Last episode ended on a rather sour note, no? The boys and Hopper witnessed Will Byers’ body being hoisted out of the quarry, Joyce ran out of the house crying, and everything happened to Peter Gabriel’s entrancing cover of David Bowie’s Heroes. If not for the song’s underlying promise of heroics yet to come, we might mistake this for a much darker show. This episode picks up right where we left off and people are still very shaken up.
I don’t know if we have an 8 episode season to thank or if the Duffer Brothers just have a great narrative sense, but this is a very satisfying episode. Instead of characters missing opportunities to talk, compare notes, or team up, the characters all get to actually ACT. Check my list and see if you agree:
Too many factors in the case of Will Byers have rubbed the big man the wrong way. To get answers, he brings some of those big-city cop techniques to bear right there in sleepy, old Hawkins. I completely approve of his fist-first approach with O’Bannon at the Hideaway. Who’s got time to go through proper channels when you can expedite things all on your own? The direct approach he took at the morgue was also great. In a normal 22 episode season, there is NO WAY we’d get those two events in the same episode.
Nancy and Jonathan (and a little Joyce):
The disappearance of Barb has driven Nancy to the unthinkable: involving adults. She’s even open to going to Jonathan for help, which is good since he’s the only other person in town who’d be willing to talk about monsters without faces. I’m not counting Joyce because she’s not very approachable for Nancy (or anybody really). Where Joyce is steadfast in need her belief that the body fished out of the quarry is not her son, Jonathan at first must deal with the adult responsibilities she’s dropped in to his lap. He’s a high school kid, planning a funeral, fending off an unwelcome estranged father in Lonnie, and is coming to grips with a possible paranormal situation involving his brother. That’s a lot.
She’s sure the body found is not Will’s and she is rewarded with another visit from Will across the barrier separating our world from the Upside-down. Winona Ryder channels her frazzled-ness best in the scene outside the coroner having to argue with her son about a feeling with no logical explanation. Don’t hold those mid ’90s period pieces against her anymore; Miss Ryder is very good.
Eleven and the boys:
Eleven is a fast learner and want some to please her new friends and protectors. How better to do that then put them in contact with Will? Walkie-talkies only have enough juice for a trivial demonstration. To really break through to the other side, they use the power of the school science department’s new radio. School not only holds treasure, but also dangers in the form of bullies. Mike almost gets put back in touch with the middle school pecking order thanks to a bully’s fist, but Eleven intervenes in spectacular, if a little messy, fashion. One of the best scenes in the whole series.
Did you notice in the morgue scene that the cop was reading Cujo? Is it important that both the cop AND the kid die in that book?
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