Review: Netflix’s Stranger Things 2 Digs the Upside Down

By Camille Liptak, reporter

(Warning: spoilers ahead)

The Strange gang is back in the sophomore season of the thrilling Netflix original series, and it’s even more addictive than you could imagine.

Stranger Things 2 fittingly begins in the mecca of ’80s childhood, an arcade, one year after Will Byers –now officially known as, “Zombie Boy”– escaped the Upside Down place and Eleven defeated the Demogorgon.

Subsequent chapters (a.k.a. episodes) display the aftermath of the previous season’s events interwoven with current happenings to give the viewer a holistic perspective of the whys and hows that show –but don’t tell all about– the ongoing mystery.

Sheriff Hopper has a secret. Dustin discovers a slimy surprise in his dumpster. Someone discovers their roots.

There’s possession, pyrotechnics, and swapping paramours.

Lucas tries to win someone’s affection, and Mike assigns his attention to helping Will and finding Eleven.

Stranger Things showrunners, The Duffer Brothers, add a fresh, but tolerable dose of new characters that do just enough to drive the overall plot, whilst still retaining the show’s original theme.

A skater girl from California, disrupts the boys’ arcade high-score status quo, and instantly captures the interest (and hearts) of two of them.

Her bad boy step-brother stirs up some trouble whilst an investigative reporter, a new Hawkins lab doctor, and a nice guy named Bob the Brain lend themselves to the remaining ensemble’s subplots.

There’s nothing fake about this fictional crew of D&D nerds and a psychokinetic who have another go in an unknowable world full of creepy creatures. It watches like a young adult sci-fi novel brought to life.

The interplay between the four middle schoolboys and their respective elders remains stable and distinctly funny. There’s some sweet nostalgia brought on by the halls of Hawkins middle school that is evocative and relatable enough to reach every viewer, whether young or old.

The cast of teens, tweens, and adults are outstanding throughout, and have great chemistry amidst some thrilling dramatic scenes. It’s no mystery as to why they won the 2017 SAG award for best ensemble cast.

Season 2 is getting positive raves from every direction. It is Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes, with a rating of 94%; the New York Times called it familiar yet fun; and both The Guardian and The Telegraph gave it 4 stars.

Complete with classic sci-fi intrigue, a killer soundtrack, and plenty of 80’s pop culture, the throwback show effectively balances humor, PG horror, and honest-to-goodness exposition. The stylistic series is slow-building but strong, with both touching and terrifying moments.

Netflix bingers and ST fans are already craving the taste of a third season. Those cravings were made worse when the last 5 seconds of the final episode/chapter reveal that the battle has only just begun for the Strange gang.

Want more Stranger Things? Check out this review by PPCC English Professor, Gary Walker here!

Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix at netflix.com

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