Stranger Things (season 2)
|Stranger Things (season 2)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||9|
|Original release||October 27, 2017|
The second season of the American science fiction-horror web television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 2, was released worldwide exclusively via Netflix's web streaming service on October 27, 2017. The series was created by the Duffer Brothers, who are also executive producers along with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen and Iain Paterson.
The second season stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, Cara Buono, Sean Astin and Paul Reiser. Brett Gelman, Linnea Berthelsen and Matthew Modine also appear in recurring roles.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Production
- 5 Release
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
On October 29, 1984, Will Byers finds himself the target of the Upside Down a year after his disappearance as a large tentacled figure named the Mind Flayer soon terrorises the citizens of Hawkins, drawing back Joyce and Hopper along with Mike's sister Nancy, Will's brother Jonathan, and Nancy's boyfriend Steve, as well as Will's close friends; Mike, Dustin, and Lucas. The whole group along with Californian newcomer Maxine as well as a missing Eleven must join forces once again to prevent the threat from increasing.
Cast and characters
- Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers
- David Harbour as Jim Hopper
- Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler
- Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven / Jane
- Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson
- Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair
- Noah Schnapp as Will Byers
- Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield
- Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler
- Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers
- Joe Keery as Steve Harrington
- Dacre Montgomery as Billy Hargrove
- Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler
- Sean Astin as Bob Newby
- Paul Reiser as Sam Owens
- Linnea Berthelsen as Kali
- Joe Chrest as Ted Wheeler
- Catherine Curtin as Claudia Henderson
- Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair
- Brett Gelman as Murray Bauman
- Kai L. Greene as Funshine
- Randy Havens as Scott Clarke
- James Landry Hébert as Axel
- Anna Jacoby-Heron as Dottie
- Gabrielle Maiden as Mick
- Rob Morgan as Officer Powell
- John Paul Reynolds as Officer Callahan
- Chelsea Talmadge as Carol
- Matthew Modine as Martin Brenner
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|9||1||"Chapter One: MADMAX"||The Duffer Brothers||The Duffer Brothers||October 27, 2017|
|In October 1984, a psychic girl with a tattoo reading “008” is part of a criminal gang in Pittsburgh. In Hawkins, the town prepares for Halloween. A new girl at school, Maxine “Max” Mayfield, captures the boys’ attention. Joyce is dating her old high school classmate Bob Newby, Hopper investigates a field of pumpkins mysteriously rotting, and conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman investigates people who sighted Eleven, believing her to be a Russian spy. Mike and Nancy are dealing with the losses of Eleven and Barb, while Will has been experiencing “episodes”, hallucinations of the Upside Down and an enormous, tentacled shadow monster. Joyce and Hopper take Will to see the lab’s new director Dr. Sam Owens, who has been giving Will routine medical exams ever since his return. Owens theorizes that Will’s episodes are PTSD brought on by the anniversary of his disappearance. The gate in the lab’s basement has been growing, worrying Owens. Nancy and Steve have an awkward dinner with Barb’s parents, who still believe their daughter to be missing and who have hired Murray to find her. Hopper goes home to a cabin in the woods where he secretly lives with Eleven.|
|10||2||"Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak"||The Duffer Brothers||The Duffer Brothers||October 27, 2017|
|Flashbacks reveal that Eleven escaped from the Upside Down but was forced to hide from agents. In the present, it is Halloween. Eleven asks Hopper if she can go trick-or-treating, but Hopper insists that she needs to remain hidden until he can reach an agreement with Owens allowing her to live a normal life, frustrating the house ridden Eleven. More pumpkin fields rot across town and Hopper discovers an organic substance – similar to the substance in the lab – in the fields. Nancy wants to tell Barb’s parents the truth about her death, but Steve says it is a bad idea, as the agents might come after them if they told anyone the truth. Instead, they attend a Halloween party, where Nancy gets drunk and berates Steve for his lack of empathy for Barb’s parents. Steve leaves and Jonathan takes Nancy home. The boys go trick-or-treating and are later joined by Max. During the night, Will has another episode and tells Mike about his visions, leading Mike to admit that he is trying to contact Eleven. Eleven tries to contact Mike using her powers but is unsuccessful. Dustin returns home after trick-or-treating and finds a strange creature in his trash can.|
|11||3||"Chapter Three: The Pollywog"||Shawn Levy||Justin Doble||October 27, 2017|
|Flashbacks reveal that Hopper found Eleven in the woods and agreed to take care of her in his grandfather’s old hunting cabin if she agreed not to leave the cabin. In the present, a well-meaning Bob encourages Will to face his fears, not understanding the extent of Will’s episodes. Nancy persuades Jonathan to help her tell Barb's parents the truth, and the pair arrange a meeting with Barb’s mother in a public park the following day, fearing that Owens may be tapping the phone lines. The creature Dustin found in his trash can is a small, slug-like animal that he names D’Artagnan (“Dart”). He shows Dart to the other kids and Will concludes that it is from the Upside Down, as it makes a noise similar to one Will heard in his hallucinations. Becoming increasingly concerned about the pumpkin fields, Hopper accuses Owens of failing to keep the gate contained. Frustrated with being holed up, Eleven leaves to look for Mike; at the school, she sees him arguing with Max and mistakes it as flirting. Heartbroken, she leaves. Will suffers from another episode and follows Bob's advice to confront the shadow monster, but it forces a tentacle down his throat.|
|12||4||"Chapter Four: Will the Wise"||Shawn Levy||Paul Dichter||October 27, 2017|
|Joyce and the kids awaken an unconscious Will. Joyce takes Will home but finds him acting strangely, drawing scribbles on pages and demanding that the house be kept cold. Joyce calls Hopper and together they discover the scribbles line up, forming a vast network of vines. Hopper recognizes that the network is a map and leaves without telling Joyce. Nancy and Jonathan are caught by agents when they try to contact Barb’s mother and are taken to the lab, where Owens shows them the portal to the Upside Down, admits Barb died in the Upside Down, and that he wants to prevent foreign governments from learning of it. They are released and Nancy reveals to Jonathan that she secretly recorded Owens’ admission. An infatuated Lucas tries to get closer to Max, but her violent older half-brother Billy Hargrove intervenes. Eleven, after an argument with Hopper, finds Hopper's research into her biological mother, Terry Ives, and tries to contact Terry with her powers. Dustin finds that Dart has broken out of its cage, has devoured his pet cat, and is an infant Demogorgon. Hopper digs into one of the pumpkin fields and finds a tunnel leading to the Upside Down.|
|13||5||"Chapter Five: Dig Dug"||Andrew Stanton||Jessie Nickson-Lopez||October 27, 2017|
|Hopper becomes trapped in the tunnels and passes out. Mike sleeps over at the Byers’ house to help Will recover. Will has a vision of Hopper, leading Joyce to recruit Bob’s help to determine its meaning. Bob identifies the network as a map of Hawkins and the pumpkin field as the place Hopper was going. Nancy and Jonathan take the tape of Owens’ admission to Murray, who realizes the public will not believe the fantastical story and suggests watering it down to make it more palatable. Lucas reveals the truth of Will’s disappearance to Max to gain her respect. Dustin traps Dart in his basement and enlists Steve’s help to recapture it. Eleven tracks down Terry and Becky Ives. Terry and Eleven are able to communicate using their psychic powers and Terry reveals to Eleven that she tried to rescue her at the lab and was subjected to a brain-damaging dose of shock therapy by Brenner. Eleven learns there was another girl trained like her. Joyce, Bob, Will, and Mike are able to rescue Hopper, though scientists from the lab soon arrive and set the tunnels on fire, causing Will to collapse and convulse in agony.|
|14||6||"Chapter Six: The Spy"||Andrew Stanton||Kate Trefry||October 27, 2017|
|Will is rushed to the lab, demonstrating memory loss. Owens speculates that the shadow monster is a virus which has spread to Will’s brain and is controlling him. Owens realizes that creatures from the Upside Down share a hive mind and therefore damaging the tunnels will be lethal to the now-infected Will. Nancy and Jonathan spend the night at Murray’s, who forces them to admit their feelings for each other. The following morning, the trio deliver the tape of Owens’ admission to a reporter in Chicago. Upon returning to the Byers house, Nancy and Jonathan discover Will's drawings. Lucas and Max regroup with Dustin and Steve and the group attempt to lure Dart to a junkyard. Max apologizes for being hostile to Lucas, explaining that Billy’s violence is a result of his father remarrying to Max’s mother. To the group’s horror, Dart arrives, flanked by a pack of adolescent monsters. The group is cornered until the pack unexpectedly runs away. Will discovers a location that the monster prevents him from seeing. Unaware that Will is being manipulated by the monster, Owens sends a team to investigate. The team is attacked by the adolescent monsters, who make their way into the lab.|
|15||7||"Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister"||Rebecca Thomas||Justin Doble||October 27, 2017|
|Eleven travels to Chicago and finds the other girl from Terry’s memories, named Kali. Realizing they have similar tattoos and were both experimented on by Brenner, Eleven and Kali consider themselves sisters. Kali has the ability to project images into people’s minds and lives among a street gang, who seek revenge on Brenner. Eleven reveals that Brenner is dead, so the gang decide to kill the man who tortured Terry instead. Kali helps Eleven to hone her abilities by demonstrating that channelling her anger is the key to strengthening her powers. After Eleven uses her powers to find the gang’s target, named Ray, the gang travels to Ray’s apartment to kill him. Eleven begins to choke Ray with her powers, leading to him to desperately claim that Brenner is still alive. Eleven refuses to kill Ray after seeing a photo of his two young daughter and refuses to allow Kali to kill him. The gang flees to their hideout and Kali insists Eleven either stay and avenge her mother or return to Hawkins. Eleven has a vision of Mike and Hopper’s plight at the lab and decides to return while Kali and her gang escape from the police.|
|16||8||"Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer"||The Duffer Brothers||The Duffer Brothers||October 27, 2017|
|The pack of creatures decimate the lab, killing most of the scientists. Realizing that Will is a spy for the monster, Mike convinces Joyce to sedate Will to prevent the creatures from tracking them. Mike, Joyce, Hopper, Bob and Owens take Will’s unconscious body to the lab’s security room to barricade themselves from the creatures. The lab’s power goes out, leading Bob to volunteer to reset the breakers and allow the group to escape. Bob’s mission succeeds, allowing Mike, Joyce, Hopper and Will to escape, but Bob himself is killed by the creatures, devastating Joyce. The survivors are rescued by Nancy, Jonathan, Steve, Dustin, Lucas and Max and return to the Byers house. Desperate to seek revenge on the shadow monster, who they realize is equivalent to the ‘Mind Flayer’ in Dungeons & Dragons, the group theorizes the Mind Flayer wishes to spread into this universe, and that killing it will kill all the creatures connected to it – including Will. Using Morse code, they able to communicate with the real Will, who instructs them to “CLOSE GATE”. The Mind Flayer finds their location and sends the creatures to them. As the creatures close in, Eleven arrives and kills them.|
|17||9||"Chapter Nine: The Gate"||The Duffer Brothers||The Duffer Brothers||October 27, 2017|
|After a brief reunion, Eleven and the group devise a plan to close the gate without killing Will. Hopper and Eleven head to the lab to close the portal, while Jonathan, Nancy, and Joyce purge the virus from Will by overheating him in Hopper’s cabin. To prevent the creatures from attacking Hopper and Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Max and Steve plan to enter the tunnels to lure the pack. Billy arrives at the Byers house, having been instructed to find Max by his father, and gets into a fight with Steve. Max manages to sedate him, and the group enter the tunnels to enact their plan. Nancy manages to release Will from the Mind Flayer’s grasp by branding him with a poker. Despite the Mind Flayer's attempts to thwart her, Eleven unleashes her anger and successfully closes the gate, killing the creatures. One month later, Nancy’s tape has exposed the lab, leading to its closure. Barb receives a proper funeral, while Owens forges a birth certificate for Eleven, naming her Jane Hopper. Mike, Eleven, Dustin, Will, Lucas and Max attend their school’s winter dance. In the Upside Down, the Mind Flayer is still alive, towering over the school.|
With the critical and viewership success of the first season after its release in July 2016, speculation on a possible second season was raised. The Duffer Brothers initially intended for Stranger Things to either be a standalone miniseries or an anthology series. They also considered the possibility of setting a potential second season (which they referred to as a "sequel") in the early 1990s and featuring an older version of the characters, along with all new characters, who are drawn back to Hawkins after supernatural events begin occurring again. However, following the release of the first season, they realized that the likability of the characters – especially the children – was key to the series' success, and they decided to set the second season in 1984 and focus on the same characters. By the end of July, the Duffer Brothers had outlined a plan for such a season if it was green-lit, and Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings said in early August that the company "would be dumb not to" renew Stranger Things for a second season. On August 31, 2016, Netflix announced it had renewed Stranger Things for a second season of nine episodes, to be released in 2017. The Duffer Brothers revealed that the series had been renewed for a second season before the first was released. Regarding the decision to wait more than a month after the first season was released to announce the renewal, Matt Duffer said, "it actually ended up working because it had built up to this fever pitch. I guess that's what [Netflix] were intending to do all the time."
The Duffer Brothers wrote the second season to make the combined first and second season feel like a complete work, but setting elements in place to go forward with additional seasons if they are green-lit. While most of the story for the second season had been decided before the first season aired, the Duffer Brothers took in the audience reactions from the first season to adjust some of the details within the second season. They knew they would not have the same element of audience surprise as when the series aired anew, and were aware fans wanted to see certain elements, but Ross said "...the point is not to give everyone what they think they want. Because I don't think they really know what they want." The Duffer Brothers felt that the second season should be treated more as a sequel rather than a continuation, and thus have opted to call the second Stranger Things 2. This approach had some trepidation from Netflix, since the company felt movie sequels typically have a bad reputation, but the Duffer Brothers pointed out that there had been many successful sequels that surpassed the original film, and felt confident with this name. Despite revealing episode titles for the season in the announcement teaser in order "to provide some hint of where we were going in season two without giving anything away," Matt Duffer stated that some of the titles would change, since there were some things "we didn't want to put on there because we felt like it would give too much away," and because "people are smart on the fucking internet" with fan-created "videos analyzing the chapter titles... right on a lot" of how the titles related to the plot of the season. In early October 2017, the Duffer Brothers revealed the final titles for the first six episodes of the season.
In October 2016, it was announced that Schnapp and Keery had been promoted to the main cast for the second season, after each recurring in the first season, and that Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery would join the main cast as Max and Billy, respectively. Ryder, Harbour, Wolfhard, Brown, Matarazzo, McLaughlin, Dyer and Heaton also return for the season. Sean Astin as Bob Newby and Paul Reiser as Sam Owens are also part of the main cast in the season. For Owens, The Duffer Brothers had referred to the character in their pitch to Netflix for the season as "Paul Reiser", and specifically alluded to Reiser's character Burke in Aliens, with Ross referencing James Cameron's casting choice for that film, saying, "[Cameron] thought people would inherently trust [Reiser] and it would be a twist". Reiser's son was a fan of Stranger Things, and gave his father an early appreciation of the series, so that by when the production called his agent about the role, Reiser was excited for the part. Joining them in recurring roles are Linnea Berthelsen as Kali / Eight and Brett Gelman as Murray Bauman.
The soundtrack album for the second season was released digitally on October 20, 2017, via Lakeshore and Invada Records. The soundtrack was composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the electronic band Survive. On the soundtrack's composition, Dixon and Stein together said that the score for the season introduces "new styles of composition, while still revisiting old themes when appropriate ... We've created new elements that are necessary to support the story, but still want to remain true to the sound of Season 1." The first track from the soundtrack, "Walkin' in Hawkins", was released on October 12.
As was customary with the first season, the second season utilized period music primarily from the 1980s to evoke a sense of nostalgia amongst viewers while further solidifying the story's setting. In all, over fifty pieces of music were used for Stranger Things 2, with release dates spanning from 1936 all the way until 1985.
Beyond Stranger Things
With the release of the second season of the series, Netflix also released Beyond Stranger Things, an aftershow hosted by Jim Rash. The guests of the aftershow are composed of cast and crew from the series, including the Duffer Brothers and the series' stars, to discuss the development and behind-the-scenes production of the series and its larger mythology. Unlike previous aftershows created by Embassy Row, such as Talking Dead and Talking Bad, Beyond Stranger Things is intended to be watched after a screening of the entire current season.
|Stranger Things 2|
|Set details||Special features|
|DVD release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|November 6, 2018||TBA||TBA|
|No.||Title||Release date||Three day viewership||Refs|
|18-49 viewers (millions)||Total viewers (millions)|
|1||"Chapter One: MADMAX"||October 27, 2017||11.0||15.8|||
|2||"Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak"||9.6||13.7|
|3||"Chapter Three: The Pollywog"||8.1||11.6|
|4||"Chapter Four: Will the Wise"||6.6||9.3|
|5||"Chapter Five: Dig Dug"||5.6||8.0|
|6||"Chapter Six: The Spy"||4.5||6.4|
|7||"Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister"||3.7||5.3|
|8||"Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer"||3.4||4.9|
|9||"Chapter Nine: The Gate"||3.2||4.6|
The second season has been recognized by Parrot Analytics as the most in-demand digital original series of the world in 2017 and is included in the 2019 edition of Guinness World Records. In August 2017, the marketing analytics firm Jumpshot determined the season was the seventh-most viewed Netflix season in the first 30 days after it was released, garnering slightly more than 20% of the viewers that the second season of Daredevil received, which was the most viewed season according to Jumpshot. Jumpshot, which "analyzes click-stream data from an online panel of more than 100 million consumers", looked at the viewing behavior and activity of the company's U.S. members, factoring in the relative number of U.S. Netflix viewers who watched at least one episode of the season.
Stranger Things 2 received critical acclaim, being praised for its story, character development, production values, visual effects, and acting (particularly that of Harbour, Brown, Schnapp, and Keery), and darker tone compared to the previous season. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has an approval rating of 94% based on 144 reviews, and an average rating of 7.88/10. The site's critical consensus states, "Stranger Things' slow-building sophomore season balances moments of humor and a nostalgic sweetness against a growing horror that's all the more effective thanks to the show's full-bodied characters and evocative tone." On Metacritic, the second season has a normalized score of 78 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
In a review for Rolling Stone, journalist David Fear praised the second season's character development, going so far as to say it shined more than the narrative: "...By the time you get to the John Hughes finale, in which the school’s winter dance ties up numerous loose ends, you realize that Stranger Things 2 has not only been crafting a story about kids fumbling through and finding their way into young adulthood, but that those parts feel more interesting than any Upside Down, et al. shenanigans ... if the second season has anything on the first, it’s that these characters now feel less like they stepped out of E.T. outtakes and more like the actual teens who were in the audience watching it and dreaming." Linda Holmes of National Public Radio also praised the season's character development, saying in her review, "There is much to be grateful for in the work given to the returning cast. Dustin and Lucas have the opportunity to be fleshed out a bit more — which is especially welcome with Lucas, who wasn't given a lot of solo time in the first season to demonstrate exactly what role he plays in what Dustin calls the "party" made up of the boys and Eleven. Perhaps the most unexpectedly successful move on this front, though, is to continue to build out Steve beyond Obstacle Boyfriend, in part by giving him some contact with people besides Nancy to work with." In the review, she also pointed out the season's misgivings, noting that the narrative structure was at times copying from the first season's plot line, but overall found this iteration to be enjoyable despite its shortcomings.
One of the most notable impacts of the series has been an increase demand for Eggo waffles, as they are shown to be Eleven's favorite food in several episodes and are seen as a representation of the series. The Kellogg Company, which manufactures Eggo, had not been part of the production prior to the first season's release, but recognized the market impact of the series. It provided a vintage 1980s Eggo television advertisement for Netflix to use in its season two Super Bowl LI commercial, and is looking to become more involved with cross-promotion.
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