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Stranger Things season 2 review (No spoilers)

Going into Stranger Things 2, fans of the beloved first season were as excited as they were skeptical. Though season one had a somewhat satisfying conclusion, questions remained when Will (Noah Schnapp), returned from the Upside Down. Mainly the slug he coughed up out of the sink. Aside from that, what more is there to tell? What else could be happening to the small town inhabitants of Hawkins, Indiana?

Season two opens one year later following the events of its predecessor. All your favorite characters are back, but things haven’t been the same. Will, also known as “zombie boy” by students, is suffering from some kind of post traumatic stress that result in panic attacks, or “episodes” as many of the characters call it. Not getting too deep into spoilers but these attacks are the outcome of the main story.

In the first season, everything was held together on the foundation of one underlying plot point, Will’s disappearance. Season two takes a new approach to the series and separates the characters to create mini stories that eventually intersect with what’s going on with Will. For example, Eleven delves deeper into her dark past as a science experiment, Hopper is on a discovery to find out what’s destroying the local pumpkin patches, and Dustin and Lucas befriend a new student who they like to call Mad Max. Nothing about these storylines connect until they are all brought together in Chapter Eight of a nine chapter season, making things a bit confusing.

Another negative feature of season two is its lack of mystery. In season one, the discovery of the Upside Down and Will’s disappearance created an eerie, yet engaging plot that made you put the “Are you still watching?” Netflix page to the test. Unfortunately, this new season was unable to build many questions about the alternate dimension as well as Will’s condition.

Aside from that, “Stranger Things 2” retains the best aspect of why most people love the show and that is its characters. Though it can be difficult to keep up with each story, you remain invested because of the endearing, likable aspects of Mike, Eleven, Dustin, Lucas, Joyce, Hopper, Nancy, Jonathan, Steve, etc. It also introduces new characters including Dustin and Lucas’ friend Max, her older step brother Billy, and my personal favorite Bob, Joyce’s new boyfriend.

While the season isn’t really traveling into new territory, it doesn’t have to. Most of us just wanted to return to Hawkins and see how everyone we loved from season one was doing. Stranger Things 2 is still a fun, enjoyable time with creative writing as well as great performances. Fans of the first season will have no problem binge watching season two during this spooky Halloween season.

Stranger Things 2 is streaming on Netflix now.

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