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Return of ‘Stranger Things’ provides new characters, thrills in season 2

Photo by Amanda Nelson

Photo by Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson, Opinion Editor

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The Duffer Brothers’ colorful, 80’s-based sci-fi, hit show Stranger Things has arrived for a follow up season equally, if not more, gripping than the previous. This Netflix original show follows residents of Hawkins, Indiana, as they encounter supernatural occurrences in their once quiet, Midwest town.

The second season of the show opens with a new and eclectic group speeding away from the police in a van. In the conclusion of the scene, the woman in the passenger’s seat, Kali, reveals her abilities, which appear similar to Eleven, a major character in both seasons.

The cast mainly consists of young, but hard working  actors and actresses, who, as they mature for the second season, bring performances beyond their years.

Will Byers, back from the horrors of the alternate dimension known as the upside down, struggles with psychic episodes due to a connection formed with the shadow entity that resides there. Even more scary, Will has to deal with the cruel judgement of his middle school peers, who pin him as ‘Zombie Boy.’ The sweet and innocent nature of this character makes it hard to watch his downward spiral throughout the season.

Mike Wheeler, a prominent character in the first season, is inherently less involved as he deals with the disappearance of Eleven. On the other hand, the two supporting characters, Lucas Sinclair and Dustin Henderson, develop into more complex people.The writers give the two more depth, character arcs, a family and more screen time. Steve Harrington, the seemingly stereotypical popular guy, showed there was more to him than shown in the first season. This trend continues into season two as he reveals his surprisingly kind and caring traits.

Jim Hopper, the gruff and cynical police chief, shows a softer, more caring side to his personality this season.

Eleven has the greatest development in character out of anyone else on the show. As the audience is shown more of her past life, Eleven goes through many changes that make her stronger and more confident of herself and her abilities.

New characters introduced in the second season fit surprisingly well into the tight knit dynamic of the preexisting characters. Billy and Max Mayfield, siblings that moved from California to Hawkins, find themselves entangled in the strange occurences of the town and its residents. Bob Newby, Joyce Byers’ boyfriend, joins in the fun.

It is hard to find a series that successfully fills all of the elements of a great show, yet Stranger Things hardly lacks in any of the areas. Not only does it produce a fresh and thrilling plot, but the impeccable pacing of the episodes makes each second exciting.The show also beautifully mixes bright surface colors and dark undertones to leave the audience with an eerie yet colorful and eccentric vibe. Another strength of the show is the soundtrack, with songs like “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash and “Hammer to Fall” by Queen. In addition to nostalgic beats, original scores also accompany the soundtrack. Original scores like the theme song titled “Stranger Things,” composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, are a haunting blend of 80’s and modern music.

Even if Stranger Things did not excel in all of these areas, its characters would fill those voids. The characters’ endearing and relatable qualities make the audience care deeply about what happens to all of them.

Season two of Stranger Things does fall short in some areas. As mentioned above, the first season had perfect pacing, and so did most of the second season. One single episode, however, focused too much on one character, failing to update the audience of the other character’s situations.

Stranger Things 2 provides a perfect continuation of the show, and has dedicated fans waiting for the season three announcement date.

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Return of ‘Stranger Things’ provides new characters, thrills in season 2