Stranger Things 2 – Best & Worst

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!  If you haven’t seen ALL of the 2nd season of Stranger Things, click away now.

I spent nine hours over the weekend bingeing on the new episodes.  Here are the Best and Worst things about the new season of Stranger Things (Netflix):

Best

  • Psychic Tantrum
    • What else would you expect when a telekinetic teenager starts to rebel?  This was a great scene, and not just because of the explosions.
  • Sean Astin as Bob
    • I love that they got Sean Astin – Mikey from Goonies – to play Joyce’s (Winona Ryder’s) new boyfriend Bob!   Super treat was the moment he asked what was at the X on Will’s vine map: “buried pirate treasure?”  😀  Honestly I wasn’t too sure about Bob at the beginning – I would rather see Joyce with Hopper personally – but by the end, he was one of my favorite characters.
  • Pairings
    • Dustin and Steve
      • The bromance that we didn’t know we needed!
    • Nancy and Jonathan
      • It was about time these two got together!  I think a lot of people were unhappy about Nancy going back to Steve at the end of Season 1, after he very publicly slut-shamed her in front of the entire town.  And I love that it took the conspiracy theorist to push these two together.
    • Mike and Eleven
      • Basically, we were all waiting for The Kiss.  After Mike asked Eleven to the Snow Ball at the end of last season, this pairing was a foregone conclusion – we just didn’t know in which episode their reunion would occur.  It was nice to see Eleven have a night of normal teen fun.
  • #JusticeForBarb
    • Finally.

Worst

  • Eleven’s story
    • Eleven’s entire story line felt like the writers needed to get her out of the way until they were ready for her to save the day.  What made the first season so good in part was Eleven’s fish-out-of-water story – keeping her safe while watching her learn to interact with kids her own age.  She also contributed to the main storyline in that season, helping the gang find Will.  Her contributions to this season were pretty much nil until the last 2 episodes, when she bursts in at the last minute like the US Cavalry in some old Western film.    Basically we needed to see her with the rest of the Hawkins characters, not off finding some toxic “sister” in Chicago who had nothing to do with anything we were actually interested in.
  • The Phantom Menace ending
    • This is what I’ve started calling any story that uses the “taking out the master [ship, monster, etc] kills them all” strategy; another example is the first Avengers movie.  While I get the idea of the hive mind increases the bad guy’s level of threat, killing the master only works if the drones are incapable of independent thought or movement, the droids were in Star Wars: Phantom Menace.  In the case of Stranger Things, the Dart/Dustin story line clearly proves that the demi-dogs were capable of functioning independently, and only acted as one when commanded by the Mind Flayer/Shadow Monster.  So when Eleven closed the gate and cut off communication with the MF/SM, the demi-dogs should have reverted to their disconnected, animal natures.
  • #JusticeForMews
    • I saw tweets about the cat scene long before I got there… Poor Mews.
  • Billy’s hair
    • Was this a wig?  Was it a clip on?  It looked like a dirty poodle attached itself to his head.
  • Plot Holes
    • All the demi-gorgon-dogs
      • We know (or are led to believe) that Dart came from the slug that Will coughed up at the end of Season 1.  By the last episode there were dozens, at least.  Where did the rest of them come from?   Has Will been coughing them up for the past year?
    • Hawkins Lab’s underground entrance and monitors
      • When the Doctor (Paul Reiser) shows Nancy and Jonathan the gateway, they were still operating above ground to burn off the Upside-Down “weeds”.  By that night, however, they had dug several hundred feet down below the lab, set up an elevator-type system on electrical pulleys, and had monitors showing a complete map of the underground tunnels.  In half a day.  Seriously?
    • What was in Barb’s coffin?
      • Did the Lab retrieve her body from the Upside Down last season and put it in cold storage?  Did they make a dummy Barb like they made a dummy Will to bury last year?

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