Stranger Things returns

It’s been 469 days, or 67 weeks, or over Eleven thousand hours since Stranger Things graced Netflix, and they’ve been some incredibly tense hours. But now, the moment countless fan theories and frantic re-watches have lead to is here: the hugely anticipated release of Season 2.

This Halloween, Stranger Things returns with its much anticipated second season. The town of Hawkins, Indiana is still mourning the death of ‘Barb’ from season one and the suspicious activities at Hawkins Lab continue to be unknown to the town.

The lovable cast of returning child actors has a new addition in the form of ‘Madmax’, a fiery red head with a stereotypical Steven King-style bullying older brother. Max is played by Sadie Sink, known for playing the titular role in Annie on Broadway as well as other movies and TV shows. In contrast to Max’s older brother, played by Dacre Montgomery, we see an interesting twist in the arc of the character Steve (played by Joe Keery). He is no longer the high school jock stock character, and develops a surprisingly funny character pairing with Dustin (played by Gaten Matarazzo).

One of the most amusing lines from Dustin is: “we’ve got bigger problems than your love life” (said to Steve when he’s looking for Nancy). Another great moment is Steve showing Dustin how to replicate the classic full volume 80s mullet for the school’s Christmas dance is a truly heart-warming scene. is character pairing highlights the comedic and nostalgic traits that Stranger Things is known for.

Another new arrival is the character of Roman, who is played by Linnea Berthelsen, and her quirky mix of outcasts roaming the streets of Illinois. Although this is a small role, her acting is impeccable, and her character is superbly written, so much so that you start to want to join her and her group of outcasts in a darker version of ‘the Breakfast Club’.

Meanwhile, Detective Hopper discovers a decaying pumpkin patch that has spread to most of Hawkins agricultural areas. His character is given more screen time compared to last season and the writers have developed him further than just the cranky small-town cop with alcohol problems. Winona Ryder is back as Joyce Byers, Will’s seemingly crazy mother who decorates her house in strange and often implausible ways, is understandably over protective, and the outcast of the town’s mothers.

Whilst the show’s classic 80s theme comes from specific aesthetic and referential choices, and provides a comforting and cosy feeling for most, a few cleverly placed jump scares also lull the watcher into a false sense of fear; an effective juxtaposition. However, at times, the season relies heavily on the tropes of most horror films a little too much.

The soundtrack of the second season uses the classic, synthesized orchestral sounds that we know and love from the first season. There are also a couple of 80s hits thrown in there too, such as Bon Jovi’s “Runaway”, the Police’s “Every breath You Take” and the Runaways’ “Dead End Justice”, as well as other 80s classics that you just can’t help but sing along to.

Stranger Things 2 is perfect for binge watching on Halloween, but remember to keep the lights on for those gruesome and terrifying scenes that leave you with nightmares for weeks. It ties up plot holes from the first season in a sophisticated manner, and introduces us to newer lovable kids and newer horrible nightmares, and does so with the Duffer Brother’s impressive knack for storytelling.


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Gabriela Williams

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August 2022
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