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Second season expands Stranger Things world

HAWKINS HAS NEW RESIDENTS

When Stranger Things debuted in 2016, it became an instant hit. Viewers clung to the 80s nostalgia and a rebirth of The Goonies gang.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Often times with popular shows, there’s a myth that succeeding seasons can’t possibly surpass the quality of the first season. With this in mind, producers of Stranger Things knew they had to raise the bar, and they did exactly that with season two. With a 20 percent budget increase,  Netflix exceeded fan expectations  with a dark and menacing season and expanded the loveable world of Stranger Things in nine new chapters.

Cliffhangers from season one left viewers with endless questions like, “Where the hell is Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)?” and “Are the Demogorgon’s gone for good?” and “What’s going on with Will (Noah Schnapp)?” While it’s later revealed that fan favorite Eleven is back, something new is threatening the safety of Hawkins, and Will seems to be the host of a supernatural parasite. The show gives audiences the answers they’ve been longing for, closing doors to old chapters while simultaneously opening doors to new ones.

This season was all about growth and expansion with the addition of new characters. Other than the fact that Noah Schnapp (Will) delivered a show-stopping performance throughout the new season,  his character deals with endless physical and emotional torment. With his connection to the ‘Upside Down,’ Will battles PTSD in addition to betrayal against his family and friends from the control of his supernatural parasite.

Everyone’s favorite bad boy, Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), sparked hashtags “#DadSteve” and “#TeamSteve” across social media as his character became a new fan-favorite. Steve bands together with the core gang, specifically forming a brotherly bond with Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and reveals he is more complex and sensitive than he showed in season one.  

Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) seems to step back in this season—despite his prominent role in season one—as he battles the loss of Eleven and grows closer to Will. However, one of the best parts about this season is the addition of the new kid on the block. Beautiful, tight-jeaned, bad boy Billy epitomizes 80’s style with his iconic mullet hairstyle. Billy  is introduced alongside his stepsister Maxine (Sadie Sink), who becomes a new addition to the gang, despite creating tension between Mike, Lucas (Caleb Mclaughlin), and Dustin. Sound familiar? Mike’s relationship with Eleven stirred up drama between Lucas and Mike as well.

Viewers’ favorite badass, Eleven, goes on a journey of self-discovery, finding out where she came from and meeting a new friend along the way. She learns to channel the fear and pain from her past and explores the potential and limits of her powers.  

Season two ends with the gang finally enjoying their normal lives as they attend the Snow Ball dance, leaving the audience at ease. The scene cuts to a more terrifying and grimacing shadow figure that the crew might encounter in the future. As for now, those who haven’t watched  Stranger Things yet need to watch it now and for those that have, a year doesn’t seem too far, right?

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