Stranger Things: Season Three S3E5
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.
Stranger Things just dropped their third season and critics & audiences alike are already loving it! Families are loving it too…it fills the need that E.T., Goonies, and Super 8 once provided… kids on bikes saving the world! (And probably is about the same “rating” for language, violence, etc. Truly PG-13)
But Stranger Things also provokes good discussion about everyday life and relationships, or even deeper discussions about its naturalistic world view. Regardless, we hope you use it to provoke meaningful conversation in your home!
Episode Five: The Flayed
The Russians take front and center in this episode as Steve and his crew finally get some answers, Hopper and Joyce kidnap a Russian scientist, and the Russian version of the terminator roughs up a 7-11 clerk. Elsewhere, Jonathan and Nancy encounter the gross creature that’s taking over the bodies of people in Hawkins.
Repentance Brings Life
In the midst of an action oriented episode, Jonathan and Nancy find themselves in the hospital elevator for a short but meaningful moment together. With the stereotypical elevator music playing, Nancy gets down to business as she dives into the conversation:
Nancy: You know, those things that I said yesterday, I, I didn’t mean them.
Jonathan: I know.
Nancy: I don’t think you’re like those [people] At all. I never have. I – I was just –
Jonathan: Angry? Which I still don’t get. I mean, I was just completely, utterly, mortifyingly wrong. – Don’t let that go to your head.
Nancy: I won’t. I just look forward to you never doubting me again.
The entire scene takes about 48 seconds, yet there is so much meaning in this interaction. In the previous episode, Nancy and Jonathan were fired from their jobs due to Nancy’s relentless pursuit of the rabid rat story, despite being told by her boss to let it go. Jonathan reacted toward her with frustration as he believed losing this job opportunity was a bigger deal to him than it was to Nancy due to their different economic backgrounds.
Nancy starts the elevator exchange by owning her part in the conversation. While she never says the words, I’m sorry, it’s clear from context that she is apologizing. As she affirms that she does not see Jonathan the way she sees the other newspaper people – who demeaned her greatly – Jonathan dishes out a much clear apology, saying he was completely, utterly, mortifyingly wrong. They close out their elevator ride with a playful comment from both of them. Jonathan tells her not to let his admission of fault get to her head and Nancy smiles while saying she looks forward to not being doubted again.
It took 48 seconds for them to mend their broken relationship, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. What appears to have fostered such a quick resolution was the repentance that occurred.
The word repentance means change of mind – it’s the idea of going in a different direction.
Nancy started things off showing that not only was she sorry for her part in their conflict, but she humbles herself by initiating the conversation and then takes back what she said to Jonathan – which quickly shows she was walking in a new direction. Jonathan follows suit by taking responsibility for his actions and then they end things with sincere smiles, showing their relationship has been healed. They not only said the words they needed to say, but they clearly had internally changed their minds about things, and were ready to walk together in a new direction.
In the Bible, repentance and forgiveness are major themes. In 2 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul had apparently written an unpublished but harsh letter to the people in the church at Corinth. They were hurt by some of his letter, bothered by his directness in calling out some of their sinful behavior. Despite this emotion, they changed the course of their actions and as a result, Paul writes back to them – explaining why this makes him happy:
9 Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Paul is able to be happy because the people were sorry, but not in a “I feel bad about things so I’ll say I’m sorry” kind of way. Their sorrow led to repentance. They changed direction. Paul says this is what God intends when it comes to sorrow. Real sorrow brings repentance, but worldly sorrow (the sorrow that feels bad but changes nothing) brings death and destruction.
Notice how the presence of repentance in these 48 seconds changes everything for Nancy and Jonathan. They are seemingly not intending to hold onto things, but they are going to heed the words of Queen Elsa and “let it go.” They have both recognized their faults, have owned them, and are leaving things behind. We see this evidenced in the future scenes they share together.
How often do you and I say the words “I’m sorry” but if our hearts were revealed in those moments, it would be obvious these are only words. As young children we are usually conditioned to have manners. We are taught to say please, thank you, and even I’m sorry. The problem is as we grow, our hearts need to grow along with us so we can truly take to heart the implications of the sorrow we are expressing.
Maybe you fail to follow through on something your parents expected, so you say you’re sorry, but nothing in your heart is different – so there is no plan to avoid this in the future.
Perhaps you injured someone with your words, and you said you are sorry, but if you were honest nothing in your heart is different.
The Bible is telling us here how important it is for us to not only communicate sorrow in words, but to allow God to transform our hearts as we walk in a new direction.
In these above situations to be sorry would mean that you become eager to follow through with the next thing your parents tell you to do, determined to follow your heart change with action. To the person that you’ve injured, you’d not only say you are sorry but you’d ask God to help you with your tongue, and ask Him to grow self-control in you – so in the future you’d speak words of life instead of tearing them down.
Let’s be people who let our sorrow produce the repentance that leads to the life only God can bring.
Now let’s take a little time to discuss this:
- What was your favorite part of this episode?
- How would you react if you were trapped in the Russian elevator like Steve and crew?
- What did you think of our new friend Alexei in this episode?
- Do you think Mike and El are back together now that they shared candy together? How is their relationship different from Jonathan and Nancy?
- What did you think of the conversation in the elevator between Jonathan and Nancy? Do you think it changed the course of their relationship?
- Look at 2 Corinthians 7:10. What do you think the Bible means when it says that godly sorrow leaves no regret?
- In your own words, explain the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow.
- What is a situation from your own life where you were sorry, but looking back you realize you didn’t repent?
- Why do you think it’s so important to pursue godly sorrow in your life?
- How do you think Jesus wants you to respond to what we’ve talked about?
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