Happy Halloween!!! Stranger Things 2 is in full-swing, but with some new twists like characters behaving stupidly out of character to move the plot forward.
The episode begins with El saying, “Goodbye Mike.” *sniff* BUT, she didn’t die after killing the Demimooregorgan! Instead of dying, she went into the Upside Down, escaped, and became feral in the Indiana woods living off squirrels and mugging hunters for their coats. Really. So, Yay?
Present day, she’s living with Hop who protects her by raising her in isolation. She wants to go Trick or Treating. Hop refuses. Instead he offers a compromise: he’ll get home early, they’ll eat candy, and watch a movie. Hop calls this a compromise – Halfway Happy. With the phrase Halfway Happy, Hop encapsulates the theme of his life, her life, and our experience as viewers: Halfway Happy.
Hop is halfway happy because he gets to be a dad again- Kinda.
El is halfway happy because she doesn’t have to live as a feral monster in the woods, but is isolated from any normal life.
Mike and the boys are halfway happy because they are safe – for now.
We are halfway happy because it’s season 2 and I’m reviewing again!
Here comes the stupid:
Joyce and Hop review Will’s spider beast drawing and are convinced that it’s all in head. WHY?! They’ve been to the upside down. They’ve seen monsters! Why are they incredulous?! WHY?!
We learn that Madmax’s brother is likely wanted and an asshole. But, I gotta write- his mullet is EPIC! Points for that!
Hop investigates more rotting pumpkins and loses track of time and misses eating candy with El. He doesn’t believe Will’s new big bad drawings, but show him some gooey trees and he’s all in baby! I wish there were more to that subplot, but there just wasn’t.
Young Judah Friedlander is really dumb this season. Did he get a TBI?! He doesn’t know what words mean like presumptuous and rescues an unidentified whatever (baby demimooregorgan from his trash). WHY?! He is somewhat popular with Madmax- good on him for that.
We learn that El has honed her skills to go into the black room by using a blindfold and thinking really hard. Good on her for that.
Will emotes with the same face again this episode as he is harassed and put into the upside down with a shadow monster. Also, a disappointment because the last big bad was a tangible threat out to “Suck your blood”.
Nancy is going through some growth. She’s feeling guilty about Barb. I didn’t think that sociopaths could develop emotions. But, here we are – Another character that is out of character. She gets drunk, breaks up with Steve, and gets taken home by Creeper. The parents never wake even a little, which is out of character for Cara Buono who was up in everyone’s business last season.
I’m starting to think that this season is a transition for the creators who never envisioned this story continuing. The first season ended like a great Beowolf Epic. El sacrifices herself and the hope of love for her quest. Hop goes all into redeem himself as a fallen knight for redemption. This season, in contrast, falls flat because it doesn’t know where to go. The monster is dead and this new one lacks suspense because he’s not even corporeal. The Duffer Brothers might be using this season as transition to figure out a new compelling narrative- at least to think so makes me Halfway Happy.