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Stranger things in the upside down world

Eileen McCormick / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

While Netflix has no doubt produced many fan favourites, Stranger Things is the first to hit cult classic status. Much of the filming and storyline development is paying homage to Stephen Spielberg who produced such classics as ET.

Stanger Things takes place in a small rustic down of Hawkins, Indiana, set in the backdrop of 1983. The only thing out of the ordinary in this classic 80’s American suburban town is a mysterious military laboratory.

The show begins with the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons played by four tween age boys – Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Gaten John Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, and Reginald McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair.

The show quickly takes a shadowy turn as Will Byers goes missing.

The cast of Stranger Things set out to find their friend and soon uncovers a secret military programme which manipulates children with special gifts to be used as weapons against the Russians.

Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) is one of these gifted children. Eleven has no memory of anything outside of the laboratory including her identity and is plagued throughout the first season wondering if her gifts are the reason Will went missing.

The plot has Dustin, Mike and Lucas theorizing that their friend Will was taken to the “upside down world”, like in the Dungeons and Dragons game, and is being held captive by a creature referred to as the demogorgon – a powerful demon prince “that swims in darkness”.

In season one, we see a secret military operation that tries to get their child weapon back and erase all evidence of wrong doing. However Eleven takes control of her gifts and is able to sacrifice herself to save the town. She then disappears into a cloud of smoke.

Will is then rescued by his mom (Winona Ryder) and the local sheriff Jim Hopper played by David Harbour. Nonetheless, one of the demogorgon’s long tentacles is still attached to Will’s mouth and vestiges of the demon prince remain in his system. The last shot of the season is of Will barfing up slugs or rather baby demogorgons.

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things. Photo: Reuters

Netflix gave fans of Stranger Things quick access to season two and they have even been told that there is a season three in the works.

Like most millennials, I think it’s the first time I recall missing out on Halloween in order to binge watch season two of Stranger Things which was released on October 31.

Season two does not disappoint avid fans and there were some lose ends from season one that we hoped would be addressed – such as what happened to Eleven and would Barbara “Barb” Holland (played by Shannon Purser) ever get justice.

Barb like Will is another character taken to the “upside down world”. However she was not saved and little was mentioned of her after the abduction.

Due to mass outcry from fans, the writers of the show created a satisfying subplot to bring about justice for Barb.

Season two brings about more adolescence angst. The boys and their family remain under surveillance with the threat that they will be punished by the military if they speak.

Will Byers becomes a central voice of season two. He is left overcoming his trauma and trying to express what it felt to be in the “upside down”. His disconnect from his friends becomes apparent.

Mike is also having trouble moving on from his connection with Eleven and accepting her “death”. These two friends in their confused state form a stronger bond than the last season.

Hawkins town once again cannot seem to catch a break as it is infected by a plant virus. The mass extermination of the demogorgon carried out by the military lab is not working. It is only plaguing the famers of Hawkins.

In order for the demogorgon to survive, his off-springs in Will Byers’ body try to possess him in order to ensure the survival of their species.

Season two however does not let down on the 1980’s nostalgia porn. Opening scenes of the boys in their Ghost Busters’ costumes, while being forced to endure Polaroid snap shots by their moms before heading off to school provides a good laugh.

The whole series is a must see and what makes it such a success is that it takes a break from the recent string of anti-hero characters such as Frank Underwood of House of Cards or Walter White of Breaking Bad.

In the world of Stranger Things, evil is simply evil, and that’s scary enough. It is nice to have at least one show that makes the world seem to be a little less complicated place to live in.

So put down your iPhone X and dig up the old school walkie-talkies to channel your best friend next door in order to find out how Stranger Things season two ends #overandout.

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