“Stranger Things” gets stranger in season two

Photo courtesy Youtube

Will Patterson

On Oct. 27, just days before Halloween, the second season of the Netflix original series “Stranger Things” was released. For those who weren’t already on board, “Stranger Things” became a cult classic overnight and the second season didn’t disappoint.

Once again, “Stranger Things” is bringing together a variety of different genres into a singular storyline. The show’s genre could be described as a healthy mix of mystery, horror and science fiction.

While the second season wasn’t quite as strong as the first, “Stranger Things” fans should still be pleased with how the story moved. Season one had the option to build on the mounting suspense and mysterious circumstances surrounding Will Byer’s (Noah Schnapp) disappearance. The second season had to get a little more creative.

What made the first season so exciting was the different groups that were unraveling separate pieces of the mystery. The eventual collision of these groups made for an exciting climax, but now the story is forced to consider alternative ways to divide these groups.

Right off the bat, several new characters are introduced into the cast. These additions give a little flair to the different groups of “Stranger Things.” The kids get another party member, Joyce Byers gets a dynamic love interest and the teenagers get a new, annoying enemy.

The kids’ group gets some much-welcomed diversity with the introduction of another female character, Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink).

The greatest loss in this season was less screen time and plot focus on Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). Joyce is easily one of the most complex, developed characters of the series. Winona Ryder put on an incredible performance in the show’s first few episodes. Her depiction of a mother spiraling out of control was gripping and realistic.

Joyce has a far less emotionally vivid role in the latest episodes but she still plays an important part of the plot. Ryder is one of the absolute strongest performers in the entire series, and she deserves recognition for it.

Jim Hopper’s (David Harbour) development throughout the series has been incredible, yet believable. Not unlike Joyce, Jim is central to the show’s prominent success and his involvement only grows more important throughout the course of season two.

One of the only complaints about the latest “Stranger Things” season is how it melded with the previous season. There are several plot points that seem to have been abandoned and written out of the story. This method of smoothing over otherwise confusing parts doesn’t work well, and the plot becomes a little confusing at points.

Another issue, probably the greatest threat to the story’s integrity, is the threat of clichés. Love triangles are beginning to make appearances—and while they are a common plot device, they run a serious risk of growing stale fast.

Overall, the series is still going strong. With only a year to write and prepare the second season, the Duffer Brothers had an impressive follow up to their original creation. For fans of 80’s themed cinema, “Stranger Things” remains the best new content.