The Mind Flayer
Stranger Thing’s third season continues with episode 4 where El tells Max that she thinks something is not right with Billy. To make matters worse, Mrs Driscoll is taken away screaming, with black veins all over her body. Back at the factory, Billy and Heather have her parents tied up, laid out for the creature which arrives. Here, we see the same tentacles on both their faces.
Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan get reprimanded by their boss, but he doesn’t seem himself. He decides to fire them for pretending to be reporters. Mike calls Max and tells her to come and meet them as he has some news. As the boys and girls put their differences aside for now, Will explains to his friends what he has been feeling; he has been sensing that the Mind Flayer is close by. He thinks that the part of the Flayer that was in him might still be in Hawkins and might be attached to someone else.
Hopper, realizing that he saw his assailant in the Mayor’s office, goes to confront him. The Mayor brushes him off so Hopper starts beating him to get information. The Mayor eventually tells him that the man is associated with Starcourt Mall and is trying to buy land around the building.
Meanwhile, Robin buys blueprints of the mall and the trio decide to use air ducts to get where they want to go; a secret room in the delivery company building where they think they will find more clues. They enlist Lucas’ sister Erica to fit in the ducts who agrees to help in exchange for free ice cream.
The rest of gang head to the pool to spy on Billy, where they come up with the idea to trap him in the sauna. With the Mind Flayer’s weakness being heat, they will know once and for all if it has attached itself to him.
Joyce realizes that the machine that created the power outage and electro-magnetic occurrences could be at one of the properties bought by the men from Starcourt Mall, prompting her to investigate them with Hopper.
Erica goes through the vent and gets to the secret room. She then opens the door for the trio where they open the boxes which contains canisters holding strange green lights in them. As they try to open the door and get out, they press another button and the room, being an elevator, starts dropping all the way down.
Back at the pool, the gang manages to trap Billy in the sauna. After screaming at them to open the door, Billy admits having done bad things but that “he” made him do it. Will feels that the Mind Flayer has been activated. Simultaneously, we see the same thing happening to Mrs Driscoll in the hospital, where they both start screaming and become covered with black veins. Suddenly, Billy manages to get out but El traps him with a heavy weight against the wall. He pushes it back and starts to strangle her. Will then rescues El and as Billy is about to go after him, El levitates him and throws him through a brick wall. He then runs away back to the factory where we see a lot a different citizens from Hawkins standing while the creature roars in the darkness.
As we reach the half-way point of this season, the show focuses more on the mystery around the Mind Flayer and its development, much to the credit of the show. However, it is worth noting that the trio of Steve, Robin and Dustin work really well together here and adds another interesting side plot to the story. The addition of Erica is quite refreshing too, delivering some immediately sassy lines including “You can’t spell America without Erica”.
The acting by the cast, as well as the special effects and score, are certainly on-point and much like its 2 previous seasons, there’s no denying the excellent production design here. As Stranger Things continues, the mystery continues to deepen, leading to some very promising and and intriguing ideas going forward.