Thursday, July 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'Stranger Things' - Mike and El Enjoy Their Romance Despite Hopper's Concerns in 'Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?'

Netflix's Stranger Things - Episode 3.01 "Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?"

Summer brings new jobs and budding romance. But the mood shifts when Dustin's radio picks up a Russian broadcast, and Will senses something is wrong.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Netflix's Stranger Things.

"Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?" was written by The Duffer Brothers and directed by The Duffer Brothers

This premiere is oozing with charm and confidence. The swagger is deeply felt especially by the younger cast. They feel on top of the world after saving it twice. They feel victorious because their lives have become everything they've wanted them to be. Sure, they haven't yet faced the brutality realities of aging and the changes necessary in order to survive. The older teens understand that better as Steve and Nancy are jaded from their new jobs not being anything they actually want to do. But it's actually the adults themselves who carry the burden and guilt over everything that has happened and what they have lost to this increasingly crazy world. And there is already the sense that it's all about to happen again. That could be incredibly boring and repetitive. The first moments of the new season start in a familiar setting. Scientists gather in a lab full of stress and worry as they try to break though to the Upside Down. It's annoying to see any scientist trying to enter that realm knowing all of the chaos and destruction its creatures have caused so far. And yet, this isn't some component of Hawkins Labs. These scientists aren't representatives from the United States government. Instead, they are their Soviet counterparts. The show has featured Cold War fears and propaganda before. But now, it's about to become more blatant than ever before. A new crack is already emerging that allows monsters loose on Hawkins once more. They already claim their first victim at the conclusion of this hour. That highlights how the swagger that comes from the confidence felt by the young cast may not actually be beneficial to them at all when it comes to the brutal realities of life. Billy has always exuded that charm and swagger. He knows that he can essentially get away with anything. That gives him the confidence to lash out at whatever has just caused his vehicle to go off the road. He simply wasn't expecting it to be some new supernatural threat that has stricken the rats of the town with some disease and is likely to do the same to him. Billy was an antagonist in the second season. And now, he seems well poised to be even more of a monster this year. That's a fascinating character transition. When Will was the one with the connection to the Upside Down, he was someone the rest of the ensemble could rally around and want to save. His loss would personally mean something to all of them. With Billy, it's going to be incredibly different. He may not have that sympathy from elsewhere in the town. But the premiere also notes how the city of Hawkins itself is in a time of transition. Everyone seems to be flocking to the new Starcourt Mall. That place has driven stores out of business in the downtown area. It's a source of great excitement for the young kids who get to enjoy the power of their friendships there. But it also presents as an economic disruption that is already causing anxiety and worry about the future of this small town in America. This place holds such extreme importance as the entry point to another dimension. Right now, everyone would love to just relax back into a familiar and stereotypical dynamic. Hopper wants to flirt with Joyce. Mike and El want to keep making out even if it disrupts their time with the rest of their friends. Dustin asserts that his friends could never forget about him and that he has a girlfriend from science camp. And yet, Will feels that something ominous is on the horizon. He doesn't know what it is yet. It may just be his own worries and concerns. He'll have to go through life always worrying about this connection to the Upside Down. He would love to go back to the simplistic life of playing D&D with his friends. The world may have moved past that though. Everyone is going to have to reckon with that this season it seems.