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Review: Mysteriously talented members of ‘Stranger Things’ cast continue to entertain in season 2

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Ben Warnick
Oxford Stories
brwarnic@go.olemiss.edu

Netflix has taken the world by storm, launching exclusive shows that are too good to pass up. The Duffer Brothers’ sci-fi thriller Stranger Things may very well be the greatest among those shows, particularly among college students.

The show had the third most successful average audience, or AA, rating among all Netflix shows, with only Fuller House and Orange is the New Black having more than the show’s 8.2 million viewers in its first 16 days, Esquire reports.

If you have not seen season 1 of the show, or it has been a while, I’ll give you a recap.

The story follows Will Byers, 12, (Noah Schnapp) from Hawkins, Pennsylvania, who suddenly goes missing near a government lab on the outskirts of town.

In the midst of the town’s hunt for Will, his three friends discover a girl in the woods who appears to be lost. The boys refer to the girl (Millie Bobby Brown) as Eleven, based on the tattooed number that they discover on her wrist.

After taking her in, they also discover that she has telepathic power. The group uses that power to connect with Will, who is trapped in another realm that becomes known as the “Upside Down.”

Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), the older sister of Will’s friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard), faces an entirely different dilemma of her own. One night at a party, her friend Barb (Shannon Purser) disappears.

As Will’s older brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) searches for Will, Nancy joins Jonathan, more in an effort to find Barb than to find Will. The season continues as more information is discovered about the disappearance of both Will and Barb, all while Eleven is continuously pursued by her former captors.

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Season 2 develops some of the first season’s details better than others. Most of the season’s episodes have at least some focus on Eleven being taken care of by and hid in the home of Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour), who helped Will’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), hunt for Will in season 1.

SPOILER ALERT: [After finding Will at the end of season 1, doctors begin closely monitoring Will at the Hawkins Lab. Will’s observations show that he has been having flashbacks that keep bringing him temporarily back into the Upside Down. As the season progresses, these flashbacks get worse, and Will eventually becomes fully immersed in the Upside Down’s power once again.]

Meanwhile, Eleven eventually becomes tired of being kept inside Sheriff Hopper’s home, and she decides to take on finding her mother. In doing so, she is led to Chicago, where she finds a girl mentioned briefly in the first episode of season 2, who has the number 008 on her wrist in the same spot where Eleven has hers.

After coming back to Hawkins with a grownup look and newfound passion to do what is right for Will and Hawkins as a whole, Eleven faces the monsters within the Upside Down firsthand, bringing the season to its end.

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Overall, season 2 followed season 1 with a new sense of cinematic professionalism, not seen quite as much in season 1. The development of 008 takes fans down an interesting road with the character development of Eleven.

Before season 2, Eleven’s past really had only been given minimal screen time. Her mystery as a character kept fans on the edge of their seats throughout the development of season 1.

Now that fans know more about her past, her mother, and her sister, Eleven will likely be given more room to develop in season 3. Her journey to find her past did not fully come to conclusion in season 2.

The Duffer Brothers did a proper job of making fans wait to watch Eleven develop as a character, both in season 1 and in season 2. As most of the show’s previous questions have now been answered, the stage has been set for season 3 to focus more on Eleven than Will.

The show strikes a chord with any lover of 80s-style sci-fi thrillers, such as The Goonies, or even further back into classics such as The Twilight Zone. The acting is top-notch, both from the show’s seasoned actors and the younger kids, who the world has seemingly fallen in love with since the show’s inception.

Social media blew up with praise for the show again when season 2 left viewers with very few concerns, but plenty of suspense and hope in the wake of a season 3 confirmation. We can only guess where the show will progress at this point, but there’s no slowing down the mysteriously talented members of the “Stranger Things” family, as they continue to roll out quality content.

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