With season two of the smash hit Stranger Things coming out this Friday (October 27th), there’s no better time to refresh yourself on what happened in Hawkins, Indiana than right now. This is part one of a four part series recapping and reviewing the first season of the Netflix series. Spoilers ahead.
Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers
The Duffer Brothers waste no time with The Vanishing of Will Byers, using it to set a strong tone and vision for the rest of the season. It’s a slow rollout of characters and concept that doesn’t set pieces in place so much as take them out of the box. From the cold open (a scientist meeting an implied but grizzly fate) to the discovery of a mysterious girl on a stormy night, Chapter One is a smartly crafted piece of entertainment. There’s a missing boy, his worried mother and the not-worried-enough police chief, the older kids, the cool kids, and the shady adults chasing a small girl in a hospital gown. It’s a show set in the 80s, done as if it were made then (it should be said the costuming and set dressing are remarkable). While the story may not make sense just yet, it’s an undeniably attractive show.
Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street
Chapter Two continues smoothly into the investigation regarding the missing boy, Will Byers. In particular, we see more of his mother Joyce, and Jim Hopper, the lovably surly chief of police. The b-plot focuses on the boys (Mike, Dustin, and Lucas) and the girl they found at the end of the first episode (Eleven). It’s traditional 80s fare, and satisfyingly so. They debate hiding her versus finding a way to turn her over to adults, and Eleven gives them a brief but significant display of her telekinetic powers. The tertiary plot here centers on Nancy (Mike’s sister), her love interest Steve, and her best friend Barb. If The Vanishing of Will Byers meant to take the pieces out of the box, The Weirdo on Maple Street sets them up in such a way as to make viewers wonder what game is even about to played.