Stranger Things: Chapter Seven: The Bathtub
July 17, 2016 7:30 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Eleven struggles to reach Will, while Lucas warns that "the bad men are coming." Nancy and Jonathan show the police what Jonathan caught on camera.

*Eleven and the boys escape the Hawkins Power and Light vans on their bicycles, after El flips one of the vans over and blocks the road.

*Hopper, Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy join forces, reach Mike via Will's walkie-talkie. After one failed attempt to contact Will, they construct a sensory deprivation for Eleven in the school gym (using a kiddie pool and de-iceing salt) for her to try again. She finds Barb's decomposing corpse, and Will hiding in the Upside Down version of his backyard Fort Byers.

*Hopper and Joyce rush out to try to find Will in the real-world backyard, but get surrounded by Dr. Brenner's people. Nancy convinces Jonathan that they need to finish what they started and kill the monster themselves; they sneak back into the police station to retrieve their confiscated monster-killing-gear.
posted by oh yeah! (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Joyce is the mother Eleven never had, I teared up when Joyce comforts Eleven.
posted by Pendragon at 3:55 AM on July 18, 2016 [30 favorites]


Joyce is a better mother than anyone in that town realizes, and Hopper is the sheriff that town both deserves and needs -- that is NOT the impression I got from the first few episodes, but like real life, this show proves that first impressions of people (especially when initially seen in their lowest moments/states of inertia) can often be wrong.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:26 AM on July 18, 2016 [20 favorites]


Yep, it was really great to see the better sides of both Joyce and Hopper. Tragic, in some cases, but great.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:33 PM on July 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


I loved science teacher's date night interruption...... you said we should always follow up on inquiries! "How about Monday?" "How about now?"
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 4:07 PM on July 18, 2016 [19 favorites]


Man, middle aged Matthew Modine really looks like off brand Ted Danson, doesn't he?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:41 PM on July 18, 2016 [12 favorites]


They did the thing! The thing kids on bikes being chased by adults in cars never do in movies and TV! They rode through a backyard! When I was that age, my friends and I could have easily escaped from anyone in a car - we knew so many backyards and pedestrian paths and narrow alleys and railroad tracks, we could get from one end of town to another without ever riding in the street.

I'm OK that it didn't end up saving them - in a residential neighborhood like that I imagine it's easy for the cars to cut across to the next block, and we really needed that van flip by Elle.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:50 AM on July 19, 2016 [27 favorites]


Anyone know the song that starts playing when Eleven is in Upsidedown and finds Will and he starts evaporating?
posted by gucci mane at 2:45 PM on July 20, 2016


gucci mane - I think it's one of the originals by synth band S U R V I V E who did the score for the show. I can't look/listen at work, but they have a Bandcamp page linked in that article about them. Maybe it's there?
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:46 PM on July 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?
Oh Dustin, I love you, buddy. Mr. Clarke, I kinda like you too.

Joyce with El was heartbreaking.
Poor El, what she saw!! Gah! If I tell myself it's just melted plastic and microwave bubblegum, maybe I won't have nightmares tonight..........
Nancy is going to turn out to be a badass hero, isn't she?
posted by pjsky at 7:51 PM on July 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, I thought the same thing about Matthew Modine. The resemblance is eerie.
posted by pjsky at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2016


Joyce is the mother Eleven never had, I teared up when Joyce comforts Eleven.

I knew that was coming, but the moment was still so, so effective when it happened. I noticed a distinct shift in Winona Ryder's acting as soon as she finds out that Hopper believes her. She drops the hysterics and becomes much more of the good-if-stressed mom she probably was before the trauma of losing her son.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:59 PM on July 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


RIP Barb.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:24 AM on August 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm OK that it didn't end up saving them - in a residential neighborhood like that I imagine it's easy for the cars to cut across to the next block, and we really needed that van flip by Elle.

What I liked about it was that it was an inversion of the bike scene from E.T.; instead of her levitating the bikes so they can get over obstacles/get away, El flips the van so that it becomes the obstacle.

WTF are they trying to do with Steve? Last episode he's an asshole getting a deserved beating; this episode he's ripping into his friends for being the assholes who he was happily going along with. Just let him get eaten so we can move on.

Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?

What I loved was at that line, Mr. Clarke looks over his shoulder at his date, making me wonder about Mr. Clarke's curiosity doors and how he'd probably been hoping to open one.

Poor Barb. I didn't have high hopes, but I still hoped that she and Will were hiding out together.
posted by nubs at 9:56 AM on August 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


In my head, Mr. Clarke's date (who was left tragically unnamed even though she popped up again later) is attracted to him precisely because of his dedication to teaching. So stopping to open that curiosity door probably did open some others.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:54 PM on August 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


I hope so; I like Mr. Clarke. He seems like a good egg.

*fingers crossed nothing happens to him in episode 8*
posted by nubs at 2:35 PM on August 19, 2016


Just checked IMDB, and Mr. Clarke's date actually does have a name after all. Jen.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:52 PM on August 21, 2016


That moustache and the science teacher is spending the evening with a woman?
posted by rmd1023 at 6:05 PM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Don't lock the curiosity door, rmd1023!
posted by nubs at 7:36 PM on August 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Mr. Clarke is my favorite. He struggles to resist the temptation, but when presented with the chance to explain esoteric science with strained metaphors, he cannot withstand the siren call of pedantism.
posted by Scattercat at 7:31 AM on August 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


I don't think this has been touched on: calling back to the conversation between Nancy and her mom about how 'you can tell me anything,' I love the sequence of (a) Mike interrupting his mom on the phone, and then Dustin telling Mike that they need to leave right away (they run away), (b) she goes downstairs and finds El's sleeping space, and notices the piece of wig hair in it -- and then, while being questioned later:

Dad: 'Believe me, if he had a girl sleeping in this house, we'd know about it. Wouldn't we?'
Mom: 'This girl -- what has she done?'
Officer: 'I can't tell you that.'
Dad: 'Oh my god, is she Russian?'
Mom: 'You come into my house, and you tell me that my son is hiding some girl, and that he's in danger, but you can't tell us why? And you, what, you expect me to remain, what, calm?
Officer: *eyeroll*

My read on that is: she has very quickly put two and two together and realized that her son definitely did have a girl sleeping in the house (the wig hair, the bed, the picture she's shown of El with shaved hair), thinks back to Dustin tell her son that they need to leave right away, thinks back to her son asking if there was work happening, and realizes that she can't trust the government; or, rather, she's already committed to trusting her kids. She's not just saying that her kids can tell her anything: she is, perhaps imperfectly (she didn't notice El until she'd left), actually committed to trusting in them and listening to them.

And so, instead of answering her husband's 'wouldn't we?' she redirects the question back on the government agent, and then -- this is my interpretation, anyway -- plays at being a hysterical mother concerned about her son (certainly informed by actual concern, but), so as to avoid answering their questions. The show cuts away without her answering, and I'm inferring from that that she doesn't; I can read another interpretation that she does, and that's why the agents show up at the abandoned car lot -- but the show has gone out of its way to show the government intercepting communications, and the kids told Hopper where they were on an walkie-talkie, so I'm ascribing it to that instead.
posted by cjelli at 7:39 AM on August 26, 2016 [12 favorites]


cjelli, I think that's a great point. Nancy's mom was always depicted as being pretty sharp - not necessarily aware of what was going on, but able to figure things out pretty quickly and not need to be lead around by the nose. Plus, she not only tells both Mike and Nancy that tell can tell her anything, her reaction after Nancy tells her she slept with Steve provides an action consistent with that - she doesn't freak out but doubles down on reaching out to her.

I think it would be completely inconsistent with her character as presented to assume that she sold the boys out.
posted by nubs at 9:05 AM on August 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think Nancy's mom sold anybody out. Seems to me the agents were either triangulating the walkie conversations or else just found the kids in a random sweep. (Hopper punched out, what, two guys in that scene? If the government actually knew El was there, they'd have sent more people.)
posted by tobascodagama at 9:13 AM on August 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


(Nancy's mom is named Karen, by the way.)
posted by tobascodagama at 9:14 AM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


(I was thinking I should actually look up the name instead of calling her Nancy's mom. Kinda reductive and dismissive.)
posted by nubs at 9:22 AM on August 26, 2016


(And now that I look her up, I realize Karen was played by Cara Buono who also played Faye Miller on Mad Men and Martine on Person of Interest and also in the Sopranos and no wonder I kept trying to figure out where else I had seen her)
posted by nubs at 9:25 AM on August 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


(Nancy's mom is named Karen, by the way.)

Thanks, in retrospect I should have looked that up before commenting. Too stuck viewing it through the kids eyes, maybe.
posted by cjelli at 9:36 AM on August 26, 2016


either triangulating the walkie conversations or else just found the kids in a random sweep. (Hopper punched out, what, two guys in that scene?)

Three, I think. That's a good point, and that does strengthen the idea that Karen didn't sell them out: when the government thinks El is at the house, they send, what, six vans all full of people? Whereas there are only three agents at the car graveyard. I lean towards an uncertain 'we think we picked up a transmission over here, maybe check it out?' because the synchronicity of Hopper arriving at the same time as the agents is a bit too convenient for me if it was a truly random sweep -- but, that said, stranger things have happened before.
posted by cjelli at 9:43 AM on August 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here's a nice article about Karen Wheeler that I liked. I also think she put the pieces of the kids, the government agents, and El's little fort area downstairs together quickly and was protecting the kids. She's a great character.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:37 AM on August 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


WTF are they trying to do with Steve? Last episode he's an asshole getting a deserved beating; this episode he's ripping into his friends for being the assholes who he was happily going along with.

I really liked how thy've handled Steve. He's not just the stereotype jerk, he's able to grow. I kind of thought something like that would happen from the first episode, partly because even though he was uncomfortably pushy, he didn't have a really threatening physical presence. He always backed away in the end. When Nancy and Steve have sex, it's because Nancy genuinely wanted it. Then the next day, when she thinks he's just going to forget her, he shows up at her locker.

From Steve's point of view, Jonathan taking pictures of Nancy taking her shirt off was really offensive, so of course he broke Jonathan's camera (it was played a little too gleefully though).

I haven't watched the last episode yet, but I'm pretty sure he's going to get killed, because he's come around too late to win back Nancy.
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:20 PM on September 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Just going to put it out there, partly to remind myself, but I think almost no matter what happens in episode 8, this has been a great show, really fun to watch. So I'll just try to remember that if after the next episode I'm left unsatisfied from a dramaturgical perspective, this was a great way to spend a few summer nights, and there should be more stuff like this out there.
posted by skewed at 12:04 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


Just going to put it out there, partly to remind myself, but I think almost no matter what happens in episode 8, this has been a great show, really fun to watch.

A good sentiment to bear in mind for the upcoming Season 2, too; thanks for stating that so plainly.
posted by cjelli at 7:51 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Steve s arc is nice. You could tell the redemption was coming, but I liked the way it happened, with him dumping the people more dumb than he.

Karen is also a very keen character and I think the actress brought an uncanny depth to what could have been a very flat role like Nancy s dad. Her concern for her kids, combined with her willingness to love at a distance , and her confusion about her role in their lives is worth a re watch.

To me, the whole season revolves around this question of mothers, and that Joyce/El scene is the emotional climax of the season, the scene to which all this world building leads
posted by eustatic at 4:09 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


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