TLDR; Playing with my emotional strings like that, how dare you, Stranger Things? Will is caught! And Joyce & Hopper are caught! And Nancy & Jonathan are off monster hunting AGAIN! And everything is too tense for my heart!

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This. This is the point of the whole episode, right here.

The Bathtub

First thoughts of episode seven: LUCAS TO THE DAMN RESCUE! YAS. Stalker Repairman and His Candy Van Brigade are coming and the kids have to run/bike for it. Eleven’s face when she sees “Papa”, ugh, just stomp on my heart already and be done with it. Anyway, they paid their special effects team well for this show and it was worth every cent.

Everyone apologizes and for a brief, shining moment all is right with the world. Ahhh. But of course that lovely soft feeling cannot last.

Joyce and Hopper go to rescue Jonathan from the jail and, unwisely, a deputy tries to get in her way. She was ready to kill a HELLFLOWER with an AXE, dude, you will not be a challenge.

Just when I decided to hate his guts forever Steve has sudden decent impulse. Damn it, pick a character direction, Steve! I don’t want to trust you but you’re looking all earnest and remorseful and stuff and I don’t know what to think.

The kids are hiding out when the Government Men finally find them but it’s okay because Hopper shows up just in time for some problem-solving! Me *trying to sound stern but still laughing*: “Hopper, you cannot solve every problem by punching it.” Hopper: *punches the problem until it goes away*

And then finally, FINALLY, we are sharing our information as Joyce, Hopper, Eleven, and the rest of the kids all sit around Joyce’s kitchen table and brainstorm. It’s coming together! Upside down road trip to rescue Will, coming right up! Please? (Also, can Hopper, like, be Eleven’s dad now? He would be roughly 1001 times better at it than “Papa”. I’m just throwing it out there.)

We discover in this episode that ten o-clock at night is always a great time to call your science teacher to learn how to make a sensory deprivation tub. Always. I really love it when a show can take moments that are critical for plot development and make them funny. It’s one of my favorite tropes. Is it a trope? Oh, well, it is now.

Nancy and Mike: *make pact to tell each other everything and keep no secrets from now on*

Also Nancy and Mike: *Immediately break pact*

Joyce gives El love and encouragement for possibly the first time in her life. I just wanted to lie down and sob with a combination of relief and pain at this point. This could very well be the first time Eleven has been touched with kindness in her entire life and it HURTS to know that. For her new friends she goes hunting through the Upside Down, alone, looking for our two lost members. We all knew Barb was dead but FUCK that was disturbing. RIP Barb.

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Just shove an ice-pick through my heart, why don’t you.

Eleven does find Will (alive, at the present moment) so all is not lost. But there seems to be a problem with his hiding place being discovered by a rampaging Hellflower . . .

Wait—do not end there!

No, no, don’t do that! Do Not do this to me, Stranger Things, I swear . . .

Goddammit they ended there.