"Chapter 1: MADMAX"
The season premiere of Stranger Things kicks off with a new top video gamer in town, new nightmares and even a couple of shocking moments.
"MADMAX" was a terrific first episode of the new season that sets the tone for what's to come. Not only are there new characters for the folks of Hawkins, Indiana, but there's a new video game leader for Mike and the gang to deal with at hand.
The episode starts off with a robbery a year after the events of season one. A group escape in a van and while being chased by cops, one of the members in the truck gets the cops to stop as he thinks he sees the bridge collapse but it was all just in his mind the member that did it has a tattoo with the number 008.
Things in Hawkins, Indiana seem to be well, back to where we were in the first season. Hopper is doing what he does best when he comes to work first thing, trying to ignore anyone that comes to see him, but this time he deals with a freelance journalist who's investigating Barb's disappearance. Things do set when Hooper gets calls about someone's pumpkins being ruined by another pumpkin farmer.
Joyce is concern about Will after he gets another vision/dream of the underworld where he sees a storm cloud that scares him. He was taken to see Owens, an executive of the DOE that's in charge of the place, does test and ask questions to Will of these visions and thinks it's just PTSD.
With all of these new characters and such, you do wonder where is Eleven. That is answered at the end of the question with a jaw-dropping moment. As Hooper drives in the woods and walks to a cabin, you think that it might be his new home and maybe living with his girlfriend of such. But it wasn't, and it turned out to be Eleven with curly hair who walks in and eats dinner with Hooper.
"MADMAX" was such a good episode that set an excellent tone, as I said in the beginning. With the return of these characters we've loved and enjoyed so much, the one that I was glad to see was Eleven back and alive. Yes, I did enjoy watching Mike, Dustin, Will, and Lucas rushing to the arcade. Loved the music playing in the scenes and the new character, Mad Max coming in as well. I did enjoy the Joyce and Hooper scene as I think that these two might be better together than Joyce and Bob. The writing for this episode was outstanding. Overall, I give this episode a 9/10.
"Chapter 2: Trick or Treat, Freak"
It's Halloween, and the gang is ready for trick or treating, but when Max comes in it doesn't play well for one of the members.
It's Halloween and Mike, and the boys are set with their costumes, dressing up as Ghostbusters. But when they get to school, they notice that no one else is dressed up as well. Dustin and Lucas ask Max to join them for trick or to treat and leaving them with no answer, but that turned out to be a yes when she scared the hell out of them with her costume. And that didn't sit well with Mike.
Will is still having visions of the underworld and seeing a giant creator. He's drawn it, and Joyce sees it and even gets worried about it. He has another encounter vision with the creator during trick or treating, and it triggered when other kids were calling him "Zombie Boy" but Mike comes and takes him back to his place, and they talked about what he had seen.
The one story out of all of this was Eleven and how she managed to come back, thinking that she was gone. After taking down the creator in the season one finale, she's in the underworld and tries to find Mike with no luck of seeing him. She comes to the same an opening that goes back to the real world. She comes through and tries going back to Mike's house, but the FBI and cops were there. The FBI tells Mike that he needs to say to them where Eleven is at and he sees her through the window and she quickly runs off. She uses her survival skills to hunt, protect herself and wear proper clothing.
Back and forth with the present and past, Eleven wants to trick or treating and tells Hooper that no one will see her with her ghost costume. But he wouldn't agree to it and compromise by getting off from work early and bring a lot of candy, but that didn't work out well when Hooper gets pulled into investigating more of the mystery of the dead pumpkins and trees that have that goop from the underworld.
There's one moment where Eleven is upset and brings the TV into her room, and as she flips through channels, she decides to telepath her way to see Mike. When she does for a minute, Mike hears Eleven with excitement but then walks away with doubt that it's her even though she's like right there, leaving her in heartbreak.
The episode ends with a stunner when Dustin gets home and for the second time hears a noise near his home. He sees the trash can moving and walks up to it and opens with a surprise that you'll have to see the third episode.
"Trick or Treat, Freak" was a terrific episode, mostly for Eleven than the rest of the characters. I thought that it was so far Millie Bobby Brown's best performance with character growth and showed with such emotion. The Johnathan and Nancy story was not it was best but was enjoyable. Sean Austin in the last couple of episodes good and brings the humor but makes that boyfriend awkwardness. Overall, I give this episode a 9/10.
You can catch the second season of Stranger Things available now on Netflix, along with Season One.