Review by J.T. Johnson
In the penultimate episode, our heroes begin to come together to face their greatest threat from the Upside Down. The question is whether or not everyone will survive the encounter. Join me as I take a look at ‘Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer’!
QUOTE OF THE EPISODE
“Remember… Bob Newby. Superhero.” – Bob
The lab is under attack by the Demogorgons and almost all of the scientists and military personnel are killed. Hopper, Joyce, Mike, Will, Bob and Dr. Owens rush to get to a safe place as the lab loses power. When we see that the lab has gone completely dark, the opening credits begin.
It turns out that in order to get out of the lab, they need to reset the breakers. Then, they need to reroute the computers to end the lockdown. This sounds like a job for Bob Newby, superhero! Hopper and Bob head out in order to get the power back up and running.
Jonathan and Nancy soon arrive at the gates of the lab and they can’t get through due to the power outage. They hear something in the woods, but it thankfully ends up being Steve and the rest of the gang. They headed towards the lab due to hearing the Demogorgons.
Back in the lab, Bob finds his way to the breakers and he’s able to get the power back up and running. However, there is still a lockdown and Bob has to reroute the computers, which he does after a few moments. Hopper, Joyce, Mike and Will start to head towards the exit but Dr. Owens notes that he must stay behind to monitor the security screens and aid them in getting to the exit.
Dr. Owens does successfully get Bob to the exit despite a close encounter with a Demogorgon. Sadly, though, just as he reaches the exit, Bob gets taken down by a Demogorgon and is brutally killed in front of Joyce. Hopper, seeing that there is nothing they can do for Bob now, grabs Joyce and forces her to leave with him.
Soon, everyone makes their escape from Hawkins Lab and the entire gang heads back to the Byers house.
Billy’s father comes home and is pissed that Billy let Max sneak out. He abuses Billy and tells him that he needs to get out there and find his little sister. Billy reluctantly agrees and heads out of the house to find Max.
THE BYERS HOUSE
Back at the Byers house, everyone is dealing with Bob’s death and they’re also trying to figure out what their next plan of action will be. Hopper tries to get in touch with the military to see if he can get some reinforcements, but there is little else they can do at the moment. Hopper then tries to console Joyce after losing Bob.
Mike says that they can’t let Bob die in vain and that they need to figure a plan out. He theorizes that the shadow monster might have a hive mind, meaning that if they can take out the shadow monster, which they rename the Mind Flayer, then they take out everything else connected to it. Mike also knows that Will is connected to the Mind Flayer and can possibly help them in figuring out how to beat it.
They convert the shed in the backyard into a room that Will won’t recognize, therefore the Mind Flayer won’t be able to see where they are. At first, it doesn’t seem to work, but when Will’s friends and family start sharing their personal stories with Will, Hopper notices that Will is tapping the chair and that this is Will trying to contact them through Morse code.
Will manages to tell them that if they can close the gate, then they can shut out the Mind Flayer and everything will die. Unfortunately, a telephone in the house rings and this tells the Mind Flayer that they are at Will’s house. Soon, the Demogorgons are summoned to the house.
Everyone rushes back into the house and awaits the arrival of the monsters. They hear them outside, but suddenly they also hear thrashing and screaming. Eventually, a dead Demogorgon is sent crashing through the window and the locks to the front door begin to unlock. Eleven comes to the rescue in the nick of time! With the entire gang back together, the episode ends.
Poor Bob, we hardly knew ye. However, you were a badass who helped get our heroes to safety. Man, his death is brutal and probably the most gruesome shown on the series to date. Still, it definitely conveys the danger that our characters are in with this season.
The rest of the episode is pretty intense as well with the gang trying to figure out how to get information from Will without tipping off the Mind Flayer. The characters sharing their personal stories about Will was heartwarming in all of the chaos and the use of Morse code was a clever trick and a callback to previous scenes in the season.
Then, right at the end, they get their Jedi Knight back with the return of Eleven. She manages to take out a Demogorgon all by herself and it’s great to see her finally reunited with Mike. Now that her personal journey has concluded, it’s time for her to get back into the fight.
This was a great penultimate episode for “Stranger Things 2”. With only one more episode to go, we’re getting ever so closer to that Summer that will change everything when “Stranger Things 3” comes out on July 4th!
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at ‘Chapter 9: The Gate’!