Stranger Things 2, Plots, Poop

Always wanted to put ‘poop’ in a title. For clarity it’s not about the second coming of poop, but the sequel. Of the show, not poop. I am going to regret the decision to not put the 2 at the end, aren’t I?

THERE BE SPOILERS IN THESE DANG HILLS

NON COUNTRY SPEAK – SPOILERS AHEAD

ALSO SWEAR WORDS

AND SEXUAL REFERENCES

PUTTING A PICTURE UP ABOUT THE SHOW AND THEN WILL BE TALKING ABOUT SPOILERS

SORRY CAPS BUT *spoliers*

Clarity is good, right?

courtesy of – stolen on the internet – before the spoilers.

I just binge watched the first two seasons over the weekend.

The Good: Season 1 had a ton of suspense, discovery, solid science fiction, interesting characters that you cared about, and good plot. A lot of tension and mystery. I loved it.

The Bad: Season 2 was terrible science fiction. I still enjoyed it but after the last episode, when I started thinking about it, I was relegated to pretty heavy disappointment. I loved and hated it.

Assuming I won’t share a popular opinion here but Season 2 of Stranger Things represented everything that is wrong with TV to me. That mostly being that TV shows try hard to be awesome first – and soon as they get success that effort to be awesome becomes an effort to extend the duration of the show for money – whether it be additional episodes or seasons. I usually don’t last past season 3 on shows (Dexter, Lost, etc.) and when I do I end up completely disappointed in the end as something that may have started off interesting and artistic is twisted into financially successful first and foremost. I know that TV shows are a business. I just don’t think they start with the profits angle first because they need the critical acclaim, hype and popularity by making an awesome show. Then the shit goes to hell when they try to extend the profit time or range. It’s not always immediate hell or a clear and visible transition to crap town, but it’s a slow degradation. A sequel for the sake of a sequel, not because there is a good idea or story to explore.

Season 2 did some things well. They enhanced the characters that you came to know and love from the first season. Built on the good of that and learned more about them. Unfortunately the plot was downright awful. Complete shit. We can talk about a few specific things but in general just accept it is sewage level. Here are some things that drove me nuts, written in a “crazy man” ranty run-on format. I am using this format to better explain how the plot felt. In no particular order.

  • Negate the sacrifice of Elle (Eleven)  killing herself and the super monster from the first season by having her somehow disintegrate and reintegrate in “the upside down” – to immediately escape and go hide instead of finding her friends or making contact. Basically the shittiest of shit explanations for how she survived the encounter. Her sacrifice was an important and excellent conclusion to the first season. Except it didn’t happen. Because money, and season 2 needed. (By that account, the monster should still be alive as well).
  • Introduce a new super monster that for some reason didn’t exist in the same dimension (the upside-down) from the first season, but is all seeing, knowing, and powerful and now exists in color as a red storm in an otherwise black and white dimension with one used-to-be-super-monster that is gone (but shouldn’t be, because should just be back in the upside-down like Elle) but can’t cross the dimensional plane like the other, weaker crappier bad guy from the first season could at will.
  • Introduce a new character “08” that could have huge implications (and even be what the entire season should have been about – the kids and the experiments) in the first episode, only to ignore her until the 4th from last episode, only to have her not play a role in anything important to the central plot (including her episode). Was a waste of air time and opportunity. What happened to 1 through 7, and 9 and 10? Were there any after 11? This could have been a plot. You know, those things shows and stories are made up of. But no, need Dungeons and Dragon jokes and Elle’s nosebleeds.
  • Not kill off any important or meaningful characters although the plot but them into 100+ situations throughout season 2 that would have warranted a meaningful death. Hopper should be dead. Steve should be dead. Once it became obvious that no matter what situation they were put in there was no actual danger the show lost all suspense. Just a walk in the park.The show would have been better for it if they had consequence or tension.  Turned into a  Scooby-Doo LARP. “I would have taken over your dimension if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!”
  • Introduce Bob the boyfriend – Bob was such a perfect boyfriend that both my son (12 years old) and I suspected he wasn’t what he represented. He was *too* perfect. Clearly, based off of the experience of the first season where the writers actually tried, Bob must be a government agent planted to keep an eye on the Byers family – or maybe for some other nefarious, sinister reason. No one is that sweet, perfect and nice. This show is about twists! Well, WAS about twists. Now it just introduces the perfect, sweet and nice boyfriend character so they can kill him off at the end (so they don’t have to kill off any real characters) so the viewer would “care”. Bullshit character. Didn’t care. Glad he got eaten, I just wished it was someone else. (Okay, maybe I felt a little bad for Bob, but at that moment I realized he was only put in the show to die anyway, so just served his function.)
  • Have hundreds of miles of tunnels dug five feet below the surface of the entire town but not a rumble or a noise, or a neighbor “hearing” the tunnels happening. It would probably feel like an earthquake – every 10 feet of tunnel – but no, they just magically appear. When Hopper digs a five foot deep hole to find the tunnel in the first place he creates a mountain of dirt (that used to be in the hole). Where did the millions of cubic feet of dirt go from the tunnels? Who created them?  How were they created basically instantly and overnight? (The Pumpkin fields basically died overnight). How was it done silently? Why tunnels in the first place? What was their purpose? WHY IS THERE NO PLOT? Shit, I tell you.
  • The polliwog to Demi-Gorgon development actually had some legs to explain where the Demi-Gorgon came from in the first place. Except now it just stopped developing half way (in a 12 hour period) to a dog-like form instead of human-ish form.  Why was the original monster unique, when the dimension is able to create hundreds of creatures that look like the original monster but just run on all fours instead of upright? Why didn’t these creatures exist in thee mirror dimension? Why did the original monster exist by itself – why were there no others? How does the new, big bad monster exist as smoke?
  • The boy as a conduit between two worlds based on his time there had some merit. I give them that. They just didn’t do anything good with it.
  • Why turn a perfectly good science fiction drama into a sitcom? Really, the humor stood out in Stranger Things Season 2, but I have reruns of Seinfeld to watch for sitcom satisfaction. Seinfeld had a stronger plot too. Yes, I just said that out loud. I wasn’t looking for a new buddy comedy in Stranger Things 2. I was looking for a bit more of what was on tap with Season 1. There are enough buddy comedies out there already.
  • Every single person in the government building is dead. Everyone slaughtered. Except, miraculously, the one person who might actually be able to give Elle her life back – who, remarkably, hid in such a clever place – THE MAIN STAIRWELL. THE DEMON DOGS THAT CAN HEAR A BROOM HANDLE HIT THE FLOOR FROM 100′ AWAY AND ARE BASICALLY BULLET PROOF HUNTED DOWN AND SLAUGHTERED EVERY LAST LIVING THING IN THE BUILDING EXCEPT THE ONE, MAIN GUY WHO COULD PRODUCE A FAKE BIRTH CERTIFICATE FOR ELLE. That was very nice of him. He should have tried that in his (better) appearance in the movie Aliens. There were lots of stairwells in that base too. Genus idea.

If Stranger Things Season 1 was like sex (anticipation, good the whole time, strong climax, feeling of satisfaction afterwards) Season 2 was basically circle-jerk science fiction. It felt good at the time but after it was over and looking into the eyes of all around you you might feel a little embarrassed for liking it. Maybe it didn’t measure up to the real thing and the good feeling didn’t last long and its something you would prefer to not talk about again. I have no reason to look forward to Season 3 as I suspect they will add in laugh tracks.

Season one was great TV and I was emotionally invested in Season two. I care(d) about the characters and I felt like they introduced interesting concepts and ideas on the first season that could have been expanded and improved upon instead of abandoned. Everything interesting and eventful was discarded in season two. It felt like fan fiction “feel goods” that every one gets whatever they ever wanted, everyone’s downfalls are redeemed, and no one important ever gets hurt.

6 Comments

  1. Asmiroth

    Every point is valid. There is some astoundingly poor writing in this season, where the gimmick is more important than the plot. Nearly all the character development had nothing to do with the actual plot of the series. My wife had the same reaction to Bob. In a world of grey characters, he is a standout of pure intentions. You see Billy’s dad for what, 2 minutes, and he has more nuance.

    I personally don’t mind the lack of explanation for a lot of the sci-fi elements. The mystery there is the fun part (a bit how Lost got confused when they started explaining things). I’d much rather have no explanation than a crappy one. Midichlorians anyone?

    Right now, I am treating season 1 as the concept of a pilot episode. Season 2 is the launch from that point. There is certainly potential here.

    But seriously. Steve man. That guy is gold.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      HA on Steve! He did have a nice redemption story from begrudgingly bully to nerd hero. The transition to ‘Adventures in Babysitting’ wasn’t needed. He is also too perfect and understanding and strangely doesn’t get the happily ever after like everyone else.

      Too much explanation isn’t always good as you say, but the first season paced releasing new information. What the area is. How it opened. How it is accessed. What lives there. What happens there. What attracts the Demi-gorgon. It drip fed new information and made it seem as if the “upside down” could actually exist, and had physics, and science, and magic all aligned. Which made the series very cool.

      Season 2 messed all of that up, but in a “Housewives of Hawkins” kinds of way. Guilty pleasure TV (I did say several times I enjoyed watching it) like how my wife likes those trashy, hollow and empty Housewives of show.

      And TV already has too many of those.

      Reply
  2. Izlain

    I suppose that I noticed all of the plot holes but I was wrapped up enough in it to suspend my disbelief entirely… I actually enjoyed the whole thing, but I just ate it as it was served and didn’t question anything. As Asmiroth said, your points are valid, I just didn’t put much thought into it.

    A funny story about Bob… my girlfriend also suspected he might be evil, and then fell in love with the character. When he died she was very sad… to the point of tears even. The next day her kid decided to draw her some pictures of dead bob and ghost bob. She showed me later and I had a good chuckle, at her expense. What a jerk I am.

    Reply
    1. Isey (Post author)

      What about Bob? =)

      I really thought they would do something clever there. When he finally drove Will to school on his own was the moment I thought Bob was going to show his true colors. First time alone with the kid. Even when he told the clown story, it made me think – “OH, the government knows he has this connection and are trying to exploit it so WANT him to confront the beast”. Of course that wasn’t true. I was still thinking it was season one and was giving the writers way too much credit.

      The sad part of the show that by the 4th episode the fun game I played with my son was the “what will happen next game” as it became grossly predictable and vanilla.

      Reply
      1. Izlain

        I did predict quite a bit as well. Also saw somewhere that due to that clown bit, somehow this show correlates to Stephen Kings IT. Fan theories can get pretty wacky.

        Reply
        1. Isey (Post author)

          I read that too! It was based off of where he said he came from and how he wants to move them back there at some point – and the clown story, and the age/timeline of it all.

          Reply

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