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Friday, April 14, 2023

Anyone else feeling this way too? (Spoilers for Stranger Things)

The very last shot from "The Piggyback", the finale of Stranger Things season four:

Click to enlarge

That's the overwhelming sense of things that I've had for much of this past year and I imagine it has been for a lot of other people too.  The visual metaphor is a most fitting one.  Many of our heroes, who have just gone through an incredibly exhaustive tribulation that spanned the width of America, enjoying a brief moment of joy and reunion.

And then they see the particles floating downward, not just them but everyone else in Hawkins.  It builds up to the final scene as Hopper and Joyce lead the others out of the woods... and toward the inescapable reality that for all their effort they have failed after all.  All they can do is stand from afar and look on as the Upside Down begins its invasion of the world.

Here's the sequence in its entirety, from the goosebumps on the back of Will's neck on through the devastating conclusion:


That, for me, is the thematic encapsulation of what I've had to watch unfold around us these past couple of years especially.  Growing darkness.  For each apparent win it becomes apparent that it hasn't been good enough.  That the battles may be won but the war is far from over.

I feel like I'm in that field, standing at a distance away from the chaos and turmoil that's threatening to engulf everything.  Looking onward toward the encroaching darkness and the world really is being turned upside-down and inside-out.

It's a powerful sense to be hit with.

But that's not all that scene conveys.

Joyce and Hopper are holding hands, bracing themselves for what is to come.  They've gone through so much for each other and they're going to be together now, too.  They aren't giving up.

Neither is Eleven.  The very last closeup of her shows her face in grim determination that this is not the end.  That the fight isn't over.  That she's going to do whatever it takes to face the threat of the Upside Down.  Eleven is going to finish this.  She's standing between her friends and evil unleashed: literally as well as figuratively.

I look at that final shot and see a battle that has been lost.  Things look bad now.  Very horribly wrong.

But there is still hope.

I don't think this present darkness around us is insurmountable, unconquerable.  I think it can be held at bay, if only for a little while.  Maybe that's all it will take for things to begin to be set right.  We look at how circumstances are now and we're going to acknowledge that the situation is dire.  But that's the furthest we'll allow it to get.

What comes next will be difficult.  The darkness will not give quarter to us.  Many people are going to be hurt in some capacity.

I think of scripture, and the promises of God.  We just had the Easter season.  Remembering a time when things seemed beyond all hope... and then God intervened and turned grief into immeasurable triumph and victory.

That's what we have to cling to, as we stand in our own field looking out upon the world that's being engulfed in evil.

We don't have to win.  We only have to stand.

If there is strength to do just that much, it will be enough.




The Flaming Flea said...

Well Chris, you made me break down and subscribe to Netflix just so I can watch this show. I'll let you know what I think this weekend after I'm finished.

The Flaming Flea said...

Ho-LEE CRAP! I wasn't prepared for how good that was going to be. That's the best TV I have seen since the most recent Galactica. Thank you so much for blogging about it!

Chris Knight said...

Glad to hear you like it :-) Season five, the final one, starts filming this summer so we may have it to watch summer of 2024 (hopefully).