Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp dominate in ‘Stranger Things’ season 2

Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp dominate in ‘Stranger Things’ season 2

Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp dominate in ‘Stranger Things’ season 2
November 07
14:24 2017

“I never gave up on you. I called you every night.”

“Stranger Things’” highly anticipated second season was available to binge-watch Oct. 27 on Netflix just in time to ring in the Halloween spirit.

While just as strange as the first season, the Duffer Brothers also brought tears and frustration as they dove deeper into Eleven’s past and Will Byers’ continued journey as he tries to move past last year’s events.

Chapter 1: MADMAX

While he had a small role last year, Will (Noah Schnapp) begins to shine this season with more screen time — showing just how deeply affected Will still is a year after emerging from the Upside Down. Schnapp’s portrayal of a tortured Will comes in dazed stares as fans wonder if he is truly there or not.

But the million dollar question is finally answered at the end — where is Eleven?

Somewhere in the woods in a cabin, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) are shown eating dinner as the audience breathes a sigh of relief — and maybe a few tears, too.

Chapter 2: Trick or Treat, Freak

Season 2 should come with a “Warning: Sad Eleven Scenes Ahead” sign.

Millie Bobby Brown tugs heartstrings this season as Eleven’s journey takes a lonely turn.

At this point, we can only gather that Eleven has been with Hopper for a few months. Anyone is bound to go a little crazy being virtually alone for that long.

Finn Wolfhard (Mike) and Brown reel the audience in when, once again, their scene has Mike and Eleven so close but so far away. Wolfhard’s best acting this season comes in during scenes where Mike is missing Eleven.

Chapter 3: The Pollywog

The pace begins to pick up when the boys’ conclude Will can see into the Upside Down and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) sees the creature Will drew appear in a video he took Halloween night. It’s the visual proof used in horror and mystery needed to show the audience that the threat is real.

Bob Newby’s (Joyce’s goofy yet lovable boyfriend played by Sean Astin) advice in the previous episode foreshadowed that Will would try to stand up to the shadow tentacle. Was Will a little naive to take the advice? Maybe. But Bob did not know any better as he was just trying to help. Showing this back-to-back with sudden flashbacks of Bob’s advice and thunderous, haunting music warns us that Will is not going to be OK.

Chapter 4: Will the Wise

Schnapp finally begins to show off the extent of his acting abilities as Will becomes possessed by the shadow tentacle in the Upside Down. He captures possession perfectly with the Duffer Brothers using the previous episode’s method of sudden montages of the Upside Down combined with his trance-like state of drawing.

The Duffer Brothers and Brown manage to make another “Eleven is all alone” scene fresh, and even more tragic, with Eleven crying out for her mother. She leaves the darkness of sensory deprivation only to find more darkness as she is alone in the cabin.

Chapter 5: Dig Dug

“Breathe. Sunflower. Rainbow. Three to the right. Four to the left. Four-fifty. Breathe.”

Terry Ives’ (Aimee Mullins) seemingly nonsensical mantra turns out to be memories of losing her daughter Jane and trying to get her back. The realization hits hard as fans of the show have empathized with this lost girl who does not have a loving family. But it is short lived as Terry is in a vegetative state and cannot connect with her daughter in the way Eleven wants.

The situation becomes dire as the protagonists uncover the truth about what’s happening underneath Hawkins. Schnapp is given the perfect cliffhanger with his traumatizing performance of possession and piercing screeching as the episode ends.

Chapter 6: The Spy

The Duffer brothers have set the tone for the rest of the season to be a life or death matter with Will — once again — at the center of it.

Schnapp takes a more pained and frantic position on possession. Schnapp’s scenes alternate from a calm Will to a terrified Will to a spy-like Will being controlled by the Upside Down.

Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) have been hinted at since season 1, although they come together in the most cliche way: everyone seeing it before they do. While the feelings are really there, its execution comes across as fan service. To top it off, not much more about them as a couple is shown for the rest of the season.

Chapter 7: The Lost Sister

In episode one, she closed her eyes, balled up her hand, and made a bridge explode — but not really. Her nose bled and she had the number 008 on her wrist.

“Sister.”

Eight, also known as Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) and Eleven were both raised by Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) at the lab.

While their reunion was touching, the “Dark Eleven” storyline was unnecessary for her to further develop her powers. Eleven’s motivation is the love she has for her friends, not anger over those who hurt her. She would not be able to kill someone without remorse as Kali and her friends do. Episode seven was a filler episode at best.

Chapter 8: The Mind Flayer

While Steve (Joe Keery) was not the most liked character last season, he became a fan favorite this season for his babysitting skills and willingness to keep the kids safe. It also helps that his budding brother-like friendship with Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is adorable.

His changed personality from an asshole jock to a reliable friend grabbed fans’ attention and made him the center of a new meme — Dad Steve.

Will’s possession takes another step forward and Schnapp continues to step up to the plate with screams guaranteed to make you feel like your own throat is throbbing. 

Chapter 9: The Gate

“I can’t lose you again.”

Mike and Eleven’s reunion is something fans have been waiting for ever since Eleven disappeared.

Up until now, Wolfhard’s scenes were nothing special in showcasing his acting. But his heart-wrenching screams and cries as he confronts Hopper reminds us that he is just a kid who missed his friend.

A common trope in media is for the hero to overcome insecurity to defeat the darkness. Painting her loved ones in bright lights as she fights back against the Gate proves that they are her motivation to do well.

Recap

“Stranger Things” still continues to dominate Netflix’s popular shows and movies more than a week after its release.

Season 2 brought second chances: Steve’s redemption from season 1, Hopper’s second chance at having a daughter and Jonathan and Nancy’s second chance at admitting their feelings for eachother.

Although season 2 did not end with as dire of a cliffhanger as season 1, the ending still shows that not everything was resolved, but it did make for something else to work with in the next season.

While new characters like Bob can make the plot more interesting, Maxine ‘Max’ Mayfield (Sadie Sink) and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) — cue vomiting over the Billy and Karen Wheeler scene — did nothing to further the plot, no matter how cute Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max may be.

Overall, “Stranger Things” season 2 was the perfect opportunity for Noah Schnapp to break out of “lost boy Will” mode and test his abilities with possession. We can only hope Will gets a break next season from being the Upside Down’s toy.

The poor kid deserves a break.

Filming for season 3 is set to start soon with a fourth and fifth likely to follow. But once again, we have to wait another long year for the next season.

Featured Image: File

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Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

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2 Comments

  1. Christine Daniel
    Christine Daniel November 08, 02:35

    I think only Noah Schnapp dominated. He blew Millie’s performance out of the water (both seasons). He better see Emmys + other awards. Bright future for this kid. Truly a hidden gem.
    All kids are so talented though.

    Reply to this comment
  2. ykg
    ykg November 09, 19:33

    Episode 8 is titled “The Mind Flayer” not The Mind Player.

    Anyway, the first time I watched that last scene on Episode 5 was the first time I noticed how good this Noah is.
    I had a different feeling watching that scene, it did not scare me, it amazed me. I was like, No Way, this guy is acting on such a different level.

    Reply to this comment

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