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Jedd Cole @ElectricDidact
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Okay, what follows are some thoughts I've been mulling over about #StrangerThings

I think the writing wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been (though there were a LOT of narrative threads that they were managing this season!). The acting, however, was, as in the first season, *superb*, and I think this made up for a lot of the writing’s shortcomings.
That said, the first half of the series is a very different demagorgon than the second half, and it was really well done. It was right that all these characters spend several episodes dealing with/suffering from the psychological effects of what happened last year (season 1).
The first half’s treatment of Will as a traumatized person resonated with me on several levels.
The feeling that your psychological/emotional “demons” just can’t be defeated by some force of “will” (pun intended), the dread that what’s coming (the next episode of depression/manic/anxiety, whatever) is inevitable...
... that’s really big, and really scary, and very important to think about re: our social lifeworld, where mental illness/neuro-atypicality is so often tabooed into the “closet,” as it were, as if it were itself some monstrous dimension to cover up.
Also. Samwise Gamgee had his chest eaten out by yonic dog monsters. I got nothin.
(Also? Frodo gifs are highly underestimated and underused?)
One other thing: some thoughts on how the story treated Billy Hargrove.

Billy Hargrove was the absolute scariest thing in this whole stinkin series. But whereas Stranger Things has set a precedent (with, say, Steve) of alteration/redemption, the story’s treatment of Billy as an antagonist and human being is really disappointing.
We learn that his abuse of his stepsister Max and emotional manipulation of other characters is driven by his own physical and psychological abuse by his dad.
This doesn’t excuse his own abuse, but the way the story resolves the problem of Billy, by having Max violently dominate/emasculate him in the same exact way that his dad does just minutes prior… nope. Do not like.
Seems like the last episode is setting itself up for another season, and maybe this will play out to a different conclusion (I hope so). But this occupied my thoughts for a while after we finished watching.
The moment of Max’s domination of Billy provided only signs of narrative jubilation at this move. The thing is, we’re not “vanquishing some monster,” but dehumanizing a person in retaliation eye for eye, and then continuing to live in the same world with that person.
Not sure what the narrative alternatives could’ve been, but this move really bothered me.

Actually, the theme of retaliation was strong in several of the story lines. Worrisome, to me at least.
I really liked the series as a whole, and I like its project. Just falls short in some ways. <fin>
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