Stranger Things 102. Image by SyFy.

Stranger Things 102 Review:

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What Went Down

What’s great about this episode is that we get to see all of our characters establish themselves.The first episode was just an introduction. Although we may get a sense for Dustin’s sense of humor or Hopper’s brooding personal conflict, we need this episode to spell all that out for us. The Duffer brothers strike the perfect balance of telling us what’s up (only a little of that) and showing us (it IS a visual medium).

The boys (Mike, Dustin, and Lucas) have to decide what to do with Elle (11), but they think like boys. Instead of pursuing a prudent path of safety by involving an adult to help sort out the missing child they’ve found, their instinct is to avoid getting grounded. How perfect is that? Yes, there would be no story if they told their moms and yes, they probably saved all of their lives by not involving the grown ups. But, mostly, they behaved like most kids would in that situation: preservation of their freedom and the illusion of behaving within the rules.

They don’t reach a decision though and the issue of involving parents is put on hold following Elle’s demonstration of telekinesis. I wish I could do that just to make others stop talking sometimes. Blah, blah, blah… Slam the door with my mind then blissful silence.

Who Are These Characters

Thanks to this episode we know our characters a lot more than the brief handshake we got from them last time. I’ll sum up:

Will Byers: The missing boy. He’s sensitive, comes from a poor family, has a few close friends, but is probably otherwise unknown at school. He might be akin to Alice in Wonderland.

Lucas: Will’s friend. Skeptical, practical, rule-follower and prefers action to waiting around. He’s a lot like the Tinman from the Wizard of Oz.

Dustin: Comic relief, follower, can pop his shoulder out of the socket. He’s more like the Lion from the Wizard of Oz.

Mike: The leader of the boys friend group. He shares traits with all of the other boys, but also has a belief in what thinks is right that drives his actions stronger than the others. Mike would be like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.

011 or Elle: She’s our Dorothy. She’s on an adventure in a place where she has no idea how to get along or survive. She doesn’t know the language or social norms very well. She also has flashbacks and can move things with her mind.

Joyce: Single mother of Will and Jonathon. Frazzled already, she starts coming apart at her emotional seams when Will disappears. Is the only one to experience blinking lights and spooky stuff in her house.

Jonathon: Will’s older brother. Socially withdrawn and awkward around people. Takes photos of party goers from the safety of the woods and would prefer that to actually attending the party.

Hopper: Local Police Chief. After approaching the investigation slowly, has become increasingly certain something bigger than a single missing child is going wrong in his town.

Nancy: Mike’s older sister. Wants to be a “good” girl, but is extremely flattered by the attention paid to her by Steve Harrington. Not too concerned about her brother’s missing friend. Yet.

Steve Harrington: Local teenage douche. Would almost certainly be machete-bait in a slasher movie. Motivations toward Nancy seem pretty straightforward.

Barb: Nancy’s straight-laced friend and conscience. Ruffled shirt, super-high-wasted jeans and Sally Jessy Raphael glasses wearing ginger.

Anything Permanent Happen?

Probably. Let’s check with Barb next week.

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Paul and Caroline Daley