With personal life matters out of the way hopefully (knock on wood). I (Sarah) can continue with my watching escapades of Stranger Things. I’m still hoping to post at least 2 recaps and reviews a day while maneuvering around my work outside of Legion of Leia. Also, be warned. Potential SPOILERS! I repeat with flashing neon lights – SPOILERSSSS!!!
Welp…there goes Barb.
We start off with Barb waking up from unconsciousness to find herself at the bottom of a drained pool. It’s dark and the atmosphere is freaky; the sound of growling is prominent. Barb tries to escape from the pool and, while this is happening, we are offered glimpses of Nancy and Steven within each other’s embrace before Barb gets dragged back into the pool. This opening reveals to us a couple of things. We are shown what is at stake for Will and for any potential future kidnap victims who find themselves being dragged back into whatever realm this is. We are also shown what the world looks like. It appears to be an almost exact replica of the world we know it, except dark and foreboding like Silent Hill. The danger is real and it’s coming for everyone.
The real focus and highlight of this episode, in my opinion, is Joyce. Initially, when we are first introduced to her, we get a sense of an overly worked woman with a slight anxiety issue. Now as we enter Episode 3 we see, through the eyes of the people around her and through Winona Ryder’s performance, a woman on the brink of madness. She shows no signs of having slept, catching a couple of winks here and there by the phone while waiting for any sign of Will calling her. However, this apparent madness is connected with her motherly intuition and her belief that her son is still out there despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.
While everyone is dismissing her as a woman in mourning, she is beginning to connect the dots to how to communicate with Will. After a mad dash purchase of Christmas lights from her job and setting up a plethora of lamps in Will’s bedroom, she waits as she tries to figure out a pattern to how the lights light up. She does know well enough that when the electricity starts going haywire, something is wrong. This happens when Mike’s mother and his little sister Holly come over to give a pity casserole to Joyce in her time of need. Holly sneaks off and stares as the lights in Will’s room glow like a beacon before the wall reaches out to grab the poor toddler. Joyce rushes in and kicks both of them out of the house, indicating to me that she knows what’s up.
Towards the end of the episode, Joyce figures out a better way to communicate with Will instead of their system of blinking lights to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. She writes out the ABC’s on the living room wall, never mind the fact that it looks creepy as all get out, and starts having her son spell out his answers. In an eerily reminiscent moment that seemed pulled from Poltergeist, Will responds to his mother by saying that he’s ‘R-I-G-H-T-H-E-R-E’ before telling her to run. This is where we see the creature trying to push its way through the wall, further freaking out Joyce as she runs as far away from the house as she can. She runs hysterically into Jonathan’s car and embraces him before seeing cop cars approaching. Why? Because it turns out Will’s body has been found.
The cops finding Will’s body will be important later, but how did they discover it? I think it had a lot to do with Sheriff Hopper poking around and searching for information after a hard conversation with Joyce. After discovering a tunnel near the diner where the owner “killed” himself, they find that it leads to Dr. Brenner’s laboratory at the edge of the town. They try to get into the lab through the proper channels i.e. the front gate, but are denied access. Eventually, Hopper finds his way into the laboratory through his wits and charm and is shown the lab footage discounts Hopper’s theory that Will climbed through that tunnel. However, after much thinking, Hopper and his cops conclude that the footage is false since the footage lacked the rain that was occurring when they were searching for Will that night.
This leads Hopper to the library to search up anything he can about Dr. Brenner’s laboratory now that he has been shown their sleight of hand. He finds article clippings detailing rumors about kidnapping, cruel experiments, and the peculiarities that have been brought up regarding Brenner’s character. Hopper, before he can even think about what to do with this information, receives a troubling call. This leads us to Will’s body being found in the quarry.
One final thing I’ll touch upon is the flashbacks we’ve been getting to provide us more details into ‘Eleven’ and her life prior to her escape. While watching a Coca Cola commercial inside Mike’s house, she triggers a flashback to when she was made to crush a can with her mind while being watched by Dr. Brenner and his men. Another flashback is shown to us when a stray cat hisses at her on her way to meet up with Mike and his gang. We are shown her refusal to kill a cat as a result of an experiment to see her kill with her mind. She is dragged away to her room as a result of her refusal, but she kills the orderlies with her mind out of retaliation. Dr. Brenner comes in and comforts her, giving her the comfort that she craves in this cold environment.
This episode, while stuffed with lots of information, started strongly and ended spectacularly. It gave us answers to questions that we had, but also gave us more to ponder while we wait for the next episode.
GENERAL MUSINGS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
- I really feel for Barb, especially after seeing the cuts between her struggles and Nancy’s canoodling fest. That is not the way I wanted her to go (cause the scene hinted at nothing less).
- I have never been so fearful of Christmas lights ever…I don’t do the whole Poltergeist shenanigans/message system crap.
- Why do people give casseroles when shit is going now in people’s lives? I’ve never understood this.
- Honestly, I prefer the creature over the thought of the Poltergeist clown making a sudden appearance.
- Still no sign of any evidence to indicate to us that the government should be trusted.