Chapter One: The Vanishing Of Will Byers

Zach Rainey, Entertainment Editor

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Warning: Minor Spoilers

Netflix has been creating numerous original TV shows in recent years. A number of which are quite brilliant, and “Stranger Things,” one of the newest Netflix original series, created by The Duffer Brothers, is no exception to this trend!

This show is a unique mix of science fiction, horror, and mystery set in Hawkins, Indiana in 1983. The show follows a multiple perspective system where we bounce around to a number of the main and supporting characters and follow their journey in this mysterious set of circumstances.

The very first perspective, after an eerie opening scene, is a group of 12-year-old, nerdy guys enjoying a wondrous 10-hour Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Unfortunately, it was ended by the parents of the game master and leader of the gang of guys, Mike Wheeler, played by Finn Wolfhard. After some fun banter between the kids, Lucas Sinclair played by Caleb McLaughlin, Dustin Henderson played by Gaten Matarazzo, and Will Byers played by Noah Schnapp, they leave on their awesome bikes. After Will wins himself a bike race against Dustin, he began to bike his way home (through restricted, government property; really smart move there, kid), and after a truly terrifying sequence, he is taken by something horrifying and mysterious, thus putting the story into motion.

After this, we begin the first set of bouncing between perspectives. We see the Byer family’s reaction to this disappearance which is a mix of frantic stress and terrified searching. Jonathan and Joyce Byers, the mother and older brother of Will, played by Charlie Heaton and Winona Ryder are terrified and scared for Will’s safety; they put together all possible resources a small town could offer a single mother in the 1980’s….which boils down to putting the police on the job.

This introduces us to another main character, Chief of Police, Jim Hopper, played by David Harbour, a guy with layers of self-wallowing and hedonism coating a heart of a true champion of the people. We follow him in his investigation into the incident.  He gets drawn deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of this case. We also continue to follow the three kids as they handle their good pal’s disappearance, originally going about their normal lives with some avid science interest with their teacher Mr. Clarke played by Randall P. Havens (who reminds me a lot of the now retired Mr. Forester). After they are made aware of their friend’s disappearance, they begin plotting to take the law into their own hands (terrible idea) and find Will!

Then comes in the loose end of this scenario; Mike’s older sister, Nancy Wheeler, played by Natalia Dyer, is a teenage girl who is “dating” a stereotypical cool dude, Steve Harrington played by Joe Keery. She struggles to balance her delicate home life with this relationship. This is the most disconnected of the plots and is admittedly quite boring in comparison to the other more interesting plot lines. Although this plot line is the most down to earth and most relatable for the teen viewers to connect, it is still very weak when compared to the more compelling and mysterious plots.

While all this is going on, we get glimpses of what was shown in the first scene of the show: a government facility close to the town, an other worldly mistake putting them into a frenzy, and them trying to collect a mysterious, silent little girl with a buzz cut. With this girl being revealed to be a runaway telekinetic who…. …

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After accidentally getting a diner owner named Benny killed by a government lady after they tracked down this girl, she escapes. This builds to the cliffhanger ending………the eventual encounter with the group of guys as they look for Will, and then the first episode comes to a close.

Overall, this is an exemplary first episode. It has superb actors, child and adult alike. Editing and suspense is used in extremely well placed cohesion; there is a very interesting premise and well thought out way to best get the story across in its shifting perspectives, and it overall did a good job establishing most of the main characters. Personally, I find the three kids’ perspective the most enjoyable as they remind me so much of myself when I was younger and even now! Areas that I found a bit lacking were that overall Nancy’s perspective did not have the best hook like the others and could perhaps have been improved if she did not have such a selfish, bitter reaction to Will’s disappearance. Beyond that, this is the first of many masterful pieces of this mystery, and this is only the beginning, folks! So let’s buckle up, get your die ready for this epic campaign, and let’s see how strange “Stranger Things” shall get! Shall we!?

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Chapter One: The Vanishing Of Will Byers