Stranger Things: Season Three S3E3
A Note to Parents: We at TheSource4Parents.com realize it’s difficult to find fun family entertainment today. With that in mind, we realize that a few of you might object to some of the content in shows like Stranger Things and choose not to show it to your kids. After all, even secular media organization Common Sense Media rated Stranger Things “age 14+”… so maybe use that as a rough plumb line. Even though this show is mild by today’s standards, it does include foul language and some sensual situations (which might be good to dialogue about). If you do decide to let your kids see it, hopefully the following discussion guide will give you some ideas of themes you can discuss and what scripture says about it.
Episode Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard
The theme of relationships continues as Eleven and Mike deal with their breakup, Hopper frustratingly reacts to Joyce standing him up for dinner, and Will tries to navigate his changing relationship with Lucas and Mike.
Everyone knows friendships can change over time, but it appears Will’s friendships are changing much faster than he would like. He finally convinces Lucas and Mike to play Dungeons and Dragons with him, but their lack of engagement and preoccupation with relationship drama leads Will to give up and storm out of the house.
Will: I said forget it, Mike, okay? I’m going home.
Lucas: But – Come on, Will.
Will: Move! (walks by Lucas, out the door)
Mike: Will, come on.
Mike: You can’t leave. It’s raining. Listen, I said I was sorry, all right? It’s a cool campaign. It’s really cool. We’re just not in the mood right now.
Will: Yeah, Mike. That’s the problem. You guys are never in the mood anymore. You’re ruining our party.
Mike: That’s not true.
Will: Really? Where’s Dustin right now? See? You don’t know and you don’t even care. And obviously he doesn’t either and I don’t blame him. You’re destroying everything, and for what? So you can swap spit with some stupid girl?
Mike: El’s not stupid. It’s not my fault you don’t like girls. I’m not trying to be a jerk.
Okay? But we’re not kids anymore. I mean, what did you think, really? That we were never gonna get girlfriends? We were just gonna sit in my basement all day and play games for the rest of our lives?
Will: Yeah. I guess I did. I really did.
Consider what Will Byers has been through in the past couple years of his life. He was trapped in the Upside Down, inhabited by the Mind Flayer, and walked through the death of Bob who was as much of a dad as we’ve seen him have. On the other hand, Mike Wheeler has dealt with having a girlfriend who has super powers, losing that girlfriend, getting her back, and then losing her again (that’s tiring even to think about!)
It appears these teenagers simply don’t know how to be friends to each other during these insane happenings in their lives. Lucas and Mike want to be all in on their relationships with the girls, Mike wants to still play games like they are kids, and the result is conflict.
These guys are dealing with some of the most difficult things they (hopefully) will ever encounter in their lives, and they are all focused on trying to do what they want, hoping the friendships will just fall into place.
In the Bible, Job was a guy who had everything going for him, and then he lost it all. In a flash he lost his home, his children, and his health. Three of his friends hear what’s happened to Job and rush to see him in Job 2:11-13
11 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
Now these friends are legendary for later giving Job some terrible advice, blaming him for all that happened. What’s incredible about that is how their first response was the right one. They showed up, sympathized, and just sat with their friend Job. They didn’t try to fix anything, they didn’t try to have their own needs met, they simply showed up and shut up! (which they should have kept doing, and Job would have been a much shorter book!)
True friends are willing to care and be present in their friends’ lives, even when it’s hard. Lucas is trying to fix Mike’s relationship, Mike and Lucas aren’t even attempting to have fun with Will, and Will is ignoring the fact that his best friend just got dumped by his girlfriend.
How might things have been different if they just decided to be present in each other’s lives? How often do you and I try to fix our friends’ situations, or even ignore them – instead focusing on our own needs. We are going to go through different things than others, and sometimes we simply are not going to know what to say or do. In these times, there is power in presence, in empathizing with the hurt they encounter.
Let’s ask God to give us hearts of empathy – hearts that are willing to show up and shut up, putting ourselves in others shoes and loving them with our presence.
Let’s continue to discuss this.
- What do you think about Eleven using her powers to see what the guys were doing? Would you do that if you had her powers? Explain why you think the way you do.
- Do you think Dustin’s girlfriend is real? Explain why you think the way you do.
- What do you think El and Max were thinking when they interacted with Billy at the Holloway home?
- What do you think about how Will is acting in this episode? What about Lucas? Mike?
- Why do you think those three guys are having such a hard time with their friendships with each other?
- Read Job chapter 2. How was the response of Job’s friends different from his wife’s reaction?
- Why is it sometimes hard to just be present and empathize when our friends are having a hard time?
- Can you think of a time when you should have just showed up and shut up instead of trying to offer advice or attempting to fix the situation?
- What does it look like for you to lean on Jesus when you need to just be present in someone’s life? How can your faith make you a better friend?
- Who is someone you know right now that you just need to show up and be present in their life?
Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org