Okay, this was by far my favourite episode yet! And I’m not just talking about Season 2, I’m talking about the entire series! Stranger Things really pulled out all of the stops for this one, and I can’t thank them enough. This episode had everything. Heartbreak, hilarity, love, pain, fear, and shocking revelations to boot! There’s so much going on, and yes, I’m going to freak out. If you want to find out what happened to Nancy and Jonathan, read my last post here. But if you want all the details on Hawkins, sit back, relax (if you can!), and let’s recap!
Will Is Alive, But He Isn’t Okay
Chapter Five ended with the scientists of Hawkins Lab torching the underground, Upside Down tunnels, and Will shrieking in pain from a feeling of being burned. Chapter Six opens with Doctors rushing him through the hallways. He’s not in a hospital, but at Hawkins Lab. And quite frankly, it’s the best place for him to be right now. No normal hospital would know how to treat him. But then again, neither does the Lab.
Will is still screaming in pain, but there’s no sign of anything physically wrong with him. They ask where it hurts and he shrieks that it hurts everywhere. They are able to sedate him and lower his heart rate, which is good, but they still have no clue what he’s reacting to. Either way, they’ve postponed torching the tunnels for obvious reasons.
When Will wakes up, he’s no longer in pain, just a little shaken. He remembers his mom, Joyce, and he thankfully remembers Mike. But he has absolutely no recollection of his mom’s boyfriend, Bob, or of Jim Hopper. The best way to find out what’s going on is to run some tests, so, after Will’s approval, Dr. Owens brings in a tentacle that was severed from the tunnels. It is still…alive, if you can call it that. Whatever it is, it is very much capable of feeling pain. One of the scientists holds a torch near it, and Will can feel a slight stinging. The closer the flame gets to the tentacle, the more Will feels pain. By the end, it feels as if his whole body is on fire. Luckily, Joyce and Hopper are able to get them to stop before any real harm is done, but the problem remains. But what exactly is the problem?
A Hive Mentality
Dr. Owens has faith that there is a way to beat this thing. He considers it a virus, and viruses can be cured. What’s odd about this particular virus is that all of those infected seem to be linked. The tunnels, the Demogorgon, and Will are all connected. And what are they connected to? The virus itself, the Shadow Monster. Owens describes it as a hive mentality. The monster is able to communicate with all that it has infected…communicate, and possibly control? And Joyce has the exact same question we do. What if Will’s memory loss continues? What if by the end, he’s nothing more than a worker bee, so to speak. What if he isn’t Will anymore?
Meanwhile, Steve And Dustin Make The Best Unlikely Allies
This is, without question, my favourite dynamic duo of the show. Let’s be real here, possibly ever. It’s so unexpected, but it works so well! Steve drives them to Dustin’s house, where Dustin promises there is a demogorgon that needs to be dealt with. When they arrive, Steve takes his bat out of the trunk. Side note: I love that he just carries it around with him. Like, after running into it at Jonathan’s house, he isn’t taking any chances. Just had to point that out.
Steve makes his way into the basement, half-convinced that this is some sort of prank, but when he gets down there he finds that whatever was there has shed its skin. And Dart is nowhere to be found. He’s tunneled his way out and could be anywhere in the forest. And they can’t very well let a demogorgon walk around Hawkins. And so Steve and Dustin make a plan, and they aren’t the only ones involved.
Enter Lucas And Max
Lucas finds out from his little sister that Dustin had been trying to contact him for hours. Frantically, Lucas runs to his room and gets online (well, their version of online), and apologizes. Dustin just rubs it in. “Well, while you were having sister problems,” he says, “Dart grew again, he has escaped, and I’m pretty sure he’s a baby demogorgon!” Lucas is pretty freaked, obviously, but Dustin tells him he’ll explain later and to meet him and Steve. And I’m pretty sure finding out that Dustin has been hanging out with Steve Harrington is more shocking to Lucas than finding out there’s a demogorgon in Hawkins.
There’s no way Lucas is missing out on this, but he isn’t going alone. He bikes straight over to Max’s house and tells her he has proof that his story is true. And after narrowly avoiding her brother (step-brother, as it turns out!), she hops on the back of Lucas’ bike and they head on over to meet Steve and Dustin at the junkyard.
Steve Gives Dustin Love (And Hair) Advice
Alright, I’m going to be honest with you. This was one of my favourite scenes of the episode, of the season, and of the series. It’s real and honest, but it’s also hilarious. Backtrack to Season 1 Episode 1, who would’ve thought that Steve Harrington would one day give Dustin Henderson dating advice!?
Steve and Dustin are dropping pieces of raw meat along the train tracks leading to the junkyard, meaning to lure the demogorgon in with it. There’s a lot of time to kill, so why not fill it with conversation, right? And they have a lot to talk about. Steve’s pretty baffled by the fact that Dustin kept a monster from another dimension, oh, that eats humans, just on the off chance that it might impress a girl. In Steve’s opinion, he’s trying too hard. Dustin comes back with the fact that not everyone can have Steve’s perfect hair (true).
And that’s when Steve keeps it real. He says it isn’t (just) about the hair. It’s about acting like you don’t care, even if you do. It drives girls crazy (speaking from experience, also true). That some girls like guys who are forward, strong, like a lion. Others, you have to be slow and stealthy, like a ninja. Dustin asks which Nancy is, and Steve tells him that Nancy is different. Dustin tells him that so is the girl he likes. She’s special. It’s at this moment when Steve stops in his tracks while throwing a piece of meat down. “You’re not falling in love with this girl, are you?” Dustin shakes his head. “Okay, good. Don’t. She’s only gonna break your heart, and you’re way too young for that shit.”
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.
I love Steve Harrington.
Oh, by the way, he uses Farrah Fawcett spray on his hair, BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DOES.
Anyway *clears throat*, back to the demogorgon hunting.
Setting The Trap
When they all meet at the junkyard, both Dustin and Steve are pretty confused as to why Max is there. And Dustin is furious that Lucas told her the truth about everything. But they quickly realize that they have more important things to worry about. Like the fact that they haven’t heart from Mike, Will, or Hopper. Or the fact that there is a demogorgon in freaking Hawkins. And just like that, they’re friends again. Led by Steve, they set the trap and wait in the broken bus, setting a lookout station and everything.
While waiting, Lucas and Max get to talking. She confesses that her parents are divorced and it’s part of the reason that her step-brother is so angry. And he takes it all out on her. She knows she can be mean sometimes, but she hates the thought that she’s anything like Billy and tries very hard not to be. He quickly tells her that she’s so much better than Billy, that she’s really cool. It’s a very sweet moment, and it’s only the shriek of the demogorgon that ends it.
The demogorgon waits at the edge of the field, and Steve waits just inside the bus, lighter in hand, ready to burn this sucker up. But the demogorgon isn’t moving, and he realizes it’s because it wants something other than cow. It wants human flesh. And so, wielding his bat, Steve steps out of the bus and closes in on the demogorgon. Lucas shakes his head. “He’s crazy,” he says. Dustin smiles. “He’s awesome.”
Steve could’ve taken one demogorgon, but they’ve multiplied. One shows up behind him, and then multiple more come at him from all sides. Steve is quickly able to dodge them and fight a few off, making it back to the bus unharmed. But before they know it, one is on top of the bus. It looks down directly at Max and screeches. She then screams at the top of her lungs. She definitely believes them now. Steve jumps in front of her ready to kill the demogorgon, but then it turns its head, looking away. They all start screeching and run off in the same direction. The kids are all confused, but Steve knows exactly what they’re doing. They didn’t run away, they’re going to a specific place. And what place is that? Hawkins Lab, of course.
Back at the Lab, Will thinks he knows how to defeat the Shadow Monster. There is a specific place that it doesn’t want him to see, and Will is able to find it on the map that he drew (the scientists went to the Byers’ house and took pictures). So, they send a team down there, guns and torches blazing. But when they arrive, they can’t find anything. It’s just another tunnel. But back in Will’s room, he cries in terror and apologizes to Joyce. He says that “he” made him do it. “They upset him, they shouldn’t have done that.” Mike is the first to understand. Will was the spy all along. It’s a trap, an ambush. He runs, trying to get the guards to let him through so he can warn them, but it’s too late. The demogorgons have arrived, and it’s an absolute slaughter. No one survives. And now that the team of soldiers have been taken care of, the demogorgons are heading for the scientists next.
Will tells them that they need to get out of there, that they’re already coming. But it looks like it may be too late. In the final moments of the episode we hear the demogorgon making its way up the lift, and climbing out of the hole we see its paw. It’s here. And it’s out for blood.
There were so many beautiful moments in this episode, but equally horrifying moments as well. Considering that Nancy and Jonathan have no idea that any of this is going down, I can only imagine how intense the next episode will be! And even though one of my favourites, Eleven, was missing from this episode, it still managed to be absolutely breathtaking.
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As always, thanks for reading, and feel free to geek out with me in the comments!
Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress