The Netflix original series Stranger Things has received excellent reviews since the release of the first season, which aired last summer, leaving viewers anticipating the future of its fictional setting of Hawkins, Indiana. Where is Eleven? What is happening to Will? When will the party be reunited? With high hopes for season two, I set out on my journey as a viewer to uncover anything I could to unravel this season’s mysteries. Not only was the second season a masterpiece in visual effects, but character development played a crucial role in the plot progression. Previous relationships continued to develop as new ones arose, creating a more dynamic cast, which helps to reveal background information to both the characters and the audience. Season two combines drama, action, horror, comedy, and romance into one nine-episode story arc, each one including at least one ‘80s banger.
Of the new characters introduced this season, Max (played by Sadie Sink) becomes both Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas’ (Caleb McLaughlin) love interest early on. Not only is she a Californian skater girl, but she also sets the stage for a classic ‘80s love triangle that season one noticeably lacked.
Although the rumours of a relationship developing between Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) were ever-present throughout season one, they were fully explored this time around. Nancy’s falling-out with jock boyfriend Steve (Joe Keery) at a Halloween party gave both characters the opportunity to develop as individuals, since neither of them were able to achieve individuality while dating.
Despite the drama, both Steve and Jonathan put their differences aside to help those they love. Steve risks his life to save his ex-girlfriend’s brother multiple times, revealing a caring nature behind his tough-guy act. Even as Dustin and Lucas bicker, they’re brought together when faced with more pressing matters: evading death by “demo-dogs.” All of the characters came to life this season, as they came together to overpower the new mind flayer villain and his minions, despite romantic conflicts.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) spends most of the season on her own — that is, when she’s not on lockdown at police chief Jim Hopper’s (David Harbour) cabin — which made the ending quite predictable. Of course, when there’s nowhere left for the group to run, she saves the day again. Heroism aside, Eleven’s character development suffered for the sake of the rest of the group. While everyone else was bonding, she wandered the streets of Illinois trying to find her long-lost punk sister (whom she spends a whopping one episode with). It comes off as a way to distract Eleven from returning home, giving the rest of the group more time to solve the mystery.
Either way, season two brings all of the characters together to make one unstoppable force driven by anger and revenge. By banding together, the group manages to stop the giant creature, and close the gate to the “Upside Down” — or so it seems. The ending scene at the school’s “Snow Ball” winter dance is heart-warming, but just when we think everything in Hawkins might go back to normal, the camera twists upside down, reminding us of the constant threat looming over the town.
With more questions than ever, I eagerly await Stranger Things’ third season which, if this season was any indication, I’m sure will be the strangest season yet.