SPOILER WARNING: This article contains minor spoilers for the second season of Stranger Things, now streaming on Netflix.
Long before he was the faithful Samwise Gamgee, accompanying Frodo Baggins on a journey to save Middle-earth in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, actor Sean Astin was the optimistic asthmatic Mikey Walsh, leading his friends on quest for pirate’s gold in the 1985 classic The Goonies. And, as the second season of Stranger Things establishes, Goonies never say die — they just move to Hawkins, Indiana.
One of the second season’s several new additions to the ensemble cast of Netflix’s hit sci-fi/horror drama, Astin plays Bob “the Brain” Newby, a former classmate of Joyce Byers (played by another 1980s child actor, Winona Ryder) and Jim Hopper (David Harbour). A bullied nerd in school, Bob now runs the local Radio Shack and, at some point in the year following the events of Season 1, reunited with Joyce. Along the way, the two have struck up an unlikely relationship, much to the puzzlement of her eldest son. A likeable enough guy, despite his tendency to use terms like “easy-peasy,” Bob — like a majority of Hawkins — remains in the dark about the truth behind the disappearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), and what lurks in the Upside Down.
That is, until Joyce calls upon Bob, and his fabled intellect, in Episode 5 to help decipher a series of interconnected drawings made by Will that now cover the floors and walls of their home. The boy, who still has flashes of the Upside Down, experiences a vision of Hopper dying, and marks his location on the serpentine chain of scribbles. Hesitant to clue him into what they’re looking for, or even what he’s looking at, Joyce marks one of the pages with a red X. “That’s the objective,” says Will’s friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard). “Find the X.”
“Yeah? What’s at the X?” Astin’s affable Bob responds, happy to play along. “Pirate treasure?”
In The Goonies, Astin’s character Mikey Walsh discovers a map dated 1632 that purported to show the location of the hidden treasure of “One-Eyed” Willy, a legendary pirate. Rallying his friends for one last adventure before their homes could be torn down to make way for the expansion of a country club, Mikey leads the Goonies on a search that he hopes will save the neighborhood.
It’s perhaps no coincidence, that, despite being forbidden by Joyce to ask any questions, Astin’s character Bob quickly realizes the drawings are actually a map of Hawkins, albeit without roads or bodies of water. “Don’t you get it?” he asks Joyce excitedly. “It’s not a puzzle. It’s a map — it’s a map of Hawkins!”
It’s safe to say, however, he’s unlikely to find the remains of “One-Eyed” Willy in the Upside Down. Barb, maybe, but not Willy.
Now streaming on Netflix, the second season of Stranger Things stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery.
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