By Ana Goñi-Lessan
BU News Service
Fans of the first season of “Stranger Things” will be happy to know that season 2 is more of the same. And that’s a good thing.
Season 1 followed a group of middle schoolers as they search for their friend Will (Noah Schnapp), who was dragged into another dimension opened by a telekinetic 12-year-old. But it left viewers with questions when Will coughed up a creature from the other side and the bathroom flickered in and out of dimensions during the last scene of the finale.
Season 2 follows Mike and the gang, plus a new teen character, Max (Sadie Sink), as they wade through the effects of the Upside Down on Will and the town of Hawkins, Indiana. The progression of the plot without leaving behind the quirkiness and originality of the characters that audiences have grown to love is what makes this season a success.
The characters continue to evolve; Dustin is the comedic relief, Lucas is the realist, Mike is the brooding tween and Steve keeps up his redemption arc by being the greatest babysitter of all time. Viewers never got a chance to get to know Will last season because he spent the whole time stuck in goo and wrapped in vines that look like something out of “Alien.” In this season, however, Will carries the emotional weight as he is caught between our world and the Upside Down, while Eleven’s origin story in episode seven brings up the possibility for a prequel or spin off.
As the Upside Down ominously twists its way under the town, Will, played by Noah Schnapp, also becomes dark and dangerous. Schnapp’s acting is reminiscent of horror movies like “The Exorcist” versus the emotional flashbacks of tender moments with his brother, Jonathan.
Season 2 pays homage to even more of the 80s movies and TV shows that inspired the creators, the Duffer brothers. Lines were directly pulled from “Aliens.” A scene with Sheriff Hopper in the Upside Down is a shout out to Indiana Jones grabbing his hat in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Dustin and Steve walking along the railroad track looks a lot like the cult classic “Stand By Me.” And then there’s one of the last and most beautiful scenes of the season: Eleven and Hopper drop into the Upside Down in a cage that could have also been used as a prop for “Jaws.”
More than 15.8 million viewers watched Stranger Things in the first three days after its premier. A third season is already confirmed with a fourth in talks. Fans can be assured that the Duffer brothers will keep the Upside Down around to become, if it has not already become, a cult classic for anyone who loves the genre.