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    • Holy sheet! What an episode! Continuing on from the fourth episode, more plot points are converging, more dots are being connected, and this show has taken a turn into the horror genre.

      Connect the dots

      It's so satisfying when the characters come together and start connecting the dots. Like I said in one of my earlier posts, it's kind of like a theme with Stranger Things where the characters start off in smaller groups with their own story arcs, only to get together later to discover that it's all connected. Nancy recognised the signs of the Mind Flayer's presence in the hospital in the previous episode, looked for Will, the group found out there was more than one "flayed", El remembered Heather, then Jon and Nancy remembered Heather's father, who was acting strange as well. They went to his house, saw signs of a struggle, and put the pieces together. This really is turning into a Nancy Drew mystery.

      The scene in the hospital went full on horror cliche with Jonathan and Nancy running through a closed-off wing of the hospital with lights flickering on and off, not another person in sight, being chased by two of the Mind Flayer's goons. I guess Nancy got a bit of revenge on that guy from the Post when she smashed his head in with a fire extinguisher, but I'm sure she would've preferred if that wasn't the case after seeing some sort of slime erupt from a melted human body, eventually forming what I could only describe as a "slime spider-like Mind Flayer minion monster". Yup. That's what I'm calling it.

      Operation Child Endangerment

      Meanwhile, Steve, Robin, Dustin, and Erica discovered a secret Russian facility underneath the mall, which we now know is where the prologue in episode one took place. The Russians for some reason, are trying to open another portal to the Upside Down, and Steve and Dustin know that can only mean one thing. I'd love to see them try and explain the whole Mind Flayer situation to Robin and Erica who I'm sure will just mock the guys and not believe them at all.

      I'm still unsure what exactly the Russians are trying to accomplish. Do they only know about a portal but have no idea about the Mind Flayer? If they do know about it, why then risk opening the portal? Their motivations are still unclear.

      Also, Steve won a fight! Against a Russian soldier no less!

      Murray the matchmaker

      Murray is back! The most significant contribution he'll have this season won't be interpreting for the Russian scientist and Hopper, but to set up Hopper and Joyce. Remember what he did last season with Jon and Nancy? 🤣🤣🤣

      BTW, did anybody get some terminator vibes from that Russian who's chasing them? I sure did.

      Season three is bigger, better, and so much more nerve-wracking than previous seasons. Only three more episodes to go!

    • I loved the reintroduction of Murray's character! I feel like he functions as an audience standin, particularly in the final episode (more on that later).

      While I don't speak Russian, it seemed like he was so fluent and he was nailing the comedic timing and delivery of every line.

      For some fun mixed reality storytelling, you can actually call Murray's phone from the series IRL.

      I definitely got the TERMINATOR vibes from that actor. However, embarassingly enough, i didn't pick up on all THE THING references until I saw the darn poster in the back of one scene!

      The Mind-Flayer's current incarnation is very much THE THING meets THE STUFF.

      (Which, if I recall correctly, THE STUFF is one of the movies being shown at the Starcourt mall alongside BACK TO THE FUTURE)

      (Season 3 of STRANGER THINGS is set in 1985, 3 years too early for the 1988 remake of THE BLOB which the new incarnation of the Mind Flayer also reminiscent of in parts).

      But seriously, I was disappointed in myself for not picking up on THE THING vibe which was on full display in this episode!

      There's more on the various influences in this article. I thought the scene with Tom and Bruce melting in the hospital was by far the most horrific: the idea of the creature being able to squeeze through any crevice and reconstitute itself was much scarier and more unstoppable to me than the giant monster it ended up being at the end.

      On another note, I loved Alexei's character and how they added additional dimension to what could have been a flat, one-note part.

      Even though he didn't speak any English, you found yourself rooting for the guy.