TV reviews

Stranger Things 2×02 – Trick or Treat, Freak – TV Review

This review contains spoilers

Halloween comes to Hawkins, Nancy gets wasted and Will sees something lurking in the dark.

The baddest bitch in Hawkins has returned. After her escape from the Upside Down, which feels somewhat anti climatic, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is now hauled up in a cabin with Hopper (David Harbour), who is desperate to protect her from the nefarious lab that originally brought the Upside Down to Hawkins. He is clearly treating her as a surrogate for his lost daughter. But of course, looking after a miniature Jean Grey is not easy, especially as Eleven’s powers, and her desire to go outside, grows. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between these two develops.

Speaking of relationships, one grows and one falls apart. Dustin and Lucas (Gaten Matarzzo and Caleb McLaughlin respectively) stumble over their attempt to ask Max (Sadie Sink) to join them trick or treating. Their pre-teen attempts at flirting are endearing and serves to remind the viewer that despite battling monsters, the pair are still children. It is also nice to Dustin and Lucas get something to do that does not involve Mike (Finn Wolfhard) or the ever-encroaching darkness threatening to engulf them. Meanwhile, a drunk Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is abandoned by arsehole Steve (Joe Keery) after a fight. “It’s bullshit,” she repeatedly tells him. That it is girl. #JusticeForBarb seems to be going nowhere and Steve is in no rush to rock the boat. Grow a backbone lad. Of course, this allows friendzoned Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to swoop in and make the save.

In other news, the Great Pumpkin plague of Hawkins spreads to every farm on the outskirts of the town and Psycho Billy (Dacre Montgomery aka Not Zac Efron) continues to be a psycho by almost running Lucas, Dustin and Mike off the road for no more than shits and giggles. Of course his backstory has not unfolded yet and is full of mystery and intrigue, and as of yet he is the only human monster on the show (check out that mullet, he’s definitely a monster), but here’s hoping he meets a sticky end.

Predictably, trick or treating does not go well and Mike is not happy about Max’s inclusion in the group, feeling she is usurping his precious Eleven. But Will (Noah Schnapp) is in serious peril here. After being scared by a trio of older kids, another one of his “episodes” is triggered and he finds himself back in the mostly deserted Upside Down. Mostly. On the horizon, the shadow monster rises, and it is gigantic. It fills the sky and stalks Will as he attempts to hide from it. How exactly Will is travelling between Hawkins and the Upside Down is yet to be answered and adds yet another layer of mystery about what is going on here. Clearly, something is seriously wrong with Will, and perhaps he is in even more danger now than he was in the previous season.

With enough intrigue to keep the story moving along, Trick or Treat, Freak is a solid second episode.

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