January 23, 2018

Welcoming Stranger Things Without Baptising Them Too

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the past year, many writers in the Catholic blogosphere have commented on the theological richness of Stranger Things. One writer recently went so far as to claim that it is “the most Catholic show on television,” which may be a bit of a stretch.

Yes, Eleven is a Christ figure, but I doubt The Duffer Brothers gave her the nickname “El” as a nod to the Hebrew word for God, though, admittedly, stranger things have happened.

Sorry. Got that pun out of my system. Moving on.

Yes, Eleven refuses to use her powers when asked to kill a cat (an act which this same writer compares to Christ’s refusal to turn stones to bread during his temptation in the desert), but moments later, she kills two guards who threaten her, an utterly un-Christlike action.

While I can appreciate and in fact hope to demonstrate here that Stranger Things is a series with deeply Catholic sensibilities, the examples above are a necessary reminder that Catholic audiences should resist the temptation to read too much theological symbolism into the show. Doing so flattens out both the riches of Catholicism and the nuance of the series; there is no easy one-to-one equivalency here. Eleven may very well be named Eleven for the simple reason that there were ten subjects who came before her at Hawkins lab (as hinted at by Stranger Things 2).

Still, the overall assessment rings true

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