Stranger Things, Season 1, Chapter 6
The pacing slowed way up in this episode. You can almost ignore Episode 5 altogether and pick up the story from here. Up to now, we have seen that the evil government agency is willing to kill some people who find a small clue into their operations, but others that have uncovered everything are let go to roam the world freely even though they have shown they are curious and impulsive and desperate enough to be dangerous to the evil government. But if we flush episode 5 and move on, I guess we can just assume that the evil scientists are still a threat to the more vulnerable children, so their descent upon the kids at the end of this 6th episode should be taken seriously.
In Chapter 6, we get a crucial piece of information about Eleven, and some of her internal struggle with guilt that helps to flesh out her character more. The kids are splintering, but in doing so, their story thread is connecting a few more crucial pieces to the overall puzzle.
The teenagers are on the cusp of connecting with the rest of the story a little more, though their journey has, so far, been fairly sequestered from the other age groups. The teens think about the trajectory of their lives in a binary way: you either follow your own internal compass or you become part of a corrupt (perhaps even evil) system. This show has convenient buckets for us to put the adults into if we wish to view it more casually. Like many small-town settings, people fit in more comfortably or less so, and everyone is on the lookout for signs of “otherness” that will make for convenient suspicions and assumptions. The question for any one character toward another: “Can I trust you?” can deepen any reading you might bring to a story taking place in this kind of setting. We already know which characters we are meant to like and which ones we want to bring together. The show wants to make itself easy to watch for most viewers, and so the trajectories of characters are becoming more black and white. This makes it convenient to resolve any tension we might feel with regard to characters.
Is this a…. good story? Do I… like this show? If I squint my eyes and don’t look too closely, I would say it’s entertaining. It doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny. I want to enjoy it more than I do.
One thing for sure: hugs make a lot of things better.
Lines of dialogue missing from Episode 6:
“No, you are not the monster. We are all the monster. There is a little bit of monster in all of us.”
“I won’t let that happen. I promise. And when I promise things that are way out of my control, you know it’s a sure thing.”
“Why does your nose bleed every time you use The Force?”
“How do I know this is real love? Because we slept together without having sex. Yes. This is the real deal.”
“You want to see a monster? Look in the mirror.”
“You know what a real monster is? A real monster is a bully.”
“Because true love and true friendship make you want to punch people. That’s what growing up is all about.
“We can’t all just forgive each other and get back together. It’s over. This is the breaking of the fellowship.”
“Oh no! They are chasing us on foot! Let’s ditch our bikes and run!”
“Maybe you should be the one holding the gun from now on.”