Friday, October 27, 2017

Stranger Things - Chapter One: MADMAX

It may take the entire opening episode of the show's Second Season to get around to my favorite Stranger Things character, but in the meantime the show catches us up a bit on what we've missed since the conclusion of the show's First Season. Will (Noah Schnapp) is back, although he feels smothered by the over-protectiveness of his friends and family, and has the lasting effect of occasional visions of the Upside Down which his psychologist (Paul Reiser) assures Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Sheriff Hopper (David Harbour) are only signs of PTSD based on the anniversary of his time in the Upside Down, while the scientists in the basement continue to push back against the rift which is far from dormant. Mike's (Finn Wolfhard) obsession with finding Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has begun effecting his school work and home life. Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is still with Steve (Joe Keery). All still friends, Mike, Will, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) are interested in the new kid in town (Sadie Sink) while the girls in high school are far more interested in her older brother (Dacre Montgomery).

While it may not deliver any standout wow moments (the closest it gets is Will's vision, which was given away in the season's trailers), "MADMAX" sets the stage for the episodes to follow. Pairing the Sheriff and Eleven is no big surprise, although his secrecy about it (even to Will) is an interesting choice. Will's visions are obviously foreshadowings of a bigger incursion the second time around and given the importance of young Max (Sink), who the episode is named after. I'm wondering just how large a role she will have to play going forward or if she's nothing more than a red herring. The episode's opening also hints at an entirely different plot thread worth following as we see one of Eleven's predecessors looses in the world. I'll be curious to see just how Eight, AKA Mick (Gabrielle Maiden), gets woven into the larger storyline as well.

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