Hey, strangers! Been a sec since we’ve checked in with our pals in Hawkins, Indiana, huh? The third season of Stranger Issues premiered July 4, 2019, practically three years in the past right here within the Rightside Up, and we’ve all gone by means of our personal mass Upside Down within the meantime. Nostalgia! Enjoyable!

As a reminder, once we final left our Hawkins heroes, they’d simply reigned victorious within the Battle of Starcourt, leaving poor Billy lifeless and me actually craving an Orange Julius. (The center desires what it desires, okay?) Everybody was carrying nice shirts, none better than Steve and Robin’s extraordinarily jaunty Scoops Ahoy uniforms, the crew met Murray for the primary time, and Lil Sis Erica actually got here into her personal as my very own private function mannequin. Hopper’s mustache was in its full glory after which he died* (*didn’t die even a little bit bit, seems), and Joyce, Will, and Eleven left Hawkins. “Come once more quickly,” the street signal learn on their method out of city. I…don’t assume that’ll be an issue, and I positively don’t wish to discuss all of the onions that have been being chopped when Eleven learn Hopper’s letter.


Which brings us to…now. Which, when Season 4 opens and your ass-groove within the sofa is however a mere dip, a premonition of what it’ll be if you’ve made it by means of the seven monster-length (eh?) episodes of Half 1 within the subsequent day or two, is 1979.

An administrative notice: As our heroes are everywhere in the literal map this season, I’ll try and make these recaps as modular as an Ikea closet system so it doesn’t take as lengthy to learn them because it does to observe the episode itself.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the best way, it’s flashback time!

Turning It As much as Eleven

Meet Child Eleven in 1979, however one in every of a dozenish little children with shaved heads and telekinetic powers, carrying hospital robes and just about begging for Dr. Brenner’s — Papa’s — approval whereas doing Jedi stuff in a rainbow-bedecked rec room. Papa and Ten stroll hand in hand down the corridor for extra checks, which finish abruptly when Ten psychically senses that “one thing’s fallacious” and “they’re lifeless” when informed to find one other physician together with his thoughts. The door blows in, and after a lower to black, when Papa walks the halls to research, issues are unhealthy. The place is trashed prefer it’s the West Hollywood Hyatt Home, however worse than which are the twisted, bloody our bodies. The children, the medical doctors. The partitions are smeared with blood. Papa reaches the rainbow room, the place Child Eleven stands with blood dripping from her eyes like tears and a defiant look on her face, a smashed two-way mirror throughout the room.

“What have you ever carried out?” Papa asks. “What have you ever carried out?”


Welcome to the present, of us! Roll the credit!

Again within the current day, which means 1986, we discover El in her California bed room, engaged on a Sculpy diorama model of Hopper and his cabin in a Reeboks shoebox, a small shrine to Mike close by, whereas her voiceover updates us on life within the Sunshine State through a letter to Mike. Joyce is promoting encyclopedias over the cellphone, Will is portray, and Jonathan and his new good friend Argyle are smoking all the weed. Simply…all of it. “Jonathan says the crops are tremendous secure as a result of they arrive from the earth, however don’t inform Joyce,” she says.

She’s portray a rosy image for Mike, even bragging about her improved spelling, however all just isn’t nicely: There’s an actual asshole fashionable lady, Angela, who’s able to taunt El’s each transfer, together with mocking her dee-ay-ram-uh (she offers a really cute and tentative presentation about her hero, Hopper, together with a clay homage to a squirrel named Mr. Fibley, for whom I’d most definitely step in entrance of a bus) after which later journeys her within the courtyard and absolutely smushes the diorama, squirrel and all. El is doing terribly in class, has no pals, and no superpowers to maintain her heat at evening. Within the courtyard, she’s had sufficient and tries to drag her signature scream-and-explode-someone’s-head transfer on Angela, however it doesn’t work. Even worse for her social standing: A trainer sees Angela bullying El (often called loser Jane to the opposite college students, in fact) and takes her away for a talking-to, though El says she simply tripped.

Joyce to the World

Joyce takes a break from promoting Britannicas to take supply of a mysterious package deal coated in Russian stamps, containing a porcelain doll who seems like she is aware of one thing Joyce doesn’t, which I’d wager is totally true. It additionally, she discovers whereas on the cellphone with Murray, has nipples. They simply don’t make toys like they used to. He convinces her to smash it, and she or he finds a notice inside, utilizing at the least a number of points’ price of cut-up journal letters to inform her that “Hop is alive, he seems ford up to now” in damaged English, referencing their date at Enzo’s and giving her a quantity to name.

Robin Banks

Again in Hawkins, Robin and Steve are nonetheless the world’s finest coworkers, having secured positions on the video retailer. No cute hats a la Scoops Ahoy, however you possibly can’t win ’em all, or so I’m informed. We be taught that Steve is conflicted about his emotional prospects, Robin has a crush on a woman in marching band, and that individuals who pause Quick Occasions at Ridgemont Excessive at 53 minutes and 5 seconds like boobies. “Boobies!” Steve provides yet one more time, for good measure.


The remainder of the crew is going locations: Mike is carrying a baseball t with an enormous “Hellfire Membership” emblem, and he’s first sure for a D&D marketing campaign after faculty (the aforementioned Hellfire), then a flight to California for a spring break go to to Eleven within the morning. Nancy — proudly carrying a chaotic pastel Emerson Faculty shirt, her deliberate vacation spot — drives him to highschool. She’s not going to go to Jonathan, and he’s not coming to her. Everybody’s busy, okay? Or at the least that’s what she tells newspaper colleague Fred.

Dustin, additionally a Hellfire Membership attendee, is doubtlessly sure for juvie as we see him convincing Susie to hack into the Hawkins grading system and alter his Latin (!) grade from a D- to an A. Max, listening to Kate Bush’s “Operating Up That Hill” on her Walkman and scowling darkly, is heading to the counselor’s workplace, the place she particulars her nightmares and complications whereas flashing again to Billy’s ugly monster-related demise. Lucas is a benchwarmer on the basketball staff, however he thinks he can carry his pals to reputation — and he’s a card-carrying, although secret, member of the Hellfire Membership too.

Talking of the Hellfire Membership, meet Eddie, the long-haired drug supplier who acts as their Dungeon Grasp and swears that 1986 is his 12 months, man — though he mentioned the identical factor about graduating final 12 months. And the 12 months earlier than that. Which is why he gained’t postpone the grand finale of their marketing campaign, the Cult of Vecna, when Dustin and Mike reveal that Lucas will likely be in uniform on the championship basketball sport that evening as a substitute of dungeoning some dragons with them. They’re tasked with discovering a sub for the marketing campaign.

Eddie, in the meantime, performs Let’s Make a (Drug) Deal within the woods with a shocking determine who, spoiler, gained’t be with us for lengthy: Chrissy the cheerleader. See, Chrissy is the girlfriend of basketball captain Jason, who on the pep rally delivers a speech about profitable that evening’s championship sport in honor of all of Hawkins’ lifeless with such vigor and conviction {that a} megachurch pastor could be like, woah, buddy, what sort of espresso are you brewing? Jason is 100% a creep, and Chrissy is Troubled. Max catches her throwing up within the lavatory, however the true problem is the hallucination of her mother fat-shaming her that turns right into a gnarly monster standing outdoors her stall door and screaming at her whereas rattling the door because the lights flash. It’s over as rapidly because it began, however folks don’t overlook. Later, when she goes to satisfy Eddie within the woods, she sees a grandfather clock embedded in a tree, bonging ominously. Not…not nice. As she approaches it, black widow spiders scurry out of its face, and she or he snaps out of it, the clock disappearing, as she crashes bodily into Eddie. He reveals himself to be really form of a good-looking goof, and Chrissy turns down a hefty low cost on weed for one thing “possibly…stronger?”

That evening, the Hellfire Membership — with desperation-move sub Erica, plucked from the center faculty and actually wrapped in an American flag — battle a villainous darkish wizard named Vecna within the sport. Erica continues to be superior, and informs the group that her character’s title is Woman Applejack, and that she likes to smile as she watches her enemies die a gradual and agonizing demise. I purchase it, so does Eddie. The crew struggles, and finally it’s Dustin and Erica’s rolls versus Vecna. Dustin falls, however Erica’s remaining transfer defeats him. Is that this foreshadowing Erica saving everybody this season? If that’s the case, sure.

Oh, Lucas saves the day too. He’s subbed into the sport and makes a buzzer beater shot for the win. Sports activities!


After the sport and the marketing campaign, everybody goes off to have fun their respective victories, and Chrissy and Eddie head to Eddie’s trailer to search out her Particular Ok — and for poor, doomed Chrissy to die. Whereas Eddie is riffling round for the medicine, Chrissy has one other imaginative and prescient of the monster who stalked her within the lavatory. She’s strolling by means of a home and sees her mother letting out her cheer uniform, her face morphed into the terrifying burned visage of the monster. She runs, and sees her father, trapped in a recliner, his eyes and mouth freakishly eliminated. A desk is about with a feast, crawling with spiders. She will’t escape. The ticking of a clock is overwhelming. You probably have encompass sound, you’re going to completely stay contained in the groan that the monster makes because it lurches out of the shadows to stroke Chrissy’s cheek and inform her, “don’t cry, Chrissy. It’s time in your struggling to finish,” then covers her face together with his hand.

In the true world, Eddie panics because the lights flash. He sees Chrissy in a trance, her eyes rolled again, after which her white Reeboks floating off the bottom. She’s jerked upwards and smashes into the ceiling, her limbs popping and contorting backwards, her jaw popping and blood pouring out of her eyes. Chrissy, we barely knew you. Onto the subsequent episode.

Physique rely: 1. RIP Chrissy.
Most ’80s second of the episode: Susie’s statue of Jesus and “I cannot drink” button.

Kase Wickman is a author, editor, Ravenclaw and licensed fraidy-cat who lives in New Jersey. If she had powers, she’d by no means have to clean off mascara once more. Comply with her on Twitter and Instagram, should you dare.

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