Episode five really set up episode six brilliantly. Between the "slime spider-like Mind Flayer minion monster" finding its form at the end of the episode, to Operation Child Endangerment stumbling upon a secret Russian base beneath the mall, to Joyce and Hopper relying on Murray to figure out what's going on. There's a lot of stuff happening at the same time, so let's get to it.
Russian Hugo Strange
Do you guys know who Hugo Strange is? He's a DC villain, often seen as an enemy of Batman. The Russian doctor looks remarkably like him. Not really important, just thought I'd get it out there. But what is important, is that Steve is being beaten up in every season of Stranger Things, which is both a little funny but also a pity. The Russian military feels a little campy to me, especially the general, but I guess that's the 80s?
It was cool to see Dustin and Erica (now a certified nerd) work things out on their own and figure out a way to save Steve and Robin. Dustin's battle cry charge with the stun baton on the doctor was a great touch.
It was also nice to see Steve and Robin share a moment together. Wonder if they will stick together after all of this is said and done.
Hopper and Joyce make the final connection
Finally everybody knows about the Mind Flayer. Joyce and Hopper were just investigating some strange magnetic disturbances, then they discovered the Russians were involved, and now they know about the portal.
The dynamic duo each had their moment in the spotlight this episode, Hopper with his psychological experience out bluffing the Russian scientist, and Joyce forcing the guy in the library (obviously a cover) to take their request with more urgency. Never mess with a mother when her child's safety is at risk.
In a previous episode I hoped for more cinematic scenes in the coming episodes, and we got it with El's trip down memory lane. Well, Billy's memories. That sequence with her walking down a beach, sand and wind blowing all around, snippets of Billy's childhood phasing in and out of view, it was a brilliantly crafted sequence that I thought was well executed.
It looks like the Mind Flayer is completing his physical manifestation with all his minions melting and absorbing into his physical being. Are they all dead? They are, right? That would make the third season the most devastating season yet with a death count of at least a dozen people.
I'm still wondering how this will all end. As powerful as El is, I don't think she can defeat the Mind Flayer. Hopper did call Doctor Owens, his old government contact from season two, telling him to bring the cavalry, but will that be enough? With only two episodes left, won't be long before we find out.
PS: The way Mike yelled at everyone because he thought they were treating El like a machine, and then proclaiming that he loved her, aww that was sweet.