Chapter Six: The Dive
Episode 6 of Stranger Things Season 4 starts with police questioning the kids over what happened to Patrick. According to Justin, one of the boys, he believes Eddie is a vessel for Satan and can conjure the evil spirit’s powers.
Another character being interrogated here is Wallace, the officer whom Sullivan has locked up in a tight locker. He claims he doesn’t know where El is, but it’s clear this is only a matter of time before everything unravels.
Meanwhile, Brenner speaks to Eleven about her condition. He believes that the attack in the Starcourt Mall a year earlier caused the signals in her brain to become scrambled, akin to what happens to a stroke victim. But just like those who have had a stroke, Brenner is convinced he can help Eleven regain her abilities again. She just needs to remember how.
Part of this comes from Brenner showing her old videotapes of her repressed memories. Specifically of her harnessing her powers along with the other test subjects. Brenner believes they need to be delicate with this, taking everything nice and slow, one memory at a time, in order to bring Eleven back to her former self.
One memory in particular stems from Eleven’s mother. It turns out she didn’t die giving birth to her. Brenner lied. It’s this exact memory of her sadness that allows Eleven to harness her powers, at least in the flashbacks she can anyway.
The truth is, Eleven was actually bullied by the other subjects, who threw her around the room and promised to tell Papa if she told anyone. Eleven loses control but this situation is precarious to say the least.
Back in the present, the police issue a press conference and make Eddie public enemy number 1. The TV broadcast is watched by numerous people across Hawkins, but thankfully Eddie manages to radio Dustin, encouraging him to come and meet out in the woods where he’s holding out.
Meanwhile, Mike and the gang head over to see Suzie, where she happens to be in a crazy house full of cosplayers. She’s up fixing a antenna on the roof and eventually they all catch up. Argyle ends up falling for Eden, the woman downstairs, and the pair head outside to smoke weed together.
Team Mike and co. enact a Disney Channel-esque operation, complete with goofy roleplaying, lots of kids running about and espionage action. The whole thing seems completely and tonally out of place. Anyway, Suzie manages to get a lock on an IP address, which points to Nevada. Off we go again then!
Over in the Russian prison, Hopper has lost the will to live. In fact, he decides not to eat the food supplied by the guards. The other men in there with him certainly do though but Hopper is quick to point out the food is to make them plump and ripe ready for the creature. The creature who needs nutrients to survive and which is being kept behind the large, metal gates they’ve seen down in the courtyard.
Hopper is convinced that this is their last meal, and time is definitely slipping away for them, as Joyce and Murray convince Yuri to lead them to the prison.
As they approach, Hopper, Enzo and the other guards realize they’re going to have to fight off the Demogorgon in the near future. Part of the prep work for this comes from Hopper, who gets into a scuffle with a guard. Despite being knocked out for his troubles, he does manage to take the man’s lighter. That, coupled with his bottle of vodka, could be just what they need to win.
Over at the town meeting, Justin shows up and hijacks the night’s narrative. He points out how these killings are a result of satanic rituals and Eddie is the ringleader in all this. He also brings up how Hellfire is the front for the club and that its members are covering for him.
Given how scared all the townsfolk are, they begin to rally behind Justin and believe what he’s saying is true. Justin decides they should cast out the evil and be done with it. While some of the townsfolk are all for this, others aren’t sure.
Out in the woods, Steve and Dustin continue their lover’s tiff (okay, I know this is just banter between them!), namely around the location of Skull Rock. It’s soon revealed that Dustin’s compass has been going haywire, and it would appear that this is linked to Vecna. We’ve seen these electrical disturbances before, and the pair deduce that there could be another portal around, this one bringing them in to find Vecna and stop his evil plan.
Together, they deduce that its origin stems from the lake. Steve, Robin, Eddie and Nancy head out to the middle of the water, where Steve takes his top off and dives down underwater. There, he notices the ominous red glow of another portal.
Reaching out, the portal seems to stir at his touch. Steve becomes spooked and heads back to his boat. Only, he doesn’t realize that those tentacles are stirring and begin to reach out. Steve is pulled under though and taken into the Upside Down. Winged creatures that look like demobats show up, wrapping their long tails around Steve’s neck and gnawing at his stomach as he screams in pain.
The Episode Review
We’re finally getting to the business end of the season and with it, the tension and drama ramping up to crazy levels. With what is basically a film left to close the first volume out with, Stranger Things leaves many plotlines wide open for the finale.
While the drama involving both sets of kids have been pretty good, the tone has sometimes been problematic. These are serious issues going on and seeing the espionage plot with Suzie devolve into something out of Home Alone or a Disney movie just feels completely ill-fitting and destroys the tension this scene could have raised. Hell, even Goosebumps managed to have a really tense scene that didn’t compromise on tone (Stay out the Basement is a great example of this!)
However, then we get the whole Hopper side quest which, honestly, at this point just feels like a long, drawn out rescue mission. Everything we’ve seen with him trying to escape has been pointless thus far and he’s had absolutely no bearing on the plot with the kids and Hawkins at all.
It would have been nice to see this tie into the story in a more surprising way, like perhaps Vecna needs Hopper to be alive so he can feed off his lifeforce, keeping up a psychic link to our world; something to tie this in to the other storylines and not feel so disparate would have, personally, felt more consistent with the main story.
While Eleven’s drama is essentially one big flashback, it at least fills the blanks so I can’t really grumble too much at that.
Everything here is left wide open though, with plenty of drama to come in this final chapter. So far though, season 4 has been a decent albeit overstuffed continuation.