Stranger Things Season 2 not as “Upside Down” as Season 1

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Netflix released Season 2 of the ‘80s homage show Stranger Things on Oct. 28 and millions of the Netflix subscribers took to their couches to begin the binge of the 9 episode season. Season 2 definitely lived up to its title and to the anticipation built around its release, but one episode raised some eyebrows.

A year has passed in Hawkins since the events of the last season. The group of boys, Will (Noah Schnapp), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), have gone back to normal teenage lives after last season’s events by playing video games and dressing up as the Ghostbusters for Halloween. Life in the small town seems about as dull as a substitute teacher. The only strange thing is that Will keeps having episodes where he appears to go back in the “Upside Down” at random moments and is pulled back into reality when someone physically grabs him. These episodes become more intense as he sees a giant shadow creature coming for him whenever he is back in the “Upside Down.” Will may be back from the “upside down,” but the “upside down” is wanting to come up to our world through him.

This season has a special appearance by Sean Astin, who played Sam in Lord of the Rings. Bob (Astin) has a new romance with Joyce Byers, Will’s mom, which causes him to be involved with the abnormal events of the Byers family. Billy (Dacre Montgomery) and Max (Sadie Sink), a step brother and sister, joined the cast and they don’t have two seconds alone until one of them is giving the other the finger. Max becomes friends with the group of boys and Billy, a mullet-wearing meathead, spends most of his time antagonizing his step sister, pumping iron to Guns N’ Roses, having testosterone battles with Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) and causing teenage girls and mothers to swoon.

The show took a strange turn when Eleven decided to go out on a soul-searching journey where she meets up with a group of outcasts who try to take revenge on the people who worked at the science facility where Eleven was tested on. A whole episode is dedicated to Eleven meeting her “sister,” another child that was kept at the facility. The show tries to evoke emotion of trying to find wholeness in Eleven’s chaotic past but didn’t end up being that impactful to the show. If you decide to skip the lowest rated episode “The Lost Sister,” you won’t be missing anything important.

In an interview with USA Today, Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of Stranger Things, spoke about this new season and its direction.

“The first season, it was really fish-out-of-water Eleven,” said Ross. “This season, we wanted to get more into her learning where she came from and dealing with that anger inside her.”

Although there has been much hype around the new season, not everyone at UVU watched it. “After a recommendation from my sister-in-law, my wife and I watched a couple of episodes of the first season and we weren’t that impressed,” software engineering junior Nate Myers said. “I’ve seen ads for the new season all over Facebook, but it’s not very tempting for me.”

Another student at UVU, communications senior Briana Davis said, “I don’t know why I’ve never watched it. I’ve had friends watch it but I just never started it. Maybe I’ll watch it now the second season is out.”

This new season earned a B+ rating. It’s hard to live up to the first season, which earned so much popularity in a short amount of time. Stranger Things still holds the suspense factor throughout the show that makes you want to stay up until 3 a.m. to watch one more episode. If nothing else, the season focuses on the humors of puberty as romances fly between characters. The boys are just as humorous as any hormonal teen trying to survive the awkwardness of middle school. The story is just as exciting and twisted as the first season and filled to the rim with plenty of ‘80s references that one can almost taste the hairspray while watching. However, Eleven’s journey with the group of outcasts felt empty and didn’t add much value to the show and left a hunger for a make-up episode.