Image via IMDB
other cast members, especially Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin, allowed the writers to explore some great relationships with Steve and others.
This season had a sense of self awareness and metaness to it. The casting of Sean Astin was a great callback to his role in The Goonies, an 80’s film that Stranger Things pulls a lot of inspiration from. The justice for Barb story line was one that had me worried at the beginning, but in the end stood strong as a great moment of closure for the fans and characters on the show.
However, my personal favourite was when Max pointed out that the events from the first season were very low on originality. While many of us hold the first season on a high pedestal, it is not hard to see that many story elements were based from classic films.
Looking at the story of this season, they explored more of an original idea. While there were still some elements that were callbacks to classic 80’s films, they did a good job of taking the concept of the Upside Down in an original direction. The elements of the Demodogs, the vines spreading underground and Will’s connection to the Mind Flayer were all great story elements.
While there were a lot of elements that worked really well, there were a few others that didn’t quite hit the mark.
Going back to characters, new cast members joined the crew including Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery who played Max and Billy respectively. I thought that Max worked well with the group as we knew it already. She bounced off everyone and she could blend into the fabric of the show.
Billy however, did not. While he was the literal embodiment of everything 80’s into one character, his placement in the show stood out for all the wrong reasons. For the most part, his main interactions were with Max and Steve. The problem with that is when you look at both Max and Steve as characters and their arcs this season, the impact Billy had was very minimal.
For Max, he was the jerk brother who acted as her taxi, a role that could have easily been done by a character like an disgruntle father that we didn’t have to see or care about. For Steve, Billy challenged him as the new popular jock at school. However, Steve no longer wanted to be the popular jock at school; he had already stepped away from that role, which made Billy’s challenges towards Steve feel out of place.
The other character problem I had during this season was with Mike, which ties into the second overall problem of Eleven’s story. Mike’s story had interest in the first season because he was the link to Eleven. In this season, with Eleven off doing her own thing, in many situations Mike felt like an accessory. While he got something to do in the very back end of the season, for eight of the nine total