Season 3, Episode 7
Date of release: July 4, 2019 (Netflix)
And the parties are about to merge to fight against their biggest enemy yet. Yes, I did raise my fists into the air when Eleven threw that car into the Russians and the whole group made themselves visible for the Starcourt party. It took the season seven episodes to get to that point and now it’s about time to let the horror, the action and the apocalypse play out, and for each of the characters to have their own little moment in the fight, whether it’s through hand-to-hand combats, like Hopper has proven during his stint at the fun fair. Because really, some of the kids don’t seem to have any talents that would make them worthy fighters alongside the superhero that is Eleven, as well as the armed Sheriff that is Hopper. Let’s just hope that Lucas and Will know how to put on a great fireworks show, which brings me to think that it might be a wonderful idea for Will to put the finishing touches on the big monster’s ultimate death, as part of his revenge for all the time he has been the damsel of the show, for the times he spent getting frightened to death in the Upside Down, and to showcase that Will has truly grown up. All this time during the beginning of the season he wanted to be a kid again, to forget the trauma he has lived through, but it’s clear he won’t, and making sure that the monster is death could be a great first step towards his rehabilitation. Eleven shouldn’t always be the savior of the world at the end of the season — she saved people and the world twice already, it’s time to pass the torch to the newcomers. Eric Swallwell would agree with me.
The episode was good enough. I was still getting annoyed by the sexual tension between Hopper and Joyce, but at least it’s pretty obvious by now that the two will end up together, or at least try to be normal human beings with each other. But I do have to say that Murray’s yelling at the two during the car ride brought my eyes to roll out of the back of my head — not only did Murray already told Hopper and Joyce to deal with their sexual tension before, but Murray also made sure that his very loud words were not taken serious at all, as the entire scene was built to be a comedy moment, when it could have been a great moment for Hopper and Joyce’s individual character arcs. I have no idea what is so funny about trying to get two people together and make them realize that they are dating material for each other, while some seriously ridiculous Russians are hunting them down, ready to kill them on the spot. Normally you shouldn’t have the time to deal with love while running away from death, but I guess Murray had the mind for that. It’s one of the stories I would have gladly cut out of the season if I had been involved in the making of STRANGER THINGS – I don’t mind that Hopper and Joyce have some sexual tension going on, but it has been making these two characters absolutely awful at times.
Plus points for Hopper to get his grove back in the Big Top. He got a bit of revenge on one of the Russians for having beaten him up at the lab, and I do have to say that the moment in the mirror maze was cool as ice. Hopper essentially came up to the big Russian dude and had no hesitation putting a bunch of bullets into his chest. It would have been a great kill scene if it weren’t for the goddamn Kevlar vest. If Hopper could have been like that throughout the entire season, maybe I wouldn’t have been getting annoyed by his behavior for most of it.
Minus points for the dumb Russians though. I understand that they can’t just take over Starcourt with their automatic rifles drawn and look for a couple of kids when the whole area is still populated by Hawkins residents, but they had at least 100 minutes to roam around the premise and search for the kids, since BACK TO THE FUTURE just began when Steve, Robin, Dustin and Erica entered the movie theater, while the Russians didn’t seem to be looking or them until after the movie had finished. I guess the Russians did not have the idea to look in the movie theater? And since they couldn’t find the kids for almost two hours, they didn’t figure they might have exited Starcourt and are somewhere in Hawkins? There was a bit of convenience in the narrative when the kids exited the movie theater and were walking straight into one of the Russians and I am starting to appreciate those conveniences less and less. At least it established that the kids were now trapped in Starcourt – time to stage the big battle against the remaining Russians there, as well as the big monster.
Who might or might not have infected Eleven, preparing my mind for an eventual death of the character in the next episode. When I saw that something was moving inside her leg, I was thinking of two things: One, she gets killed from inside herself and then turns into the monster herself, which could not only be a great premise for the fourth season, but also reminds me of the 1997 film THE RELIC. Two, I was comparing that scene with the leg with one from the second season finale of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., when Coulson was getting his hand hacked off, or else he would have died. Lucas had the axe during the fight with the monster, so we should probably all be lucky that he obviously didn’t take it with himself, or he might have had the same reaction as Mack had when he removed Coulson’s hand.
And finally, thank the heavens that nothing romantic will ever happen between Robin and Steve. Their post-vomit moment in the washroom was actually pretty good character development for both of them, although the fact that the two were able to air things out in the open and make each other understand about their feelings usually means one of them will die. Robin could still be like Bob Newby from the previous season, getting eaten by the monster after a moment of clarity, and the post-vomit scene was definitely a moment of clarity for her. But I don’t want to see her dead after this, because I have been annoyed by characters far less interesting than her and I would rather see them die instead of her. Besides that, the writers would immediately make use of the “Bury Your Gays” trope after they established that Robin was gay, and we all know how social media is going to react when an LGBT character is being killed off in a gruesome fashion. Does it mean Robin will definitely not die after she established her sexual identity? Will the Duffer brothers have listened to the world and let Robin survive the season?