'Stranger Things' Season 3: Duffer Brothers may give fans a good story but their characterization of women is terrible
'Stranger Things' is nerdy in every sense but it has terribly failed to develop its characters, especially the women.
It is quite an unexpected feat that even today we would have women characters who are not as well developed as their male counterparts, but the worst has come true with Netlfix's 'Stranger Things'. Coming from the Duffer Brothers (Matt and Ross Duffer), the show follows a group of friends who begin to discover certain strange things in a lab in Hawkins after their friend goes missing. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that the lab has been turning kids into mutants, in order to fight the monster from the other world which had apparently abducted the boy.
The story, with its '80s-esque tone and retro appearance, is quite appealing to an audience who is increasingly turning towards the nerdy stuff. 'Stranger Things' is nerdy in every sense but it has terribly failed to develop its characters, especially the women. For an instance, when we were introduced to Eleven's fellow inmate, Kali (or Eight, played by Linnea Berthelsen) it was expected that Kali would bring a new perspective to the show. However, that went south and the character had nothing to offer but a lot of anger and destruction. As we hope that the show puts an effort to develop its characters in Season 3 (which will release on Netflix on July 4), here's how we think it has practically marred its female characters on the show:
1. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)
Although Eleven is treated as the protagonist of the show, she lacks the very girth that a mutant should have. We get to know about Eleven's powers as early on in the first episode of Season 1 but after that, we don't see much development in her use of those powers until the very end of Season 2. Also, Eleven's connection with the Upside Down isn't even half as well defined as Will's who had spent a considerable amount of time in the strange parallel universe. This is where a sort of injustice towards Eleven's character sets in. It is expected that she would be more aware of the Upside Down but that doesn't happen. Eleven is merely a weapon right now on the show, and a very mindless one to say the least.
2. Mad Max (Sadie Sink)
We were introduced to Max in Season 2 and she, with all her cool tricks with the skateboard and all, became a fan favorite. But then again, this character seemed to fade from the storyline as the show progressed. It is only in Episode 1 of Season 2, where we get to know anything at all about Max. We are introduced to her abusive brother, her dysfunctional family, and her tendency to drop by at the arcade, all in the first episode. However, after that Max becomes what we have known most commonly as a side-kick. Like that wasn't enough, the Duffer brothers had to pair her up with one another sidekick, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), whose character only began to develop towards the end of Season 2.
3. Nancy Wheeler (Natalie Dyer)
The Duffer Brothers had probably spent the least portion of their mind and time behind this character because honestly, Nancy is just plain boring. Although her boredom is not as monotonous as her brother Mike's (Finn Wolfhard), Nancy is boring because she is just another cliche on the show. Growing up as the daughter to two very conservative parents, Nancy's way out of her world was through her former boyfriend, Steve (Joe Keery), whom she quite easily dumped once she realizes that Jonathan actually loves her more than Steve. Quite expectedly, Nancy sets out on her adventure with Jonathan while Steve continues to remain her friend. Let's just say Nancy is the typical Queen Bee that you no longer give any importance to.
4. Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder)
Joyce is just the perfect mom of the '80s with her ever obstipated face. It is a shame to see this actress being unable to show her skills since her character demands practically nothing out of her. Joyce, a character who has some of the maximum screen times on the show, is stagnant in her grief over her son's life being in danger; she seems to be immovable from that house where she spends almost the whole of Season 1 and a good half of Season 2, and her character practically seems to have no other motivation other than Will. Yes, Joyce's state of mind is perfectly executed by Ryder but is Joyce really just a whining woman or is there more to her? We will never know, probably.
5. Barbara Holland (Shannon Purser)
Yes, so what exactly happened with Barb? We mean why is no one worried about her except Nancy? Barb went missing in the Upside Down in Season 1, and ever since we have heard nothing of her. Season 2 tried to pull the strings together when for a brief moment Nancy was suddenly concerned about her best friend disappearing in a parallel universe while she was hooking up with a guy Barb had specifically warned her about. But who cares? Barb is soon forgotten when Nancy's empty heart is revived by some cringey romance with Jonathan. Yes, she forgot Barb immediately but why? Why is Barb so least important on the show? Why is still there no proper investigation about her body which was never found?
'Stranger Things' Season 3 will see another new female character, Robin (played by Maya Thurman Hawke), join the group and we really hope this character will go places. The show returns to Netflix on July 4, 2019.