Saturday, May 25Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

The Strangest Thing about Season Two

*Mild Spoilers ahead*

Unless you live your life as a certified hermit crab, you’ve likely heard at least whispers of the latest phenomenon of popular culture, Stranger Things. The greatly anticipated second season of the Netflix Original was released on 27 October, to both critical and commercial acclaim. This season certainly lives up to the formidable legacy left by the first, possibly even surpassing it in terms of quality. And while the narrative of this season feels completely fresh, the lasting effects of last season’s trauma are still very much present.

The captivating opening scene to the series broadens the immersive universe of the show, yet there is a lasting impression that this season only scratches the surface of the immense backstory of the ST universe. This scene, accompanied by the final scene of the series, very conveniently lays foundations for a third season, though admittedly it may be a tad early to be speculating.

However, truly the strangest thing about this season is the complete and utter disregard of last season’s protagonist, Mike

The largest aspect of the new season worthy of praise is the character development. The existing entourage of characters flourish under the spotlight of the second season, all of whom (save one) become much more three dimensional in this season. Eleven gets a badass makeover, Steve moves away from the stereotypical American jock, and Will is no longer absent for about 90 per cent of the season. We are also introduced to a plethora of new characters, including, but not limited to, Sean Astin, whom unless you’ve been living in a box you’ll know as Samwise flippin’ Gamgee.

However, truly the strangest thing about this season is the complete and utter disregard of last season’s protagonist, Mike. He is completely sidelined for almost the entirety of the season, and has little effect on anything relevant to the plot, making his presence feel entirely forced. While his character was never particularly likeable, especially in comparison to the rest of his Dungeons and Dragons posse, the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, seem to have a complete lack of respect for the boy who was once the main character. It’s a real shame he remains Hawkins’ resident buzzkill, as (his actor) Finn Wolfhard’s character in Steven King’s It (2017) proved he can pull off Dustin-esque comedic characters masterfully.

The creators evidently caught on to the fact that fan-favourite Dustin stole the show in the first season, and he was put very much in the spotlight this season, armed with a new set of dentures. He is accompanied by Lucas and new character Max, whose love triangle becomes the primary romantic sub-plot of the narrative.

Honorary mentions go to the abundance of D&D references, as well as the new style of horror. Season two moves away from supernatural suspense, and more into the realm of The Exorcist, while also providing some low-key tentacle porn. Something to look forward to…?
Stranger Things 2 certainly pushed all the buttons a sequel should, and certainly has my commendations – and I very much believe it could also win over yours.