The fact that I (we) liked Stranger Things season 2 cannot drive our attention away from the flaws we saw in the 9 new episodes of this Netflix hit. Yes, our judgment should take in consideration our feelings, but we cannot rely only on them.
There aren’t many TV series that can generate such a deep love from the audience. Every social network was full of messages about the countdown. Messages that quickly turned into live comments on each episode, and then left room for the more nostalgic ones. The one of those who already complain about having to wait another year for the third season.
Stranger Things season 2 started giving us the same love-for-the-eighties touch that made it famous. The opening is at the Arcade, a video game place where Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (fans favorite Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Will (Noah Schnapp) are playing Dragon’s Lair (a classic dated 1983). Will, gets distracted for a moment and suddenly finds himself in the parallel dimension in which he was for the entire first season.
An episode that, as we will soon discover, is not that uncommon for the kid. In fact, little Will – accompanied by his mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) and sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbor) – is forced to go to the Hawkins hidden laboratory to receive special treatments meant to make him feel better.
Meanwhile, some things happen. Local farmers discover a lot of rotten pumpkins in their fields, and Dustin finds a small creature that does not look like anything known to him. The kids don’t know what to do: give it to the authorities or hide it? A doubt that will endanger the solidity of their friendship. Same as when Lucas and Dustin would like to bring to the group a red-haired girl named Max, who just arrived from California along with her bully brother.
Pumpkins, visions, strange creatures, and bad feelings will soon collapse into a nightmare. Just like in the first season, the young protagonists – helped by the few who want to trust them – will face a dangerous enemy. And this time it is even stronger and more determined to bring darkness to the entire world.
Unless Eleven shows up, of course.
That sweet and romantic flavor so typical of this TV series remains intact. Stranger Things season 2, stays in between a fairy tale and a fantasy adventure, and thus it continues to be pleasing. On top of that, is undoubtedly impossible not to love its young protagonists.
What I cannot buy this time is the lack of originality. The attempt to increase the terror by making the bad ones even worse is evident, the presence of some new elements that could surprise the viewer is not. Everything seemed too easy to predict. Even the conclusion.
However, it has proved to be very afraid of ruining his beauty, and this turned into predictability. The authors, Matt and Ross Duffer, tried to spice up things with episode seven. But it didn’t go well.
For obvious reasons anti-spoiler reasons, I won’t talk about it in detail, but what I found obvious is that it was a deviation from the original story track that did not add much to it. Enough to say that episode eight begins exactly where the episode six ended. In other words, Stranger Things season 2 without the seventh chapter would have been the same.
Same goes for new characters. Bob (Sean Astin), Joyce’s new companion, is loaded with responsibilities he does not deserve nor can handle and this makes him not so credible. As for Max (Sadie Sink) and her brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery), I have the feeling they have been added to the story at a later time. As if someone who wrote the new script, aware of how similar it was to the previous one, felt the need to add a piece. And here they are.
The real reason why this second season is worth to watch is (once again) the cast. The old protagonists confirmed themselves on the top level we saw in season 1. In particular, I really appreciated Sheriff Hopper and Steve (Joe Keery). Both of them showed a character evolution that is just outstanding.
Season 3 is almost certainly a go.
We will wait for it with the same affection we felt while waiting for Stranger Things season 2. It’s on Netflix and the Duffer brothers to create a story which will not just make us revive the wonderful emotions of the beginning, but that adds some equally beautiful twists.