Here is my spoilerific review of this season. Also. SPOILERS
I liked it. I don’t think it was as strong as Season 1, but it was close. I liked that there was kind of a human antogonist and a under side villain. The Demigorgon in the first season was just a bit too ‘animalistic’ to really be a good foil to the heroes. It didn’t seem to get hurt by many things and as such was more like the Alien from Alien or The terminator. As such it never felt like a good narrative when dealing with it. I also loved that ‘Burke’ started off seemingly as a bad guy throughout the first part of the season but seems to be on the ‘good side’ by the end. Overall a strong series like the first.
I still feel that Joyce (Will’s Mom) is still my least favorite character. In the first season she went from 0 to insane WAY too quickly to have any meaningful development. I feel that in this one she is way too timid compared to her over the topness of the first and it distracted me because it didn’t feel in character with how she was in the first season. For instance, when they were burning the roots and Will had his ‘episode’ she didn’t freak out nearly enough like she should have. Same with when they were ‘testing’ by slightly burning a piece of ‘root’ in the hospital to see the bond connection between Will and the Shadow Figure. I felt in the first season she was too bat crap insane and in this one she was a bit too calm until the last episode when they decided to burn the Shadow Figure out of him. That was the Joyce I more or less came to expect and seeing this ‘other version’ just didn’t do it for me.
The children were all great as always though I find it funny that in the first season Lucas and Mike had a falling out and this time it was Lucas and Dustin. Dustin was my favorite of the 4 this season and easily steals the show in all the scenes he is in. In the first season the show seemed to revolve around Mike mostly and in this season he has a much smaller role.
I find it interesting that with regards to Nancy, Steve and Johnathon that in season 1 I was very much a fan of Nancy and Johnathon but in this season Johnathon didn’t really do that much. Steve totally redeemed himself as I didn’t like that Nancy was with Steve in the end of the first season and I felt that it just didn’t really mesh with how Johnathon and Nancy worked together towards the end. Dustin and Steve’s bromance is one of the best things this season as well and I really am glad that Steve realizes that he makes a great ‘baby sitter’.
I do feel that the death of Bob was just WAY too obvious. The moment they split up in that facility I knew that he was a goner. I was waiting for Dr. Owens to pull a 180 but he seemed genuinely caring for Will and turned out not so bad. Though, I don’t know how he was ‘wounded’ when they came back to find him in the stairwell and not dead. Which leads me to my biggest issue in this series and especially this season. The demidogs were just too strong. Nothing seemed to faze/kill them even with guns except in the very end when they needed tension while Eleven did her thing. I get that the muzzle velocity of the bullets might have ‘knocked’ them off the walls, but without seeing a single wounded one the entire season it just pulled me out in the moment. You either have a single, or few, indestructible bad guys, or a horde that ‘can’ be taken down. Having them be indestructible (Outside of Eleven killing one with her mind) was a bad move I think.
The new characters more or less work for me. I know that a lot of people hated episode 7 and the characters within but I 100% agree that this should have been in this season, however, I would have liked to have seen this as episode 6 instead of 7. 6 ended on a great ‘cliff hanger’ and having this side episode/story pulled that moment out. If this happened before then I think it would have been much better because then it would have flowed a bit more seemless. As for why I like the episode, I think it’s VERY important as if you think about the show as a whole, it’s kind of an origin story for Eleven. And every origin story needs a moment where they decided if they are going to be a hero or a villain. Having her not kill the man and realizing that Mike and the rest of the gang believed in her and that she wasn’t a monster made her realize that she wanted to be a ‘good guy’. Kali had already chosen to go down a different route. I think that, especially with how much identity issues teenagers have, this makes perfect sense and needed to be shown in some way. We all know that teens rebel and it’s during these transitory years that teenagers develop more into the adults that they will become. I do think that her ‘mind powers’ were a bit on the weak side and I hope that they don’t try to bring in a bunch of ‘different power’ people for the finale season. Though, in the news article we do read about a ‘boy’ gone missing so it might not be all girls with these powers.
Max felt a little under developed and I would have liked to see her have some sort of a stronger position to contribute to the ‘party’ than just being able to drive. Hopefully that gets fleshed out a bit more.
As for where I think the series will head, we know that Dr. Martin (Papa) is still alive according to the directors and I was waiting to see him in this season. I know that in season 1 the feel of the show seemed like the demigorgon was using humans to spawn more ‘slug creatures’ (Which we find out are more demi gorgons/dogs) We see the slug come out of Barb’s mouth when Eleven ‘reaches out to her in the pool scene’ and that will had one. We also know that there were other people that went ‘missing’ We aren’t too sure what happened with them because the life cycle of the demi dogs is too quick to really showcase a horde of them. It could be that it was just ‘Dart’ that had a increased metabolism due to eating candy, but that seems like a stretch. (Speaking of Dart, I hated that Dart hated ‘light’ but clearly went outside in the sun when Dustin was trying to get it caught in the cellar)
As for the Shadow Creature, it seems to want to find it’s way here. It could be because it just wants to consume our world etc… but I’m hoping, and feel, that there is more to it than that. The second season definitely felt like the Shadow Creature was trying to bridge into our world and terraform it so that it could exist in our ‘dimension’. When Will was exercised we saw some of the ‘Shadow Creature’ fly away. It was much smaller in scope/size than what infected him to begin with so perhaps someone else will get infected but not be taken over so quickly.
We also don’t know what happened to the Demi Dog that Eleven kill outside of Joyce and Will’s house that they left in the fridge. I was half expecting Billy to wake up from the drugs and be thirsty, open the fridge and BLAM, get eaten. Guess that didn’t happen
So ya, a bit of a ramble and I’m sure I didn’t touch on all the parts I wanted to but I liked it. Really solid show. The first season is still a bit stronger than the second. I felt that the ‘demi dogs’ were too numerous and strong that it felt like a step back for me. (Also, how is it that EVERYONE but a main character in that building died within like a couple minutes. Bob showed that hiding in a closet seemed to have worked so surely there should have been more ‘survivors’ that could be dotted throughout the area) Still don’t like Joyce, liked everyone else. Steve and Dustin were a huge unexpected good surprise. Also, the conspiracy nut is hilariously good. I’m interested to know if someone at the Snow Ball is ‘infected’ with the smaller Shadow Man expulsion from Will, or if Will is still a ‘slight spy’. Doesn’t make much sense for the Shadow Creature to be over the school in the same ‘time frame’. Overall I think Stranger Things works so well is because of the development of the characters. I do wish that some of the main characters would get killed off once in a while because aside from Bob, which I felt from the beginning was marked for death, some of the tension didn’t do it for me.