October 27, 2017 at 08:01 AM EDT

Stranger Things

TV Show
run date
Winona Ryder, David Harbour
Current Status
In Season
Drama, Horror, Thriller
We gave it a B

While Steve and Nancy are having the most uncomfortable date night of their young lives, Jonathan is at home getting ready to watch a movie with the family — which now includes Bob (Sean Astin), his mom’s new boyfriend. A few things about Bob: He doesn’t like scary movies. He does like the Michael Keaton classic Mr. Mom. He’s horny enough for Joyce that he visits her at work for a quick, furious make-out session in the back storage closet of the store. Also, he likes Kenny Rogers.

Jonathan, being the good brother he is, goes into Will’s room and asks if he wants to decide on that night’s movie. That’s when he notices Will is drawing a creature he’s titled Zombie Boy. Earlier that day, Will opened his locker and found a newspaper clipping of himself with that very name scrawled on top of the picture. Kids suck. Jonathan does not: Will confronts his big bro for treating him like a ticking time bomb, saying that everyone walking on eggshells around him makes him feel even more like a freak. Jonathan responds by being real. “You’re right,” he tells a shocked Will. “You are a freak.”

Jonathan then says that he, too, is a freak, and that’s great, because freaks are the only ones who do anything good in this world. “Who would you rather be friends with: Bowie or Kenny Rogers?” Jonathan asks. Will doesn’t even have to respond — it’s Bowie, obviously. It’s a wonderful moment of sibling bonding, and, yeah, it feels a little bit 7th Heaven in its cheesy, us-against-the-world sincerity, but it works.

Now that Will’s feeling a little better knowing that he’s a freak and that his brother is on his side, he can rest easy. Just kidding! The episode ends with him going pee in the middle of the night and then noticing a storm — the same kind of storm he saw at the arcade — brewing outside. This time, though, he sees a giant, spider-like creature in the clouds. His mom is battling a type of PTSD, too: During the movie, the phone starts ringing, and she immediately freezes. Bob reassures her that it’s probably a crank call and encourages her to ignore it. She does, but it’s clear she’s struggling to. As the saying goes, even a new boyfriend can’t distract from intense mental distress.

The episode is almost over at this point, and there hasn’t been any glimpse at Eleven. That’s about to change. Hopper gets home — or rather, to a creepy cabin hidden behind trees and cobwebs — to the TV running and two foil-wrapped TV dinners on the table… along with a plate of half-eaten waffles. Ah, there she is.

It gets kind of weird from there. Hopper cracks open a beer and sits down as a little voice cries out, “No signal. You’re late.” He defends himself, saying it’s not that late, and then the person with the little voice sits down across from him. There’s Eleven, with a head full of curly hair, wearing overalls and a pissed expression on her face. She’s in no mood, and it doesn’t help that he reminds her not to eat dessert before dinner. They unwrap their dinners and eat their turkey and peas in silence like an old, grumpy married couple.

So now we know Eleven is officially fine — or, at the very least, alive and in this realm with access to Eggos. Now, who’s gonna tell Mike?

Most ’80s Moment: Max and her brother (Dacre Montgomery) rolling up to their first day of school in a slick two-door as Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane” blasts in the background. Bonus ’80s points for his mullet.

Best Quotes

“I only want five minutes!” —Murray
“Yeah, I want a date with Bo Derek. We all want things.” —Hopper

“Class, please welcome, all the way from sunny California, the latest passenger to join us on our curiosity voyage: Maxine!” —Mr. Clarke

“You’re going to be home by 8, listening to the Talking Heads and reading Vonnegut or something.” —Nancy to Jonathan, who says he can’t go to a Halloween party because he’s taking Will trick-or-treating
“That sounds like a nice night.” —Jonathan

“Nobody normal ever accomplished anything meaningful in this world.” —Jonathan

NEXT: “Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak”

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