Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inexplicable TV Review: Stranger Things – Where to now?

Warning: Spoilers follow for all of Stranger Things, and I reference some potential season two stuff mentioned in an interview with the Duffer Brothers.

Man, that Stranger Things… Pretty solid, huh? I don’t think I have much more to say about the show itself, since it stuck the landing well in its final episodes, at least in my opinion. It left some dangling questions and characters – which I’ll get to – but it did a good job of answering some of the bigger ones, like how the gate to the Upside Down World (UDW) was created.

My thoughts about the show going forward:

- I still don’t understand the obsession with Barb, which has reached the point of the creators saying she’ll be receiving justice in a second season, if they get a second season. (Which, by the ways – lolz. The show is such a hit, the only way it won’t come back is if the Duffer Brothers decide they don’t want to do it.)

To me, Barb was a fairly one-note character and one of the weaker parts of the season. I suppose they could flesh her out in some ways in a second season, but to me, focusing on her just seems really fanservicey, and it probably won’t end well. My current theory is that she might be the monster or some grotesque creature in season two, kind of the flipside to Will, who managed to get out of UDW.

- When it comes to Will, he now seems able to go into UDW when he’s having a coughing fit. I’m unsure if this is a power, that will lead to him doing some cool stuff, or if he’s going to be The Damaged Boy for all of season two. The former is more interesting to me than the latter.

- Karen asked how I knew that Millie Bobby Brown (Elle / Eleven ) was British. I told her it was easy to tell, because she could actually act. The rest of the kids, while really charming, are mostly just being kids in Stranger Things. She actually has to convey quite a bit of emotion by showing, instead of telling, because her character doesn’t really talk.

Speaking of Elle, I first thought that she was definitely dead. After all, she seemed to vanish into a pile of pixelated dust, along with The Monster. But, Karen has convinced me otherwise, given how the Chief is leaving her Eggos. She’s just such an interesting character, that it seems impossible that she would be one-and-done.

- Elle didn’t seem to create The Monster, or the UDW itself, so there is still a lot of interesting development available when it comes to that. Besides the obvious question of, “Why is the Chief leaving Eggos in the woods?”, I think the rules of UDW are the most interesting, unanswered questions. How are things actually create in the mirror universe? Is it full of weird monsters, or are there actually towns and other things going on? We didn’t see enough of it to know whether changes are automatic, or if they happen over time.

- According to the Duffer Brothers, Matthew Modine is still alive because we didn’t see him die on camera, which is somewhat amazing to me. He was really compelling, but unquestionably evil in his actions. Maybe we’ll get a tiny bit more from the government / conspiracy side in season two? In that linked interview above, the brothers mention that they intentionally kept that side unexplained to heighten the mystery and anxiety. However, if the show is going to run multiple seasons, I think you eventually need to give a better motive than “we need to stop the commies!!!” for the dark black evil of the government’s actions.

- Winona and The Chief will probably be back, but especially for the former, I think her role should be somewhat limited in season two. I don’t really want Winona to suddenly become a superhero, for example. That’s already Nancy’s role on the show, because she’s totally bad ass.

Steve ultimately surprised me a bit with his actions on the show, and he’s still with Nancy. I still don’t really like him, but kudos to the Duffers for rounding out his character a bit. As long as we don’t get a weird love triangle with him, Nancy and Jonathan in season two, I’m all-for Steve going forward.

- My guesses for season two: We’ll see some of the other experiments, since Elle was 11, or at least learn what happened to them. One of them, or Barb, could be a new monster. Elle will be back in some form. And Dustin will continue to be the best, and best-dressed, of the four kiddos.

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