It’s the summer of love, and for those without someone warm to spend the cold nights with, desperation is sinking in. Also, the rats are starting to explode.
|Director(s)||The Duffer Brothers|
|Writer(s)||The Duffer Brothers|
|Introduced This Episode|
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It’s A Lonely Life: Steve, Robin, Hopper, Joyce
With Steve not heading to college, he is stuck in Hawkins, working at the mall, getting rejected left and right. All of which is entertaining for his co-worker Robin, who is even keeping a scoreboard. But Steve isn’t the only one lonely in the summer of 85’. Hopper, still longing for Joyce, has to deal with his daughter getting more affection than him, and he is a bit jealous. But, loneliness turns to envy quick as Joyce rejects him. For while she is lonely too, she doesn’t just want anyone. Who she wants is Bob.
To Be Young & In Love: El, Mike, Hopper, Lucas, Max, Dustin
But while there are many lonely people, there are also quite a few in love. El and Mike, for example? Well, they are making out so much that it leaves them breathing heavy like they just had a workout. Which is why Hopper, being the hater he is, also El’s father, would love for them to break up. However, seeing that isn’t likely to happen, instead, he has a heart to heart with Mike. Something to instill some fear into him.
As that happens, Dustin is trying to convince everyone he has a girlfriend, though it is questionable if “Suzie” exists or not. Especially since there is this Mormon excuse as to why they can’t talk on the phone and instead need to speak by radio. Which everyone humors but Lucas is one of the first to poke a hole in this possible lie. In fact, he and Max, who may or may not be a thing, are the first to give up on Dustin’s quest to prove he has a girlfriend when really, he just accidentally has a connection to the Russians.
Something Is Going On: Nancy, Billy, Will
Russians who are trying to reopen the gate the Americans have closed. But, unlike the chaos which erupted before, it seems the Russians are mostly doing well. In fact, it seems they decided to use that gate to travel back to Hawkins and stir things up. Thus leading to Will getting goosebumps, Nancy learning about a rat issue, and Billy being dragged in to see it first hand.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Who goes swimming, in a chlorine-filled pool, with makeup on?
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs
El Having A Normal Life, Overprotective Dad Included
While Hopper’s reaction is arguably rooted in jealousy/envy, you got to admire him being a protective dad and worried about his supernatural daughter. For while it has gone unsaid, can you imagine how El would react if Mike broke her heart? Especially since all they want to do is be normal, make out, giggle, and hold hands. You know, the cute stuff.
Which we all know won’t last, because this is El we’re talking about, but what’s a hero without something to lose?
Joyce and Hopper’s Loneliness
Apart from Joyce’s loneliness keeping memories of Bob alive, it is also nice for her storyline not to be freaking out over Will for once. That and we get to see her and Hopper have some scenes together – even if he misreads things and keeps pushing for them to be more than friends. Which, in a way, you kind of want for Hopper, since he and Joyce have history and he has no life, but it can’t always be what seems destined. Sometimes, we just don’t get fan service.
Main Street Has Been Dying For A Long Time, Huh?
It’s interesting to see and hear the idea of malls killing main street, especially in a period where Walmart and Amazon are the latest threats to small businesses. Making this episode feel like a reminder that downtown areas have long been considered under attack yet somehow survived. Even in small towns.
On The Fence
Human villains on Stranger Things have always been a bit meh. Billy was a bully, but also there was this push for him to be misunderstood. I’d submit he was even geared to be your YA novel kind of bad boy. As for the rest? Dr. Brenner was underwhelming and season 2 didn’t really have a human villain. So one can only hope if the Russians are made to be enemies, not just idiots messing with things they shouldn’t, they come with something notable for their season arc.
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