This is a full spoiler review for the fourth episode and everything prior of Stranger Things: Season 3. Check back for more Stranger Things 3 coverage throughout the week.
A code red brings the gang back together to face a frighteningly familiar evil. Karen urges Nancy to keep digging, and Robin finds a useful map.
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Kerry, Dacre Montgomery, Maya Hawke, Cara Buono, Jake Busey, Cary Elwes, Randy Havens, Priah Ferguson
Directors: Shaun Levy
Writers: Kate Trefry (written by), Matt Duffer (created by), Ross Duffer (created by)
I’m happy to see nearly all the kids reunite in ‘Chapter Four: The Sauna Test’ even if under duress basically. After Will senses the return of the monster they call in a code red to get everyone together and hatch a plan to find out if Billy truly is being held captive by the evil being.
Everyone gets to see their fears and conspiracy theories turned into truth this episode, starting with Joyce with Jim. If his bump on the head and the overall sore body wasn’t a sign that Joyce was onto something, I’d have called him the worst Sheriff in history. I liked seeing Joyce playing more into the vigilante stuff this episode. Jim really goes hard on Mayor Kline for information on the biker dude who presumably attacked him and it was kinda weird to see Cary Elwes in this role squirming, given most probably know him from The Princess Bride or Men In Tights. Joyce pulling the phone plug and not running in to tell Jim to calm down was kinda great though.
Steve, Robin and Dustin enlisting Erica to the group to help crawl through an air duct to the Russian’s storage facility I could kinda smell coming given her appearances every episode prior, but I’m glad she’s with them now — well, maybe not if things go terribly bad. She does lead to them getting proof that the Russian’s are indeed hiding something and awkwardly it turns out that the storage facility is a lift deep down-down as well, which is awkward for them, given they’re probably going to arrive face-to-face with a not-so-welcome party.
The best scene of the episode comes following Nancy and Jonathan being fired from the paper. I do understand what Jonathan is trying to say to Nancy, but he’s being a dick about it and he’s not at all taking into account the absolute crap that Nancy was dealing with at that paper from those horrible men. But it all leads her to have this emotional and beautiful conversation with her Mum where both Natalia Dyer and Cara Buono deliver wonderfully. The pep talk Karen Wheeler gives to her daughter brought a tear to my eye and I’m glad she’s not just like “men suck, but that’s the world we live in so deal with it.” No, she’s saying screw them, go and get your story and prove them all wrong, and I love it.
The plan from the kids to trap Billy and find out if he truly is being controlled by the monster was well laid out and rather scary to see unfold as things started to take a turn for the worse. Seeing El being held high and seconds away from possibly being chocked to death was shocking, and I was ready to scream at Mike, or anybody really, for not doing anything but I’m glad he came in to save her, even if it was rather slow.
As the episode ends with a room full of Hawkins residents all standing mindlessly around, I gladly take my prediction point from the previous review, but have to wonder how our heroes will deal with this as the episodes continue. Presumably it’ll involve shutting down the source, which means destroying, or sending back to The Upside-Down the monster, but how they’ll all do that with so many bodies being turned to its control is another question. And then there is the Russian’s which is its own mystery and dilemma. If they manage to open the portal is that better for our group to get rid of the monster, or worse?
This was a very strong episode and mid-way point for the series. I was tense, I was emotional and most of all, I’m very excited to see how the series ramps up into the final episodes.
‘The Sauna Test‘ Air Date: 04/07/2019
Stranger Things 3 is currently available to stream on Netflix