Stranger Things: "Chapter Four: The Sauna Test"
July 4, 2019 2:17 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

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.
posted by Fizz (22 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm struck by how seemingly high budget this whole thing is. It really makes it fun. Anything could happen, and has been.
posted by zeek321 at 9:47 PM on July 4, 2019

The tiny guillotine was a cigar cutter (for someone about as pretentious as the mayor would be).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 AM on July 5, 2019 [10 favorites]

"You can't spell 'America' without 'Erica.'"

I'm dead and posting from beyond the grave. Erica Sinclair/Scott Clarke 2020
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:41 AM on July 5, 2019 [31 favorites]

"WHO KEEPS A TINY GUILLOTINE ON THEIR DESK. That whole office scene, omg."

People who smoke cigars.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:46 AM on July 5, 2019

This is the best episode so far. And I'll say this, the pacing so far is much better than last season.
posted by Fizz at 10:55 AM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hopper really thinks he's Thomas Magnum, doesn't he?
posted by tobascodagama at 8:06 PM on July 5, 2019 [7 favorites]

I don't know if it was a nod or not but I was thinking of the Pink Panther bit where the chief cut off his own thumb with a guillotine cigar cutter.
posted by acidnova at 12:18 AM on July 6, 2019

The dick parade continues, this time Jonathan to Nancy.

They clearly needed to cut out every storyline but El and Max and the Scoops Ahoy crew. Mike is yesterday's news!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:57 PM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

The tiny guillotine was a cigar cutter (for someone about as pretentious as the mayor would be).

They actually foreshadowed this heavy-handedly in the first episode, there’s a cigar scene and you see the guillotine and it’s like “yep, I’m gonna see that again.”
posted by Miko at 7:05 PM on July 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

In the scene where Jonathan & Nancy are getting dressed down by the newspaper editor before being fired, the abrupt tilt of the camera at the moment he kicks the desk and starts in on his tirade is a nice touch.
posted by dr_dank at 9:53 PM on July 6, 2019 [10 favorites]

I don't know if it was a nod or not but I was thinking of the Pink Panther bit where the chief cut off his own thumb with a guillotine cigar cutter.

I was thinking of Saw.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:59 AM on July 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

"Commence Operation Child Endangerment"

The soundtrack for this episode had more original score and fewer pop songs, compared to the season so far.

Return of the wrist rocket!
posted by mbrubeck at 9:38 AM on July 8, 2019 [9 favorites]

It sounds like I'm in the minority on this one, but I'm finding Erica almost unbearable so far this season (I haven't gotten past this episode yet). Last season she was kind of a sassy, snotty but funny younger sister, very much in the '80s sitcom mode, and this season she just feels like a mean, angry creep. I didn't find her capitalism speech or her being rude to Robin about the free samples charming. This sort of behavior curdles pretty quickly for me.
posted by queensissy at 5:20 PM on July 8, 2019 [14 favorites]

It's got a bit too much of the ironically world-weary child going on. It is authentically 80s, just a part of that era we need to leave behind.
posted by scalefree at 7:14 PM on July 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

I had my first experience of “hey I had that!” and it was Max’s rainbow sheets. I loved those sheets.

I am appreciating Dacre Montgomery getting to show more range this season. Not enough to make me feel bad for Billy, who is the scuzziest of scuzzballs, but the variety is welcome.

Jonathan, on the other hand, has become very flat. The character was so great in the first season, but I think he’s suffered from being taken out of the context of his family this season - interacting with Joyce and Will was always where Jonathan shone.

Hopper acknowledging Joyce’s deductive skill was very welcome, and Robin has now earned her place on the all-women private detective team I want to spin off from this show
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:01 PM on July 13, 2019 [8 favorites]

I was disappointed the show had to go there re:cigar guillotine torture, we've had enough pop culture torture-solves-all for this century already, thanks.

That said, holy smokes! What an episode. I think I love Nancy: Fearless Reporter the most, and her mum too. Lots of stellar performances in there. Strong female characters FTW!
posted by Acey at 3:49 PM on July 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

The cigar cutter thing reminded me very much of a scene in Sam Raimi's Darkman (just barely into the nineties). Agreed with Acey that it's not great, even if I don't quite believe that Hopper would have gone through with it.

I'm also on Team Erica, although my misgivings are less with her attitude (which is fine) and more with her getting wrapped up with the search for the Russians; Dustin and Steve getting an even younger kid mixed up with very dangerous people is not great. (Yeah, I know it's all very Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew or whatever, but the show has generally taken a heavier tone than that; last season was fairly light on the government skulduggery, but S1 had that ruthless government assassin, and the scary Russian guy seems more on a par with that.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:32 AM on July 16, 2019

Isn't that what happens to little sibs IRL, though? They end up getting dragged along on escapades they really shouldn't have been involved in, because of their olders?
posted by Miko at 12:54 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mrs. Wheeler's talk with Nancy was nice.

Yes, especially after that time in one of the first two seasons where she almost talked to her mom but just went to her room instead.
posted by straight at 10:16 AM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

"We'll lock up Billy in a sauna against his will, crank the temperature to the max, and if he acts strangely, then we'll know he's being possessed!" What was the plan if it turned out he was just his regular old psycho self?

Also, Lucas said "I just threw up in my mouth a little" which is super anachronistic. I wonder if nobody on the writing staff noticed, or if they just don't care. It's probably more trouble than it's worth to eliminate every modern phrase from a show set only a few decades in the past, but something like that really jumps out at me.

Anyway, really enjoying season 3 so far.
posted by skewed at 11:50 PM on January 1, 2020

Lucas said "I just threw up in my mouth a little" which is super anachronistic.

Oh, the show is just loaded with stuff like that. They have no sensibility for actual 1980s speech.
posted by Miko at 5:15 AM on January 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’m really enjoying this but also keep thinking they’re doing more than they are. Like: is Nancy and Jonathan’s speech meant to discuss the difficulties in the balance between gendered and economic oppression, or is it just a fight?
posted by corb at 9:42 PM on February 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

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