I recently binge-watched the new Netflix series, "Stranger Things." Eight episodes and close to eight hours later, my emotions are running dangerously high. The entire first season had me on the edge of my seat wanting to figure out the mystery of why, how and where to young Will Byers disappeared. As Winona Ryder's character, Joyce, tried to find her son, Will, I tried to contain my raging emotions. I shamelessly went through at least 20 phases as I watched the science fiction/thriller show, most of which involved me screaming at my computer screen. Note that these phases are loosely in sequential order as many of these phases will keep repeating themselves as you watch the series; you will certainly experience many other phases than the ones on this list!
WARNING: This post will contain spoilers! Read at your own discretion!
1. HOLY CRAP!
Right out of the gate, I'm scared out of my mind. Not because anything scary actually happened, but the beginning of the series starts with no sound, and then a laboratory door bursts open and a siren wails. Throughout the series, however, I screamed, "HOLY CRAP," almost every minute.
2. What the hell is happening?!
This phase was basically a constant phase that stretched out over the full eight hours. The script was written brilliantly where the viewer finds out the information along with Joyce, Hopper, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Nancy and Jonathon. At the same time, not knowing everything upfront is so frustrating! I had so many questions and wanted all of the answers!
3. Please don't hurt my children!
While everything is going on with Will's disappearance, a viewer could easily forget about Mike, Lucas and Dustin's "regular" lives; just like in every other 80's film, the main kids have their bullies. James and Troy always seem to appear at the worst times, causing more havoc than actually needed. This phase will start whenever you get attached to the characters of Mike, Lucas and Dustin and start calling them your "children," or was that just me?
4. I love Eleven so much! She doesn't deserve any of this!
From the moment you meet her, you will fall in love with Eleven in a non-creepy sister sort of way. During all of her flashbacks, you will realize how much she has actually gone through because of her "Papa." She is a ray of sunshine, a gift to this planet and she does not deserve to be tested on or hunted down; if you don't get emotional when you see what she's been through, you must really hate happiness. I honestly just want the best for her!
5. Where are Barb's parents?
OK so I know that this was set in the 80's and that intense knowledge about your child's whereabouts at all times wasn't needed, but when Barb doesn't come home after a few days, where are her parents? You'd think that they'd make more of an effort to contact Joyce Byer to see if there could be a possible connection to Barb's disappearance, or even the police/news reporters.
6. It's all in Joyce's head!
As much as I hate to admit it, there was a good amount of time that I thought that all of this was in Joyce's head. All signs pointed to this being some sort of messed up situation playing out in her mind. But as soon as other people started to realize Barb was gone and the boys' bullies made comments about how Will was probably abducted and killed, I instantly knew that this was no messed up nightmare. I'M SORRY THAT I EVER DOUBTED YOU, JOYCE!
7. Where are the reporters?!
To be fair, there was one reporter that made the announcement that Will Byer's body was found in the lake, BUT where are the others?! When a rat in the real world walks down a pair of subway stairs with a piece of pizza in its mouth, the news world explodes! But when a child's dead "body" (see next phase) is found, the reaction is a big "meh" from the news community. Also, at the end of the season when a crap ton of armed men in giant white vans are running around the town's middle school chasing young kids and trying to kill a giant monster, nobody seems to notice or care. Coincidence? I think not!
8. IT'S ALL A LIE!
I was shocked, I was hurt and I was deceived. When Hopper cut open Will Byer's "body" and found that it was the same as a taxidermied animal, I didn't think my jaw was ever going to stop touching the ground. Little by little, viewers find out how much the state police and Dr. Brenner are trying to cover up the truth. The thought, "IT'S A LIE," fills your mind, and you want the state police, the members of this "laboratory" and all of their lies to be found out.
9. Where the hell is Will?
Simple as that: WHERE THE HELL IS WILL? Yes, Eleven explains to us that he is in the ,"Upside Down," but what is that? How long has it existed? Why don't we all know about it by now? How do we get there? Why does it look like it's in the stomach of a monster? Like I said before, there were so many questions and I wanted the answers!
10. Speak to us, Will!
As soon as the information that Eleven can hear Will through radio is put on the table, that's all you want her to do. If there's a chance that Will can explain where he is or what he's hiding from, all you want to see is an hour episode of Eleven working her magic. But then when you find out Eleven bleeds from her nose and ears every time she uses her powers, you want her to stop immediately. You want to have Will speak to us, but you don't want Eleven to be hurt. The choice of which you want more is a total struggle!
If I was Joyce, I would be out of that house as soon as those lights spelled out, "RUN". I kept screaming "RUN! RUN! RUN!" at my laptop screen whenever there was even the slightest chance that the monster was in the area. But the more I screamed at the characters to run, the more they seemed to ignore me... typical 80's horror movie character choices.
12. How are you all so brave?
I went to the movies the other night and I couldn't watch the previews because they were that scary. According to my friends, the previews were not scary at all. I don't know why, but I don't do well with scary anythings. So how these children want to go kill a monster that is killing people is beyond me. If I knew about the monster I would be packing up my car and leaving Indiana for good. I'll never understand where T.V. characters get their heroic bravery from.
13. OK, but the Upside Down world? Where is it?!
This phase is just essentially a puzzle: so the boys find out with the help of their compasses that the portal to the Upside Down is inside of the sketchy laboratory. But Nancy finds a portal in a hole at the bottom of a tree. Barb somehow gets taken to a portal close to Steve's pool. BUT the monster can jump out of the walls of the Byer house. So which is the true portal? Where is this other wold in relation to our own? Is it on a different universal plane? How come nobody knows about it? And why does it mirror the board game Dungeons and Dragons?!
14. It's just a scary plant...
My thoughts during this phase were along the lines of, "It's literally just a plant with teeth," or, "Oh wow! A walking venus fly trap!" Don't get me wrong, the thing is terrifying, but I wonder what other designs they had for the monster? I wonder if they were all plant based...
15. How does nobody know what this lab does?!
Literally how does no one know what goes on here. It's a giant labratory in a small town. From my experience, news travels quickly in a small town and everyone knows everyone's business. I get that it is a "US government" laboratory, but the people that work there don't even know what they do. All of this should be raising some red flags.