I've always loved 'Stranger Things' for fleshing out characters that might otherwise have been relegated to movie tropes or stereotypes. Over the seasons we've grown to love or hate so many characters with tons of depth, but also flaws that humanize them. Be they geeks, jocks, freaks, mentally unstable laboratory experiments, or even bullies, the show has never shied away from taking the time to make their characters more than first impressions.
So when the rest of Hellfire Club utterly disappeared after episode two and the jocks went from bad to worse, it took me while to get on board.
It felt like a hard left from the writing the previous seasons had nailed so effortlessly, not to mention a HUGE missed opportunity.
I would have loved to see Jason realize there was no way in hell Eddie could have murdered Patrick. To watch the jocks and the freaks begrudgingly realize they have more in common than they first thought, and that they could achieve so much more by acknowledging their strengths. To have had them question the hysteria they were being fed, and come to their own conclusions based on the actions of others. To see them combining forces to charge Vecna would have been amazing.
That said, I have seen interviews with the Duffers regarding their intentions with Jason, and that they wanted to explore a character whose mind just couldn't fathom the Upside Down, and snapped instead of accepting what he was seeing. The Satanic Panic was very real in the '80s, along with the demonization of Dungeons and Dragons, and the season as a whole was supposed to feel darker and hopeless. To have the gang come together to vanquish evil as they had in Season 3 would have changed the tone completely.
To that end, I think the Duffers achieved exactly what they set out to do.
But it won't stop me wishing we still got to see this.
Maybe, in Season 5, Team BasketFire/HellClub might still have a chance.
- Athena (Sak)
Stranger Things © The Duffer Brothers
Artwork © Shamine Athena King