“Stranger Things” Episode Review: Happy Anniversary

Welcome back to Hawkins, Indiana for season 2 of “Stranger Things!” Things got back to stranger very quickly in “Chapter One: MADMAX” as Dustin’s arcade high score is threatened by a new student, Will goes into Hawkins Lab for a checkup and Nancy meets Barb’s parents for dinner.

Following a thrilling and mysterious opener involving bank robbers in Pittsburgh who have similar powers to Eleven, we got a quick refresher to what’s been going on Hawkins since we left off. Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will are up to their usual shenanigans, raiding Nancy’s piggy bank to go to the arcade, when *GASP* Dustin’s high score is beaten by MADMAX! There’s something inherently charming and nostalgic about this storyline, especially when it’s revealed that MADMAX is a girl with a very angry brother. (“Power Rangers'” Dacre Montgomery)

Speaking of new characters, we got a double dose of 80s stars with Sean Astin as Joyce’s new love interest, Bob, and “Aliens'” Paul Reiser as a Hawkins Lab doctor who is helping Will with his “episodes.” Reiser’s character seems like a standup guy, but then again, this is Hawkins Lab we’re talking about, so we’ll see…

In other news, Nancy and Steve are still a thing (Grrr) and have dinner with Barb’s parents, who hire a private investigator to solve the mystery of Barb’s “disappearance,” which understandably upsets Nancy. But the big shocker is in the episode’s closing moments as we see Hopper return to an old cabin that her shares with… Eleven???

“Chapter One: MADMAX” was a charming and refreshing reintroduction to the “Stranger Things” world with plenty of promise and an all around “Good to be back” tone. It’s a great way to get season 2 started.

“Stranger Things” is now streaming on Netflix.

Photo Credit: Netflix