Review by J.T. Johnson
With the sixth episode of “Stranger Things”, we start to get more answers as to why all of the strange things have been occurring in Hawkins, Indiana. With more revelations to come, let’s go ahead and dive right into ‘Chapter Six: The Monster’!
QUOTE OF THE EPISODE:
“Mouth breather.” – Eleven
The episode opens up right where the last one left off. Nancy is stuck in the Upside Down and trying to get back. Eventually, though, she able to outmaneuver the Demogorgon and gets back through the gate in the tree before it is able to close. After this, the opening credits roll.
We then realize that Steve is actually worried about Nancy and he decides to go check on her. However, he misunderstands the situation when he looks in on her and sees her with Jonathan. In reality, Nancy simply wants Jonathan there with her because of the trauma of being in the Upside Down, though there are hints of deeper feelings.
The next day, the two decide to mount up and go after the monster again. This time, though, they aren’t going in there with a simple baseball bat and a gun. They decide to buy plenty of supplies from the Army Surplus store before heading back out.
After getting supplies, they discover that Steve’s friends have put up a derogatory message about Nancy on the marquee of the theater. After getting into a fistfight with Steve, Jonathan is arrested and he is taken into custody along with Nancy. This puts them on the path to joining Hopper and Joyce, two other people who believe in the weird things going on in Hawkins.
Jim tells Joyce about the kids room he found and the drawing. When Joyce reveals that it couldn’t be Will because he’s a more detailed artist than most kids, Hopper begins to realize that he’s been chasing after some other kid. Eventually, they begin to try and track down the mystery kid that we know is Eleven.
They soon discover a woman named Terry Ives and find out from her sister that Terry is Eleven’s mother. Terry is in a semi-catatonic state and can’t help much. However, the sister tells them a story where Terry once thought that her baby was still alive and that Terry had taken part in a series of experiments in the 1970s involving Dr. Brenner.
Terry was told that her kid died at birth, but she never believed that. Terry’s sister also tells Hopper and Joyce that the experiments pertained to trying to expand one’s mind through the use of drugs. This leads Hopper and Joyce to believe that the kid they’re looking for in addition to Will survived the birth and is the kid that Brenner stole from Terry.
Back with the kids, Mike is still dealing with the fallout he had with Lucas. Dustin ends up having to play mediator between the two and heads off with Mike to Lucas’ house. Meanwhile, Eleven is on her own in the woods, trying to figure out what her next move will be.
While it looks like Mike and Lucas will be able to make up, Lucas says that he’ll only rejoin the group if they forget Eleven. They separate one more time as Lucas decides to search for the gate alone.
Eleven eventually ends up in a grocery store where she steals some Eggos while having another flashback. After this, she walks out of the store and causes quite a scene with her mental powers. This helps lead Mike and Dustin to her while Lucas discovers that his compass leads him straight to the Hawkins National Laboratory.
Unfortunately for Mike and Dustin, the bullies that have been terrorizing them during the season finally catch up to them. The bullies chase the kids to the quarry and after threatening to cut Dustin, Mike agrees to jump off the cliff and to certain death. When he jumps, though, they find that he stops in midair and is dragged back to the edge of the cliff.
Soon, the bullies have another fateful encounter with Eleven. After dealing with the bullies, she claims that she is a monster, but Mike consoles her and tells her that she is not a monster. The three friends embrace now that they are reunited.
In another flashback, it is revealed that Eleven will be used to make contact with the Demogorgon. They put Eleven back in the bath and she eventually makes contact with the monster. Unfortunately, the violent connection that is made between the two causes a massive release of energy in the lab and we learn that this is how the gate between worlds was opened.
Lucas eventually sees that there are people in the lab heading out to find Mike and the others. He tries desperately to contact Mike with his walkie talkie, but can’t get through. The episode ends as Mike, Dustin and Eleven return to Mike’s house and soldiers from the lab begin to head their way!
In this episode, it was great to see how the gate was initially opened. Also, it was good that we started to learn more about where Eleven came from and how she got her powers. The best part of the episode, though, had to be the moment that Eleven saves Mike and Dustin from the bullies.
The music is epic and in one scene, Eleven proves her loyalty to Mike and Dustin once and for all. I know I’ve mentioned this several times in the previous reviews, but these kids are awesome performers. I’ve just seen too many other films and television projects where the child actors destroyed the story, so it’s always great to see a good cast of kids step up to the plate.
As far as the rest of the episode is concerned, we’re pretty much just following Joyce and Hopper as they learn more about Eleven, the mystery kid that Hopper has been chasing without even knowing it. This means that David Harbour and Winona Ryder don’t have much to do in this episode beyond responding to the things that they learn.
This also makes the episode the final expository episode where we learn more about where our characters are going and what they’ve learned. Even so, the episode manages to still be engaging even if it is just letting the rest of us in on more information about the mysterious plot that we’ve been following since episode one.
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at ‘Chapter 7: The Bathtub’!