With a darker tone and even richer characterization, Stranger Thing’s sophomore season is a blast that only occasionally suffers from an overstuffed cast.
Created by The Duffer Brothers
(Completely Spoiler Free) They did it, thank god. The best thing i can say about Stranger Things 2 is that it is a true continuation of the story laid out in season 1, rather than a repeat. And if you loved the characters from season 1, you are in for a treat.
With all the hype surrounding Stranger Things, it seemed almost destined to disappoint in some way. For the MOST part, it doesn’t. The show delves much deeper into its characters this time, rather than an overarching mystery. So while it lacks the breakneck binge worthy pace of season 1, it is surprisingly much more heartfelt and poignant than you might aspect. There is still a lot of action to love here but the characters are wisely front and center.
The acting has seen a major step up from all of the kids, which isn’t to say they weren’t already great, but the material they have to work with is much richer this time round. It picks up one year after the events of the season 1, which left a huge impact on all the characters, and the writers didn’t shy away that. There are some wrenching scenes here that drive home how much these kids have grown and changed over the year long time gap. Which brings us to the only problem. The cast size.
There’s no way to talk about it without major spoilers, so i’ll just say this. There is one episode near the end of the season that feels like a major misstep. Its a filler episode which introduces a myriad of new characters that you don’t care about, and forces you to spend time with them. It deviates so sharply from the central plot that it breaks momentum, and squanders any potential emotional impact it could have. Its a weak episode that is made even weaker because of its placement, and serves as the only sign that the writers are overreaching to fit in a grander narrative into what is otherwise a self contained story.
Apart from that, the other new additions are great. If you were worried about Maxine, don’t be. Go into Season 2 blind, but expect a slower pace. Stranger Things 2 is a different beast from Season 1, but once things gets going it reaches heights that emotionally bests its freshman year. Its funny, creepy, moving and exciting all at once, and delivers an immensely satisfying finale. Bring on Season 3.