The much-anticipated second season of Stranger Things was released on Netflix on Oct. 27, and most fans pulled an all-nighter or two to finish before spoilers flooded the internet.
The season picks up about a year after the close of season one, around Halloween in 1984 and follows the stories of Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), and Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), along with Will’s mother, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and other familiar characters. After the traumatic ending of season one and the party’s loss of their mage, Eleven, the boys seem to have acclimated back to normal school life as best they can.
But things are still strange.
As the last season revealed, though Will is outside the Upside Down, the Upside Down doesn’t seem to be outside him. The party and Joyce spend the season trying to figure out what is going on with Will, since it seems to be more than just post-traumatic stress disorder. To parallel their storyline, Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) grow closer this season as both characters learn how to define themselves as people outside of their crises. A major theme echoed from the first season into the second is friendship. It is expressed in every relationship, from the party and their new friend, to Joyce and Hopper, to Eleven and the family she’s always wanted. This theme is explored through the constant search for answers about the Upside Down, a creepy new pet, more teen angst, and some closure for a few of the more mysterious characters.
In addition to the same old town of Hawkins, the eerie and mysterious Hawkins Lab also makes a reappearance as a central part of the story’s climax. The several new characters and storylines introduced this season reveal that the story of Stranger Things happening in Hawkins is nowhere near finished.
The second season allowed for more character and setting development while keeping the audience fascinated until the end. Every glimpse of closure seems to reveal more questions than answers, and fans eagerly await the anticipated release of season three in late 2018 or early 2019.