Will, The Zombie Boy
Full spoilers for Stranger Things episode “MadMax” continue below. Make sure to read all of our Season 2 reviews here.
Stranger Things is expanding in new and exciting ways with its thrilling Season 2 premiere. The Duffer Brothers aren’t simply relying on 80’s nostalgia to give weight to their diverse group of characters, but instead, they are delving deeper into the lore and mythology that make up this strange world we call Hawkins, Indiana.
The reveal of a new group of misfits in Pittsburgh during a high-speed chase with the cops is where we’ll begin our journey. So many questions and implications arise from this sequence. In the show’s first season, we knew that Eleven wasn’t the only youngster experimented on, but the idea that there is another gifted teen out in the open is mind-blowing.
First of all, did she come from the same facility in Hawkins, or is there a larger network spread throughout the country? Eight’s powers are incredible. Her ability to reach into someone’s mind and manipulate their reality could come in handy if this group ever journeys to Hawkins. It’s unclear if the other members of the team possess similar powers, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they did. Perhaps they have more in common with the team from Indiana, in that their Eight, is the only one with special abilities.
The thought of these two groups getting together to kick a little Upside Down butt is almost too much to hope for. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time this group graces us with their presence. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but it would be nice if their van was on its way to Hawkins. If the events of the premiere have shown anything, it’s that these kids need help.
Speaking of superhuman powered weapons, it looks like Eleven is alive and well over at Sheriff Jim Hopper’s place. If you’ve seen any of the trailers, or posters promoting this Season, then her reveal was anticlimactic. While it’s great to see Millie Bobby Brown back eating Eggos again, the revelation that she survived her ordeal at the end of Season 1 lacked the emotional punch.
What’s more interesting are the questions of how did Eleven survive and why hasn’t she reached out to her friends? Surely Hopper has decided that it’s too dangerous out there for her to just walk around like nothing happened a year ago, but she can’t stay locked up forever. Her curiosity and love for her friends will hopefully set her free.
A season of Stanger Things wouldn’t be the same without a monster to contend with. Poor Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) appears to be stuck between two worlds. While Mike, Dustin, and Lucas are focused on beating the high score in Dragon’s Lair, Will is stuck with visions of a large shadow monster that makes the Demogorgon look like a chipmunk. Sadly, he’s the only one who can see these aberrations. He sure could use Eleven right now.
This season is still in its infancy, but Will could be the most important character this season. Like a Frodo Baggins, Will is the one burdened with seeing the approaching storm that’s about to engulf Hawkins. Even the slippery Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) is fascinated by what he has to say. Probably for bad reasons though. The good doctor is most likely trying to find a way to weaponize any of the creatures that exist in that dimension. Those evil government organizations never learn.
It wouldn’t be fair to forget poor Barb Holland (Shannon Purser). The hashtag “Justice for Barb” could be heard around the world last year after the young lady met an unfortunate fate towards the end of Season 1. There have been promises made that she will indeed get justice, but we’re not sure what that will look like. Hopefully, the Holland family doesn’t go bankrupt in the process.
The introduction of new characters can be tricky, especially with an already stacked cast. We touched on Dr. Evans earlier, but there are a few others worth mentioning. Joyce’s (Winona Ryder) new boyfriend Bob Newby (Sean Astin) already has a stink about him. He’s too nice for his own good. Hawkins can be a pretty shady place, especially with that laboratory nearby. Newby seems like the perfect kind of guy to keep a close eye on Will and his family. Don’t buy that “I don’t like scary movies” routine. Down the road, we may discover that he’s in cahoots with Dr. Owens. Only time will tell.
Maxine (Sadie Sink), or “Max” as she likes to be called, is already a welcome addition to the cast. Sink has a fierceness about her that is beyond her years as an actress. Outside of Eleven, the boys haven’t had many interactions with other female characters. As the boys continue to mature, will she cause a rift between them like Eleven did at times, or will they grow stronger? At first glance, her personality is one who prefers being a lone wolf. Mike, Dustin, Will, and Lucas would do well to make her an ally.
There are several reasons to get excited about the rest of Season 2 of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers have expertly reintroduced us to our favorite characters, while simultaneously giving us new compelling members to root for. Go team Eight!