a STRANGER THINGS 2 musing (part 2 of 2!)

Again, major spoilers in this post. Check out Part 1 here!

Chapter 7: “The Lost Sister”

A solo Eleven episode isn’t as compelling as it should be. The episode has trouble finding footing in a completely foreign setting, with the gang punks being nothing more than lame BREAKFAST CLUB-type caricatures. Eleven gets to meet her sister, Kali, and they get a whole X-MEN: FIRST CLASS training sequence. Again, flashbacks are used to draw out emotions, and are made more interesting/nostalgic in seeing all the kids look like babies even though season 1 came out a year ago. This whole episode is such a weird tonal change, I’m not a big fan of the whole, but at least it all culminated in a great acting showcase for Millie Bobbie Brown.

Chapter 8: “The Mind Flayer”

We head back to Hawkins, as the Demogorgon Dogs/Demo-dogs infiltrate the lab. Winona Ryder/Joyce gets tons to work with this episode, as she has to come to terms that Will is not in control of his own body. Sean Astin’s dweeby Bob dies in one of the most telegraphed deaths as the gang escapes. Every character retreats back to the Byers’ house, then Winona gets her Emmy reel scene when she tries to connect to Will. Then Jonathan and Mike get in on the action, and it results in tears galore. Ryder and Charlie Heaton (Will Byers) are so great in these scenes and really make you feel all the emotions. This show excels at making your eyes salty through repetition.

Chapter 9: “The Gate”

Eleven finally reunites with the whole group, then is quickly ripped away once again to close the gate with Hopper. Everyone’s taller and more brave this time around, though.

The character pairing of Steve and Dustin throughout the second half of the season was pitch perfect. They’re great foils for each other, and the writers/actors milked out every scene to great effect. Steve’s arc doesn’t conclude necessarily happily as I had hoped. He doesn’t get the girl, still gets beat up by Billy, but I find myself most drawn to him. He’s the underdog now and all the more compelling.

Jonathan, Nancy and Joyce exorcise the demon from Will successfully, and once again exorcise some tears from my eyes. Sweet. The gate gets closed, and everyone is dandy.

The last twenty minutes or so is when things got real for me. I can write a whole thesis paper on that, if I have the chance. But for now, I’ll just say that every single moment in the “one month later” sequence was earned, and I didn’t expect to cry that much.

I don’t just love this show for its aesthetics, but for its attention to character development, pace and genuine feels.

Time permitting (I'm moving in November!), I’ll put up an analysis on all the character arcs. Then again, I’ve said I’d write more about IT and other things, so we’ll see…

In the meantime, when is Season 3 getting here?