There are a million reasons why Stranger Things is awesome. Here’s one of them.
Things come full circle in the final episode. The boys are playing D&D downstairs. Again, their adventurers are confronted with a monster (this time a Thessalhyrdra, not the Demogorgon). Again, Sam’s hero (Sam the Wise) is the first to move against it. Again, Sam has the option to Fireball the monster.
Remember what happened last time they were in this situation? At the beginning of the show? Will attempted to Fireball the monster instead of casting Protect to, well, protect Mr. Sam the Wise. He was doing what he thought was best for the team. That original choice to fire the Fireball failed and Will was taken by the Demogorgon, both in the game and eventually IRL.
Instead of casting Protect, Will decides to do what is best for the team and again attempts to Fireball the monster, and…it succeeds. Will refuses to live in fear of the monster. Courage still burns in him. A strong message that we are more than our traumas, our past abuses, our failures. We can come out on the other side of hell and still have the resolve to charge back in. Hallelujah.
But wait, there’s more. I’m going to need some help from Movie Pilot’s Allanah Faherty for this one:
Upon learning that was the final battle, Dustin asks “that’s not it, is it?!” Before Lucas adds “the campaign was way too short.” Dungeon Master Mike is outraged at the anger, crying “it was 10 hours!” A clear jibe from the creators, the Duffer brothers, directly to the audience bemoaning the eight-episode length of Season 1. However the boys then list a whole bunch of loose ends from their campaign that Mike failed to tidy up:
- The lost knight
- The proud princess
- The weird flowers in the cave
While it might be easy to just think these three things exist only in the boys’ campaign, just like the comment about the game length, these loose ends also apply to the whole series. Firstly we have the lost knight, which clearly applies to Chief Hopper. At the end of Episode 8 Hopper is seen willingly getting into a car with the government agents after he comes out of the hospital — what do they want from him? Are they working together?
Next we have the proud princess who could only apply to the other big loose end: Eleven.
Given the fact that the monster’s face opens up like the petals of a flower, the mention of “the weird flowers in the cave” has to refer to the monster and the egg inside its lair.
Super smart writing that contains meta-information commenting on the series within a diegetic frame of a D&D game while using the language of D&D.
That level of attention to detail is consistent throughout whole freaking show.
Just another reason why Stranger Things is awesome.