TLDR; I just cried for thirty straight minutes. Everyone who said I would love Stranger Things was so very right. You know who you are, and you have my complete agreement, and what have you all done to me.
The Upside Down
First thoughts: I am not emotionally prepared for any of this. Bring it on.
We’re starting with a big, brutal helping of THE TRUTH for “Papa” and I could sit and watch nothing but Joyce laying into him for a straight day. She doesn’t buy his lines for a second. If he thought Mama Bear would be an easy target he was so very wrong. I also have to hope that Hopper knows what he’s doing as he’s making deals left and right with Assassin Granny who is more than ready to kill him instantly. But he does get both him and Joyce into the Upside Down for a rescue attempt, so I’m calling it a net positive.
Unwise Scientist: “BTW the atmosphere is toxic, put these hazmat suits on.”
Joyce: “WAT the FUCK my SON has been in there for a week!”
And off they go on walkabout in The Upside Down, where we immediately get a flashback to Hopper’s past, to crush my heart into tiny pieces. Oh god I can’t take these revelations about Hopper’s daughter and him crying in the stairwell. It made me start crying, although I tried to hold it back so I could focus on what was going on.
Back with our monster-hunting duo, Jonathan gets cockblocked by Steve “I Creep on You Through The Window” Harrington in the most awkwardly timed decent impulse ever. Seriously Steve pushes inside and immediately you can watch the realization dawn on his little face: his girl is into sacrificial rituals and he probably barely escaped with his life. Bad timing level: expert because the Hellflower shows up at that moment.
Steve: “There is a set BEAR TRAP in the HALLWAY what the everloving kind of kink is this?!”
Steve’s suffering makes me feel better, though, because I am a bad person. Do I have to LIKE Steve now? Seriously? I still don’t ship him with Nancy.
H E L P Eleven is squishing brains inside skulls now and I don’t even know if I can feel happy about this! Oh god oh god oh god Eleven! This is so disturbingly cathartic. Also “Papa” done fucked up and she wants Mike now. Because Mike gives her, you know, kindness and compassion and Eggos and basic human decency and other unnecessary things. Karma comes for “Papa” in the form of a rampaging Demogorgon and it is glorious. I’m not disturbed about this bit.
My feeling of triumph is immediately squashed, though, because they find Will in the Upside Down and it’s not okay. Nothing is okay. There’s a tube thing in his mouth and he’s not breathing and nothing will ever be okay again. This is all juxtaposed with flashbacks to the death of Hopper’s daughter and you better believe I started sobbing at this point.
Elven and the boys are trapped in a classroom, guns apparently have zero effect on Hellflowers from other dimensions and . . . wait . . . goodbye, Mike? As in, she’s gone? Eleven sacrificed herself? ENDLESS SADNESS and I’M ANGRY AT EVERYONE RIGHT NOW. Still crying.
Will starts breathing again and guess what, I’m still a tearful mess.
I need a hug. And a tissue. And then another hug.
The Loser’s Club and their happiness a month later as they smash out a great D&D campaign was so good for my heart. (Still crying, softly.) But the moral of the whole story was that if you baseball bat the face-hugging flower monster you get the girl. Happy Christmas. I STILL DO NOT SHIP THEM, OKAY.
We’re left with two extremely intriguing cliffhangers, involving Eggos left in the woods and Will possibly still being connected to The Upside Down. Oh you clever cliffhanging bastards, now I have to watch Season Two. I must.