Admittedly this season of Stranger Things had a lot of stuff that I normally dislike- a lot of body horror, an animal being tortured and killed (luckily it was quick and probably the worst effect of the season so I could turn away) and our gang being separated and off on different adventures.
And yet I still absolutely loved it. After several years absence it’s like Stranger Things came back firing on all cylinders.
I’m going to break it down by stories…
Hawkins was were the action was at. As a terrible demon Dustin nicknames Vecna starts brutally murdering kids and he seems to be playing with their heads driving them crazy before they die. An older friend of the boys winds up accused of the murders and going into hiding but even worse for our gang next up on the demon’s list…
This story line to me had everything (and the fact that it tied into Eleven’s story wrapping everything together nicely was just perfect) it had drama, it had horror, it had emotion and music, it had Steve and Dustin and Eddie…
And speaking of Eddie Munson honestly Stranger Things reigns supreme for being able to introduce new characters by the time we got to episode 7 I felt like Eddie fit in with the gang and am hoping that he sticks around.
I even liked red shirt Chrissy in the first episode.
Plus the Hawkins gang was where the Running Up that Hill sequence took place at the end of episode 4 (Dear Billy) which honestly might be my favorite episode of Strange Things so far and maybe one of my favorite episodes of television ever.
And I also liked the Kreel family story as it played out. Nice to get a Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself) cameo. When I was a kid Freddy was always the worst especially how he killed you which was another reason Vecna was such a good villain for me!
I was not big on Jason and company but I think they are going somewhere with that I’ll expound upon in another ramble 🙂
Episode 4 also had a top moment from Hooper who is in a Russian prison waiting for Joyce and Murray to pay off the pilot “saving him” and that’s Yuri’s (said pilots) betrayal. While I understood why some people thought this one drug overall it was my second favorite. The way the betrayal was executed was really well done.
I actually liked Hopper and the corrupt guard friend Dmitri. The fact that Murray, who can be so over the top and somewhat easy to make a joke of, was a legitimate badass. The episode 7 fight with the monster and the reunion. Ugh! David Harbour played the facial reactions too that so perfectly. Like his shock at seeing Joyce (and Murray) and then the smile as he finally hugged her back. Yes your friends just overtook a top secret Russian prison to get you back. That better be one hell of a date.
I’m just making her a category of her own.
Eleven started with horrible bullies (a fact of her life apparently) and trouble with Mike as she was trying to hide how miserable she is in California and he apparently stopped signing his letters Love, Mike. (I don’t think those two are going to last. Season 3 Hopper will be so happy!)
Anyway I have to say I didn’t care about her belting Angela with the skate. I think it would have been worse if she had powers and used them on her but the skate was something that I think a lot of people would have been driven to do. Considering how little people El has to rely on in life I was a little upset Owens gave her back to Brenner who I’ve never liked. I mean Matthew Modine plays him well but I just can’t. Wait too much of a creep. Hopefully the last two episodes will see the end of him.
Anyway I think I loved this story most because of the mystery. And Jamie Campbell Bower as One/Kreel/Vecna was a fantastic case. He reminds me of Matt Smith in that a lot of the times even when he’s not necessarily trying he just looks sinister. And it was a mystery that wrapped everything together answered important questions and I think it was one where the pieces were laid out throughout the season so you could pick up on it or you could get close.
Whether you actually liked it or not is a whole other story. I did. I’m just impressed by how well written this show was this season.
I also liked how the Monsters vs. Superheroes debate ties into this. The fact that Eleven inadvertently opened the first gate (that we know of) and the monster was made that way was a nice touch.
Lastly we have the California Crew…
Who episode 4 shoot-out aside (which was another exceedingly well done bit in episode 4!) this was probably the most uninteresting story for me especially after Eleven left in episode 3. I didn’t even miss them in the finale of this volume. Jonathon seems like he has little to do except smoke pot with his new friend (which had it’s moments don’t get me wrong) whatever’s going on with him and Nancy (and now Steve) I hope it ends fast.
And then there’s Will. I definitely lean into them implying that Will has feelings for Mike which I know a lot of people on-line who are like Mike just needs to wake up and then it will happen and I can’t help but think I must have missed all the signs for that one. Because actually if you were going to have me pick a character that would maybe be an ass about Will coming out at all I’d pick Mike so hopefully the writer’s have some ideas here that I’m not seeing yet.
There’s still two super sized episodes left to close out this season on July 1st. But so far this could be the best season yet 🙂