Stranger Things Season 1 Recap

Stranger Things is a breakout success Netflix series that first began streaming last year. This October we are finally getting a second season of the show which will follow the kids once again. The show has an 80’s sci-fi vibe to it making it have a totally different feel than any show to come out in recent years. They even landed Rhona Rider for a leading role playing a concerned parent in the show. Even the opening screams that this storyline could have popped out back in the day. So, let’s catch you up with everything that is the Stranger Things phenomenon that took over the internet last year.

The Main Story

Left to right: Lucas, Dustin, Mike, Eleven
Left to right: Lucas, Dustin, Mike, Eleven

Hawkins is a town where the residents all know each other and enjoy a peaceful life together. It’s also the perfect place to conduct government experiments where nobody would ever notice. Up until this point, there haven’t been any problems though and the locals don’t even notice. Unluckily for everyone involved a young girl name 11 has just escaped from the research facility and a young boy named Will has just disappeared from this plane of existence. These two events clash together to make a compelling sci-fi horror tale.

The story focuses on a few different groups of characters all trying to figure out their own portion of the mystery. There is the adult group which focuses on the mom of the missing boy Will and the Sheriff. The Teenage group which focuses on Nancy and Jonathan the older brother of Will. Then finally the child group that focuses on Will’s three closest friends. Each group holds a different piece of the puzzle than the other and go about exploring the mysteries of the town in different ways. The children are by far the most knowledgeable about what’s actually going on. The only problem is that no one will actually listen to them.

The two main mysterious focused on is the disappearance of Will and the appearance of Eleven. Will is considered dead by the police and most of the town. The town actually frantically searches for the boy for a few episodes. Afterwards, the government facility makes a fake body and dumps it in a nearby quarry. This officially closes the case for most people making it seem like Will had fallen off a cliff into the water. After the funeral, however, the main cast of the show is mostly convinced that the body was a fake.

Joyce
Joyce

This is because Will’s mom, Joyce has been contacted by Will from within their house. Eleven also provides evidence to the boys that Will is still alive. Nancy loses her best friend much in the same way, causing her to search for Barb. Around this time she convinces with Jonathan who she convinces that Will may still be alive. The sheriff also breaks into the morgue housing Will’s body and find out it is a stuffed double. With all this combined together with the groups slowly start to unravel the fact that Will is being held hostage in an alternate universe to our own.

Eleven, on the other hand, brings in a whole new perspective to the story. She is a girl who is being chased down by the government agency she escaped from. She finds Will’s friends Mike, Dustin, and Lucas shortly into the story. She then begins to prove to them that she has special powers. Sadly though, whenever she uses them her nose starts to bleed signaling that overuse might hurt her greatly. She takes refuge at Mike’s house to hide from the agents. When the boys do go out with her they disguise her as a normal school girl to avoid any suspicion being placed on them. Eleven is responsible for helping prove the existence of the Upside Down to everyone and ultimately helping Will find his way home by the end of the season.

Characters Story Lines

The characters in the show are all surprisingly well written the boys are an especially well-acted group. Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Will never really lose the effect that they are all children just trying to make it in the world. It is shown that the boys are regularly bullied at school and enjoy playing games like Dungeons and Dragons in there spare time. The group also has some very childish ways about going through disagreements which may make adult viewers a little irritated with them.

When Eleven enters the group the show touches on the fact that Mike has a crush on her. This, of course, creates a rift among the boys as nobody but Mike fully trusts the strange young girl. Eleven herself is out of touch with reality and doesn’t really understand how the world works. She is confused by most concepts and the other children have to teach her how to act like a lady at times. This instills some comedy into the bleaker portions of the show as the group of boys has to tackle one of their biggest fears…cute girls.

Will, on the other hand, is shown some in the Upside Down. The directors put a focus on the fact that he is a rather intelligent kid. Most of the contact you see go on between him and the other character is to prove to the point that he is surviving, but is very fearful of the monster hunting him down. The flashbacks in the show allude to Will being one of the more docile members of the group due to the lack of a father figure being in his life.

Barb
Barb

The teenagers in the story are also well written. Nancy is a generally straight-laced student who never goes out of her way to cause trouble. She hangs out with her best friend Barb and makes perfect grades in all her classes. She is annoyed by Mike and his friends quite often. Things start going downhill when she begins to date Steve a popular guy from her high school. She even drags Barb to a party where she leaves her to hook up with Steve. This leads to Barb being killed by the monster. This is also where Jonathan comes into play by photographing Nancy while she is stripping in front of a window.

After Barbs disappearance, Nancy realizes to Jonathan may be one of the only people to believe her. The two end up teaming up and causing a sort of love triangle between the three teenagers. Steve is violent towards Jonathan on multiple occasions and believes that Nancy is cheating on him leading to their break-up. Jonathan and Nancy are the two characters who find an entrance into the Upside Down. The two are generally the closest to Will at many points in the show due to the fact that they are directly chasing the monster down.

Jim
Jim

The last character set involves Joyce and Jim the sheriff of Hopkins. This pairing generally involves Jim trying to convince Joyce to let go of Will. Joyce who keeps receiving strange phone calls from her son begs Jim to help her look. Joyce is a very well played single mom. It is shown from the beginning that she is having trouble financially affording taking care of her two boys. Because of this her son Jonathan even pitches in to help with the bills around the house.

In the show, it’s even shown that Joyce has to ask for advances from work and put things on credit to afford them. She is a very strong-willed mom who stops at nothing to contact Will. She even puts Christmas lights around the house and paints her walls with letters. Her and Will use this to communicate for short periods of time during the show. Meanwhile, Jim slowly starts to realize that thing surrounding Will’s disappearance just don’t seem quite right. This is when he finds out that the government fake Will’s death and turns towards helping Joyce reclaim her lost son from the Upside Down.

Where We Left Off

Steve and Nancy. No one was rooting for you Steve!
Steve and Nancy. No one was rooting for you Steve!

The show leaves off with Elven defeating the monster and being pulled into the Upside Down. It is not completely shown or not whether she is actually alive. It is hinted that she survived in the end as Jim is shown leaving waffles in the forest. Waffles were one of Elven’s favorite foods during the first season of the show. The monster is also presumably the only one of it’s kind that could reach our world and it doesn’t seem like we will be seeing the second one in season two as of right now.

Will does make it home safely, but has severe PTSD. This will be played off of greatly in the upcoming season as everyone tries to return to normal. Joyce seems more stable and even recovers well enough to focus on helping Will heal. Barb is proven dead to the other characters, but the town, as well as her parents, are left to think that she just ran away. Many fans were hoping they could see her return, but the writers have stated that the character is, in fact, dead and will not be making a comeback.

Steve ends up dating Nancy again much to fans dismay. Jonathan stays a distant friend towards Nancy after the events. In the end, Steve does turn around and proves himself to be a good guy. During the final confrontation with the monster, Steve bursts in and helps the two fight back against it. The last scenes of the show are shown around Christmas time with everybody being back home together and celebrating. The government has even gone quiet and retreated after Eleven disappears from this dimension.

The sequel is starting up a year later in the storyline. This time around it’s near Halloween and strange things start happening around Hopkins once again. While not much is known about the content we will take in on October 27th we do know the names of the episodes. The first episode is titled Mad Max and fans can’t help but speculate what the reference to this movie could possibly mean for the boys.

Is It Worth The Hype?

Stranger Things is a very well put together show in every way. The musical score and visuals are top notch. They both convey the feel of the show very well pulling you into to Hopkins creepy small town atmosphere. The acting is own points at all times and the directors keep the characters feeling very natural throughout the whole process. No one is written out of character at any time and the growth throughout the show progressed at a very well planned out pace. No one feels like they do a 180 at any time in the show and by the end, everyone just seems like a more mature version of their starting personalities.

There was also never a point in the show I found myself playing on my phone or talking to a friend. The show kept me hooked completely from beginning to end. Nothing was too convoluted and the plot was interesting to follow all the way through. This show is very fun when it comes to figuring out what exactly is going on. At times you will find yourself speculating just how everything connects together. I did see a few instances where I could easily predict what was going to happen next. This did not take away any enjoyment however as the characters reactions were enough to keep me drawn into the show.

If you’re looking for gritty horror then this won’t be for you. Most of the horror elements in Stranger Things are more a tension type of horror. You never know what exactly is going to happen to the characters and the show will have you fearing for their lives. There aren’t things like jump scares or really realistic scenarios in the show to affect your sleep at night. The most horrifying thing is the monster and if you have seen any of the Alien movies then you’re already prepared to look at it.

Here is the season 2 trailer to hype you up!

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.
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