Stranger Things 2: What I loved and what I didn’t

I’m not much of a binge watcher but I finished Netflix series Stranger Things 2 in just four days because I loved it so much. That isn’t to say it’s perfect – here’s a rundown of what I liked and what I didn’t.

Some people are coming straight out and saying which season they preferred but I honestly don’t know. I enjoyed them both a lot but they both had issues too. So here are mine for season two –

*SPOILERS* 

What I Loved:

The character dynamics 

The story wasn’t as strong in Stranger Things 2 but I was loving the characters so much more. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) got so much more to do this time around and we got to spent a decent amount of time with them. Their lines were excellent, as were their interactions. They were some interesting pair-ups, with Lucas and Max (Sadie Sink), Dustin and Steve (Joe Keery) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Hopper (David Harbour).

The retro feel 

People seem to mock Stranger Things for riffing on old ’80s movies and being slightly derivative but I LOVE the nostalgic feel about it. The clothes, the music, the tech, I love it all.

The redemption of Steve Harrington 

In season one, I thought Steve was a total douche – he was mean to his girlfriend Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) – but he came through in the end and I ended up loving his arc. However, I did not expect him to be the standout character of the season. Turns out he’s a pretty kind-hearted guy who can babysit the four kids well and protect them from demodogs while his girlfriend is cheating on him. WE LOVE YOU STEVE! (Seriously, check Twitter and this love will be confirmed).

The humour 

Stranger Things was pretty funny the first time around, but I think I laughed more this time and that is mostly down to Dustin and Steve, who are hilarious. Dustin in particular is my favourite, with that standout scene where he’s running away going “shit shit shit” as he tries to lure Dart outside.

The prom scene 

This scene warmed my heart in so many ways. I loved that they all got to have little romance moments – maybe not Dustin – but it was nice to see them enjoying everyday kid stuff. The outfits and the music – Time After Time and Every Breath You Take – were excellent.

The acting 

The kids may be just young teenagers but they are actually really good. Matarazzo is hilarious as Dustin, while Eleven has a lot of serious emotion for her age – anger, hurt, sadness – and Brown channels that well, along with all the physical stuff she has to do. Noah Schnapp was barely in last season but he also had a lot of physical work to do when he’s the shadow monster’s host, and Harbour is also very, very good.

What I didn’t love 

Billy and Max 

I didn’t love Max, but it’s nice that she became a love interest for Lucas. I hope she gets fleshed out more and becomes friends with El, because if they’re enemies, that would suck. The biggest issue was Billy (Dacre Montgomery) though – what was his purpose other than to be a complete dick?! He didn’t have any development at all, I still don’t get what his deal is. He just pissed me off. Unlike Steve in S1, he had no arc – nothing came of his character at all.

There wasn’t as much story 

I don’t know what it was about the story this time around but it wasn’t quite as exciting. It also took a while to get going, but to be honest, the acting and the characters made up for this easily.

Mike 

Mike (Finn Wolfhard) was the one of the main stars last time but in season 2 he really didn’t have much to do. Sure, he gets a sweet moment with El and he contributes to the effort, but he is largely in the background.

Eleven’s Chicago adventure

I could have done without an entire episode being dedicated to Eleven going in search for her “sister” in Chicago. I know it was important for her to know where she came from and to connect with someone like her, but it was just kinda pointless as she just ends up going home. This could have been condensed and spliced with other Hawkins action.

Nancy and Steve not breaking up properly

OK, so Nancy essentially broke up with Steve when she confessed she didn’t love him shortly after she drunkenly called their relationship “bullshit”. But it didn’t feel like a break-up to me, it was more like a massive fight and they were still together. I wanted an explicitly-said “I don’t want to be with you any more” type scene. I kept waiting for Steve to find out about her sleeping with Jonathan and break up with her in a spectacular fashion. I just hated their last scene together, when he encouraged her to go with Jonathan and told her it was OK. It was NOT. Steve deserved more!

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