As a special treat for a Stranger Things themed July, I’ll be doing extensive recaps covering every moment you may have missed in season three. All with extensive details that you won’t find anywhere else on the internet.
No podcast this week, however, as conflicts in scheduling arose. But we already recapped episodes one and two and will be doing a final podcast next week to close out Season Three.
Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard
This episode begins on a close-in on Hopper and Eleven’s shack in the early evening. Inside, in Eleven’s room, Madonna’s ‘Angel’ plays on the radio as Max paces back and forth, dancing and singing along into a hairbrush. On the bed, El reads an issue of Superteen magazine and flips to a signed picture of Ralph Macchio inside. Max describes why he’s a heartthrob and then gossips about boys, asking Eleven if Mike was a good kisser. Eleven says she doesn’t know as Mike was her first boyfriend, but Max reminds her: ‘Ex-boyfriend’, which Makes El a little sad. Max tells her not to worry, as she believes the boys will beg them both to come back emphasizing what she wouldn’t give to see the look on their current faces.
This gives Eleven an idea.
Eleven proceeds to blindfold herself to spy on the boys using her abilities. She finds Mike in his basement, moping on the couch while eating a bag of Doritos as Lucas tries to console him. The boys call girls an illogical and emotionally driven species, which Eleven recites back to Max, much to her dismay.
Just then, Will finishes readying the D&D board they’re about to play but Mike and Lucas are too busy moping. Emphasizing their ‘boyhood’, Mike proceeds to burps exclaiming he can really smell the nacho cheese. Lucas outdoes him by ripping a loud fart as we cut away back into Eleven’s room. El laughs hysterically about what she just witnessed.
Hopper, with his bottle of Chianti still in hand from his stood-up date with Joyce, enters the house and hears music from El’s room — barging in and yelling about the three-inch distance rule, thinking that Mike and El are kissing — not realizing that its Max who is sleeping over. This relieves him and Jim kicks bat and relaxes on his recliner happy that at least Mike is staying away.
Back in Eleven’s bedroom, Max and El create a spin-the-bottle game with different people’s names. Eleven’s bottle spin lands on Mr. Wheeler. Max tells her to pass and when Eleven questions if it’s breaking the rules, Max tells her to make her own rules — an important character theme of Eleven’s journey this season. She spins again and this time lands on Billy. Max tunes into a static radio station and Eleven blindfolds herself and enters her blackened mind space.
In the distance, Eleven finds Billy’s car with a noticeable shattered window. She walks over and finds Billy with his back turned, on the floor, talking to someone. Billy speaks his final words again to the muffled lifeguard girl from the last episode.
“Don’t be afraid. It’ll be over soon. Just stay very still.”
As Eleven approaches, the girl screams a loud cry for help, just as Billy turns around. In the real world, Billy sees a faintly distorted projection of Eleven. The two of them knowing each other is there.
Begin Opening Titles.
A budding thunderstorm crashes gently overhead, as we pan down to see the Wheeler house. Where Mr. Wheeler continues to mow his already perfect lawn while sporting a raincoat.
Inside the basement, a cassette recorder presses play, and loud medieval music awakens Mike and Lucas, who arise from their piles of trash and junk food acting as if they were hungover (from the junk food, obviously). They beg, Will — revealed to be the perpetrator — to turn down the music, but a stern Will Byers, wearing full wizard garb, tells them to address him by his full name (of his D&D character), revealed to be “Will the Wise”. Will is excited to have a day free of girls to play D&D with his friends. The brokenhearted boys reluctantly agree to play but Lucas asks if he can shower first.
We cut to Chief Jim Hopper showering at his place, popping ibuprofen, and then drinking milk straight out of the carton — in that specific order. He finds a note on the refrigerator: Eleven is sleeping over Max’s place and then hears a knock on the door, revealed to be, Joyce. She tells Hopper they need to talk but Jim is upset at her, as he hadn’t been stood-up like that since Alice Gilbert in the 9th Grade.
Joyce shows Jim all these demagnetized magnets, explains how she visited Scott Clarke’s house to research on it. She’s convinced that the lab has returned. However, Hopper is just upset over being stood up. That he thinks Joyce is scared and pushing him away. He changes and gets ready for work behind a curtain, unrealizing Joyce has already left and is taking his wire clippers and car with the intention of breaking into the lab with or without Hopper.
Meanwhile, Max and Eleven walk down a road talking about what happened with Billy. Eleven questions about the screams. Max tries describing that sometimes girls let out “Happy Screams” when they’re with Billy. The two head back to Max’s house and break into Billy’s room, where they find a bathtub filled with ice. They also check the garbage container, where they find a lifeguard’s bag and whistle, the latter of which was spotted with bloodstains.
At the film development room, Jonathan develops pictures of the Rats as evidence. Nancy pitches a breaking story to the men at the Hawkins Post about the Driscoll lead and how she cold-called Blackburn’s Supply, Hawkins Farming, and the Crawley’s, all locations which had supplies go missing — fertilizer, pesticides, and diesel fuel, specifically. She believes the rats are dining on chemicals, but is rebuked and made fun of by Bruce (Jake Busey) and is called Nancy Drew by the men in the room. Including her boss, Tom. Nancy storms out despite Jonathan’s attempts to console her.
Back at Scoops Ahoy, Robin practices her Russian, all while Erica (Priah Ferguson), Lucas’ sister, asks for more free samples of ice cream. Meanwhile, Steve and Dustin look around searching for Russians at the mall, but Steve keeps checking our girls. Dustin nags him, asking Steve why he’s checking out girls when Robin is the obvious choice right in front of him. Steve argues various reasons why she’s not popular enough and Dustin argues why not date somebody he enjoys being around. Steve brushes his advice off saying he’s the one that gives the lady advice not the other way around.
Back at the basement, enthusiastic for D&D Will tries very hard to get Mike and Lucas into their game but the two aren’t into it, and more concerned about their ex-girlfriends. Lucas suggests they call the girls, an idea which Mike finds unfathomable as it’s the 1980s. Will continues wanting to finish their game and Mike jokingly chooses to self-sacrifice their characters, saving the day, and ending the campaign abruptly. Upset, Will angrily storms out — complaining Mike’s obsession with Eleven is ruining the group’s friendship. Mike responds that it’s not his fault Will doesn’t like girls. That it’s not his fault he and Lucas have moved on and grown up a little. Will storms off in the rain.
Meanwhile, Max and Eleven approach a pair of lifeguards at the community pool and show them a lifeguard bag. One of the lifeguard’s claims it’s Heather’s bag, and that she’s not there, calling out today. Eleven finds a wall nearby with all the lifeguard’s pictures on the wall, including Heather’s. They pull down the photo, run a few of the showerheads in the bathroom, and then Eleven puts on some tapped goggles, using her ability to find Heather.
In the sensory world, she finds a red door and a bathtub full of ice. When Eleven approaches, she sees Heather jump out and beg her to help her, as the two proceed to get pulled underwater. Eleven snaps out of it, hyperventilating about her findings.
At Hawkin’s Lab, Hopper and Joyce break-in. She has a flashback of Bob getting mauled alive by a Demodog. Hopper asks her if she wants to wait in the car, but she chooses to press forward.
Back at the mall, Dustin and Steve find a man with a duffel bag and sunglasses, thinking he’s the evil Russian. They tail him but discover he’s only the jazzercise teacher, as he reveals his spandex under his coat and busts out a boombox playing ‘Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)’ by Wham! Back at Scoop’s Ahoy, using her wits, Robin cracks the mysterious Russian code.
At the Hawkin’s Post, Nancy opens a cabinet and finds a rubber rat, a joke the writers put on them. Nancy approaches Jonathan saying they can get proof from Driscol’s house by bringing the rat back to the paper. Jonathan is hesitant, saying they could get fired and that Nancy should’ve just brought the rat to begin with, but eventually agrees to join her.
Back at Hawkin’s Lab, Hopper shows Joyce all the holes in the wall are filled. That the event is over. He tells Joyce that he wants Joyce to feel safe, that he can keep Hawkins safe. He confesses he knows that Joyce is selling the house. That she’s planning on moving. He confesses that people want to help her feel safe and at home in Hawkins (implying himself) and Joyce jokingly says people like Scott Clarke? The science teacher whom Joyce was learning from and the reason she had bailed on her date with Hopper. Interrupted by clanging sounds, Hopper decides to check out the noise telling Joyce to stay there.
Mike and Lucas bikes through the rain to Will’s house and try to find him but he’s not there. Will is at his little fort Beyer’s remembering better times with his friends. In tears, he angrily chooses to destroy the place and rip up and destroy all his memories there.
Nancy and Jonathan arrive at Mrs. Driscoll’s house. They find the door open and sneak inside. Unable to find her they slowly encroach into the basement, finding empty bags of fertilizer and the sounds of monstrous chomping and squealing. As they move closer, they find Mrs. Driscoll fattened and munching on fertilizer.
Just outside the Mall at the loading docks, Robin tells Dustin and Steve to look for Imperial Panda and Kaufman shoes. Where they find boxes of a mysterious supply and heavily armed guards. One of the men opens a mysterious metal door and Steve wants Dustin’s binoculars to get a closer look, accidentally causing Dustin to bang the binoculars against some metal, alerting the guards. Quickly, the three duck out of sight and Steve and Robin end up holding hands. A guard yells in Russian and rushes atop to find the roof they were hiding in empty.
Checking out the lab, Hopper finds evidence of a break-in and chases the culprit to an outside sliding door, finding no one in sight. Behind him, is the terminator-lookalike Russian who proceeds to beat Jim easily. Joyce arrives to find Hopper unconscious, as the Russian man rides off on a motorcycle in the distance through the rain.
Eleven and Max track down Heather to her house and Eleven uses her abilities to open the door. They hear Al Hazan’s ‘Is it A Sin’ playing as they saunter down the hallway and see a picture of Heather on the wall. In the photograph is also father, revealed to be none other than Tom Holloway, Nancy and Jonathan’s boss at the Hawkins Post. They find Tom and Janet Holloway having a nice conservative styled dinner with Billy at the end of the hall. Eleven demands to know from Billy where Heather is — just as Heather arrives from the kitchen with a tray of cookies. Billy apologizes, and introduces Maxine to the Holloways, then asks for Maxine friend’s name (Eleven). El tells him in a powerful moment, villain and hero finally meeting each other for the first time. Maxine mentions they were just checking up on Heather as she hadn’t shown up for work. Billy lies and tells the two that he was helping nurse Heather back to health; Heather later confirming his alibi. As Eleven and Maxine bike off annoyed at finding nothing, Billy (Mindflayer) has flashbacks about Eleven and how she sealed the gate in season two.
At the same moment, this is happening, Will feels the creature’s suffering in its flashbacks from the back of his neck, certain this time and telling an arriving Mike and Lucas that ‘It’s back.’
Back at Heather’s house, ‘American Pie’ plays in the backdrop as Janet mentions she feels a little lightheaded. As she takes a few steps to excuse herself, she falls immediately onto the floor, very evidently drugged. Meanwhile, while Tom rushes over to his wife, just as Heather bashes her father over the head with a bottle of wine and then uses chloroform supplied by Billy to take out her father, who screams as the episode plays out.
Chapter Four: The Sauna Test
Now at Max’s house, El is still disturbed over her encounter with Billy. She joins Max in her room and Max offers either Wonder Woman or Green Lantern to Eleven to read; however, El is distracted and unconvinced about what happened. The blood and the ice don’t make sense to El. She also says Billy seemed wrong but Max brushes it off, changing topics and sharing her copy of Wonder Woman.
Outside Mrs. Driscoll’s house, police and paramedics strap her down to a gurney as she screams about having to go back — all while Jonathan and Nancy look on. They are questioned by the deputy.
At the steelworks building, Tom and Janet wake up in bondages. Heather appears and unties Tom as he says she doesn’t have to do this. Billy arrives shortly after and tells Janet to try not to move. In the shadows, the five-legged creature towers over them and immediately forces its tendrils onto both of their faces, implanting them both with the parasite.
Hopper wakes up naked, the next morning on his couch, Joyce playing nurse to him. She reveals she took down parts of the man’s license but it’s only parts, however, that it’s a motorcycle. Hopper does, however, finally get to show off his bitching Magnum P.I. themed Hawaiian shirt, much to Joyce’s surprise.
Lucas signals Max that it’s a code red. Her and Eleven are still at a sleepover at her house, but Mike calls Max back and tells them to come over and he’ll explain. Lucas then tries signaling Dustin, but he isn’t responding.
At that moment, Dustin is scouting the loading docks and establishes that the Russians are guarding something big behind the door, but the only way in is through a guard with the keycard and massive gun. Steve boldly says he’ll sneak up behind one and take him out. Dustin laughs, reminding Steve that he’s never actually won a fight in the show’s entire history. Robin leaves with some money from the tip jar with the intention of finding a better way in.
We then transition to Nancy and Jonathan who are called into the office of Tom, their boss at the Hawkins Post. He is noticeably sweaty and has a gash on his forehead, is mad beyond all hell, and is there to reprimand Nancy and Jonathan. He reveals that Mrs. Driscoll is a paranoid schizophrenic and that her family is threatening litigation. He then fires the two of them.
At Mike’s place, Will reveals that he had felt the Mindflayer at several place sand times already. At the Day at the Dead, Nelson Farm, and now at Castle Byers — all moments when the power went out in town. The group goes over what happened though questions how it’s all possible given that El shut the gate last season. Will mentions there was a part of the Mindflayer in, the one that they exorcised, which technically still stayed around Hawkins. They deduct there might be new hosts. El asks, “How can you tell?”
Hopper and Joyce storm into the Mayor’s office. Jim is looking for the name of the guy who was there the other day, a Russian with a military build who rides a motorcycle. Jim shakes down Mayor Kline for answers by threatening to him expose him cheating on his wife and mentioning often finding powder on the Mayor’s nose. Larry retaliates he’s caught Jim drinking on duty and abusing prescription pills, threatening to contact Tom at the Post for a scandal. He then says to not get defensive and give dead daughter sob story, as he’s tired of it — which infuriates Jim.
In return, Hopper breaks Mayor’s nose against the door. He accosts Larry and says his friend tried killing him last night so they’re almost even. While interrogating him about who the Russian is, the mayor even says it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calling the joke out directly). Annoyed, Jim starts using a cigar clipper on Larry’s finger and the Mayor starts squealing, revealing that the Russian works for StarCourt and that the mall wanted certain pieces of land, though as to why the Mayor doesn’t know. Jim asks for the physical records of all of this.
In Jonathan’s car, Nancy is upset Tom fired them and even madder that he’s excusing the story as the rants of a paranoid schizophrenic. Nancy even noticed features of Tom’s possession and confuses it for drug usage. Jonathan gets on her case for not acknowledging what it’s like being poor. That he really needed that job. Nancy gets on him for not knowing what it’s like being a woman and not taken seriously at the workforce. The two break off on bad terms.
Robin returns from the county records — whom she bribed for 20 bucks — in order to get schematics for the mall. They analyze it in the employee area of Scoops Ahoy and find that all the air ducts relay to an area they’re trying to break into. Soon after, Steve tries to push Dustin through the vents to head into the room, but he doesn’t fit. At that moment, we see the short-statured Erica ask Robin for more ice cream samples — giving Robin an idea.
At the community pool, the group scouts Billy who’s continually lifeguarding with lots of cooling layers. Mike comes up with a plan to have Billy chase them into the Sauna room, as the Mindflayer hates heat.
Back at Scoops Ahoy, Erica looks down the air duct Dustin was trying to squeeze through. Realizing she can fit but wants to know what’s in it for her. The three agree to bribe her with ice cream and as Robin goes over the plan with Erica, the girl mentions that the plan is blatant child endangerment. Given her unique skillset and driven by her notions of capitalism, she agrees to the plan as long as she gets free ice cream… for life.
At Mayor Kline’s mansion, Larry gives over the land deeds he kept safe at home for his protection. He reveals to Hopper that Starcourt keeps buying property, and Joyce, shortly realizes all these areas are in southeast Hawkins — deducing that the machine must be in one of those areas bought out areas. Smitten by her wit, Hopper asks Joyce to come work for him at the station.
Mrs. Wheeler knocks on Nancy’s door and realizes something is wrong. Nancy is sad over her fight with Jonathan. Her mom consoles her by being proud that Nancy stood up for herself and what she believed in — telling her to keep going and pursue the story, regardless of the Hawkins Post.
Back at the community pool, Lucas apologizes to Will about ignoring the D&D campaign while looking for supplies to spring a trap. Will tells him it doesn’t matter and then finds a chain. At that same moment, Eleven has a similar conversation with Mike. She finds a dummy, while Mike admits that he was lying — though admits Hopper forced him as they were spending too much time together. Eleven admits what if Hopper was right, then says she deserved to be with her own ‘species’ more — quoting Mike word-for-word when she was spying on him. When Mike argues that using her powers like that is against the rules, Eleven mentions she makes her own rules, taking the advice Max gave her.
Back at the Mall, Erica commences Operation Child Endangerment as she goes up the vent, breaks into the room, and opens the door for the gang. She then states that she wants free ice cream for life.
At his mansion, Larry, handcuffed to his bed, gets Winnie to help him as he needs to call someone immediately. Driving around to the areas of land purchased by StarCourt Mall on Larry’s map, Hopper and Joyce go to each area looking for the lab.
At the community pool, Billy uses the showers as the lights suddenly go out. He hears Mike’s voice in the distance and starts tracking him menacingly into the sauna. When he approaches, he realizes Mike is a decoy lifeguard doll with a radio strapped onto it. Eleven pushes Billy into the Sauna and the kids lock the door from behind. Will cranks the temperature up high knowing the flayed hate the heat. Billy asks Max to please help him.
At that same exact moment, Nancy visits Mrs. Driscoll at the hospital. Mrs. Driscoll’s heart rate begins to spike, and she shows symptoms similar to Will Byers last year when he was possessed.
Meanwhile, Steve and the gang open one of the packaged boxes being carefully delivered by Russians. Steve says he’s down to open it and tells the others to step back; however, Dustin refuses to, and in a cute moment, says, “No if you die, I die.” They pull it out and find a large and encased vial of a green chemical.
Suddenly, the room vibrates, and they try to open the door but none of the buttons work. They try and push a green button and suddenly the floor drops down a long shaft via an elevator.
Back at the pool angry and upset, Billy yells at the kids to open the door. He starts to cry, and Max approaches the door to the Sauna. Billy confesses that it’s not his fault. He says he did things he didn’t mean to and tried to stop it — that this weird giant shadow made him do it. Will feels something in the back of his neck and tells Mike, who relays to Max to get away from the door. Just then, Billy grabs a piece of debris on the floor and rushes the door and breaks down the window to the room. Lucas fires a stone from his sling to hit him back. Angry, Billy gets possessed by the Mindflayer, his voice taking on a modulated deeper sound, and body taking on an ashy darker tone, as the lights flicker on-and-off all throughout Hawkins.
At that same moment, at Hawkin’s hospital, Mrs. Driscoll begins to freak out, her voice also modulated the same as Billy’s, both reacting in a similar angry fashion.
Back at the Sauna at epic battle ensues. Billy breaks down the door. He immediately looks at Eleven and the kids all hide behind her as she raises a bench press with weights and shoves it telekinetically at Billy who is slammed into the wall struggle as he struggles to push the weights off. Eventually, he throws it off and then grabs and chokes Eleven, all while looking at the kids in an evil fashion, showing he has every intent to murder her right in front of them. Stunned at this the children don’t know what to do, when suddenly, Mike uses a metal weight bar to beat Billy upside the head, knocking him down temporarily, before he recovers and approaches Mike. Using the moment as an opportunity, Eleven struggles but manages to raise Billy telekinetically, and then throws him hard through a brick wall, collapsing into Mike’s arms. The two slow to get up, they look outside and see Billy rise and runoff into the darkness.
“We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn plays as Heather talks to a recovering Billy, acknowledging that it was indeed ‘her’. He says she could’ve killed him. Heather tells him yes but ‘Not them. Not us’.
The camera zooms out to show a small group of Hawkins residents and the creature — now forming a small army.
Chapter Five: The Flayed
Steve, Robin, Dustin, and Erica scream as they continue falling down the elevator as it descends. Once they land, they argue until Dustin points out the roof saying maybe they can climb out. When he and Steve go atop, they see the shaft goes up for miles.
Hopper drives Joyce to the next stop at Hess farm. They enter a house and hear an odd pulsing noise coming in from the bedroom. Joyce lowers her ear to the floor, finding a secret entrance beneath the bed. Outside, riding a motorcycle, the Russian who looks like the terminator arrives at the house. Below, Hopper finds two Russians, one of whom, is the scientist from the very beginning of the season. The Terminator-looking Russian arrives with a large machine gun and finds the door open, descending into the lab, where he finds a leg on the floor. He approaches the leg and finds a muzzled Russian, as Hopper sneaks behind him, gun barrel pointed behind the big man’s head as he pulls the hammer back. He threatens the Terminator-looking-man to put his gun down, but the man ignores the threat, saying Hopper is a man of the law and won’t kill him. Hopper counts to three. Then shoots. The man dodges the shot at the last second and the two enter a struggle. Easily outfought, Hopper grabs a nearby wrench and gets the edge by hitting the man in the knee. Joyce, trying to help, tosses Hopper his gun but misses and delivers it directly to the terminator man.
The terminator fires away until empty as Hopper runs and grabs the scientist, cuffs him to his wrist, and runs away with Joyce just as the terminator picks up his dropped machine gun. He then fires a storm of bullets at them as they escape the lab and head upstairs. As they get above the bed, Hopper shuts the door closed and throws a loose drawer on top of it, barring the path — albeit temporarily, as the man uses brute force to try and breakthrough.
As the three reach outside, Hopper tosses Joyce the keys, but misthrows as well, as Joyce struggles to pick them up from the ground but gets them and drives off. Terminator-man breaks out and starts walking onto the front lawn, firing away at the car as the group drive away from a hail of bullets.
Meanwhile, Jonathan answers the blue house phone. Getting call from Nancy about Driscoll, asking if Will is safe — which confuses Jonathan, as why would Will not be safe?
Outside of Forrest, Hopper tries to fix his car, now overheated and broken down. Joyce asks the Russian scientist if magnetism machine is why her magnets had stopped, though all they can confirm is that he’s a Russian scientist working for Starcourt. While Hopper tries to fix car, he tells Joyce to floor the gas, just as the scientist asks them to stop but it’s too late: the car blows-up. Hopper decides they’re going to Illinois.
At that moment, Eleven sees Hopper through her sensory blindfold abilities and relays that they’ve left. With Dustin gone, things are too suspiciously isolated for Mike’s tastes, and so the anxious kid talks with Will and Lucas about how they can stop the Mindflayer for good.
Back in the elevator shaft, at the roof of the elevator, Dustin tries reaching out to no avail via radio. Steve was also unable to find a way out after having spent the night with Robin looking which Dustin says is a good thing. Having to pee, Steve goes on the wall. Erica tries hard to bust open the green tube, as it’s encased in a metal coating, and when Robin asks why she’s doing it, Erica says it’s in case they need to drink something instead of dying of thirst.
Suddenly, a whirring sound occurs, and Robin tells the group that they have company. Two Russians open the door to the elevator room, one of whom smells Steve’s urine. The hour of them hides atop the elevator roof access and Erica has the green item in hand, which gives Steve an idea. He grabs it and then jumps down after the Russians leave, and then uses the item to lodge the door open just long enough for the entire party to crawl under. As the vial busts open, it melts through the bottom of the floor. Dustin looks down the coordinator which seemingly stretches for miles.
At Mike’s house, Nancy goes over all the events so far, saying the same thing that happened to Will last year is happening again with Mrs. Driscoll, then shows her lowering body temperature logs to prove it. The kids share that they did their Sauna test with Billy at around 9pm the same time Mrs. Driscoll was having her episodes. Eleven shares she believes Heather must be one as well, who Nancy immediately realizes is Heather Holloway, her boss’s daughter. The gang gathers in Nancy’s car and drives off together.
Terminator-man finds Hooper’s car in the woods, then picks-up their trail to track them. Meanwhile, Hopper and Joyce bicker in the woods, exhausted and walking for miles, as Alexi, revealed to be the name of the scientist, starts running. Hopper chases after him only to realize Alexi was leading them towards the road. They find a 711 and eat immediately. After, Hopper finds a sleazy looking man in shades and blazer and commandeers his nice-looking convertible, saying it’s for official police business and that Alexi was a child murderer. Joyce calls to check up on Will and her kids but hangs up to check on Hopper and aid in the charade.
Steve’s group figures out they use the mall as a front to bring in supplies, then ship it through the underground long tunnels. They deduce that they must use the green fluid to power something — though why Hawkins is beyond the reasoning of both girls. Dustin and Steve sidebar, thinking it can’t be a coincidence that they choose Hawkins and that maybe, the Russians know about the portal. As they continue, the Russian code starts playing on their walkie, implying it must be coming in from close, meaning they should be able to be in radio range soon.
After nobody answers the front door, Eleven opens the door into the Holloway residence. Together they pull clues together finding chemicals on the counter, broken bottle, and bloodstains on the carpet. Nancy deduces they need to find the source of where the Mindflayer is controlling people. Will suggests the group let Mrs. Driscoll out to return and so they can follow her.
The terminator-Russian ends up in the 711, and begins rough handling the cashier, wanting info about the psycho who stole the convertible from the man filing a police report outside (Hopper). Meanwhile, Hopper and crew arrive at Illinois and arrive at Murray’s house, the eccentric conspiracy reporter who feared communists in season two. The three stare at the camera looking at them from the entrance, telling Murray to open the damn door, which he does, while pointing a shotgun in Alexi’s face. As they enter, Murray uses a metal detector on Alexi but stops the antagonizing once Joyce gets on his case.
In the secret underground laboratory, a car travels down the long corridor narrowly, narrowly avoiding detecting Steve and the crew. The group closes in and carefully peeks, seeing that the area is full of soldiers and scientists and crews. Erica mentions she saw the comms room, which after debate, they decide to sneak into fast and low according to Steve. Once they get in, they find a single communications officer who stares at them, shocked by their presence.
Robin starts talking in Russian but can only utter phrases she knows from the code. Steve screams and bum rushes the officer, and after a quick scuffle, beats the guard. Dustin congratulates him on finally winning a fight. As they continue on, Robin sees something and the four look through a door and at a giant electric drill being powered by the green vials — evidently digging a hole into the upside-down.
At the hospital, Nancy brings all the kids but is told by nurse two visitors at a time. Nancy goes with Jonathan, then apologizes in the elevator just as Jonathan admits he was wrong — the two easily reconciling.
At the hospital lobby, Mike tries getting food from a vending machine and Eleven shakes it using telekinesis. Lucas tells Mike this was his olive branch chance, and that he’ll distract Max so Mike can talk with El.
Nancy and Jonathan arrive at Mrs. Driscoll’s hospital room but don’t find her. Instead, they find an obviously possessed Tom, who threatens that ‘they’ were hoping they would come back. Jonathan shatters a vase on Tom’s face and runs away with Nancy only to be cut off by Bruce, who is also there, likewise feeling Tom’s pain and showcasing that they’re all psychically connected.
Nancy and Jonathan run past the wing’s dead bodies on the floor — victims of Bruce and Tom. Nancy tries calling emergency services but the phones busy due to the night nurse wasting it on personal calls. Suddenly, Bruce approaches and beats up and then tosses Jonathan, bashing his head with a metal plate. Nancy stabs Bruce with some scissors and which he pulls out as he goes after her.
She rushes out to the Hospital halls, and while being chased by Bruce, Jonathan struggles to stand but is kicked out from under him by Tom. The camera cuts back and forth between the two. As Nancy hides in a different room, behind a patient’s curtain and Jonathan is tossed and beaten by Tom. Finally, Tom raises the scissors Nancy used up high and is about to deliver the deathblow to Jonathan, just as Nancy surprises Bruce from behind and beats him with a fire extinguisher. At that same moment, Tom feels Bruce’s pain and flinches, just enough where Jonathan can take the scissors and stab Tom. The two dying simultaneously. Yet just below, Will Byers feels something amiss given his connection with the Mindflayer.
Back above, Tom and Bruce’s bodies grotesquely melt into blobs of goo that then crawl away into the hallway. Nancy and Jonathan follow and see the two assembles into a hideous and grotesque creature.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE EPISODES:
- These were the episodes that really set-up the midseason conflict. I enjoyed how episode three set-up the good (Eleven) versus bad (Billy) dilemma and the budding relationships that are building. Max and Eleven was sweet as was Hopper’s desperate attempts at Joyce affection is his own tough yet squishy dad way.
- This season is all about body horror. The creatures are something straight out of a Jon Carpenter film. Very invasion of the body snatchers or Romero zombie movie.
- This season features also about a lot of product placement, which very much reminded us of the 80s.
- The 80s callbacks. I’ve seen so many references to tropes and items and movies.