127) Stranger Things, Part 1: I am finally cool (Plus, some Season 5 plot predictions)

I am finally cool.

It took half a century, and I’m sure my newfound status as cool likely only extends to two people on the planet, but hey, I have finally joined the ranks.  What a feeling!

How did I attain this exalted status?  Well, the other day, I was hanging with my kids, and my son asked me, “Where were you in 1985?”  We had been listening to Bo Burnham, so obviously, 1985 was on his mind.

I laughed.  “Duuuude, I was, basically, the kids from Stranger Things.  I mean, yeah ok, maybe we weren’t saving the world from demons, although we tried, a bit anyway, to save it from Free Trade.  But yeah, totally, me & my friends were basically nerds and freaks, we biked around to each other’s houses, and generally got in trouble.  AND, practically every day, we played D&D.  And we were just starting high school.  So….yeah, same age, same shit, that was us.”

His eyes lit up as he responded, “You should have had a Hellfire club!”

I laughed again.  “We did.  But we called it DeathWing. We even had crests!”

And that was how I became cool. 

* * * * *

So, I’m not one for writing fan predictions.  In fact, this series will be my first.  Quite likely my last! But as a long time player of D&D, and with such obvious connections to the Stranger Things kids (hehehe….), I felt I just had to make predictions for Season 5.  These predictions may already be out there in the world, but these are based on my own reasoning and, thus, if the writers of the show turn out to make me look like a fool, then so be it; the foolishness is all mine.  But if….no, WHEN I am proven to be right, I will unabashedly bask in the knowledge that I am a genius!  Hahaha!  Take THAT, Socrates!

* * * * *

SPOILER ALERT — if you have not yet finished Season 4, stop reading now!!!  I will otherwise spoil the shit out of what is, IMHO, the best episode of a television series, ever.  So, go watch it, freak out at the Epicest Epicness of Epicivility that is the final episode of Season 4, and THEN, and only then, come back and read this.

* * * * *

I have four predictions of note:

  • the plot
  • Eleven’s father
  • the Master Villain of the whole series, the true Master of Puppets (it isn’t Vecna), the creator of the Upside Down, and the Great Evil that will be fought in the end
  • how this Great Evil will be defeated

    And then, I have two wee critiques, and a suggestion.

* * * * *

The Plot

First of all, let’s just applaud Stranger Things for doing what few shows have ever done (Gravity Falls being a notable exception), which is to take the secret knowledge of the inner circle of heroes, and blast it out into the entire world.  No longer is the Upside Down confined to Hawkins, and knowledge of it to the hero-kids and their allies & enemies.  No, now the Upside Down is being revealed to the world at large.  The “earthquake” that split open Hawkins like a machete going through a watermelon, the flaky-Upside-Down-stuff that’s now falling out of the sky, and the insane smokey, red-sky, lightning storm that heralds Hell on Earth, are now plain for everyone to see.  As demons flood through the Gate to wreak havoc on this world of life, this is, potentially, going to be a global struggle.  This is Big-Time.

I can see this going in two potential plot directions.  One is that the show goes truly epic-scale, and tells a story about how the world MUST come together (through love, of course, cuz love is stronger than anger in this series) to defeat the Great Evil being unleashed.  This COULD be a wickedly apt analogy to the challenge of this century, as climate change, biodiversity collapse, weapons of mass destruction, global pandemics and all the fun Horsemen of the Apocalypse that are now galloping around our world, bring us face to face with true, real-life, global catastrophe.  

IF Stranger Things scales up to this epic level, it could actually provide an allegory of our current age.  This would be cool.  The gods surely know that we need this, now more than ever.  We need stories that capture the necessity of humanity transcending its borders and hatred and fear and general bullshit, to pull together for the sake of us all.  We need stories of collective action, cooperation, and love conquering all, but first of all ‘conquering’ the darkness within each of us.  We need some epic tales to inspire us to new heights of courage, love, humility and wisdom, as we face the dark times ahead.  So it’s possible that this is the intent of Stranger Things.  And if it is, I say bravo.

The second potential plot direction though, MIGHT be that the show backs off from its epic-ness, and institutes some kind of government-wide “nothing to see here folks” propaganda campaign.  The military cordons Hawkins right off from the rest of the world, like a massive Area 51 kind of thing, all sorts of gloss-over-the-truth lies are spread (“Don’t Look Up!”), and a similar plot to what we’ve already seen unfolds; i.e., the kids learn some special stuff, have to evade capture by the law and military and such, sneak into Hawkins and do some more battling of the baddies from the Upside Down, etc..  This would certainly be a lot easier of a story to tell, much less cost prohibitive to film, and….much more disappointing.  

But I’m betting they’ll go big.  They haven’t failed us yet….

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