***There will be spoilers for this episode in this review!***
By the title you’ll see that this review will be on the first episode of the 2016 Netflix hit series Stranger Things. Before you ask, this was my first time watching it, and I went in knowing almost nothing about it. All I knew was that it was about a kid who went missing, namely, taken. Then I knew about this Eleven girl with telekinetic powers and then bikes and a group of young boys in the 80’s. I also knew about this monster-thingy called the Demigorden (yikes I know I spelled that wrong). Demogorgon, okay I looked it up. And something about it coming out of a couch and then Christmas lights. That’s literally all I know so I went into the series pretty blind. I like doing that so the experience was already 10x better then if I had known more about the series going in.
Everybody was raving about this series, and I’ll admit it got quite annoying hearing about it literally everywhere I went on the internet. I had already had the series on my Netflix list before all of this hype was built, I just hadn’t gotten around to watching it yet. And then I decided that I might as well wait until all the hype goes down until I watch the show myself. Plus, now that I waited this long, I won’t have as long of a wait for the next season as other people who watched the series months ago will. Now, let’s get to my thoughts.
The episode starts out with a man in a lab coat running down a hallway. The lights are flickering and all you can hear is his heavy breathing as he (basically) awaits his own death. My initial thought was an experiment gone wrong, since he’s in a lab coat he must be a scientist of sorts. And then he gets attacked and my heart quickens pace because I had turned the volume up to hear the dying man’s breathing. Netflix, I swear, you do this on purpose to us. First with Daredevil and now this. Basically I spent a good deal of the episode playing with the volume button because in Netflix shows, people talk lowly and the music blasts. But that’s what jump-scares are made out of right?
After that little incident with the man in the lab coat, we’re taken to our little group of 10-year old friends. And they’re playing what looks like Dungeons & Dragons. I myself have never played this game, but boy does it look fun. I’m just happy they’re nerds. I cannot for the life of me remember the other kid’s names except for Will and Mike so I won’t even try. So Will, Mike, and the other to kids are playing Dungeons & Dragons in Mike’s basement and then they talk about a Demogorgon thing and I knew things were about to go wrong. Will rolls the dice but before they’re able to see what he rolled, Mike’s mom pops up and tells him that his friends need to start heading home.
And so they get on their 80’s bikes – much like The Goonie’s – and head off to their respected homes. Before Will leaves, though, he tells Mike that he found the dice and he had rolled a 7, meaning the Demogorgon got him. If you had seen my face at that moment I would’ve looked like a white bed sheet. On his way home, Will falls off his bike and down a hill and ends up in this cabin-thingy (sorry I wasn’t looking at the screen at this exact point so I don’t remember it exactly). Will is in this cabin/shed and then something comes to the door and attacks him.
I can’t remember the exact order of events after that, so excuse me if this review is a bit scattered. The next morning, Will’s mother notices that he’s not in his bed, and then asks his brother if he had come home the night before. The brother says that he wasn’t home the night before because he had taken an extra shift at work. The mother then calls Mike’s mother, asking if Will had stayed the night over, but she replied by saying he hadn’t. Will’s brother then suggests that he could already be at school. Flash-forward to school where Mike and the other two friends I can’t remember the names of have arrived and are also wondering where Will is. They then assume he had gotten there early and was already inside the building.
Later that day, Will’s mom is at the police station talking to the Sheriff about her missing son. I forgot what he said, but she begged him to look for him and he agrees. Around this time in the episode, Eleven appears. She is walking on the street in a hospital gown and makes her way into a diner kitchen, where she sees a bowl of french fries. She eats them reluctantly at first and then starts stuffing her face. That’s when the diner owner sees her and runs after her. He catches her and then once the diner is closed, he makes a burger for her. She eats it, obviously hungry, but is still silent. The diner owner notices the number 011 on her arm and asks what that is. He then asks what her name is and she responds with Eleven. The man makes a phone call and while he’s doing that, Eleven gets annoyed by the sound of the fan at the other side of the room so she focuses hard and the fan stops moving. Telekinetic powers revealed!
At Will’s house, his mother and brother are at this point terrified by what must’ve happened to him and are putting together signs saying ‘Have you seen me?’. While doing so, they look through old pictures and have a momentary cry-fest. They blame themselves for Will getting lost/taken and then the phone rings. Will’s mom answers and she hears deep breathing and then she realizes it’s Will so she starts screaming out his name. Then, before his brother is able to make it to the phone, the phone shocks his mother, causing her to drop the phone. I think that the Demogorgon has some sort of power that involves electricity because there was that thing with the lights and the scientist, and now this. Plus, whenever the Sheriff is looking in the cabin/shed where I believe is where Will was taken, the lights all went out.
Now, back to Eleven. Somebody knocks on the diner’s door and the diner owner answers. Apparently he had called Social Services and so he lets her in. Eleven watches as the woman tranquilizes the diner owner, so she runs out to the back, where there are 2 more guys waiting for her with guns. The screen cuts off and shows the woman. A sound is heard and then she ventures into the back where she finds the men on the floor and no girl.
At dinner in Mike’s house, there’s a little fight between Mike and his sister about her boyfriend before she leaves the table, and Mike follows suit. Mike is talking to his two friends through bulky walky-talkies about going out for a Will-search that night. So Mike sneaks out and gets on his bike. As he does so, he sees his sister’s boyfriend (I forgot his name too… Pete? Nah, I don’t think that’s right) sneaking up the house and into her room. He shakes his head and then continues on his quest to save his friend. Meanwhile, in his sister’s room, her boyfriend is helping her study and she’s getting all of the questions right. Then there’s a little make-out session and before they go farther, she stops him (thank God, finally a teenage girl with a brain!) and they continue studying.
Mike and his friends are biking along the road where Will’s lone bike was found earlier that day and then go on foot through the woods, where it starts raining. The kid with the missing teeth and curly hair complains about the weather, saying they should go back. Mike says that he’s not leaving and so they continue on. Then, in the rain they see none other than Eleven herself, shivering in the rain, still in her hospital gown. Dun. Dun. DUN. And that’s the end of the first episode.
So this review was more of a recap, I feel like, but oh well. I really enjoyed this first episode and I knew I would love this show because I’ve heard it being described as a love letter to the sci-fi movies of the 80’s and I am a huge fan of movies such as The Goonies and Back to the Future so there is no way this show could go wrong. I’m loving the characters so far and the way the story unfolds before your eyes. There are only 8 episodes in this series so far so I’m going to pace myself while watching this because I would like to write more lengthy reviews such as this for all of the episodes as I watch them, and that’s difficult to do if I binge the series.
In the next episode I’m expecting more investigations of Will’s disappearance and a lot of information regarding Eleven and who she is. I have a theory that she’s the Sheriff’s ‘dead’ daughter. And I believe that Eleven was captured by the government because of her abilities and made it look like she was dead, and then she escaped? Maybe the Demogorgon attacking that scientist had something to do with her and her escape. I don’t know, but I do know that it’ll be exciting. This will definitely be a 5/5.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts on this episode and my review in the comments. Just no spoilers for future episodes please! I want to be left in the dark until I watch it.