Stranger Things is about to return for a third spin around the old Upside Down and there are really just a lot of things going on. Eleven has harnessed her powers quite a bit after her electro-goth adventure in Chicago. Steve is now very cool and sometimes carries a demon-bashing bat and sometimes gives great hair advice to follicly-challenged children. Billy is still around doing dirtbag things and making dirtbag eyes at Mike’s mom. It’s all very busy, and that’s before we get to the part about Eleven closing the gate to the Upside Down, which, it appears, did not actually solve their problems and may have actually made them worse, depending how much one wants to read into various trailers.
But I want to talk about Will for a minute. Poor Will. Has any character on television been through more in one two-season period? Jesse Pinkman had a rough go of it on Breaking Bad, I guess, and there is some crossover between being held captive by Nazis who force you to cook meth and being held captive by demons who had their own nefarious motivations that did not involve meth-cooking, as far as we know. But Jesse’s issues were spread over five seasons and were at least partially the result of his own actions. Will hasn’t done anything to anybody. It’s not right what the show has put him through.
Which brings me to my point: Should Stranger Things, at some point, if not in this new seasons then soon, let Will go on a carefree vacation to Hawaii to relax for a while? It’s a fair question. Let’s think about this.
THE CASE FOR STRANGER THINGS LETTING WILL GO ON A VACATION TO HAWAII
In the first season of Stranger Things, Will Byers is abducted by a Demogorgon and taken to the Upside Down. Once there, he evades the creature for the better part of a week — mostly off-screen while his friends try to figure out what happened and where he is — before his small malnourished body gives in and he finds himself tangled up in demonic gunk inside the bizarro Hawkins library, surrounded by skeletons and with a large slimy tendril jammed down his throat and into his belly. He is saved by his mother and Chief Hopper and is taken back home, where everything seems fine and as normal as it all can be until he goes into his bathroom and pukes a hellslug into his sink.
In the second season of Stranger Things, Will begins having a series of terrifying visual flashes of the Upside Down as he walks around the real version of Hawkins. A large shadow-type monster is chasing him. Eventually, while searching for Dart (a growing evil-ish creature that resembles the slug he puked up and also ate Dustin’s cat), the shadow monster corners him and enters his body, and he becomes possessed by something called a Mind Flayer. The Mind Flayer uses Will to send a team of soldiers and scientists into an ambush and all-in-all makes his life hell as he is confined in the laboratory and poked and prodded by scientists on the hunt for answers. The closest thing he has to a father figure, the sweet and gentle Bob Newby, gets eaten face-first by a swarm of nightmare beasts. All of this continues until Will’s family and friends take him to a cabin, tie his small body to a rickety cot, surround him with space heaters until he is basically braising in his own sweat, and burn him with a glowing iron to force the monster from his body.
So, to recap, in one 13-month span from November 1983 to December 1984, Will has:
- Been kidnapped by a monster and taken to a desolate hellscape
- Had a tendril stuffed down his throat
- Puked a slug (gross)
- Been possessed by a smoke demon
- Been tortured by his loved ones (for a good reason, but still)
- Been taunted and mocked by classmates who call him “Zombie Boy,” including a girl who asks him to dance at the end of season two, which is a real Good News, Bad News situation for any teenage boy, but especially for one who just spent a year battling demons that want his body and soul and doesn’t particularly need any of this crap from his zit-faced peers
Also, he still has that haircut. Things have not been great for Will.
It gets worse, too, in a different and less slimy-tentacle-in-the-esophagus way, when you consider what his friends have been up to all this time. Yes, sure, fine, they’ve been hunted by bloodthirsty demon dogs and had their own set of terrifying adventures, but they’ve also met some cool girls (Eleven, Max) and gotten cool new mentors (the Dustin-Steve pairing remains the show’s most adorable subplot). Will has missed out on so much. He deserves to go to Hawaii.
You know who else deserves to go to Hawaii? Joyce Byers, Will’s mom. That lady has been through a lot, between frantically searching for Will while everyone assumed she was crazy and finding temporary happiness in love until the aforementioned sweet and gentle Bob Newby got eaten face-first. Send Joyce and Will to Hawaii. Let them go to a luau and sit on the beach. Let Joyce relax with a few umbrella drinks while Will splashes around in the ocean and possibly develops a very intense Vacation Crush on a young lady at their resort.
I’m not suggesting an entire season about Will in Hawaii. Maybe one episode. Or maybe he’s in Hawaii all season while the other kids fight off some monsters and the show periodically cuts from scary beasts with teeth for a face to Will boogie-boarding in the Pacific Ocean without a care in the world. Or maybe I am suggesting a whole season about a Will on vacation in Hawaii, having Hawaiian adventures, like the time the kids from Saved by the Bell went there and saved Kelly’s grandfather’s hotel. There are plenty of options here. The key is that Will finally catches a break and gets nice relaxing week filled with no one trying to possess his tiny body or calling him Zombie Boy. My guy deserves at least that.
Let Will go on a vacation to Hawaii.
THE CASE AGAINST STRANGER THINGS LETTING WILL GO ON A VACATION TO HAWAII
While it is hard to argue that Will does not deserve a trip to Hawaii, there are still two very good reasons that Stranger Things should not let him go there for a while, and three reasons if you count “it would probably make for bad television,” which we will not even though it is true, because it would be very funny and enjoyable for me to see people freak out about it a little.
Reason Number One: The other kids probably need him. His visions and knowledge of the Upside Down give them something like a double agent or at least someone who can crack the code. There’s a scenario in which he more or less becomes Neo from The Matrix at some point, someone who can dance between worlds and become humanity’s only hope to defeat strange beings with dangly tentacles that live in an alternate reality parallel to ours. This would be cool. He can wear all black and some sunglasses and do a bunch of sick Keanu stuff. If that’s where all this is headed, if he becomes The One, there is no need or time for a Hawaii trip. With great power comes great responsibility, with great responsibility comes a lack of virgin daiquiris at the swim-up bar of a Maui resort.
Reason Number Two: There’s a chance he would bring the monsters with him and ruin the vacations of hundreds of people who are staying at the same resort. Vacations to Hawaii are expensive. It’s a long flight. It wouldn’t be fair to those people and it’s not worth risking it. What if a Demogorgon follows him and decides to stay? (Hawaii is very nice.) What if all of Hawaii becomes a Jurassic Park situation? They’ll have to bring in Jeff Goldblum and… okay, this is actually sounding kind of decent. Wait, no. All the dead people. Still a bad idea. Don’t be so selfish, Will. Come on. Let everyone else enjoy Hawaii.
Will should stay in Indiana and figure things out before he goes and wrecks Hawaii, too. Sorry, kid.