Peter Counter and Susan Stover are back at you with recaps of season 2 of Stranger Things. They guided you through the Upside Down last season, and theyre ready to jump right back in.
One with the ability of truesight is able to see in normal and magical darkness and this is a specific D&D power wherein one is able to detect visual illusions and succeed in preventing attacks against them. Wills been seeing a lot of darkness lately. Its not PTSD, or flashbacks, or a dream, or even a game this is real. But like those with truesight can Will tackle the shadow monster that dwells in the Ethereal plane?
Protect, Teach, Feed
Susan: Jim is hoppin mad El would put her life in danger by leaving the compound. Now, getting into a screaming match with any prepubescent girl is going to be a doozy, but this girl can literally move shit with her mind. I think Hop could have been a little more tactful in explaining to her why what she did was so dangerous, but his temper gets the best of him and that girl is NOT happy about no Eggos and, you know, being even more disconnected from the outside world. Youre just like Papa! El screams, and trashes the place. I see both perspectives here. I mean, I would want to keep her safe like Hop does, but I also wouldnt want to be left alone for hours on end with no friends either.
Peter: The scenes in the Hop-check are so difficult to watch, and thats a credit to the Stranger Things creatives. Hop and El are loveable, difficult characters, and it is painful to almost be forced to take a side in their conflict. That said, with the revelation of the Hawkins Lab documents, Hops misdirection about Els Mama is the tipping point. Friends dont lie is the cardinal rule in the Stranger-verse.
Susan: El isnt the only one under house arrest for their own protection. Dumbass Dusty decides deceiving his friends to keep a creature he knows nothing about who came from a VERY BAD PLACE in his room is the best way to go. Also, he decides to leave it at home alone, yeah, nothing wrong could happen here.
Peter: I know its within the larger pantheon of 80s creatures living in domestication, but I never thought Stranger Things would make Dart into a grisly ALF tribute. Got any cats?
Susan: HA! Man, as soon as Dustins mom was shaking the cat food box I knew it would be bad mews (#RIPMews). Okay, so this is obviously a baby demogorgon and hopefully Yertle makes it out alive before Dustin gets the sense to kill this thing.
Cold Hard Facts
Susan: Will was penetrated by the shadow monster at the end of episode three after taking some not-so-great advice from Bob about standing up to monsters. I wondered why the creature wouldnt just kill Will, but then I remembered in episode one, Will mentioned this freezing monster didnt want to murder him, just everyone else. Will might be the major mechanism in this monsters murderous machinations although Will is still in control of his faculties (for now).
Peter: Weve got a possession on our hands here, but not the kind that can be remedied by an old priest, a young priest, or even a hot bath.
Susan: Will goes full art attack that at first just looks like a bunch of scribbles, but of course Joyce figured out its a series of tunnels and tapes together all the pieces of paper to uncover the pattern. Shes fucking clever with the visuals, Ill give her that. The scenes reminded me so much of last season when she set up the Christmas light alphabet to communicate with Will. I wonder how trashed her house is going to get this season.
Peter: Joyce is truly the queen of the Halloween art attack. I absolutely love how willing she is to renovate her house any time Will has a case of the Upside Downs.
Now look, Im aware that I have brought up Lovecraft in every one of our recaps so far, and I swear Ive read more than just his problematic prose, but this truesight arc Wills experiencing is practically straight out of The Call of Cthulhu. As the infamous tentacle dragon stirs in its sleep underneath the Pacific Ocean, sensitive artists are compelled to create art in the alien things image.
As we see from Hops descent beneath the pumpkin patch at the end of the episode, Wills not drawing the actual Shadow Thing, but the reference is there. As I was saying all last year, the kids are using D&D rules to play a much less forgiving game.
Peter: Nancy and Jonathan infiltrate Hawkins Lab with a tape recorder from Radio Shack and get Papa 2.0 to spill the beans about Barb, flesh-portals and more. Wow. Either Hawkins Lab has a serious management crisis on its hands or buddys banking on the old too-crazy-to-be-believed defense. I mean, did they not even think to check the kids bags?
Susan: Well I mean, if the fucking Homer Simpson character theyve got behind the desk is any indication, the new management at Hawkins Lab leaves much to be desired.
Peter: Now Nance and Jon are leaving Hawkins, but to what end? Are they headed for Washington to take this to the top? I just hope they aren’t going to make a pitstop at Lonnies place.
Susan: Who knows where the tape will go? It seems like Nancys biggest objective is to give Barbs parents some peace of mind, so the next logical step would to be showing the tape to the investigative reporter who has been bleeding them dry so he stops charging them for crazy Russian conspiracy business.
Peter: Of course, driving isnt the only way to leave Hawkins. Hop followed a culmination of hunches out to the blighted pumpkin patch and dug himself upside down. Ive got a bad (albeit thrilling) feeling about this.
Extra Things, Too
Susan: Who else thinks Teddys kind of hot? Guess thats why he handles the flame thrower, AMMIRITE?
Peter: Maybe if you squint and rotate the picture 180 degrees, then hes too hot for even a demogorgon to handle.
Susan: What is the DEAL with Billy?! Like, is he into Steve? Is he going to kill Lucas? Why cant he cut his hair?
Peter: That erotic bullying is next level. Im actually starting to get worried about Billy in terms of his role in the larger plot. He seems like a villain out of a Stephen King novel, and we all know how fucked up those books can get when the bad men get aroused. I am not into a Stranger-verse with sexual violence as stakes.
Susan: I really like this season so far, but if I had to be super-duper nit picky, I would say I enjoyed the Duffer Bros. direction in the first two episodes better than 3 and 4, directed by Shawn Levy. Not that thats anything particularly bad about the episodes directed by Levy, but I just feel like the Duffer Brothers have a better sense of suspense, not too mention, the “cut-tos” are on point, while Levys style is a little more drawn out and slightly clunky. Again, being SOOOOO PICKY.
Peter: Even so, that final shot where Hops in the tunnel and it rotates UPSIDE DOWN is killer.
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