Redemption in ‘Stranger Things’ (1 of 3)

(Spoiler alert…this blog reveals the plot of the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things. Stop now if you want to wait and experience the beauty of that show yourself without knowing the end.)

re·demp·tion   (rəˈdem(p)SH(ə)n/) n. the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil; “God’s plans for the redemption of his world”; the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt; retrieval, recovery, reclamation, repossession

Who knew I’d watch a sci-fi horror flick and weep my way to the end? The Duffer Brothers’ Netflix hit, Stranger Things, cinematically embodies the ethos of the 1980s while presenting us two Christ-like figures who bring redemption that is worthy to behold. First, an introduction to the story-line and our first Christ figure, Hopper.

A little bit Goonies, X Files and Stephen King rolled into one, I found myself reliving my boyhood watching Stranger Things. In spite of the movie being in the horror and sci-fi genre, one experiences a fun, light-hearted adventure at a quick pace with much wit. The genius of the flick is partly how the Duffer brothers emotionally lead you from fear to joy, warmth to horror in minutes; cathartic, for sure.

Dustin, Mike, Lucas and the telekinetic “Elle”, in the prime of adolescence, band together to find their missing friend, Will Byers, after his sudden and strange disappearance. Meanwhile, Will’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), drags the town police chief, Jim Hopper, out of his slothful life to lead an investigation and massive search effort. The journey to find the boy define the characters and reveal some amazing lessons on life, and redemption.

During the two search parties’ frenetic hunt for clues as to Will’s whereabouts, officials of a dubious secret government agency seek to thwart the hunts and cover up Will’s disappearance. They know of a deeper evil that defies the laws of time and space to which Will, and others, have succumbed. The secret agents compete with a supernatural evil force as being the antagonists. Viewers are left wondering which is more evil and why.

Over the course of the episodes the life of police chief Jim Hopper comes into focus. His sloth and alcoholism, we soon realize, are his manner of coping since a daughter’s death to cancer and the subsequent ruin of his marriage. Sympathy is built for the viewer for the amount of suffering Hopper has experienced. Hopper’s frantic search to save Will, we eventually discover, is also a parallel search to save his own daughter in his mind. Hopper longs for any sort of meaning to come as a result of her suffering, and his own. Saving Will becomes a journey to save himself.

That journey’s completion and Hopper’s redemptive role in the second blog…

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