Stranger Things Season Two is “Totally Tubular”

(Warning: major spoilers ahead!) The second season of the hit show “Stranger Things” is a great adventure that has new lovable characters and an inventive plot. It even includes some nostalgic 80’s Easter eggs.

Xander Sharpe, Columnist

The first season of “Stranger Things” was released July 15, 2016, on Netflix. It instantly became a huge hit. Everyone loved all the nostalgia in it and it was a fun ride. The second season is no different; it may even be better than the first season. The second season has a higher budget than the first season because of how much praise it got. This season is way more intense and has a bunch of really funny moments. Get ready to grab your Eggo’s and get reading.

The story is set at Hawkins, Indiana, in 1984. It focuses on the story of four boys named Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Will (Noah Schnapp). The actors of these characters are all incredibly talented. I bet these actors will have a good career ahead of them. Schnapp got a lot of screentime this season especially and did a convincing job of playing his character. Will starts seeing glimpses of a place called the “Upside Down,” but nobody knows if it’s real or not. The doctors say it’s just memories of him being in the “Upside Down” in the past, but it is actually real. One time, when he accidentally glimpses into the “Upside Down,” a shadow monster attacks and invades him, infecting him with a so-called “virus.” The virus makes it so the monster can spy on everyone and, if the monster is injured, so is Will. I thought that this part of the season was really intriguing because it added another part of the story that made it more of a challenge for the characters. For me, when the characters have more of a challenge in a story, I think it’s more entertaining. Since this happened, the show got way more intricate and intense. This part was also a reference to “The Exorcist,” which I thought was pretty cool.

We soon find out that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is alive and has been living with Hopper (David Harbour) for about a year. But she is conflicted because she’s not allowed to go outside to see her friends. We find out so many more things about Eleven this season and she really becomes a complex character. In the first season, she really wasn’t that complex of a character and the show didn’t fully explain her backstory. This season we also find out that Hopper comes up with a word of the day for Eleven, which I thought was super smart on Hopper’s part because Eleven barely knew any words in the first season.

In another plot line, Hopper finds out that pumpkin patches all over Hawkins are rotting and dying. While Hopper is at Will’s house, Will starts to draw weird drawings that all seem to connect to each other, which Joyce (Winona Ryder), Will’s mom, and Hopper start to catch on to. Hopper figures out that the tunnels in the drawings are probably vines and says that they’re killing all the pumpkins in Hawkins.

Hopper soon goes to a rotting pumpkin patch and digs into the earth, attempting to discover these “vines.” He falls into a weird tunnel system that resembles the “Upside Down”. While exploring it, Hopper is attacked by vines that immobilize him and pull him into the ground. Will has a feeling Hopper is soon going to die so he tells his mom. Joyce’s new boyfriend, Bob (Sean Astin), comes over to their house and figures out that the drawings are like a map of Hawkins. Will tells them where he sees Hopper and they go to where Hopper started to dig. While he served a small purpose, I thought that Bob was an unnecessary character and didn’t need to be in the show. The only reason he was really useful was when he helped Joyce, Will, Mike, and Hopper figure out what Will’s drawings meant. Also some people probably got emotionally attached to Bob so it was kind of disappointing when he died later on.

Joyce and Bob go inside the tunnels and they rescue Hopper. People from the lab come and start burning the tunnels because the tunnels are actually the “Upside Down.” The “Upside Down” is adapting and growing under Hawkins because the portal to it is still open at the lab. Will starts freaking out and saying he’s burning because he is connected to the monster through the virus. This part was so intense and Noah Schnapp portrayed the intensity of the scene in a captivating way. In this part when he was “burning,” his facial expressions and body movements were extremely convincing. They take him to the lab and they also stop burning the tunnels. While at the lab, Will is forced to set a trap on everyone by the monster. The trap was that he told the scientists something that made them want to go into the tunnels. While in the tunnels, the people all died because of creatures nicknamed “demodogs.”

The demodogs started to crawl out of the portal and overtake the lab. They killed all the scientists and a supporting character, but everyone else escaped. Earlier, Eleven went to Pittsburgh without Hopper’s permission, and joined a gang. She joined the gang with a girl (Linnea Berthelsen) who had powers, shown within the first scene of season two. They found out that they were at the lab when they were toddlers and were experimented on. Eleven soon realized she didn’t want to be a part of the gang, so she left and went back to Hawkins. Personally, I thought this part in the show was really not needed because it has nothing to do with “Stranger Things” and was not that interesting. Joyce, Hopper, Mike, Will, Lucas, Dustin, Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Max (Sadie Sink), and Steve (Joe Keery) are all at Will’s house making a plan to close the portal to the “Upside Down.” Eleven shows up at the house and has an emotional reunion with everyone.

Joyce, Nancy, and Jonathan take Will to Hopper’s house and get the virus out of Will so he won’t be hurt when they close the portal. Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Max, and Steve all go to the tunnels. They start to burn the tunnels so the demodogs can be distracted while Hopper and Eleven close the portal. The demodogs start coming to them and are distracted. I was so scared for a moment in this part because when the demodogs were running at everyone while they were climbing out of the entrance, Dustin and Steve were about to climb out, but then a stampede of demodogs came at them. I thought that Dustin and Steve were toast, but they survived because the demodogs were distracted by something else. Hopper and Eleven close the portal and everything is all good again. There is a school dance and all the kids have someone to dance with except for Mike, but then Eleven comes and they dance together.

“Stranger Things” is one of the best shows on Netflix (if you take the reviews as any kind of qualifications) and the first season was amazing. I don’t think anyone expected the second season to be better than the first, because I know I didn’t. Both of the seasons were so engaging, but the second season was the best. None of the episodes were boring. There was only one thing I didn’t like though. I didn’t like the whole Eleven has a “sister” thing with the mind-tricking gang girl. I felt it didn’t need to be included because Eleven is already great as-is and we don’t need another character like her. Overall, I think everyone should watch this show, mainly if you’re 13 and up, and especially with your parents because this show will be nostalgic for them.