is so entertaining. I had binged it so fast the first time, I saw a few surprising things through the second time and this is a show I think I will revisit again in the future. 

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