‘STRANGER’ RECAPS #8 – ‘The Upside Down’

It's time to take a look at the season finale of 'Stranger Things' season one!

Cover Design by Courtney Pugh

Review by J.T. Johnson

The final episode of the original season of “Stranger Things”! This is one damn fine finale yet it also left us wanting more. Thankfully, we did get more with “Stranger Things 2”, a season that I’ll start recapping tomorrow! After I get through “ST2”, we’ll be ready for Netflix to unleash “Stranger Things 3” on July 4! In the meantime, lets go ahead and take a look at ‘Chapter 8: The Upside Down’.

QUOTE OF THE EPISODE:
“Mike! I found the chocolate pudding!” – Dustin

Joyce and Hopper search for Will in the Upside Down.

THE RECAP

THE ADULTS/THE TEENAGERS/THE KIDS/THE LAB

The episode opens with Joyce being confronted by Dr. Brenner and Hopper being tortured for information. They are about to kill him but soon, Hopper informs them that they will give him everything that he needs to find Will. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Nancy begin to plan for their assault on the Demogorgon in order to buy Joyce and Hopper time to find Will.

As it turns out, Hopper will turn over Eleven in order to secure that he and Joyce can head to find Will through the gate. The scientists leave the lab in order to find Eleven. Joyce and Hopper suit up and head into the gate. Roll opening credits.

THE ADULTS

While Joyce and Hopper are in the Upside Down, we flashback to his time with his daughter when she got sick. A series of flashbacks show us the pain that Hopper went through as he slowly lost his daughter to cancer. He lost his own child, but he will not allow Will to be lost. Traveling through the Upside Down, we get an even more in depth look at this strange and demented alternate dimension.

Soon, they find Will posted up on the wall with some weird tentacle in his mouth. They remove that and at first it doesn’t look good for Will. Thankfully, though, they manage to revive him and take him out of the Upside Down.

THE TEENAGERS

Jonathan and Nancy cut themselves in order lure the Demogorgon, a monster that can smell blood, away from Joyce and Hopper. Before the creature attacks, Steve comes to Jonathan’s house to make up and this is when the monster finally reveals itself. While Steve initially wants to run away, he ends up helping out both Jonathan and Nancy as they fight the monster head on.

After they finally managed to set it on fire, it escapes back into the Upside Down, leaving the teenagers to wonder if they managed to do any damage.

THE KIDS

The kids start out just waiting for everyone else to come back. Eleven is still drained from her experiences in the last episode and both Dustin and Lucas head off to search for the chocolate pudding. Eventually, the soldiers from the lab find the kids, but Eleven manages to kill some of them by literally melting their brains.

Dr. Brenner shows up and begins to take Eleven away, but another tear appears in the wall at the school and the Demogorgon emerges to take them all out. Dr. Brenner is taken out pretty quickly and soon the kids find themselves running for their lives. The kids take refuge in a science classroom, but the Demogorgon finds them.

At first, Lucas tries to use the wrist rocket, but of course hitting it with rocks is not going to do anything. Suddenly, though, the Demogorgon is violently slammed against the wall. Eleven is apparently back to full strength and she uses the full extent of her powers to kill the monster and seemingly kills herself in the process, disappearing along with the Demogorgon.

THE CONCLUSION

The episode concludes with Will recovering from his experiences in the Upside Down. Mike is still mourning the loss of Eleven and both Nancy and Steve make up. Hopper goes to a Christmas party where he gets some food that he leaves in a mysterious box out in the woods… along with some Eggos. The episode concludes with Joyce, Jonathan and Will getting ready to sit down for dinner. However, this is not before Will coughs up something mysterious in the bathroom, showing that his connection to the Upside Down might not be over quite yet. Credits.

While he is saved, the Upside Down might not be done with Will just yet.

THE REVIEW

This is how you end an ongoing season. All of the stories come together to a proper resolution. It’s a good ending that ends on a happy note, but with the hint that some things might come back to haunt our heroes… just like any good ‘80s horror film!

One of the other things that I like about this show is that none of the characters feel out of place. Every character serves a purpose and their stories are brought to a proper conclusion for this season. Like any good show, it satisfies you but it also definitely leaves you wanting more.

The intensity, the action and the performances are all perfect in this finale. With little else left to say for this season, I’ll leave it with that for now. Tomorrow, I’ll start reviewing the nine episodes  that make up season two of “Stranger Things” as we continue our journey to “Stranger Things 3”!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at ‘Chapter 1: MADMAX’, the premiere episode of “Stranger Things 2”!

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