Fall just got a lot ‘Stranger’

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Alexis Guerra

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy of Digital Trends” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Netflix’s original series “Stranger Things” returned last Friday with just as much mystery and heart as last year.

Last fall, the show proved itself a cultural phenomenon that demonstrated what the streaming service had to offer. “StrangersThings” quickly became one of the most watched and completed shows on Netflix, mixing comedy and horror perfectly in addition to an amazing cast.

The show stars four children: Mike (Finn Wolfhard) as the leader of the party, Lucas (Caleb Mclaughlin) as the confident one, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) as the welcomed comic relief and Will (Noah Schnapp) as the nervous one.

The first season of “Stranger Things” ended with the whereabouts of our beloved heroine Eleven left unknown and with Will experiencing strange visions of the upside down, a dark and mysterious alternate dimension. The first episode of season two deals with Mike’s emotional fallout over Eleven’s disappearance and the introduction of a new female lead.

A new female character by the name of Max (Sadie Sink) joins Lucas and Dustin as their potential love interest. Max is another female character who breaks female stereotypes, just as Eleven did in the prior season. The female characters in “Stranger Things” are unique, in that they aren’t defined by their gender. Rather, they are their own people with their own personalities and flaws. Even without much context for Max’s character in the first episode, it’s clear to viewers that “Stranger Things” isn’t shying away from strong females in their new season.

It is revealed in the first episode that Will is having visions of the upside down again. He describes his visions having an ominous storm brewing, as he is frozen in place as a mere spectator. Will reveals that he feels as though he shares a bond with the darkness he encountered. This plot point has major foreshadowing for the episodes later in the season. In “Stranger Things,” every line that is delivered and every detail has a purpose, making the show enticing to viewers to watch over again.

Nancy, Mike’s older sister, is also back in the action in season two. She is experiencing emotional turmoil from her friend Barb’s death in season one. Nancy has exceptional character development coming into season two. Natalia Dyer, who is cast as Nancy, sympathizes with viewers with a heart wrenching performance in episode one that would make anyone want to sob along with her.

For those who are fans of the kindling love between Mike and Eleven will have their heart broken in episode one. Season two takes advantage of the fans’ desires of Mike reuniting with Eleven by showing the opposite. Mike goes to sit in his basement in the exact spot where Eleven took shelter in season one. He attempts to contact her via walkie talkie, but only gets static in response. The show does an excellent job of making you care for the characters, and takes advantage of the emotional investment most viewers have made in season one.

“If you’re out there, say something.” Mike persists, “Give me a sign. I won’t even say anything. Just…. I wanna know if you’re okay.”

The show’s strength lies in its charming child cast. With a lot of television and movies using adults to play teenagers, it is refreshing to see a show not afraid to have actual children play children. Their responses to mysterious forces beyond comprehension are made more interesting by their vulnerability and immaturity. They are loved for their weaknesses and for their unexpected bravery in the face of danger. In so many stories, the hero is already grown, but in “Stranger Things,” we get to see them grow up.

Season two builds off of what made the first season amazing, while still bringing more to the table. It develops the original cast while still introducing new characters and settings organically. In the midst of the conflict against a growing monster, the creators have interwoven mysteries that can be explored further.

“Stranger Things” season three has been confirmed by the creators of the show, The Duffer Brothers, much to the delight of those who’ve already binge watched season two.

“We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,” Ross Duffer said in an interview with Vulture.

It is clear the creators have a plan for the show, but now are facing complications with one of their actors. Charlie Heaton, the actor who plays Jonathan Byers, has proven the opposite. Heaton missed the premiere of season two in Los Angeles because he was denied entry into the United States. This was due to traces of cocaine found in his luggage by drug-sniffing dogs. No arrest was made, but Heaton was sent back to London and has released a formal apology.

Despite these recent complications, the mysteries and events of season two will play a part in a much larger story and viewers can’t wait to see what’s next.