Stranger Things (2016): Part 2 – Friday Night Picks

The second half of Stranger Things (read part 1 here) kicks off with a bang and does not disappoint. So often, movies and shows have great promise when they start off but then they fizzle out. Not this one. Not even close.

As each episode brings us closer and closer to the finale, the show becomes more and more impossible to stop watching. Every moment is captivating, nothing is drawn out or skipped over; it’s obvious that very careful planning went into the script and it pays off.

The love that we develop for the characters in the first half of the show only deepens as they grow and face seemingly insurmountable challenges. The fact that they all rely so heavily on each other (Joyce and Hopper, Jonathan and Nancy, the boys and El) only makes them stronger as individuals. Their insecurities, their weakness, their humanity… it all comes together to make characters that make the story what it is.

The other elements of the show remain top notch as well, nothing takes a backseat. The score, as I’ve mentioned before, is flawless (I need to download the soundtrack ASAP), the cinematography and editing is perfect, the set design and costumes will have you believing that you’re in the 80s with the characters.  It just all comes together to make something so incredibly special.

If there is something negative to say about the show, it’s that it ended and it’s ruined television for me forever. As soon as it was over I was filled with an overwhelming sadness and all I could think was “Now what?” Because nothing really compares to this show. It’s the perfect amalgamation of a great script, impeccable casting and beautiful production elements.

It’s not that you should watch this show, it’s that you owe it to yourself to watch it. Stranger Things is an ode to great storytelling, it’ll grab hold of your heart and it won’t let go until long after the final credits roll.

Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat

Stranger Things
Stranger Things, 2016 ©Netflix

With the revelation that Will is still alive and the body is a fake, Hopper is desperate to uncover the truth. Mike, Lucas and Dustin continue to ask questions about where Will is and how to get to him.

This episode really explores the differences in Lucas, Dustin and Mike’s characters and it’s truly refreshing to see their individual personalities as opposed to the typical immature kids that can so often be found in movies and tv, as if the writers had never been children themselves or completely forgot what it was like.

Top Moments

  •     Jim Hopper. From the first few minutes of this episode, we know that he’s on a mission and he’s not willing to stop for anything. Also, I’m going to add 1.5 and add the part where Hopper walks into Joyce’s house and we see his face when he realizes that they’ll have to take every bulb out of its socket to check for bugs.
  •     Mr. Clarke explaining the Upside Down to the kids. Is it just me, or is Mr. Clarke the best teacher of all time?
  •     When Nancy climbs through the tree. If this doesn’t make you stay up late to watch the next episode, nothing will.

Chapter Six: The Monster

Stranger Things
Stranger Things, 2016 ©Netflix

As the title suggests we get some more one on one time with the big baddie in this episode. Nancy is in it’s path and Jonathan has to try and save her. Meanwhile everyone is doing everything they can to piece together the clues that they have so far and figure out exactly what is going on.

Top Moments

  •     When El calls the grocery store clerk a mouth-breather and takes all the Eggos.
  •     When Lucas gets all his Nam gear and goes to look for Will. Special mention for when he climbs the tree and scopes out Hawkins through his binoculars.
  •     Mike flies! But seriously, those bullies are ruthless. 

Chapter Seven: The Bathtub

Stranger Things
Stranger Things, 2016 ©Netflix

We finally start to get some answers as Jonathan and Nancy; Joyce and Harper; and El and the boys finally unite and put all the pieces of the puzzle together. 

Top Moments

  •     STEVE. When he goes back to the theatre to help clean up the spray paint… Be still my beating heart.
  •     When the kids are trying to escape from the Hawkins men on their bikes. I hope everyone noticed the very clear E.T. reference here.
  •     When Dustin calls Mr. Clarke about sensory deprivation chambers. “Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?”

Chapter Eight: The Upside Down

Stranger Things
Stranger Things, 2016 ©Netflix

This is it. The culmination of all the clues and all the hard work and everything that the characters have suffered through has brought them to this point.

There are so many beautiful and touching moments in this episode.  Although you may never want this show to end and you’ll have been dreading the moment that it was over, it is exactly as it should be, the perfect length. The story resolves in its own time and there are still enough questions that you can feel free to discuss the meaning and possibilities endlessly.

This show really lends itself to personal interpretation and watching it at different times in your life or with different people can open your eyes to a vast number of perspectives. So don’t be sad… you’ve only watched it once.

Top Moments

  •     I know I’m smitten with Steve but when he comes back into the house and beats the monster with the baseball bat… epic. That whole scene is INTENSE.
  •     When Mike asks El to the Snow Ball.
  •     When Lucas uses the wrist rocket to try and defeat the monster and El sacrifices herself to save them.
  •     When Hopper and Joyce are trying to resuscitate Will.
  •     When Nancy gives Jonathan the camera for Christmas… and then goes back to the tv room and Steve asks if she gave it to him.
  •     When Jonathan gives Will his new mix tape.
  •     When the boys explain Eleven to Will, “She’s basically a wizard.” “She has superpowers.” “More like a Yoda.”
  •     When Mike looks at his empty blanket fort.
  •     Hopper dropping off the Eggos.
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Stranger Things

Stranger Things (2016): Part 2 – Friday Night Picks

Credits

Creators: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer
Stars: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton

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