Here are my top five takeaways from episode two, entitled Trick or Treat, Freak...
- Mike (Finn Wolfhard) has quite the bratty attitude so far this season. He's clearly missing Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and spends a lot of his down time obsessing over her, but he really needs to chill out around the rest of the gang. His disdain for the others interest in Max is somewhat disappointing, and I hope he breaks out of this funk sooner than later. I get wanting to find Eleven, but as smart a kid as Mike seems to be, he should understand that all of them have been through some shit and Max had nothing to do with it.
- For what its worth, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is the best character at this point anyway.
2. The Thin Gooey Line
- It doesn't appear much lies between the real world and the Upside Down. Through flashback, we see the immediate aftermath of Eleven's departure at the end of season one, and it appears a very thin line of reality exists between the two places. It also appears that the Upside Down could be more of a government construct than simply a netherworld of unimaginable horrors and monsters.
- I'm really enjoying the arc with Eleven this season, in how with all of the loneliness she endures hiding out with Sheriff Hopper (David Harbour) she spends time trying to learn about this world again. Whatever happened to her in that institution has rendered her almost non-human, and simple tasks need a refresher course. A bit of time is spent in flashback exploring some of the things she dealt with after escaping; how she had to hunt and gather to survive and use her heightened awareness to evade people, and all of it serves to add a depth to her character and situation.
- On a side note, add Millie Bobby Brown to your short list of exciting new actresses to watch. This kid is going places.
4. Nancy Is Losing Her Shit (and Jonathan is...odd)
- Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is coming unglued, obsessing with guilt over the loss of Barb (Shannon Purser) and beside herself in contemplating how no one else seems to be living in the same reality she is. Her drunken escapade in this episode was all of her emotions bubbling up to a head, and Dyer really sells herself in the scenes. I wasn't a big fan of her arc in season one, mostly because I just wanted to spend time with the kids, but I'm appreciating her turn much more this season.
- Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) seems like a nice enough kid, but his infatuation of Nancy borders on stalker. Him showing up at the party and ultimately taking the drunken, passed out Nancy home to tuck her into bed came off as creepy more than cute. How did he get all the way into her bedroom without anyone hearing him anyway?
5. The 80's Is Strong With This One
- I've said it before, but I'm an unapologetic fan of the 80's, and Stranger Things seems at times as if its made specifically for me. The music choices, the clothing, the props, are like a snapshot in time that I hold in very high regard. In episode two, the whole Ghostbusters schtick was hilarious, especially when the kids infer that Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) should be Winston by default because he's the Black kid. Hearing Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters theme was a treat, as were other song choices such as Monster Mash, Shout at the Devil, and even Islands in the Stream, all of which add to the wonderful atmosphere of the show.
Episode Grade - B+
Up next, Episode Three, The Pollywog...