[Jim Hopper ,
Stranger Things, S01E01, “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers” (2016),
Directors: The Duffer Brothers
Writers: The Duffer Brothers ]
Among gems (or as you would say in my language, pearls) like “Mouthbreather”, “Don’t take it so personally, okay? I don’t like most people” and “Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked”, Chief Hopper takes the diamond. The morning person in me adds this sarcastic line to my movie quote vocabulary and takes the advice to heart.
So the morning after I finished watching Stranger Things I spent the morning contemplating the story. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that there is more to Joyce Byers that being an absolute delightful Winona Ryder creation. It is not that performing an emotion-loaded scene with a ball of christmas lights is not great acting, because if she does not get an award not for it next year, I promise to not watch said award ceremony. It is, that within the universe, Joyce is, in my opinion, greatly overlooked though the lenses of bizarre and captivating El, quirky and real 80s crew and the most realistic love triangle that has ever appeared on the small screen.
First of all, Joyce communicates both into and out of the upside down. Yes, she communicates with the two people she loves the most, but nobody else can do that. What is more, she figures out a way to have an actual conversation with her little boy, not only receive information or overhear them.
Secondly, (I feel like I am writing an essay for an ESL-type test) she not only goes in and comes back seemingly unscaffed, she can actually see into it through the walls of her house. Somehow only for her, there is no need for a gate or sensory deprivation device, she doesn’t need to go in to see. It is possible, that going through a loss of a child and feeling that there is conspiracy about it shut down her senses and adjusted her into only one frequency, but what is being done to El if not emotional and psychological abuse to make her reach some kind of potential?
And then there is this: Nancy Wheeler may be right that blood attacts the monster, but both her and Will get the monster to cross through the same walls with just their presence.
All Upside-Down topic aside, we are seeing someone who is completely unassuming and understands that neither of the existing worlds owes her anything. Joyce is aware of her own demons and shortcomings and sticks around to take care of what she loves the most. When that is taken away, she is willing to go to the end of any universe to retrieve and is not distracted by authority, laws, reason or even love. Also, just to put it out there – despite her grief and fear Joyce is the only one who really understands El during her trip in the bathtub and appreciaties what the little girl is doing for her.
Either way, she is a complete badass. Even if she cannot flip a van with her mind.
Or doesn’t know yet that she could if she had to.