Sunday, November 5, 2017
Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 7 -- A Giant Dumpster Fire
So its been a LOOOONG time since I've written anything here...and I guess its kind of sad that this drove me to it...but...it did.
I like the Netflix series Stranger Things a lot. I was an early watcher of Season 1 and just finished watching season two. It has enough cultural references that are relevant to me that it feels like a part of my youth. Its also smart enough to make it interesting without being pretentious, keeping its humor and awareness that it is an entertainment product.
Up until episode 7 of Season 2 the show had also kept away from making the mistakes that shows like Lost and The Walking Dead fell quickly into which is the wasting of time and action in plot elements that don't advance the overall story or that don't specifically speak to the development of its characters.
That ended here.
This should go down as THE textbook definition of a "throwaway episode". The primary character of the entire series completes a full circle--leaving her "home" town of Hawkins, visiting the big city, meeting her lost sister (who we were only previously introduced to in a 2 minute sequence at the very beginning of Season 2), committing a few crimes, realizing she isn't as morally bankrupt as this sister, and then returning to Hawkins.
Not only does the entire episode feel out of place--sorry but the city, punks, petty crime, and even colors, tones, clothing, hair styles, etc. all are antithetical to the Stranger Things story. Stranger Things is at its core, a return to a simpler time...one which we look back on fondly and with rose colored glasses with the "Upside Down" and evil government providing the dark side balance to the story...Here in this episode? Its all on the dark side with Eleven even sporting black eyeliner, dyed hair and clothes and the story feels out of whack and completely out of sorts. She doesn't belong here and neither does the story or the viewer. You can almost hear the writers and creators saying to themselves "Oooo...you know what would be cool? If we could pull Eleven out of her small town environment and place her in an urban area and create that sort of juxtaposition with city dwelling cliches of that time period vs. the rural ones we seen her with to date! How can we do that?!?!"
Its the old "You spent so much time thinking about if you COULD that you didn't bother to consider if you SHOULD..."
How do you really know that the episode is a throwaway? Because if you just happened to skip over it from 6 to 8 you wouldn't blink an eye or think that you've missed a thing...and the characters have not learned, developed, changed in any way. The plot and its development is completely independent of this episode. I just wish I could forget it and its events as much as the characters seem to have...