Episode 8 of Stranger Things starts with the people at the not-secret secret lab trying everything they have to find out where Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is. Mostly Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) is sticking to her guns and not falling for their “the monster will take more sons, more daughters,” line. Hooper (David Harbour), on the other hand, is ready to make a deal with them and I am still trying to work out if he had a plan or was just spineless in the end. However, he did pull the “I know someone at the paper that will blow this wide open if I die” card. Regardless of where Hopper stands in all this though, they finally agree to let him and Joyce enter the Upside Down to find Will (Noah Schnapp) while they go and chase down Eleven.Speaking of, the boys are doing a much better job of looking after Eleven than Hopper is, even after they realise Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) are not likely necking but have genuinely blown the coop. Jonathan and Nancy certainly aren’t sucking face. Instead, they have retrieved their weapons and have a legit awesome plan to kill the monster and release Will. This plan involves the bear trap, gasoline, some good old-fashioned 80s bloodletting and re-hooking up all the Christmas lights.
Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) was not a part of this plan. Nobody told Steve this though. And when he turns up at the Byers looking for Nancy Wheeler, he gets stuck right in the middle of their plan, which freaks him the fuck out until he sees the actual monster appear from the Upside Down and then he is just freaked the fuck out by everything in general. The trio hide in the bedroom. Once everything – monster included – goes silent, they decide the best plan is to go looking for the monster again. And send Steve on his way. Which Steve is so happy to do because, at the end of the day, he’s the weakest link.Meanwhile, back in the house, Jonathan is not at all prepared for the monster’s reappearance and nearly gets himself eaten if not for Steve deciding to man up and help. Steve is officially placed in my good book. They manage to lure the monster (who we discover is actually bulletproof) into the bear trap and set that fucker on fire. Which is awesome, until it disappears and you just know that it is hiding somewhere licking its wounds.
While all this is going on, Hopper and Joyce have donned hazmat suits and entered the Upside Down. While looking for Will, Hopper manages to have several flashbacks to his daughter dying thanks to a soft toy he finds in the Upside Down. But don’t mind those massive hatched eggs they’ve just walked past, I’m sure they’re not important…They approach Joyce’s Upside Down version of her house and–
–Jonathan, Nancy and Steve see all the lights go on as Hopper and Joyce enter. Oh, so the lights are not the monster, but the people trapped in there–
But there is more important things to worry about right now, like Hopper and Joyce following the blood trail left by the monster. At least the teens managed to injure it, I guess.As for the boys, it’s lucky for them they went looking for food for Eleven just before the mob from the not-secret secret lab turn up and they have some time to escape. Before that though, Mike manages to steal a kiss from Eleven and explain to her that she could live with his family. His sister would be her sister, his mum would be like her mum, and Mike… oops, that makes things a bit awkward. Should have thought that through a bit more Mike. But that’s okay, because now they are running from the bad guys and there is no escape. They are cornered so Eleven has to do the voodoo that she does and kills a bunch of grown ups. Shit just took a decidedly darker turn.
Eleven faints just as Dr. Brenner turns up. He cradles her and when she mutters “bad men” he totally tells her that, “Yes, it’s your Papa,” like he doesn’t even care anymore that he is the bad guy and Eleven knows it.
But Eleven really wants him to know that being a bad guy is not the same as being a father, so calls on the monster to help her. The remaining baddies start shooting, and we know that won’t work but that monster reaches up and swallows Dr. Brenner whole. Which really pissed me off to be honest. Is that the way you kill off the baddie Stranger Things? I hope not. I really hope he makes some sort of an appearance in Season 2 of Stranger Things because that death sucked.Speaking of things that suck, Hopper and Joyce are still in the Upside Down and finally, oh finally, Joyce has located Will but he has some sort of tentacle tube stuck in his mouth and Hopper is flashing the fuck back to his daughter dying in hospital as he pulls it free and tries to revive Will.
Back with the boys, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is carrying a passed out Eleven as they run down the hall to escape the monster. They finally shut themselves in a room to catch a breather. But not for long, because that monster is on a mission and breaks through the door. To which the boys think a slingshot is the best defense against a creature that is resistant to bullets. But, wait a minute, who knew it’s kryptonite was a rock down the throat. Oh, hang on, Eleven has recovered, I think she might have had something to do with the fact the monster is pinned against the blackboard now and not Lucas’s (Caleb McLaughlin) lucky shot. Eleven approaches the monster and squeals so high her voodoo shatters the monster into a million little black pieces. When the boys open their eyes and look, not only the monster has gone, but Eleven too. Mike, of course, is devastated––but, not for long, because Will is in hospital and awake and taking visitors.
Hopper also has visitors. but of the “get in the back of the black car” variety.
ONE MONTH LATER
This segment of the Season 1 finale of Stranger Things is basically just a montage of happy sliced together with two very important things:
- Will spits up one of the slugs that slithered out of Barb. Nothing good can come of this. Nothing.
2. Hopper (who manages to somehow survive a trip in the back of a govermental-type car) is feeding something in the woods. Something that is partial to Eggos…
Each week I will post all the times I saw a reference in Stranger Things to an 80’s movie. I am sure I have missed a pile of them though, so feel free to let me know if you spot any others!
- While the original Alien movie premiered in 1979, I am going to mention it here because subsequent sequels were released in the 80s. Episode 8 of Stranger Things was certainly channeling these movies when Joyce and Hopper were in their hazmat suits and searching the Upside Down. Even more so when Hopper comes across the egg that looks very much like the one in the Alien movie poster.
- According to Geek, Episode 8 of Stranger Things had a very Nightmare on Elm Street vibe going on thanks to the bat-o-hell and general kick-arse attitude of the teenagers in regards to hunting and killing hte monster.
- Another thing Geek noticed is the fact Joyce’s house bears a striking resemblance to the cabin in the woods in Evil Dead.
What did you think of the Season 1 finale of Netflix’s Stranger Things? Let us know by commenting below!
[Image via Netflix]