*Warning spoilers for Stranger Things Seasons 1 & 2.
The Netflix show Stranger Things is all the rage these days. It is fairly original while borrowing from several 80’s movie classics. What it surprisingly manages to be is very pro-empowerment and pro-weapon. Let me count the ways . . .
Likable jock Steve Harrington wields a baseball bat with embedded nails. He uses it against the Demogorgon and later against the Demodogs. I have never been much of a fan of bats with spikes; the impact of the bat does more damage than the spikes. However, they can give the bat more weight and give it “bite” to keep it from deflecting. A positive depiction of a teenager wielding – well, any weapon is a good thing.
Police Chief Jim Hopper carries a folding knife and uses it when he enters an underground network of tunnels. He is attacked by the snake like tentacles of the Mind Flayer and he uses his tool/weapon to cut a few off. It does not work for him but Joyce Byers uses it to set him free. Yes, pocket knives are handy.
Fire is used extensively throughout both seasons as creatures from the “Upside Down” do not handle it well. The trap Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers laid for the Demogorgon ended in a pool of gasoline and a bear trap. Setting the Demogorgon on fire did not kill it but it did send it back to the Upside Down (not sure how that works).
Nancy uses a red hot fire poker on Will Byers to
exorcise kick out the interdimensional being inside of him. Hey, it worked for Short Round when Dr. Jones came under the Black Sleep of the Kali Ma.
The lads over at Hawkins Lab have some “tubular” gear. They use flamethrowers to keep The Mind Flayer in check. It makes the organism scream which is eerie and cool.
When it comes to things that go bang, it just keeps getting better. Jonathan steals his dad’s S&W model 10 (plus ammo) and it is considered a good thing. In the words of Sheila Broflovski: What What What What !?
In the first episode of Season I, Will goes for his .22 caliber rifle in the hope of defending himself against the Demogorgon. An even younger kid with a gun – gnarly.
Being set in 1983 and 1984, there is host of late Cold War era firearms. At Hawkins Lab, the government workers have M-16’s, MP5’s, and 1911’s. Agent Connie Frazier uses one of those 1911’s, with a suppressor, to kill an innocent restaurant owner.
There are a few anachronisms here. The MP5’s themselves are historically accurate but some of the stocks did not come about until years later. The M-16 that Chief Hopper takes to Hawkins Lab, at the end of Season 2, looks like it was ordered online off of Impact Guns. The shorter handguard and collapsible stock are give-aways that it is not period. The MP’s carry 92FS/M9’s. The M9 was not adopted as a U.S. sidearms until 1985 so that is an anachronism as well.
The cops have guns too. Hopper has a revolver that is shown quite frequently. I cannot tell the make and model just by looking. I am not too lazy to look it up, I just got to leave some fodder for the comment section 🙂
There is an episode in Season 2 that takes place in Chicago (partially). There are a host of revolvers and pump shotguns. The cops have Browning Hi-Powers and a few Mini-14’s/AC-556’s. I can’t be the only one that thought “A-Team”.
The greatest weapon on the show is Jane “Eleven” Hopper. She can flip a van with a thought and make people bleed out of their eyes with just a look. If she gets angry or scared enough she can punch a whole in the space-time continuum.
The show does not make it clear if she was the purpose of the MK-Ultra program or merely a descendant of it ala Firestarter . . . goodness gracious this show is like Firestarter and Goonies and E.T. and . . . OK, back to Eleven. What is known is that she is not alone. There were at least ten other kids with powers that came out of that project. We even see one in the first episode of Season 2 and in the aforementioned episode that takes place in Chicago.
Stranger Things has one of the best assortments of weapons that I have seen in a show in maybe “ever”. It positively depicts protagonists, especially young ones, tooling up. A rarity in this day and age. But Stranger Things is not of this age. It is from a more civilized one – the 1980’s. Check it out!