Stranger Things: S2E1: “MADMAX”

Stranger-Things-Season-02-Episode-01-Mad-Max-30.36
7.9 Overall Score

“MADMAX” served as a proper reintroduction of Hawkins, Indiana while we catch up with the old and new. The setting is one year after the events of the first Stranger Things season. Presumably, things have gone somewhat back to normal. If you needed a blast of 80’s nostalgia, the first part of the episode is lathered with it. We see the gang go down to the local arcade and play some Dragon’s Lair while Devo‘s “Whip It” plays in the background.

Wait…that opening scene. It feels like it’s an after thought because the episode does not reference what happened at any point after. We got a bread crumb. An snapshot. Despite the time spent, the significance matters. There’s another person out there like Eleven with her same powers (and nosebleed). Tagged “008” like the experiments would be in from Hawkins Laboratory, the Stranger Things universe just got a whole lot broader. This is coupled with the fact that at the end of the episode, we find out that Eleven is alive and well. Hopper has taken her in and have been for quite some time.

The heart of the episode deals with certain characters and the concept of their own new normal. Mike is still searching for any sign of Eleven. Nancy is still dealing with the loss of her best friend, Barb. Will is back, but he’s not alright by any means. He’s trying to get adjusted to the real world again. Jonathan and Will have a brother bonding moment in the episode that’s touching. Two outcasts finding their way in not being normal. In fact, they decide to wear it like a badge of honor.

Will’s visions of the upside down begin to intensify. Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser), who replaces Brenner at Hawkins Laboratory examines him. Dr. Owens contributes this to some sort of PTSD. Towards the end of the episode, he sees Hawkins totally engulfed by the upside down and a spider-like monster over taking the sky. Yikes!

We do get introductions to some new characters. Maxine “Mad Max” Mayfield (Sadie Sink), the skateboarding, high score champion of Dig Dug. Maxine has become a crush interest for both Dustin and Lucas. Murray Bauman(Brett Gelman), a private detective/conspiracy theorist who has been hired by Barb’s parents to investigate her disappearance. Bob Newby (Sean Astin) is the owner of the local Radio Shack (remember those?) and love interest of Joyce Byers.

There were a couple of revelations, but “MadMax” was basically served to get the audience reacquainted. The show is setting us the chess pieces to where we are going where it has to raise the stakes a bit.

Main Photo Credit: Netflix

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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