This is a full spoiler review for the fifth episode and everything prior of Stranger Things: Season 3. Check back for more Stranger Things 3 coverage throughout the week.
Strange surprises lurk inside an old farmhouse and deep beneath the Starcourt Mall. Meanwhile, the Mind Flayer is gathering strength.
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Kerry, Maya Hawke, Cara Buono, Jake Busey, Cary Elwes, Randy Havens, Priah Ferguson
Directors: Uta Briesewitz
Writers: Paul Dichter (written by) Matt Duffer (created by), Ross Duffer (created by)
As I saw Jonathan grabbed by Mr Holloway I was thinking no problem, there’s no way anyone can die here. And although yeah, no one did — well, no one good — it was the first time this season that Bob Newby’s death from last season had played on my mind. We all love Sean Astin, and he played the lovable Bob. Joyce loved Bob. He died. So although no one died her from the good side, I did have a few seconds where I did fear for Jonathan this episode. This is what makes ‘Chapter Five: The Flayed’ work so well. It’s the most horror-centric of the season so far and it had me on the edge of my seat literally fearing for a characters death thinking they might have actually died for a moment, but I’m glad they didn’t. Although I’m kinda disappointed to know Nancy won’t get to shove success right up both Holloway and Bruce’s assess.
This was also one of the more violent episodes of Stranger Things ever I think. The grotesque nature of the bodies melting apart, especially the close up of the face melting was rather gruesome for this show. Makes me wonder if they’ll push the horror elements a bit further this season, or maybe in future years.
We’re slowly getting more and more characters joining up together which I assume will only have to increase as the finale approaches. One great moment from Jonathan and Charlie Heaton in this episode is when Nancy mentioned that Will could be in danger and we see that very protective big brother in Jonathan again which is always great to see from Heaton. Seeing both Jonathan and Nancy join the group of Will, Max, Eleven, Lucas and Mike was interesting dynamic wise. I still can’t help but think back to season one and how they were still very much kids then and treated like so, but here it’s more like they’re all on a much more even playing field in wanting to save the world here.
I’m kinda liking how Mike and Eleven’s relationship is playing out in this episode. I’m hoping we get time for a mature conversation from them somewhere along the line in the following episode, although most certainly not right as the next one begins. They can apologise, talk about how they should spend a little more time apart, and then kiss and everyone can be happy. Woo. Hopefully.
I’m getting a little sick of Jim in this episode. I know he’s always been a bit of a lovable-ass with good intentions but the jokes about “Joyce’s new boyfriend” is showing a really bad side to him this episode. David Harbour really is selling the rather overzealous and jealous boyfriend in this episode though with the yelling at Joyce, talking down to her and the aforementioned joke. I love how Joyce isn’t having it for the most part though and does stick up for herself and Winona Ryder continues to be a standout in this episode. I know she got lots of praise in Season One, but I think overall how good she is can’t get enough recognition in this role. The moment she ran up to Jim as they’re commandeering the vehicle and then played along was gold, as was her speech for Murray, who I’m looking forward to seeing more from next episode.
Shoutout to the Russian Terminator as well. Grigori, as he’s credited, although I’m not sure I’ve heard his name in the show is kinda silly, but I appreciate the very obvious Terminator influences to the Russian super-soldier. Note: I have no idea if he actually has super-abilities. I do however know that Andrey Ivchenko that played Grigori is owning the Russian Terminator role, and although I haven’t found him scary, he is fun to watch.
Steve leads Robin, Dustin and Erica deeper inside the Russian facility and even I was as surprised as Dustin was when he managed to knock that Russian dude out. Their discovery of the facility and what they’re doing had me wondering if there was ever a point in time when the series did reveal to the audience what the Russians were doing in the premiere. I think giving that information away was the right choice, it helps us not know Dustin isn’t insane and so-on, but I do wonder with a reveal like this for the characters.
I could have used a better apology from Jonathan in the elevator scene but I’ll let it slide as he did nearly die, and it appears both him and Nancy are about to face down a Demogorgon in the halls of the hospital, which isn’t ideal.
‘TITLE‘ Air Date: 04/07/2019
Stranger Things 3 is currently available to stream on Netflix