Shannon Purser’s Barb gets a pretty raw deal in the first season of Netflix’s Stranger Things: she basically exists to tell Nancy Wheeler not to do a bunch of things she then proceeds to do, and then gets snatched up by the show’s resident monster to up the stakes and give Nancy a reason to care. Within the town of Hawkins, Indiana, she’s an abducted also-ran to the younger Will Byers, who gets a whole manhunt all to himself, while Barb’s vanishing earns little more than a few frowny faces from Natalia Dyer in the season finale.
On the internet, though, it’s been a much different story, and Tumblr and Twitter are overflowing with odes to Barb’s matronly, bookish sensibilities. The hashtag #JusticeForBarb has been cropping up all over social media since the show was released a summer ago, demanding that people actually, you know, look for an almost lethally responsible high school-age girl who‘s suddenly gone missing. (They also take a few shots at Nancy, as in this fan-made missing poster for the vanished young woman.)
But take heart, Barb-arinos: Matt and Ross Duffer feel your pain. A recent interview with the Stranger Things creators indicates that they’re well aware that the response to Barb’s disappearance has been less than stellar. And while Barb is probably never coming back from the Upside Down, they do promise that the consequences of her death will be addressed.
“Barb will not be forgotten,” the Duffers said. “We’ll make sure there’s some justice for Barb. People get very frustrated, understandably, that the town doesn’t seem to be really dealing with Barb. That stuff is all happening. We’re just not spending any screen time on it.” They also noted that the time frame of the first season—just six or seven days—didn’t leave them much time to dig into her disappearance.
But while Justice is coming for Barb, it might not be so swift for the season’s primary (human) villain, Matthew Modine’s Dr. Brenner. Despite last being seen falling under the claws of a monster with very little patience when it comes to people getting eaten, Matt Duffer suggested that he’ll likely be back in some form, whenever the show gets formally renewed for the second season we all know is coming. “If that was his death, that would be very unsatisfying to me,” Duff told reporters.