Usually when a 80’s paranormal or extraterrestrial show ended, that was that. You hit some climax and never saw how those characters grew up or handled their lives post-ordeal . However, a second season of Stranger Things actually offers some interesting possibilities. So let’s chat. What makes a second season special and what more could possibly happen in small town Indiana?
It goes without saying that there will be spoilers in this article. So if you haven’t finished the first season (it’s only 8 episodes so what have you been doing?), you should stop now.
Season 1 of Stranger Things is some of the best television we have received in a long time. It honestly feels like the cast of (insert John Hughes movie here or Goonies) tackling enemies from Buffy with a (insert 80’s synth instrumental and songs here) soundtrack. There are some flaws for sure; the 80’s reference may have been a bit over the top, but the writers are clearly in love with that period. The gender roles also seem to be stuck in that time period as get the stereotypical roles for some of the female leads and supporting actors. While the end of the show does a great job of subverting some of those areas (dumb jock seems to learn his lesson and grow, girl doesn’t automatically end up with the nerd), it certainly could have pushed that boundary a bit more.
However, the more interesting element is how the show ends and discovering that it isn’t over. Again, if you haven’t seen it…here’s your last chance…
Let’s think about the final moments of episode eight:
- When Eleven has killed her opponents, their bodies are usually still there, just dead. However, when she *kills* the Demogorgon, both her and it disappear in a shower of particles (not sure what to call them)
- Will Byers may not be himself as evidenced by the slug coming out his mouth….oh and seeing the upside down place momentarily in his bathroom.
- Chief Hopper is taken by the Department of Energy. They only take him, and not Joyce Byer (Winona Ryder) to which he doesn’t resist or struggle.
- Chief Hopper later goes into the forest alone to drop waffles into a wooden box.
So it’s pretty clear that Eleven is still alive, the dimension is still open or at least accessible by some people (Will Byers unintentionally, Chief Hopper intentionally, but why secretly?) The key difference between this show and other movies in the time period it adores is this: They never had a chance to explore what happens after the curtain falls. Since we know these threads exist and season 2 will be forthcoming (even if not confirmed yet), it a certainty that…
Things Will Get Weirder
The fact that Hawkins, Indiana is about to become ground zero for all manners of weirdness is tantalizing. The second season can really go some places we never got TO see those period films reach. After E.T makes it to his ship, we don’t know what happens afterwards. The Goonies make it home to save their homes, but we don’t know what other adventures they went on. With a ST Season 2 in the works, if the town high school ended up being a Hellmouth, I wouldn’t be surprised. With the end of season one, it does get me thinking a few things…
- Could Nancy Wheeler turn into a stake wielding, Buffy-esque, bad ass? It’s totally plausible; I mean she just went up against the Demogorgon and lived to talk about it. Nancy was the more focused and dedicated out the weird love triangle (Steve, Jonathan). Not to mention she was the only one concerned about Barb. She’s definitely the smarts of the group and could turn into a capable leader if this thing turns into a town paranormal fighting force.
- Is Chief Hopper about to become a liaison for the Dept. of Energy or Eleven or the Upside Down?
Again, his DOE relationship is nebulous at best right now. He didn’t seem to be freaked out though when they took him nor when he dropped food in the wooden box / portal. But if he knows that the portals are still open, his motivations are very suspect or questionable at this point. The DOE is certainly interested in him since he made it back in one piece. And why is he going through the wooden box instead of the portal? Is he trying to keep Eleven’s survival a secret?
- Where did Eleven go? Since I’m working off the assumption that Eleven is not dead, but simply on another plane, it stands to reason she must have went some where. The Upside Down makes the most sense; we never saw the portal at the DOE close, Will still has a connection, and Chief Hopper knows ways of communicating to her. But what is keeping Eleven there may answer my next question…
- Was that the only creature? Eleven may have *killed* the Demogorgon, but it’s highly unlikely that we’ve seen the last of it or it’s offspring. When they found Will Byers in the Upside Down, he had a long ovipositor in his mouth. Oddly though, there was no queen or creature pumping eggs through it. We’ve been working off the assumption that the Demogorgon is the big bad on the playground, but it’s entirely possible that it’s just a drone. We probably haven’t seen what created or birthed this thing. In DnD, the Demogorgon is an incredibly powerful demon lord, but maybe the kids title choice is giving this monster too much credit.
- Is Will Byers going to have some kind of transformation? If the slug in his chest was his only worry, why did he have a vision of the Upside Down? His connection was shown for a reason and will likely be used next season. But to what purpose and end remains to be seen. He spent the longest in that atmosphere and environment; there’s no telling what effect that’s had or what the writers have in store for him. We’ve also seen plenty of soldiers enter the Upside Down that could have been used for food or hosts for the Demogorgon. Could others have been impregnated that we didn’t see on screen?
- Will we get a proper memorial for Barb? The show runners (Matt and Ross Duffer) have discussed that with the disappearance of Will Byers wrapped up, the rest of the town will start to feel the repercussions of season one. They have also been reminding us that season one only takes place over the course of a week so if Barb’s parents really are that aloof, the town freakouts will have started by season 2 guaranteed. We understand that Barb’s death demonstrated that the creature was lured by blood (And shows that anyone will die in this series, regardless of background … maybe …) It kind of sucks in comparison to the weak arcs for Nancy and Joyce.
- What else was Dr. Brenner working on? Off the top of my head, I’m at least guessing 10 other projects given Eleven’s tattoo. We only see Dr. Brenner working mostly with Eleven, but the complex was pretty large and there were more than just Eleven’s room when we get a few pan shots. She may not be the only psychic running around or they could be more people with powers locked in the depths of the facility.
I would be surprised if next season touches all of that and I could be completely wrong on some of this. We should all be excited that a second season could really push the envelope that those 80’s favorites never attempted or ventured into. I really wanted to see them do more with Nancy Wheeler’s character, but next season could hold the key to subverting the usual genre tropes even more. Our group of young explorers could definitely get more than they bargained for next time. We may even see main characters actually die and not have immunity from the writer’s pen. The possibilities are endless … unless the writers go back into the usual tropes … then we’re screwed