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I think the show might be in danger of losing its tone.
The tonal problems started in season two when Eleven ran away and her portion of the story turned into an X-Men episode for a while. Season three ramped it up, with Hopper and Joyce's portion basically being an action movie while all the stuff with the lab was slapstick spy-kids shenanigans.
Now that we're leaving the sleepy horror town entirely (apparently to go fight Russia?), I don't know what season four will really look like tonally.
I doubt the main characters will go to Russia. However, the upside down might be turning into a less localized threat.
I'm expecting less of a massive shift and more a change of locale. Like going from Derry to Castlerock.
all the stuff with the lab was slapstick spy-kids shenanigans.
I object to the idea that all the stuff in the lab was light-hearted and goofy, Steve and Robin getting tortured was really rough.
Steve getting tortured. Robin just got a straight up Mushroom Samba.
Which, mind you, led to one of the best character moments of the season. Doesn't make the scenario any less wacky.
And again, all done by a cartoon character.
Yeah, it's hard to take Steve's torture seriously when it's performed by General Ivan von Crazyeyes and Dr. Insano.
The Soviets are just extremely cartoonish to a man, even the Token Good Teammate is infantilized.
Honest thought: if Steve and Lucas had wanted to press charges against Billy in the season 2 finale (and they should've), he'd be rotting in a prison cell. I mean, he's dead which is even better. But if he'd gotten in trouble for what he'd done, he'd at least be in juvvie.
What Billy did was downright illegal. Not only horrible and abusive and racist (in Lucas’s case) but ILLEGAL. I was genuinely surprised that Hopper (who would’ve found out about it; they probably all met back up at the Byers’) didn’t arrest him. Steve’s bloody and bruised face and obvious concussion was absolutely enough evidence to turn him in, even if Lucas didn’t say that Steve was protecting him from Billy (which he would have because he’s Lucas).note The only reason I can think that Steve and Lucas didn’t press charges was the possibility that it would have made things worse for Max at home with Neil. We don’t know anything about her relationship to Neil so we don’t know how much of the abuse was on her from her stepfather and if it would have gotten worse if Billy was arrested.
Also, I think a lot of people don’t realize (and this is because shows and movies almost never address it) that Steve very easily could have died from that beating from Billy. Being knocked out for ANY amount of time is A) a possible concussion and B) very dangerous. Even if it’s only losing consciousness for a second. The longer you’re unconscious the worse and more dangerous the injury. Steve was knocked out long enough for the kids to get him into the car and drive halfway to the tunnels before he came to. That’s probably around 10min. That is super dangerous with a head injury. It is entirely possible that he did have lasting brain damage from it, too.
Furthermore, if Billy had continued to hit him while he was already unconscious (which he would have for God knows how long if Max hadn’t stopped him) then he absolutely would have killed Steve. There is no question in my mind about that. What Billy did to Lucas and Steve was evil, and illegal, and he definitely should have been arrested.
I can only wonder what would've happened in season 3 if Billy was arrested in the season 2 finale, and who'd have taken his place as the Mind Flayer's host in season 3.
Probably one of the Russians.
Edited by Voltron64 on Aug 16th 2019 at 6:49:17 AM
How the Mind Flayer never thought to flay the Soviets is a baffling question.
Presumably it realized it didn't need to. Plus, flaying and infecting any of them could have spooked them, causing them to shut down the project (or at least affecting productivity), and breaking his link to the world.
Better to let them continue obliviously setting him free, while he spends his free time waiting for the day he gets out for realsies and dicking around with those kids who foiled him the last time.
Yeah, I rather can't think of anything the Soviets could possibly be doing that would help the Mind F Layer more than what they were doing anyway. They just keep doing their thing, occasionally distracting and annoying the heroes and it's all gravy.
Also, I think a lot of people don’t realize (and this is because shows and movies almost never address it) that Steve very easily could have died from that beating from Billy. Being knocked out for ANY amount of time is A) a possible concussion and B) very dangerous.
While I absolutely agree with the overall thrust of your argument, you sort of have to take it for granted that this is, for all intents and purposes, a universe where Tap on the Head is a thing. This is just a setting where the skull is just nature's off-switch and concussions aren't a thing.
But yes. Billy getting no comeuppance to the literal crimes past "hey, don't be mean to me or my friends anymore" is clearly part of the soft retcon between seasons that whitewashed the guy.
Also, Max deserved better than to be made to cry for and mourn her abuser. I understand that abusive family dynamics can be complicated, but we never saw any real evidence that Max had any love for Billy before, all we saw was him abusing her, then for her to have a 180 in season 3 and for the show to pretend that she loved him and they had a somewhat loving dynamic that would make her mourn him.
You know what could have been a good ending for them? Max not being sad that Billy is dead. Her being happy that he’s gone and can’t hurt her again or at the very least, her feeling nothing about his death because he did nothing but hurt her. That could have led to an interesting arc where Max struggles with her emotions and wonders if she’s actually a bad person until she realizes that not mourning her abuser doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. Which would have been a great narrative for abuse survivors.
I'm torn on this. On one hand, that would have been a really interesting arc, and probably would have fit a bit better with season 2. On the other hand, family abuse dynamics are complicated. Add in the fact that he was murdered by an eldritch abomination while trying to protect her friend in front of her, and the reaction is a little more understandable. I do think it was a questionable choice to do a complete 180 regarding their relationship in general, but I'm glad that Max's reaction to Billy's death at least had some kind of narrative support from earlier episodes in the season.
In my humble opinion, it would have been so much better for Max to show no sadness at Billy's death, than the show trying to make us believe Max actually loved and mourns Billy. So yeah, Max Mayfield deserved better.
And hell, Billy wasn’t actually redeemed, but the way he was written purposefully made him look redeemed in the laziest way possible without the writers doing any of the actual work to give him a real redemption. I don’t think Billy would choose to be a better person. Even if he did, that alone wouldn’t excuse the things he did to Max, Lucas, Steve, and Dustin and Mike. That would take even more work and it would require forgiveness from those hurt by him, which I’m not sure they would give. And I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t. Ultimately, a backstory and one single ‘I’m sorry’ when he died, does not equal a redemption.
I think the writers' rationale to giving Billy a huge villain(ish) arc this season was that Billy is a much more “human” monster than the Mindflayer, and he has emotional connections to Max. But like honestly, aside from Max, he wasn’t shown to have emotional impact on any other characters, not Lucas (because they decided to ignore the racism thing), not Steve (even though they had a one-sided rivalry in season 2note Billy tried to make it a rivalry, as shown in the basketball scene where Billy’s antagonizing Steve and Steve says “Hey shut up and play the game." Steve didn’t want to deal with Billy’s bullshit. that was dropped completely in season 3), and he had a miniscule connection to Karen Wheeler which was also dropped (thankfully) early on in the season. So what’s the point? They got a human monster but decided not to follow through on any of the emotional payoff that comes with a human antagonist so just…the whole thing was pointless as hell.
We haven’t actually seen the impact of Billy’s death yet, that’s for the next season, if they treat him like Barb then I will be very disappointed, but if they instead have Max deal not with sadness but instead with guilt over how her life is now better and she doesn’t think she should enjoy that Billy is dead, that sounds like an interesting direction.
Abuse victims often do mourn their abuser even when they shouldn’t, Max starting out mourning Billy and then realising she shouldn’t would make a good arc.
Pop Culture Detective has recently released a video going into detail on Hooper's behavior in season 3 and how it harkens back to toxic behavior in older media. All-in-all it pretty much sums up my feelings towards the character.
So what are your thoughts, since I don't really have time to watch it.
Looks like an interesting viewing, though.
Essentially Hooper becomes much more aggressive, violent and controlling this season than the previous two and I don't think very highly of it, granted I didn't like Hooper all that much in the first season due to his tendency to resort to violence with little provocation and the fact that he sold Eleven out to the lab near the end of the season (seriously, why does the show never address that?), but he did get better in the second, which is why his behavior in the third season is so disappointing as it undid much of his character development.
The video also points how the Belligerent Sexual Tension between him and Joyce is supposed to harken back to the trope's use in 70s and 80s media but like those cases it comes off as toxic jealousy and controlling behavior on his end.
Edited by Kaiseror on Sep 21st 2019 at 11:23:50 AM
I just finished watching season three, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! While it's been some time since I saw the previous seasons, I do think that, for me, this was the best of the seasons thus far. ^_^
In general, I loved the characterisations in this season—that's not to say that I agreed with all characters (e.g. Hopper's parenting), only that I found them overall well-written for the style of work. The new characters were lovely: Robin played excellently across from Steve, as did Eric across from Dustin.
(I particularly loved the case of Suzie: (A) I like that the story didn't focus overmuch on the question of her reality; the question was raised a few times, but for the most part Dustin's friends seemed dubious-but-supportive. (B) I loved that she came back right at the end, as a long-foreshadowed plot-point and delightful brick-joke. And (C), I really liked how they resolved the question of whether she was all that Dustin claimed for her. ^_^
Regarding the Russians and their plans: From what I recall, I don't think that their intent was to invade America, or to destroy it with eldritch beasts. Instead, they were operating in Hawkins simply because it was the only place known at the time in which a gate could be opened. If I recall correctly, Alexei indicated something to that effect while discussing the project in Murray's home.
Regarding the Soviet Demogorgon, I do wonder whether we might not see the Upside Down coming into greater prominence next season. I don't know what direction they'll take it in, however. Perhaps there will be invasion or exploration of it. Maybe it will more-fully invade the mortal world through unwise tampering. (Hmm... Perhaps even something Silent-Hill-ish? A patch of the Upside Down taking root in some location?)
Anyway, I'm quite enthused to see where this show goes next. ^_^
Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Sep 21st 2019 at 6:16:13 PM
"Her being happy that he’s gone and can’t hurt her again or at the very least, her feeling nothing about his death because he did nothing but hurt her. That could have led to an interesting arc where Max struggles with her emotions and wonders if she’s actually a bad person until she realizes that not mourning her abuser doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. "
I dont think that would be a great narrative because he stop abusing her, she know billy dad is probably worst than him and because he got control by the mind flayer and nobody needs that, Max can mounr billy because whatever we liked or not, he was a victim.
Now I will said that Billy have the problem that....well, he never got a proper closure, he pretty much die the moment the moment the mind flayer posses him and lived a borrow live, therefore there is a disconnection here: Billy have a heroic sacrifice when he play villian...again for the mind flayer, it feel like cheating, using to many visual shortcut to get the idea he is a victim.
If you ask me, billy should have survive the mind flayed and change after ward by is trauma and grow, I mean Steve kinda srot of did it(and I will said Steve is becoming more intersting for me than Nancy or Jonathan).
But Steve doing/having done that arc makes it redundant for Billy to just repeat it. Plus even at his douchiest Steve was never ever as horrible as S2 Billy.
Well that is the thing: in case of hopper they are repeting the same beat as season 2(he get angry and over protecing, she go to her own thing, he apologies, move on) so I dont mind billy kinda sorta repeating here because the twist is, Billy kinda suffer the same thing will did which it would be something.
If a problem with billy arc: it lingers because Billy is not really even there, Max already make him respect her enough and close her personal arc with him so he just....sort of....linger there, Billy never get to said anything to is dad who is a shit to him, nor resolve anything else with max, he dosent get what he deserve or redemption..just....nothing, season 3 pretty much reduce him to a meat puppet and use a mental shortcut to understanding moment before he dies, which is cheap as hell.
Hopper kinda have the same issue: he threat Mike, them he focus on joyce and when the russianaitor comes the narrative just forgot about it while Mike deal with a problem he didnt make in the first place, the note in the end just feel a way to said "he didnt mean too"
So...I think I'm the only one who likes season 2. I think? I mean, don't get me wrong, it does have its problems, but I don't think its as bad as some people are making it out to be. We do get more lore about the Upside-Down and learn about Eleven's origins in detail (Poor Terry. That woman deserved better), and I think Max is a pretty cool character.
I recall enjoying it. I may feel that I enjoyed season 3 more, but I do think that I did enjoy season 2.
Season 4 is confirmed.
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