There's a LOT (And I mean A LOT) to discuss in terms of Netflix's hit original series Stranger Things. I could talk about the excellent pacing and storytelling, the charming and well rounded characters, the concise tight writing, the perfectly done atmosphere, the masterful and inventive horror, any of these topics would make for a decent and fun analysis...
But I won't write about any of those things, I'll be writing about ALL of those things. In the same scene. Probably the best scene in the entire season, and yet it's so unassuming. Be warned of spoilers, but there's only 8 episodes in the entire series and it's completely free so there are no excuses...
So which scene am I talking about? I'm sure you all have your own favorites but the scene I think is best is in Chapter 5: The Flea and the Acrobat, which entails the kids searching for the upside-down using compasses meanwhile Nancy and Jonathan sort of accidentally stumble onto the upside-down while monster hunting.
I'll cut to the chase, the scene I'm talking about is the scene with the deer. You know what scene I'm talking about, even if you forget it... you remember now that I brought it up. The scene where Nancy and Jonathan find a dying deer and both agree to put it out of it's misery by shooting it. At first Nancy tries to do it but then Jonathan agrees to do it, as a viewer you're thinking "but he cried for a week after killing a bunny" because of some clever writing a few scenes prior. But this gets pushed aside by him downplaying the story and taking aim, and there's some really great tension here... and that's the genius of this scene.
See instead of this being a short vignette about Jonathan overcoming his childhood by allegorically shooting a deer for a good reason...don't get that's all still there by analysing the characters intention, but the dramatic buildup actually leads to the deer getting violently dragged away as a scary soundcue plays. This is a jumpscare. And it's an amazing jumpscare.
First let me explain why this jumpscare WORKS. A good jumpscare usually is made up of strong tense buildup before a sudden terrifying release of buildup (BOO) before the scene calms down and then begins building tension again. The scene with the deer is so clever because it has all the tension and buildup but not the kind the viewer is expecting. The dramatic buildup is the viewer leaning in-getting invested-knowing that they're GONNA shoot the deer but feeling sorry for everyone involved. The scene draws it out.. you're expecting the sudden release to be a gunshot and maybe a shot of them glancing at eachother before the scene cuts...
But instead at the last second the deer flies away leaving a trail of blood. Which does a few interesting things to the episode. First, like I explained already, it subverts the viewers expectations and sort of rattles them. Secondly, it subverts THE CHARACTERS expectations and allows the audience to connect to them emotionally and get more invested in the following scene. Thirdly, it introduces the antagonistic nature of the Demogorgon to Nancy and Jonathan and simultaneously has it do something weird, confusing and intense.
You never see the Demogorgon in this scene, until Nancy crawls into the Upsidedown all you see are the breadcrumbs from before, but the way the scene is setup makes it look like you--COULD have seen the Demogorgon if maybe the camera was placed differently. You aren't sure what happened on screen, where'd the deer go? What pulled it away? It's weird and unsettling and makes the scene after so much impactful than it would have been otherwise.
Anyway thats enough of my rattling, what was your guys' favorite part/episode of Stranger Things? Why? Did you watch it for the horror or for the 80s.. or did you watch it for both? I'd like to hear all your thoughts