Before I watched Stranger Things, I had seen a lot of praise and celebration of “Barb”, so I assumed that she would be a major, unforgettable character. I forgot that the Internet is both ironic and hyperbolic in equal measure, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at what happened to the character.
Spoilers Ahead for Season 1 of Stranger Things
It turns out that the “appreciation” for Barb was really more of a mocking attitude for an archetypical character (who sits alongside the rest of Stranger Things archetypes) who dies early on and is quickly forgotten by just about everyone in the show. Whereas the search for Will Byers triggers a massive search, no one really seems to give a shit about Barb, and it seems like Nancy cares more about her friend’s disappearance than Barb’s own parents.
But showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer haven’t forgotten about Barb. While they say the character is probably not coming back, they tell IGN that there will be “justice for Barb”:
“I can’t see it happening” came Matt’s response. “But Barb will not be forgotten. We’ll make sure there’s some justice for Barb. People get very frustrated, understandably, that the town doesn’t seem to be really dealing with Barb. That stuff is all happening. We’re just not spending any screen time on it.”
It was much better to spend time with characters who ultimately don’t affect the plot in any way. I, for one, was glad we spent so much time with Nancy and Jonathan even though they do nothing to stop the Demogorgon other than setting it on fire and pissing it off.
Matt Duffer continued:
“It’s not like her parents are like ‘Oh Barb left. She died!’ Season One actually takes place over the course of six or seven days – it’s a really short period of time. So part of what we want to do with hypothetical Season 2 is to explore the repercussions of everything that happened.”
And yet season one ends by skipping forward a month, so has everything been quiet in that time? Are we going to go back a month, or just pick up right where we left off? And how are the Duffers planning to advance the story?
The Duffers also commented on the “death” of Matthew Modine’s Dr. Brenner, a character whose plans we learn nothing about and whose apparent end is apparently supposed to be unsatisfying:
“I would say that if we were going to kill Brenner… as an audience member watching the show, if that was his death, that would be very unsatisfying to me – when the monster jumps on him and we cut away. He would deserve much more than that as an ending. So yes, there’s a possibility of seeing him again.”
Seriously, can someone explain to me why this show is the hit of the summer?