On Friday, Netflix launched the second season of the hit series “” Stranger Things.” ” Last year, the show surprised almost everyone by coming from the ground up with a mix of ’80s nostalgia and a Steven spielberg/king storyline. But this year, it’s all about expectations, with streaming services generating a wave of hype and defining the return of friends as one of the must-see entertainment events of the year.
Now that we’ve had a chance to see what the Duffer brothers have created for the sequel, a group of us on the fringes have decided to sit down and talk about how we feel about strangers in season 2. Nostalgia, new characters like eight, Billy, Bob, and unanswered questions – we’ll dig into all of that.
This may be self-evident
- But just in case: revealing the plot is ahead. Brian: I really liked the first season of the show, not because of its historical setting and homage to the film. This is because of its narrative style. The strange things didn’t just happen in the 1980s. It felt as if it had been made in the 1980s — and with its carefully drawn characters, it created something unique in today’s television environment. However, when all the familiar faces returned in the second round, I couldn’t shake the feeling that season 2 lacked by comparison. It feels unfocused, without obvious major threats, and some of the new characters feel unrecognized and immature. Just me? Has the show rediscovered that strange magic for everyone else?
- Megan: the second season of “stranger things” brought back the nostalgia of the first season and the synth soundtrack. It feels comfortable. But the challenge of increasing the danger is that they solve it by throwing more monsters at the problem, rather than relying on a unified threat.”We didn’t learn anything new about Demogorgon, except that he loved nougat.”
- Cham: I love season 2, but I wouldn’t say it retook the magic of “stranger things.” What’s interesting about season 1 is that it’s a surprise, and season 2, for better or worse, has captured the rhythm of season 1’s plot. As megan points out, just having more stuff to increase the stakes doesn’t always feel like the answer. Compared to Demogorgon, who immediately became an icon in the first season, “Flayer” feels tame. It was an invisible cloud of smoke, but it was still such a threat that even our scrappy, ragged teenagers could hardly have imagined defeating it.
On the other hand, the things that made season 1 great — the cute kids, the eleven bad guys, and most of what hopper worked so hard on in the face of unfathomable supernatural horror — were really good. The show has a lot more 80s sci-fi/horror/thriller elements in it, and I think those elements are good. Megan: I actually wrote an entire article about it. For a dead character, justice is always a little strange. There is only one way for it to end reasonably, and that is for the bad guys to get their money. Did Bob get justice? Sure. Is it too tidy? Sure, but how can you end the thread in a satisfactory way?Cham: I never understood the “tooth for tooth” meme. I wanted to watch the first two episodes of the first season (with the death of Barb) from this show after a break, and I was really confused by the huge attention online waiting for me to come back a few days later to watch the rest of the season.
The fact that he spent a lot of time in this season feels a lot like catering to weird cultural moments, compared to last season, where other influences, such as the more compelling thread that will deal with his trauma are trapped upside down,Barb just feels like too much stuff.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, maybe you shouldn’t let the meme-obsessed ‘hive mind’ of the Internet write your shows for you? Huey: like cham, I’ve never really understood “tooth for tooth”. I think she’s cool (in high-waisted jeans, with grandma’s hair, very stylish!). Look, I only watched the first season once. I was glad she was being treated fairly, but it didn’t help me much. Am I ruthless? However, I do think it’s a good thing that Nancy fought for her – especially when Nancy got drunk and told Steve how much she wanted Barbara’s parents to know the truth. I think the friendship between Barbara and Nancy, and in this series and growing up with Nancy, is very interesting and meaningful.
Megan: wow, so many people hate barbs. That’s how I feel about the three characters. The 11-year-old spent most of the season away from our favorite boy band, so Max was assigned to fill a girl spot. She was introduced as a perfect villain, but nobody asked her to do anything. She has had a few standout moments, such as driving a group of people into a psycho tunnel or killing her annoying brother, but most of all, she looks like a love rival who has stepped in to drive a wedge between the boys. Of course, any girl character with a pesky plot design is incomplete without female competition, which means 11 girls will instantly hate her and never correct those feelings. Then there’s Billy, the stereotypical ’80s racial bully who has had little to show for the season. I know we should feel sorry for him because his father abused him, but it was all textbook. Are we on the road to Billy’s redemption? My hypothesis is positive, but I really don’t care to see it happen.
The biggest complaint is that you can remove these characters from almost every scene, but it doesn’t matter. Bob obviously has his hero/martyr moments, which, in my opinion, is a very Jurassic park scene, but he never gets a chance to grow up outside of his “good guy” character. Brian: we’re all sitting there waiting for Bob to be revealed as a bad egg (I bet he’s a Russian spy because so many characters keep banging that drum), which might suggest that his job is exactly what the duffer brothers intended. If I’m wearing my ’80s hat, there’s a lot of precedent for why this might be the direction we perceive. “Lost boy” is particularly reminiscent of golly gee’s video store owner, who started dating Corey Haim’s mother only to become a megamonor.But other than Bob, I found the other characters depressingly thin. Is Billy a burned out rock star? A bad boy in a camaro, obsessed with establishing dominance in the school hierarchy? He seems to have a dozen conflicting stereotypes, and his tortures under the yoke of an abusive father do not make these traits fit together any better. Mad Max is much better because her interactions with the children are dramatically documented, and it’s easy to understand who the character is and who she’s dealing with. But even so, Max and Billy are an odd couple, seemingly trapped in something stranger than a completely different story. There was a real cohesion in the first season: everything from the characters to the metaphors to the visuals felt like part of a single whole. Most of the new characters — with the possible exception of Paul rather’s doctor — don’t feel at all like they come from the same cloth.
Cham: actually, I didn’t think Bob would be evil because he was played by the ever-happy Sean astin. In other words, it’s not hard to see Bob dying because he’s too good to live.Billy is a jerk. He brought nothing useful to the performance. I don’t understand why he was there, other than playing a normal role in the ’80s movie bully, and now Steve is an exasperated nanny. I think Billy was eaten by a dog. In fact, I’m a bit disappointed that it didn’t happen.
As for Max, I think she’s all right? Of course, he is the most successful in his new role. It’s great to have a new member. Her job is by no means the same as last season’s other characters, who are completely fed up with crazy things. But I can also see the show going well without her.
As megan points out, her use of the female competitor/procrastinator trope to get 11 people back into the organization through the totally misused “obviously misunderstood” trope was one of the most exasperating moments of the season. Strangely, you’re much better than that. Brian: I’ve said a lot about my disappointment this season, but I should clarify that my reaction came from high expectations. For me, the second season is not as good as the first season, but I’m still fascinated by the world and what comes next. So of course I’m going to watch the next few seasons.
My hope, however, is that the season finale is a preparation for what the show is really interested in. What is a mind flayer? Where does this inversion come from? Are there more uplands and eights in the world? Will they band together to defeat this threat once and for all? The last one seems to be taken for granted. But actually what I’m most interested in is what happens to the residents of Hawkins, indiana. Last year, I legally fell in love with these children, their friends and their parents. Their archetypal stories are both familiar and comforting, but they also have some real weight and gravitas. In fact, I don’t think the most satisfying scenes in season 2 have anything to do with psychic powers, dimension, or dog monsters. It’s a school dance, precisely because it avoids all the mysteries and science-fiction eccentricities and replaces them with old-fashioned humanity: dustin tries, unsuccessfully, to be charming; For the first time, mike and his 11-year-old — and Max and Lucas — danced awkwardly on the crowded gym floor.
These characters make strange things interesting – not nostalgia, not endless era music threads, not even topsy – topsy myths. It’s people, and I hope that in the coming seasons we’ll spend more time focusing on them and less time reminding us that the ’80s are really cool.
Tsui: I will definitely watch season 3. The nine episodes were enough to keep me interested in the characters and their world. My disappointment with the show is slight, and after you’ve had a slow start, the show has proven that it can indeed deliver excitement and surprise.
As for the next season, I’d love to see more myths about inversion and why Hawkins is so appealing to these events. I would love to know more about the other children who were taken away with the 11-year-old, but hopefully organically. One of my favorite parts of the season was eleven’s relationship with hopper and how it developed. It’s lovely and I hope we see more of their energy in the future. “” (in the final episode, I was so touched by all the feelings, she took hopper’s hand and closed the door.) The last two episodes are easily the best of the season, and I hope the show will continue to do so next year.
Megan: in terms of new concepts and new characters, I think season 2 is definitely weaker than season 1. Still, the foundation for the show remains rock solid. So far, my favorite, as cui mentioned, is hopper’s relationship with eleven. I’ll watch a whole show about it.
The cliffhanger of season 2 – if you will – is pretty feeble, but I don’t think it’s about being left on the edge of your seat. It’s an emotional investment, and I’m fully invested in these characters.CAM: I’m sure I’ll be back. Like Brian, I’ve focused on a lot of the frustrations and frustrations with the show in this conversation, but those are secondary, and I’m just pointing them out because stranger things tell us it can get better. The last two episodes of season 2, for example, are an exciting reminder of what the show can do when it puts all the pieces together.
As almost everyone says, I’m excited to see where these characters go next. Will hopper and Joyce end up together? Can you date dustin with her new hairstyle? Will Billy be eaten by the devil? I’m looking forward to finding out.
Brian: I can’t believe we haven’t talked about dustin’s new hairstyle for so long. If that look doesn’t stop evil from defeating Hawkins, I don’t know what else can.
Brian: I think this season has been handled well. As you said above, tay, I discovered that Barbara wasn’t just there for Barbara; She was there because Nancy was struggling with the aftermath of losing a friend. The theme of this season is that trauma has lasting effects. (if you look at Eleven’s struggles last year, it’s the struggles of the whole series.) It’s easy for the script to hide her edge, but instead, the duffer brothers let her presence be known by showing the continued impact of her death on those around her.
This is a departure from the normal, tired pattern we often see in horror films and thriller-film sequels, where the sadness of loss can be repositioned as if we were just watching a big sitcom.