Okay, first apologies for the delay in recaps … Life, holidays, and whatnot. But now back to our favorite fictional small-town Hoosiers.
We open in the lab’s hospital-area where they’re rushing Will on a gurney and washing down Hopper like he’s Karen Silkwood.
Steve and Dustin—everyone’s new favorite duo—are still on the hunt for Dart. (Sidebar: The way Steve tosses his keys to Dustin is the swoony stuff my young dreams were made of in actual 1984.) Also, Steve is giving out love and hair advice. If it were 2017, Steve would totally have a YouTube vlog and a very popular Instagram. He’s like a pre-influencer influencer. I’m very #TeamSteve.
We’re given the whole horror-movie treatment, complete with eerie music and a swinging light bulb on a string, which definitely means something terrible is about to happen. Suspense music as they look into the storm cellar. Turns out Dart is molting and growing and has dug a tunnel to who-knows-where. They finally find him and start laying traps when suddenly Dart and all his creepy pals run away, as if called to somewhere else.
Meanwhile, over at the Byers’ house, G-men are swarming the place and taking a crapload of Polaroids. I miss old-school Polaroids, don’t you? I miss film, in general.
Nancy and Jonathan are clueless to everything else going on because they’re too busy getting drunk with not-so-crazy-anymore conspiracy guy, who can also apparently see into their souls. There’s all sorts of talk of shared trauma and daddy issues before 1984’s Carrie Mathison calls out Nancy for not really loving Steve, which she pitifully denies. What comes next is the closest to a rom-com that Stranger Things will probably ever get as we “will they or won’t they?” Jonathan and his beloved. The music, the tossing and turning in separate rooms, the meeting in the living room awkwardly then returning to their rooms until … yep, of course she opens her door to find Jonathan there, and they kiss. Personally, I think they have zero chemistry, and as mentioned, I am totally on #TeamSteve, but hey—the heart wants what the heart wants.
Back at the old lab, Hopper is suiting up to the see what’s up in the Upside Down and realizes that this thing is growing beneath them all like a cancer, which probably brings back some pretty traumatic memories for him. Nobody’s quite sure what’s wrong with Will, but he can seemingly feel the pain inflicted on the tiny monsters, and is starting to forget people in his actual life. He’s like a host for the hive mind of the virus. Eww.
We end the episode in a pretty dark place as it seems that the monsters, via Will, have laid a trap for everyone coming to kill them (hence, why they all were running somewhere). It’s a total massacre and ends with Will creepily saying, “You should go now. They’re almost here” as a hand reaches out of the abyss.