SPOILER WARNING: READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!
It all started when a girl, Jane with psychokinetic abilities is kidnapped and is used to create a high energy space time tear which in turn builds a passage between dimensions. Jane, the little girl with her prisoner number 011 was actually used to eavesdrop on a man when she discovered the interdimensional creature from the ‘Upside Down’. After enduring years of torture and bizarre experimentation, ‘Eleven’ escapes and befriends Mike who is about her age. Eleven or El rescues Mike and his friend Dustin from some bullies with the help of her powers and is given a warm welcome to their gang. She helps to locate Will and Barbara, who have been taken prisoner by the interdimensional monster Demogorgon. Unfortunately, Barbara has already died. Eleven sacrifices herself in the process of saving their town, Hawkins. Even after being rescued safely and soundly, Will finds himself in ‘Upside Down’ again but hides this from his family.
Season 2 starts off with a ‘boom’ where a mystery girl Kali and (with psychic abilities and a prisoner number similar to El’s- 011) her gang rob a bank and manage to escape the authorities without much trouble. Things start to get weird again in Hawkins, where pumpkins get poisoned, Will keeps on having his episodes and gets treated for his PTSD and there’s a Mad Max in town. In his episodes, Will has visions of the Upside Down and a shadow monster which he describes as evil and will kill everybody. El is shown to be living with Officer Hopper all this while and Mike and Nancy have a real hard time dealing with the absence/death of Eleven and Barbara respectively. During episode 3 and 4, I really start feeling so bored that my interest in the show seems to hit rock bottom and I am very tempted to leave the binging right away. The pace of the story-telling is really slow BUT midway episode 5 things start picking up. There’s an unexpected twist and the Duffer brothers take help of the oldest trick in the book and bring forth an unlikely hero who is also the kindest and sweetest person in town. They show his dying moments again and again to puncture your heart with emotions but hey, the martyr twist absolutely works and my interest is piqued again! The nail biting mystery deepens and finally they’re back on track!
Eight episodes down, I still don’t get the need for Mad Max and her daft of a step brother, Billy. I like Maxine. She’s sweet and nice but is she an unnecessary addition to the team? I don’t know, maybe. The Duffer brothers give season 2 a ‘Harry Potter-Voldemort-horcrux’ kinda twist where the interdimensional Demogorgon acts as some kind of a virus and latches itself onto poor little Will and has the boy under its control. Personally, I’d like it more if El had spent a little more time with her gang rather than going on a hunt with her mutant like punk sister Kali. Kali takes Eleven/Jane on in her team and protects her like her own. We’re shown Kali’s sad and vulnerable side when El decides to abandon her sister and goes to save her friends in Hawkins instead. In Hindu mythology, ‘Kali’ is a fierce goddess who is the destroyer of evil forces and I really, really hope Kali is back for Season 3 with her amazing powers. One more thing to notice was a box named ‘Sarah'(Hopper’s dead daughter), Eleven had discovered while searching the Officer’s cabin.
This season was made enjoyable mostly because Dustin and Steve’s chemistry. I loved their adorable bromance and both of them were super brave this season. I liked how they developed Steve’s character, his journey from being a bully to a really good friend.
As a big Star Wars fan, I was heartbroken in this one scene where Mike under his parents’ pressure gives away his Millennium Falcon for yard sale. I think this is where Stranger Things hits it off with the millennials. The nostalgia. Bike rides, Middle School, the music, the references hit you hard. There are plenty of easter eggs too, like the kids dressing up as The Ghostbusters for Halloween, Dustin calling the mini Demogorgons as Demodogs referring to the movie Aliens, Eleven dressing up as a ghost for Halloween so that nobody recognises her; much like in the movie E.T., Lucas’s sister making He-Man and Barbie toys kiss, Will saying his favourite candy is Reese’s Pieces, the very candy mentioned in Steven Spielberg’s E.T.. Kali instructing El to channel her inner anger as X-Men’s Magneto does. El wants to avenge her mother, much like the holocaust survivor Magneto and chokes a bad man almost to his death. This scene looks like a tribute to the much powerful badass ,Darth Vader from Star Wars. The demodogs chasing the kids looked much similar to scenes from the Jurassic Park where dinosaurs terrorized everybody. During the final episode, El in an attempt to close the door to the other dimension, unleashes her full power and levitates in the air much like Jean Grey’s scene from X-Men: Apocalypse. Even Bob speaking about Mr Baldo is a reference to Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT. Stranger Things brings the best of American pop culture of the 80s to it’s audience and I could not be any happier.
The soundtrack of season 2 feels even more amazing than season 1. Bon Jovi’s Runaway plays while Eleven escapes from her mum’s house and it is my favourite. Once I finish writing this review, will download each and every song of this season, as soon as possible.
Speaking of the supernatural and horror quotient, everything is top notch. The jump scares in both the seasons are amazing and they managed to make me scream a few times. The scene where the demon/Demogorgon/virus is exorcised out of Will is the scariest and reminds me of The Exorcist. The season ends with the shadow monster being still alive towering the high school in the Upside Down. Quite honestly, if I were a resident of Hawkins and had been through these traumatizing experiences, I’d have moved without second thoughts. Having said that, cannot wait for Season 3!
What are your thoughts? Noticed more references and Easter eggs? Have any theories? Let us know in the comments below!