The Duffer Brothers’ Netflix present, Stranger Issues, achieved worldwide success due to its compelling storylines, well-crafted characters, even pacing, and out-of-this-world scenes that grew to become immediately iconic. And despite the fact that the plot is ready within the Nineteen Eighties, the present doesn’t draw back from together with LGBTQ+ illustration. Subsequent to its sci-fi components, Stranger Issues can be a coming-of-age story, and it has grown to focus on the individuality and significance of sure characters each coming of age and popping out. With this inclusion, the creators launched their first queer character, Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), and in the latest season delivered one of many present’s most touching, necessary plotlines: Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and his troublesome path to realizing his true self.
At the start of Season 4, the buddies from Hawkins are break up. Whereas Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), Will (Schnapp), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Joyce (Winona Ryder) relocate to California and nonetheless take care of the lack of Hopper (David Harbour), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Max (Sadie Sink) navigate their lives again dwelling, making an attempt new issues and dealing with new challenges of their private lives. However quickly their lives are turned upside-down (!) with the arrival of a monster named Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) who feeds on guilt, worry, and grief, and received’t cease till he destroys Hawkins.
The genius of Stranger Issues lies in its many layers. Along with the subjects of parallel universe, a number of dimensions, and blood-thirsty monsters, The Duffer Brothers additionally embrace two excellent and touching tales, every very completely different from one the opposite, however each extremely important for LGBTQ+ viewers. Together with her arrival in Season 3, Robin swiftly grew to become an integral a part of the Stranger Issues universe. Hawke’s character is a younger lady who many have come to like, and it’s been pleasant seeing her as part of a duo with fan-favorite Steve Harrington (Joe Keery). She’s clumsy, talkative, and quirky, and he or she’s all the time prepared to assist, not questioning something she hears. Though viewers can respect and champion her budding friendship with Nancy (Natalia Dyer) in Season 4, what continues to face out is the pivotal scene between Robin and Steve from Season 3.
In it, the 2 are caught within the rest room stalls of their bloody, soiled ”Scoops Ahoy” uniforms, and Robin lastly musters the braveness to share a major a part of her id. This not solely demonstrates that she believes she will belief Steve, but additionally that she is prepared: “Do you bear in mind what I mentioned about Click on’s class,” she asks, “about me being jealous, and like, obsessed? (…) It isn’t as a result of I had a crush on you. It’s as a result of… she wouldn’t cease watching you,” Robin reveals. “Mrs. Click on?” Steve asks. “Tammy Thompson,” Robin finally comes out. “I wished her to have a look at me. However she couldn’t pull her eyes away from you and your silly hair. And I didn’t perceive since you would get bagel crumbs everywhere in the ground. And also you requested dumb questions. And also you have been a douchebag. And also you didn’t even like her, and I’d go dwelling and simply scream into my pillow.”
It’s price remembering that Hawke’s character is doing this within the Nineteen Eighties when homosexuality wasn’t actually understood or accepted. In consequence, Steve’s response is much more real: “However Tammy Thompson’s a lady,” he begins earlier than realizing what Robin means. The scene is without doubt one of the present’s most lovable moments. As a member of the neighborhood and somebody who needed to come to phrases with the identical revelation as Robin, I felt this second deeply in my coronary heart. It jogged my memory of my highschool years, and my first crush. Robin’s character, inside one monologue, managed to embody all of the confusion, flushing, and awkwardness that I felt.
However popping out might be additionally refined; it might begin with somebody near you who assures you that they’re there for you. Will goes by means of his personal share of ache throughout Season 4, struggling internally, because the group prepares for the battle with Vecna. In Episode 8, “Papa,” Will, Mike, Jonathan, and his good friend, Argyle (Eduardo Franco), are within the pizza truck when Mike expresses his concern about reuniting with Eleven. Will assures him that El wants him. Your complete scene is stuffed with emotional, LGBTQ+ undertones, and concludes with Will looking the window, desperately making an attempt to carry again his tears. Once more, though it’s not explicitly said, LGBTQ+ followers can relate to Will, his ambivalent emotions, and a battle between friendship and what one’s coronary heart needs.
Jonathan then discerns that his brother might have been speaking about himself. Within the season finale, he takes Will apart: “I really feel such as you used to return to me extra for assist or to only speak, you recognize. It feels such as you don’t try this anymore. Not like earlier than. A whole lot of that has most likely been my fault. This final 12 months I do know I’ve been distant. (…) Or stoned, however that has nothing to do with you. That’s me coping with my very own shit and hiding from my very own issues. The reality is, I miss speaking to you. I like, actually miss it and I feel proper now we have to speak greater than ever, ‘trigger issues are getting simply sophisticated.”
Subsequent, Jonathan probably addresses Will’s sexuality: “I don’t need you to neglect that I’m right here and I’ll all the time be right here it doesn’t matter what, since you’re my brother and I like you. And there’s nothing on this world, okay, completely nothing on this world that can ever change that. You bought that?” Silently crying, Will replies, “Yeah. And I’m all the time right here for you, too.”
Each of those coming-out moments revolving round Robin and Will have been immensely vital. It makes no distinction whether or not it’s refined and between the strains (Will), or extra direct (Robin). Viewer response proves each had an impression. It could additionally profit those that are struggling, equivalent to youngsters who’re afraid to be themselves. The Duffer Brothers not too long ago revealed that the fifth and closing season could be primarily about Will. It’s an intriguing choice and an important alternative to wrap up the Stranger Issues story, with Will first “inviting us” to Hawkins and introducing us to the Upside Down; it is sensible to finish this journey with him additionally.
In large and small methods, tv influences how we take into consideration and understand the world. In consequence, character tales like these are wanted in our up to date society to assist others each uncover and are available to phrases with themselves, and to stimulate conversations round these revelations. Although proper now Stranger Issues could also be mentioned in relation to its greatest dramatic crescendos, finally it’s the tender, small, quietly important scenes like Robin and Will’s respective popping out moments that can maintain the present on our minds and in our hearts lengthy after the ultimate episode airs.
Zofia Wijaszka is a Los Angeles-based movie and tv critic. She writes for Awards Watch, Nerdist, and First Exhibiting. You may join together with her on Twitter – @thefilmnerdette.
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