While they weren’t the ones who directly snatched Will Byers—or caused the ultimate fate of poor, neglected Barb—the U.S. Department Of Energy doesn’t come off terribly well in Netflix’s summer hit Stranger Things. After all, it’s a DOE lab at the center of the story’s conflict, and its agents who spend most of their time pursuing the heroic Eleven and her band of pre-teen friends. So the question stands: How does it feel to be the bad guys in the hottest show of the year?
Not that bad, as it turns out. That’s per the work of reporter Lachlan Markay, who used Freedom Of Information Act requests to compile all of the Department’s references to the show since it debuted earlier this year. Unsurprisingly, it’s a mixture of workers casually chatting about the series—including the “sinister (but awesome)” portrayal of the DOE—and PR people fielding requests from reporters. Most of it’s focused on the production of this blog post, debunking the show’s science. (And then, inevitably, people complaining about spoilers from the blog post.)
But there are a few side tributaries of interest, too. Most notably, an interview answer noting that the department’s predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, really did do human testing, and that the DOE does “make weapons.” (There’s also some stuff about research into parallel universes, but that particular document seems to have been pulled.) Still, lest you think the DOE is staffed only by inhuman, world-threatening monsters, they did show empathy in at least one regard:
You can read all of the redacted documents Lachlan received right here.