- TV Show
- Drama, Horror, Thriller
- run date
- Winona Ryder, David Harbour
- Current Status
- In Season
We gave it an A
Luckily, Owens stayed behind and is guiding Bob out. Good to know that there are still some nice scientists around there. After temporarily hiding in a closet to avoid an incoming demodog, the coast seems to be clear — until Bob knocks over a broom as he leaves the closet, catching the demodog’s attention. “Run,” screams Owens. Bob books it as the demodog follows in hot pursuit. He makes it to the lobby and stops for a rest, which is an amateur move. Do you see Usain Bolt take a break a few feet from the finish line? And sadly, but predictably, Bob becomes demodog dinner. As the great Pete Campbell would say, “Not great, Bob. ” Joyce shrieks, Hopper shoots, but it’s too late, especially when more of Dart’s brothers show up. Hopper gets Joyce out of there just as Jonathan pulls up. Between his car and Hopper’s, they all load in and get out of there, and we get one final shot of Bob getting destroyed like he’s a turkey at Golden Corral on Thanksgiving.
Our heroes all return to the Byers house, which seems to be a little obvious. Considering the Demogorgon’s history there, maybe try a new location. As Jonathan apologizes to his brother, who’s still out cold, Nancy comforts him and Steve jealously watches. Hopper’s plan is to stay and wait for help, even though whoever he called for backup didn’t sound very convinced of his story. He goes to check on Joyce, and the two sit in silence. I miss happy Joyce — it was so short-lived.
The kids are also sitting in silence until Mike delivers a nice little eulogy for Bob, who, it turns out, was the founding member of the Hawkins AV Club. “We can’t let him die in vain,” declares Mike. Yeah, Stranger Things surely doesn’t want #WhatAboutBob to start trending.
We do have two pieces of good news. First, Dustin shares his genius “demodogs” nickname with everyone else. Second, Mike kind of has a plan that involves Dungeons & Dragons. Mike and Dustin compare the shadow monster to the Mind Flayer, which prompts all the non-nerds to say, “What?!” Their explanation to all the older kids and adults is that the shadow monster and demodogs share a “collective consciousness,” so if they kill it, then “theoretically” they kill them all. For some reason, the mention of zombies is where they officially lose Hopper. But Joyce is all in. “They’re right, we have to kill it,” she says, emerging from her room. “I want to kill it.”
Mike believes that Will is the key. Since it’s been previously established that Will is a spy, the idea is to clear out Joyce’s shed and make it impossible for the monster to know where it is when they wake it up for questioning. During a disguise-the-shed montage, Steve and Nancy have a nice but awkward moment; Dustin, who’s jealous about Max, apologizes to Lucas; Max unsuccessfully tries to bond with Mike; and Joyce tells Jonathan that Will is “still in there.”
All right, it’s interrogation time. Joyce is playing good cop and Hopper is also playing good cop. Interesting tactic. “Why am I tied up?” Will repeatedly screams, going into full Exorcist mode. Joyce, Jonathan, and Mike do their best to reach him by sharing sweet stories. For Mike, it’s the first time they met. “I had no friends,” admits Mike, tearing up (Finn Wolfhard coming through with maybe his best work to date). “I just felt so alone and so scared.” They became friends that day in kindergarten, and the rest is scary and frightening history. It doesn’t seem to be working, but Hopper notices Will tapping under the chair. Rushing inside, he realizes Will signaled “here” through Morse code. Soon, he sends another message: “Close gate.”
It’s probably not a coincidence that the phone then starts to ring, which Will hears. Nancy shows some impressive strength and rips it from the wall. Back outside, the shadow monster has fully taken over Will, again. “It knows,” says Hopper as they put Will back to sleep (this can’t be healthy). As they all brace for what’s coming, a dead demodog flies through the window. This leaves everyone confused. They’re about to get some clarity when the door opens…and it’s Eleven! Bitchin’ timing. The episode’s final shots are of Mike and Eleven exchanging loving looks that are to die for.
Most ’80s Moment: I mean, the name of the episode is “The Mind Flayer.” But the tip of the hat to Aliens can’t be overlooked either, especially with the added touch of Paul Reiser’s presence.
“It’s going to be okay. Remember, Bob Newby: superhero” — Bob (sadly, falsely) promises Joyce
“We are talking about the destruction of our world as we know it” — Lucas tells everyone, definitely not underselling what they’re facing
“It’s going to work — it has to” — Joyce to Jonathan
NEXT: “Chapter Nine: The Gate”