Review: Stranger Things 2

What follows is a review by student writer Jon Reinhart. The views do not represent the editorial opinions or content of the Siskiyou or Southern Oregon University.

************** This is your SPOILER ALERT warning from The Siskiyou**************

HAWKINS, IN — Will Byers has not been the same since he got back. The doctor claims it as post traumatic stress, but there is doubt surrounding the situation. Dustin is overly concerned about someone beating his high score on the arcade game Dig Dug, and Barb’s parents are losing their minds. Steve wants Nancy to move past what happened and be a normal teenager, but it isn’t that easy. Most importantly, where is Eleven!? I am on the edge of my seat. The hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” 2 is finally here.

First off, I’d like to start out with a confession of mine; I wasn’t sold on “Stranger Things” at first. I found the first season difficult to start and keep my attention. My first viewing attempt consisted of distractions and falling asleep before the third episode even started. It was tough because last year it seemed like everyone had burning ears for anything “Stranger Things.” It crossed my mind that maybe I was the weird one who did not understand the hype of the show. Even my professors were using clips from the show as examples in class. I came to the conclusion that this is not just a show you can put on in the background and zone out to. So, I attempted watching it for a second time, and my god I am glad I did! This time I was sold.

Since then, I’ve been itching for the next season to arrive, and the Super Bowl trailer release only made it worse. Then, after the year long wait when it finally came, I was blown away again.

Besides the trailer giving away almost the entire first episode, the new season is an edge of your seat thriller. For a thriller, however, there is not a whole lot of action that happens on screen. Similar to the first season, the storyline is driven on the fear of the unseen monster. You can see glimpses of monsters, howling shrieks, and flickering lights, but you end up seeing very little. Except for when Bob the Brain dies. That was pretty savage. RIP.

In combination with spectacular cinematography and style, nearly every episode was a pleasure to watch. Besides the technical aspects of the show, “Stranger Things” touches audiences through its cleverly placed 80’s pop, and nerd, culture references. No Dungeons and Dragons in this season, but don’t worry.

This season comes packed full with a solid 80’s soundtrack, Terminator and Mr. Mom appearances as well as a fully functioning Ghostbusters ghost trap. These references are what make this sci-fi show so realistic. Science fiction and fantasy stories offer a place for people to escape the real world. In the case of “Stranger Things,” this idea of escaping the real world is merged with reminiscing on a time filled Walkmans, finger lickin’ good KFC, and Farrah Fawcett hair spray.

While playing on these cultural references the show also addresses current socio-political problems as well. It comes down to a weaker entity overcoming its governing power. It’s straight up “Star Wars.” Although phones are tapped, people are followed, and the FBI is questioning Mike on El’s whereabouts, Jonathan and Nancy still find a way to expose the company responsible for the mayhem and bring attention to Barb’s death. A group of teenagers from small town Indiana can save the world from a giant “Mind Flayer,” and call out the powers at be. It is almost unbelievable, when laid it out like that, but that is what makes it such an intriguing story.

So what are we doing to fight unjust powers in the real world?  I hear it everyday, “There is so much going on in the world, it’s so depressing.” Instead of complaining, apply “Stranger Things” as an allegory and learn from these characters. Do something about the injustice you see in the world. Standing up for someone who needs help to survive like the Sheriff Hopper, and challenge bullies and the status quo like Steve (even though he got his ass kicked). 

In the words of Sheriff Hopper, “It’s true what they say, everyday it does get a little easier.”

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