By Chloe Kauffman ’18
On a scale of one to ten, season two of Stranger Things is an eleven.
From darker themes that make viewers question everything they have ever known about Hawkins and its connections to the Upside Down to extremely satisfying character developments of nearly every person, the Duffer Brothers provide almost nine hours of unadulterated entertainment.
According to Nielsen, the number-one company for producing reports of TV and movie analytics, Stranger Things 2 was viewed by over 15 million people during the first three days the episode was released, compared to the 6.2 million who watched the first season’s inaugural episode.
Even without referencing the numbers, Stranger Things 2 is an obvious smash-hit sequel that is arguably even better than the original season. Season two introduces new, dynamic characters and even more horrific foes for the small town to face.
(ATTENTION. SPOILERS ARE AHEAD.)
One of the-fan favorite developments in the second season are undoubtedly the major character changes of Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), Nancy Wheeler’s (Natalia Dyer) controversial nail-bat wielding boyfriend. Steve starts out the season as a concerned boyfriend, trying to help Nancy shoulder the weight of Barb’s (Shannon Purser) disappearance. He eventually convinces her to attend a party to loosen up and forget about the problems ailing her, but the night just results in Nancy getting obscenely drunk and breaking up with him.
Throughout the rest of the season, Steve shifts his attention to the kids of the show, namely Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). After blindly agreeing to follow Dustin to his house under the pretense of defeating Dart, a baby Demogorgon, Steve morphs into his mentor.
While his advice about girls and hair products bonds the two unlikely friends in the first place, Steve really cements his place in television as the world’s best babysitter when he not only uses himself as bait for multiple attacking Demogorgons, but also when he steps in to take the beating that Lucas (Caleb McLoughlin) was going to receive from Max’s (Sadie Sink) abusive older brother, Billy (Dacre Montgomery).
If that was not enough to make him become the lovable “Dad Steve” viewers now know and love, he actually follows the kids into the Upside Down to help destroy the tunnels. Finally, his culminating heartwarming moment comes when he drives Dustin to the Snow Ball, the winter formal at Hawkins Middle School. After complementing his hair (which had been styled using the products Steve recommended), he fondly watches his new “little brother” enter the dance with a newfound confidence.
Stranger Things 2 had its fair share of other major character developments – Lucas having to decide between Max’s loyalty and his friends’, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) struggling with trying to keep Will (Noah Schnapp) safe while constantly trying to contact Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), and Eleven’s quest to find out more about herself and her family.
However, none compare to the joint development of Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Eleven.
Early in season two, it is revealed that Hopper has taken in Eleven when he found her wandering around Hawkins, effectively hiding her from authorities that are searching for her.
Hopper becomes somewhat of a surrogate father for El, making her Eggos for breakfast and fondly ruffling her curly hair. He steps into the role of father that was briefly touched upon in season one, when it was revealed that his daughter, Sara, had died at a relatively young age.
The two of them do have disagreements that cause major rifts between their characters, with El desperately wanting to reconnect with her friends (namely Mike), and Hopper confining her to their little cabin home in an attempt to keep her safe.
El eventually escapes, going on a dangerous mission to reconnect with her family. She eventually returns just in time to save her friends and Hopper, and after an agreement with Hawkins Lab, Hopper manages to give El a life of her own under her given name, Jane – even going so far as to adopt her.
Along with all of the incredible character developments, the plot thickens. Will becomes the host of the Mind Flayer, a new, more powerful extension of the Upside Down’s horrific rule. The gang works tirelessly to get the so-called virus out of Will, resulting in some highly intense scenes that will leave audiences emotionally and physically drained.
Even after all of Hawkins’s problems seem to be solved, viewers know that the Stranger Things franchise will not stop there. With a final scene of the terrifying Mind Flayer hovering over the Middle School, audiences know that the show cannot stay happy for long.
Overall, season two is definitely worth a watch. While the characters stood out as the stars of the newest nine episodes, the plot is just as stellar. It is a whirlwind of a ride that can only be understood simply by watching it.