This Review Is Spoiler Free.
Stranger Things is back and thankfully for fans, the second season really does live up to the hype meaning you will fall in love with the show all over again.
In case you’ve been living under a rock the past year, Stranger Things is a love letter to classic supernatural films and TV shows from the 1980’s.
Created by The Duffer Brothers, the first season of the hit Netflix show follows a group of boys who team up with a psychokinetic girl to help find their friend who has mysteriously disappeared.
If you are in need of a catch-up, here is a recap of what went down in Season One:
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Set a year after the first season, our favourite characters are all returning to normal life but of course things are not quite as they seem and someone has a chilling secret.
The only question fans are asking is of course ‘is the second season as good as the first’ and although truthfully the answer is no but the follow-up season is still incredible and will leave fans very, very satisfied.
Part of the beauty of Season One was the sense of wonder and nostalgia it captured and although this is built upon during Stranger Things 2, because it is a sequel this unique tone just can’t quite be equalled because it is now expected from the show and so the surprise element is no longer there.
Now we have been introduced to the major characters, Season Two explores them further and the extra, more layered characterisation is the best thing about the sequel.
One stand-out storyline is Eleven’s journey of self-discovery, something that allows the fantastic Millie Bobby Brown to once again steal the show as she really develops and delves into her character’s personality.
Eleven has changed dramatically since Season One becoming more mature, empathetic, emotionally connected, and it just works perfectly!
As she searches for her ‘home’ and what it means, we learn more about who Eleven is on the inside and the emotional bond fans formed with the character during season one goes from strength to strength.
The Duffer Brothers understand the importance of Eleven and even give the character her very own episode, The Lost Sister, which is an hour’s worth of outstanding television, some of the best I have seen in recent years.
This episode is unlike anything we’ve seen before in the show and will not be what viewers expected, just like the path Eleven follows.
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And then there is David Harbour’s fantastic Chief of Police, Hopper, another character who has changed since the end of Season One and becomes a key part of the emotional core of the show.
Like Eleven he embarks on a journey to find out who he really is meaning the two develop a bond that is heartwarming and quite special.
Gone is the cliche alcoholic troubled police chief we saw in Season One. Hopper is a new man and a much more engaging character because of it.
Our favourite gang of young heroes successfully return as amazing as ever, providing laughs, smiles and tears.
Dustin, Lucas and Steve step into the spotlight and if you aren’t wishing for a Dustin and Steve action-packed spin-off show by the end of the series, well you clearly haven’t been watching the same show as me.
Each of these characters gets their own storylines allowing their strong personalities to shine through meaning one of them is certain to be your new favourite by the end of it.
Steve is adapting to a new world and is mellowing out, probably due to the influence of Nancy Wheeler who is still trapped in a love triangle with her boyfriend and the quiet Jonathan.
Meanwhile, Dustin and Lucas are also falling in love with the new addition to the cast Max, played wonderfully by Sadie Sink.
Unlike the boys, Max has rough edges and is the new character the show needed, a strong female who will mix things up in the ‘party’ and has her own mysterious background for audiences to ponder too.
The dynamics between these characters provide plenty of laugh out loud moments which are needed because Stranger Things 2 turns up the horror element to eleven.
Without spoiling anything, it is clear that The Duffer Brothers have turned to classic horrors like The Exorcist for inspiration, making the show genuinely terrifying and chilling at points.
Things get much darker, the villain poses a much bigger threat and it is unclear even until the final moments whether it can be beaten.
One of the few problems with Stranger Things 2 is the addition of new character Billy, Max’s older brother who becomes the local bully.
It is unfortunate that this character is wasted as it is always great to have a threatening human character as well as a supernatural villain.
However, Dacre Montgomery appears to put zero effort into his performance although it has to be said there wasn’t really much for him to play with as Billy has zero personality and purpose.
While Billy is a waste of time, Joyce’s new love interest Bob, played beautifully by Sean Astin, unexpectedly becomes a highlight of the show.
A charming presence Astin is easy to watch and he is the necessary normal, everyday guy that helps pull the Byers family back from the Upside Down.
The show also rightfully addresses the issue of the disappearance of Barb, something that Season One didn’t deal with properly leaving thousands calling for justice.
A sense of loss and guilt is continually hanging over Nancy and Season Two sees how she deals with this often leaving both her and us in tears.
It is these tender storylines and the friendship between characters, often unexpected, that makes Stranger Things a fantastic show as it is impossible not to fall for its charming and emotional nature.
While there are parts that will break your heart, you will also be left screaming and puzzled by the various hanging threads that are left loose at the end.
Seriously though, when is Stranger Things 3 coming!
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.