All good things come in small packages; quality over quantity; less is more: Stranger Things. For a season comprising just 8 episodes, Stranger Things felt incredibly whole.
Vibes of The Goonies, ET, Jumanji and just 80’s film culture in general, suddenly washed over me and it was so nice. It was refreshing to return to simpler and timeless themes such as friendship, family, and innocence. I understand this sounds fairly redundant, but I feel Stranger Things injected a bit of magic back into our now grittier, darker, hard-hitting TV culture. Today’s 24 episode, 6 seasoned heavy dramas sometimes feel incredibly hollow. The many filler episodes, seasons even, are growing a little tiring – well, for me anyway. Stranger Things nicely counteracted this new wave of greed for MORE, right NOW, by dropping a mere third of what we’re used to. And, our hungry millennial, stream advocating, screen-junkie minds consumed it in under 24 hours. Yes, I watched it all in one day…
It was humbling to sit down and watch something that didn’t encourage me to criticize it the whole time. I just enjoyed Stranger Things because that’s all it was asking of me. It wasn’t trying to impress anyone, only captivate. I watched this TV series strictly through the eyes of my inner-child and it was fantastic! I encourage everyone else to do the same; this isn’t some critically acclaimed television series that you need to pick away at, it’s just pure wonder.
Now, to anyone else who has basically inhaled this latest Netflix Original Series, can we talk about how many questions that finale left us with? Please? Thank you.
SPOILERS AHEAD! Click here for our spoiler-free review.
1. Eleven? Just in general.
So, the most obvious question regarding Eleven: is she still alive? I mean, obviously. Elle’s character is not only way too unexplored at this early stage, but Millie Bobby Brown’s acting capabilities are far too invaluable to drop from Stranger Things … ever! Plus, I don’t doubt for a second that she’d transcend space and time just to gorge on one more waffle.
On top of this, I have a more ambiguous question nagging my mind. Like, why was she identified by the number eleven and what does this mean?
When Hops and Joyce meet with Terry Ives, the woman who cannot talk now after years of harmful drug trials, her sister explains the experimental procedure that Terry volunteered for. Of course, it’s identical to what Eleven has endured. And, coincidentally, Terry didn’t realise she was pregnant during the trials and so she ‘miscarried’. Therefore, Eleven must be Terry’s kidnapped daughter Jane. Right?
Well, given the show’s sci-fi premise, I wondered if time travel was involved. Like, is Terry now mute because she’s no longer whole. Is Jane, her presumed missing child and possibly Eleven, actually just another version/piece of Terry? Perhaps, Terry was the only receptive candidate in the drug trial, but she was too old to effectively develop her abilities and became ill. Thus, Dr. Brenner went back in time or to alternate realities and uncovered different ages/versions of Terry. Meaning, ‘eleven’ indicates the age of this child, or eleven could be the number of the dimension she’s from.
Generally, this would explain Elle’s obsession with being pretty, to me. I think it’s weird that a child who apparently knows nothing other than the facility in which she was raised and tested, seems to ‘miss’ beauty and being feminine and free. It just struck me as odd that she seemed to long for something, we can only assume, she never had the resources to develop a desire for. Maybe she’s a weird parallel dimension/past-self/Upside Down-spawned child that is aware of a life she could’ve had as a fully grown Terry. This may just be me reading too much into things, yet I like the idea.
BUT, I do think just making Eleven Terry’s long-lost daughter would be far easier to write and understand. Which leads me to my next unanswered question.
2. What’s the deal with Terry and Hops?
When Hops and Joyce meet Terry, her sister is insistent that Hopper and Terry would’ve gotten along. I thought this was a weird thing to emphasize and I started to question if Hopper and Terry DID get along, i.e. they had known each other earlier in life. When we hear Terry “miscarried,” again, the obvious explanation would be that Eleven is her kidnapped child, Jane.
This is very plausible and Elle could just be the eleventh child that was incubated within the womb of a mother during this drug trial and, thus, was born with abilities. If this is the case, I’m going to put it out there and say that I think Hopper is Elle’s father. And, he knows it. That is all. Actually no, how the hell did he know that she loved waffles? Maybe you missed that one.
3. Chief Hopper … if that is EVEN his real name!
And, that segues nicely into my next question. What the hell is Chief Hopper? He must have put in some extra hours at the Police Academy in order to become that ridiculously skilled in combat … or he’s just working for/has worked for the FBI. He seemed far too aware of being watched and bugged; in fact, he knew exactly where to look for the hidden microphone.
Plus, THAT ENDING! He’s a bit sketchy. We don’t need any more proof. Getting into a mysterious black car that he didn’t seem to expect yet appears to be familiar with. Leaving food, a.k.a waffles, for Elle in a box in the forest – like he’d done it before, might I add.
I can’t answer any of this just now, but it’s clear he plays a bigger role in this story than we first thought. I just can’t work out is if he’s on Elle’s side or just trying to lure her into a trap. He did give her location up very quickly in order to protect Joyce and the kids from Dr. Brenner. And, We still don’t know how exactly Elle escaped Hawkin’s research facility either … maybe it was deliberate? I mean, he seems to be familiar with the place.
6. Keeping tabs?
Nonetheless, it’s clear that this group of FBI folks definitely plan on keeping an eye on the boys and Elle. An easily forgotten but noticeably odd scene occurs episode six. We see the boy’s science teacher (Mr. Clarke) and the creepy, blonde woman (she shot the chef who called social services for Eleven in the first episode) having a discussion about a new school tech project. She seeks to connect kids with a love of tech, from all over the state, by a newsletter that gets them writing about their passion.
Creepy, blonde woman then asks Mr. Clarke if he knows any kids who’d like to participate … our nerdy protagonists are the obvious candidates. Nothing of this mysterious project is mentioned again, so I’m expecting it to be a plot device in the second season of Stranger Things. Perhaps, they wish to kidnap and conduct tests on the boys now too, or maybe it’s just a means of making sure they don’t interfere with the FBI’s plans again. Regardless, I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of creepy, blonde woman!
5. What exactly is the “Upside Down” and just what does it offer Dr. Brenner?
What does this dark place have to offer Dr. Brenner and why are the FBI so behind him on all of this? Maybe, Dr. Brenner is just a typically curious scientist with no real objective – he, too, seemed surprised by the monsters that lurked within. And, I’ve seen theories proposing that the “Upside Down” could be an alternate reality or, in fact, the future.
Either way, this seems like somewhere you can’t fully escape once you’ve been there too long, as Will quickly finds out. Perhaps, the weird slug things that still reside within his body are released into the world. Meaning, Will triggers our descent into the “Upside Down” future of the Stranger Things plot. Hmm … maybe?
6. What exactly are these faceless creatures kidnapping everyone?
What are these weird monsters that can jump from their reality into the Stranger Things world and abduct people? Are they aliens? Are they future human aberrations? Do they result from the weird parasitic slugs? Is there just the one or are there more? If there’s just one heinous monster, is this, in fact, Will’s fate? Does he become the monster? It’s anyone’s guess.
One thing we do know is that blood seems to attract them. However, what’s odd is that they don’t seem to eat their prey. They just cocoon victims in a weird jelly web, and odd slug things are fed into their mouths. Perhaps the blood and the slugs are related, and the slugs are like leeches that just drain bodies of blood … but, it’s all still vastly unclear.
I really can’t make a final call on this one.
7. Barb. WTF?!
That’s all I’ve got.
Your imagination will run wild just trying to figure out what the hell is going on in Stranger Things – as you can see mine certainly has. I mean, I’m currently feeling a lot like this:
Stranger Things Season 2 has not yet been confirmed, but it’s kinda a no-brainer. Let us know in the comments how you would answer these questions. Share your excitement and let’s discuss together! And, don’t be afraid to tell us your wildest predictions. Nothing’s too weird; I’m sure stranger things have happened.
(Image Source: outerplaces.com)