Posted October 27, 2017 by David Ratcliffe in Reviews

REVIEW: Stranger Things S02E01 – MADMAX

Episode: S02E01 – MADMAX
Air Date: October 27, 2017
Executive Producers: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Dan Cohen, Shawn Levy, Iain Paterson

Created and Written by: Matt and Ross Duffer
Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, Cara Buono, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser, Linnea Berthelsen, Joe Chrest.

Set just shy of a year on from the first series we open in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania instead of Hawkins, Indiana where The Duffer Brothers increase the mythology of the first series with an introduction of a group of misfits on the run from the police.

Eight is older than Eleven and her ability to manipulate others sense of reality raises questions. Is she from the same facility as Eleven or is this a country wide conspiracy where there are many with powers? In expanding its fictional world Stranger Things offers some hope in this day an age of crossovers and superhero team ups that this group may meet Eleven’s somewhere down the line to destroy the demons? Exciting? YES.

© Netflix| The Duffer Brothers

In the midst of the 1984 General election back in Hawkins, Indiana, preparations for Halloween are under way as we find Dustin, Lucas, Will and Mike scrambling for change so they can play an arcade game Dragons Lair. “MADMAX” is a gamer who beat Dustin’s hard earned high scores as he argues with another guy in the arcade  introducing us to a theme for the series that sees Will dealing with his Upside Down trauma. He is suffering from post traumatic stress and the monster revealed towards the end of the episode suggests something more terrifying than the Demogorgon.

Hopper continues his protection of Will and Joyce as a reporter regales stories of what Eleven did in the last series and suggests that Barb was kidnapped by the Russians and they will invade Hawkins. It turns out he was hired by Barb’s parents to find her.

As Hopper investigates a pumpkin field that is rotted suggesting all is not well in Hawkins, Will continues to see the Upside Down and goes to see Dr Owens where it seems Will is afflicted with the evil he sees proclaiming whatever the evil is it wants to kill, “Not me. Everyone else.”

© Netflix| The Duffer Brothers

Much like Eleven new kid Max, don’t call her Maxine, grabs the attentions of the boys especially Dustin and Lucas as Mike still listens out not he radio in the hope of hearing from Eleven. Joining the school from California she is a great addition to the cast as an out of town lone wolf who leaves a note to the boys that says “Stop spying on me Creeps!” She skateboards too so that’s cool. New characters fit seamlessly in to the new series as Joyce has a former hobbit as a love interest; did anyone else laugh when they saw Sean Astin’s Bob? No just me?

An excellent start to a series that is charming, nostalgic and creepy.

Oh and Eleven is alive, is in Hawkins staying with Hopper, and is still obsessed with Eggos.

The whole series can be binged at your leisure now on Netflix.


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David has an undergraduate degree in Drama and first showed symptoms of a mind blown by cinema after watching The Godfather too many years ago to remember. He enjoys binge watching TV shows because that is the only way to watch them, right? The West Wing, The Sopranos and The Wire rank among his favourites of all time; the list could go on but changes the more he watches. Books, comics and games are also enjoyed in different moods. Finishing that novel is a life ambition.