SPOILERS AHEAD: ‘Stranger Things 2’ pros outweigh cons

Catrina Oberfeldt, Multimedia Manager

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

For over a year we have all been waiting eagerly for season two of ‘Stranger Things.’ Alas, it is here and better than ever! There was some concern leading up to the release that it may not live up to the hype, but for me it definitely did. My only complaint is that I’m going to have to wait so long for more.

The very beginning of the season answered the biggest question I had leaving last season: is Eleven okay? We find out that for the last year she had been living with Hopper, the sheriff. Unfortunately, the bad men are still looking for her, so she can’t have any contact with the outside world. While she is sulking around Hopper’s cabin, wishing she could leave, the boys meet someone new.

Her name is Max, and Dustin and Lucas are instantly smitten. Mike, on the other hand, is resentful of any girl who isn’t Eleven. He spends most of the season trying to scare her off. Just when Max and Mike are paired together for a search, Eleven sneaks out of the cabin. Of course, she happens to show up just as Max is trying to befriend Mike. That frustrating trope was hard for me to overlook.

But, that moment of predictability is made up for by the journey it sends Eleven on. She meets her mother and finds out about Eight, another experiment who also escaped. When they meet, Eleven finally feel like she has someone who understands. Kali (aka Eight) and her gang take Eleven in, and we get some really incredible character development in the form of a makeover montage. At the end of the montage, in a leather jacket and some edgy black eyeliner, Eleven parrots back one on Kali’s friends who describes her new look as “bitchin’.” It’s reminiscent of season one, when Eleven repeats Mike after he calls her pretty in her wig and dress. With her darker look,  Eleven is introduced to a more violent form of retribution to Hawkins Lab. Kali believes that the only way to make them stop is to kill the men who hurt them. Eleven goes with them on one mission, only to realize at the last moment that she doesn’t want to kill anyone.

Speaking of character development, can we talk about how precious Steve was this season? While Lucas and Max are off crushing on each other, Steve takes Dustin under his wing. They talk about how to achieve that perfect Steve hair, how to get through not being liked back by the girl you love, and ultimately Steve “moms” all of the kids. When the adults make all the kids stay behind, Steve stands up to Max’s violent older brother. When he gets the crap beat out of him, Steve still follows the kids through the tunnels to make sure they stay safe. I’m still not entirely sure of Joyce or Steve would win in a World’s-Best-Mom contest.

This season, like the last, gives Will and Joyce more than their fair share of pain. Will has what we find out to be a virus that gives him a glimpse into the Upside Down. His visions are negated for the first few episodes by the psychologist at Hawkins Lab. He tells Joyce they are a symptom of PTSD, and for a while she believes him. It isn’t until Will is past the point of no return that Joyce fully understands how bad his condition is.

That definitely puts some strain on Joyce’s relationship with Bob, a sweet man that we meet for the first time at the beginning of this season. He is understanding of how distant she is, even though at times it seems like she’s obviously dodging him. He’s incredibly intelligent, and is relied upon quite a bit this season to fix problems for the group. In the second to last episode he is killed off in front of Joyce, which feels forced. He was essentially used for the furthering of the plot, then discarded so that eventually Joyce and Hopper can be together.

Overall, the show was really great. The few problems I had with it were nothing when compared to all the things I loved about it. Does anyone know how long I have to wait for season three?

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