We gave it an A
We’re back in Hawkins, and just in time for what’s sure to be a classic in the eyes of Vin Diesel. After a love-it-or-hate-it Eleven bottle episode, “The Mind Flayer” picks up where episode 6 left off — and it was worth the wait. Stranger Things 2‘s penultimate installment serves as a high point of the season, considering the entertaining mix of humor, sadness, horror, and action. But most importantly: What about Bob?
PREVIOUSLY: “Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister”
As mentioned above, “The Mind Flayer” begins where “The Spy” concluded, with Hopper staring down the emergence of what we will soon be referring to as “demodogs.” A few of Dart’s brothers show up and start beating on the glass, which Owens insists they can’t penetrate. Yeah, it’s not like any of these scientists have ever been wrong about anything before. To his credit, Owens quickly realizes his mistake and sets off the alarm. “We’re too late,” screams Mike, booking it back to Will — who, he tells Joyce, needs to be put to sleep since he’s a spy for the shadow monster.
While they debate that, let’s follow a few scientists who are rushing to an elevator as the demodogs head their way. Now back to the whole “put Will to sleep” thing. Joyce asks if her son if he knows who she is, and when he hesitates, she doesn’t delay in stabbing him with a needle (okay, “stab” is a tad aggressive, but needles are aggressive). Let’s check back in to see if those scientists are doing okay. Ugh, no, they’re dead. Thankfully, Hopper and Owens are still alive and come to grab the others so they can basically just move to a different room. At least this one has security cameras!
Elsewhere in Hawkins, things are equally scary for Billy. His dad and Max’s mom get home and are worried when they can’t find Max. Billy doesn’t know she snuck out since he’s too busy getting his swag level to 100 via hair products and putting cologne on his junk. He definitely is liking what he sees in the mirror. His good times end when his pissed off dad barges in and throws Billy against the wall. Jeez, this dad is no Danny Tanner. Neil orders his son to go find Max, like the “good, kind, respecting brother that he is.” That doesn’t sound like him.
Speaking of Max, she’s currently roaming the woods with Steve, Lucas, and Dustin, looking for Dart. So clearly her parents have nothing to worry about. An argument ensues between Lucas and Dustin. Lucas is mad that Dustin kept Dart, and Dustin is mad that Lucas told Max about everything. The fight ends when they follow the sounds they hear coming from the lab.
While Steve, a high school senior, is hanging out with a bunch of middle schoolers, his maybe-still girlfriend pulls up to the lab with her maybe-new boyfriend. Unable to get through the gate, Nancy and Jonathan head toward noises they hear coming from the woods. What could it be? Dart? Dart and his brothers? Nope, something even scarier — her maybe-still boyfriend. Steve and the kids walk out of the trees, but any chance for the group to catch up is thwarted as the sound of the demodogs grows louder.
Back inside the lab, which looks like something straight out of a horror movie, Owens is explaining the situation. The building is on complete lockdown and the only solution is to reset the breakers in the basement, then use a computer to unlock the doors. That last step is why Bob decides he’s going to be the one to do it. “It’s gonna be okay,” he assures Joyce as they hug. “Remember, Bob Newby: superhero.” Bob takes a walkie and gun, which Hopper shows him how to use (much be an easier lesson than Basic). “Don’t wait for me,” Bob tells Hopper, who promises to get everyone out.
Superhero Bob makes his way downstairs and quickly works his magic, getting the power on and doors unlocked, meaning the kids can now get through the front gate. And if that weren’t enough, he even directs a demodog away from their side of the building. As Hopper, Will, Mike, and Joyce make it to the lobby, Bob heads up to meet them. But that mission is going to be that much harder without the gun he just left behind. (Recap continues on page 2)