After the rather slow sixth episode, I was not expecting such a quick ramp up of action. All I can say is that, well, shit escalated quickly…
We barely get a cute, romantical moment between Mike and ‘Eleven’ before Dustin comes in to tell them Lucas has given them the warning that bad men are coming to get them. In an immensely awesome sequence involving bikes and floating cars, the boys escape with ‘Eleven’ on bike and, eventually, seek refuge in an abandoned junkyard. Meanwhile, Mike’s parents are basically under house arrest by the Hawkins’ lab as they search the house for any sign that the boys harbored “Eleven’ within the vicinity. Of course, Mike’s mom is the more observant and intelligent one in the relationship and knows that something shady is going on. But that doesn’t stop Dr. Brenner from coming in and securing answers from her.
What I neglected to mention in the last recap was that Jonathan did me and Nancy a service and beat the living crap out of Steve. However, he screwed up and hit a cop which got him arrested. Oops. He is kept at the police station after the cops find the hunting supplies that he and Nancy purchased, but he is let go after explaining to Hopper and his mother everything he and Nancy knew about the monster. This confirms to Hopper and Joyce that there is, in fact, something rotten going on in Hawkins (like they didn’t already know that.) Hopper’s suspicions surrounding ‘Eleven’ grow after he has to deal with a bully’s irate mother after the bully encountered ‘Eleven’.
Hopper, Jonathan, Joyce, and Nancy team up to go hunt down the trio of boys and ‘Eleven’, especially after they see Mike’s house completely surrounded by Hawkins’ lab people. Utilizing a walkie talkie, they are able to get through to the boys to determine their location. They almost have a close call when some of the government lab people arrive at the junkyard and begin searching for the boys. Just as one of them is about to open up the bus holding the kids, Hopper swoops in to save the day. First, the whole group goes to Joyce’s house to exchange information in order to figure out the best way to find Will using ‘Eleven’ and her abilities. They realize, after ‘Eleven’ informs them of the bathtub, that they need to build a sensory deprivation tank, which is no small feat.
Conveniently enough, they have all the components they need in order to build one. After Dustin interrupts his science teacher’s movie date (nice The Thing cameo) and gets all the information they need, the group heads to the middle school to start hunting down supplies. There is a lot of salt and a lot of water. And – ta dah – they succeeded in building one. Considering that winter is supposedly coming and schools are notorious for not being heated when shut down for the day, all I could think of was how cold ‘Eleven’ was going to be as she got into the pool with that thin dress on.
This is where things get wiggy. The sensory deprivation tank does its thing and allows ‘Eleven’ to enter the ‘Upside Down’. First, she finds Barb and confirms what we already guessed. Barb is definitely dead and is a feasting ground for weird slug creatures of some sort. Joyce comforts ‘Eleven’ when she starts freaking out over Barb’s death, easing her worries so that ‘Eleven’ can focus on finding Will. ‘Eleven’ finds Will alive in the ‘Upside Down’ version of Castle Byers and re-assures him that he will be fine and that his mother will find him. He begs them to hurry.
While ‘Eleven’ recovers from her sensory deprivation experience, Hopper and Joyce decide to break into the Hawkins Lab to try to get into that scary oozy tree that leads to the ‘Upside Down’. However, they are quickly detained within minutes of breaking into the vicinity. Meanwhile, when Nancy and Jonathan are supposed to be watching the gang of kids, they decided to go back to Joyce’s house and prepare to lure the monster out in order to destroy it before it destroys Will.
The episode ends with a blood pressure raising moment where Will is weakly singing ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ before the monster breaks into Castle Byers.
All in all, I felt this episode did not allow us a moment’s rest. You never knew when the end was going to be up for the characters and, leaving off with that cliff hanger, instantly made me start up the final episode. Good going, Duffer Brothers. Good going.
GENERAL THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS
- I’m starting to suspect that Dr. Brenner has his own creepy psychic powers. Seeing how quickly he got Mike’s mom to calm down was just eerie.
- Rule of thumb: Do not hide in a place where you’ve hidden your bikes underneath. This may be a dead giveaway that, hey, you’re hiding there.
- Convenient supplies for hard-to-make sensory deprivation tank are rather conveniently located.
- Barb, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!
- Will, you look a little…blue.
- -hears Monster roaring- Don’t go into the fort. Don’t go into the fort. Don’t go into the fort.
- -Monster breaks into fort- GAHHH!!! MY HEART!