Stranger Things: Season 2, the Chilling Return to Hawkins
Action & Adventure
When Netflix decided to pick up Duffer Brother’s science fiction horror, Stranger Things, for their streaming platform, they never quite imagined it would gain the mass popularity, it did back in 2016. Netflix hadn’t even put much of a financial investment in it, in terms of post-production effects and such. The show, however, delivered, and became a massive hit; gaining a solid fan base for its 80’s nostalgic vibe, and gaining worldwide fame for its unforgettably chilling score.
Now that the creators’, as well as the cast – including David Harbor as Chief Hopper and Winona Ryder as Joyce – have become household names, Netflix has decided to bet big, with a significant push on the financial side.
For the most part, they captured lighting in a bottle twice and everyone involved will be reaping the rewards (and awards) for hitting it out of the park for the second time. In a similar manner to the first season, the show manages to blend well with the 80’s nostalgic vibe, all while maintaining its sci-fi and horror elements. This time, however, the chills last longer.
The story follows Will (Noah Schnapp) and his rag tag group of friends and their families, who, adjusting to their lives in Hawkins in the shadows of the aftermath of the strange occurrences, struggle to keep it all a secret from the rest of the town. Suffering the most after returning from the upside down, Will lives a nightmare that will soon cause all hell to break loose.
The series never fails to maintain the first season’s lively dynamic between the characters. Indeed, character motivations still remain believable. This is especially true for the motivations behind Winona Ryder’s character: Will’s over-protective mother, who tries throughout the series to rid her son of the effects of the haunting experiences that he underwent, in order to ensure that he retains a normal childhood.
However, the second does fall short in some episodes, especially when it comes to maintaining the first season’s elevated mood of urgency.
Also, unlike the first season, the scenes that set up the story’s progression aren’t as well crafted, as those of their first season counterparts. In the first season, when Joyce followed the blinking Christmas lights and scurried her way to find a way to reach Will, the imagery and imagination felt believable.
Contrastingly, in the second season, when Joyce is trying to reach Chief Jim Hopper, she -along with her new boyfriend Bob Newby (Sean Austin)- follow the trails of Will’s sketching, and draft a map out of what is obviously mere scribbles. This particular instance is shot and established in a way that makes it seem too unbelievable. Other than the plotline’s stretch in plausibility, some episodes are solely dedicated to the development of certain characters, without paying much attention to the general story.
But, in spite of all of the previous shortcomings, the second season of Stranger Things, still manages to keep the fans hanging on the edge of their seats, and leaves them with chills for what’s to come next.