Strange things are afoot at Hawkins, Indiana…
It is a testament to the dexterity that Stranger Things possesses that it can end one episode with an emotionally charged death and then have an 80’s teen movie transformation scene in the next. The scene that sees Mike and the boys supply El with a makeover is both charming and funny and is one of a number of direct homages that Stranger Things has utilized thus far.
The main chunk of the episode is taken up by discoveries made by Nancy and Joyce. The first revelation is the confirmation that Will is still alive. This is cleverly revealed to Mike, Joyce and Hopper in separate scenes which cuts out the need for exposition heavy dialogue in the next episode. The next step will surely be all those characters in the know combining to fight against a common evil.
What that evil is, it is still to early to say. The monster(s) so far look like the slender man re-imagined by H.R Giger but it seems the authorities may be the biggest threat to Hawkins. Hopper digs down enough to find that what is happening in his town goes much deeper than he expected. Despite all this we still know very little about Hawkins Labs, other than the fact that they do bad things and they have no scruples with sacrificing their staff.
One great thing about The Body is that it allows the characters to properly grieve for Will before bringing him back to life. Too often in TV shows and movies a character is killed off one minute and then forgotten about the next. The small town grief that hits all of Hawkins is both heart wrenching and realistic. It is a tough juggling act to display emotional resonance combined with goofy humour but the pacing and direction of Stranger Things pulls this off perfectly.
I said in an earlier review that Stranger Things isn’t an event series but it is so fast paced that it is kind of ending up like one. Not that this is a bad thing but it would be nice to spend some time with the characters again as there seems to be a lot of back story waiting to be discovered for Joyce and Hopper.
Steve Watch: I predicted that Steve Harrington would return to the likeable character from the first two episodes in time to save the day. Alas, he shows no signs of making a comeback in this episode. I’ve still got faith in you Steve!