Stranger Things: "Chapter Five: The Flayed"
July 4, 2019 2:18 PM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Strange surprises lurk inside an old farmhouse and deep beneath the Starcourt Mall. Meanwhile, the Mind Flayer is gathering strength.
posted by Fizz (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So now all those of us who were wondering how in hell Hawkins got such a big mall get answers. Those Duffer Brothers just set us up and then knock us down.

I love watching these kids grow up. The plotting gets looser and the perfectly timed puzzle box that was season one looks shabbier with more seasons pasted onto it, but it’s worth it to get moments with El and Max, the boys splitting the party, Hop backsliding, and the best Joyce Byers speech yet! I’m glad and sad they’re wrapping it all up next year.
posted by rikschell at 7:50 PM on July 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

"Dude -- you did it! You won a fight!"
posted by wildblueyonder at 11:54 PM on July 4, 2019 [18 favorites]

Hop has been a real dick to Joyce all season. Like, even more than he has to Eleven. Bad time to be a Jopper fan, but shipping knows no logic anyway.

Unfortunately, Hop being a dick sucked all the fun out of seeing Creepy Vodka Uncle again.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:08 PM on July 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah Hopper is scarily violent and angry. Was he always like this? The funny joke about how he and Joyce just need to have sex when she's made it clear she's not interested isn't funny. (But also -- was it a callback to Janeane Garofalo's 'would the two of you just DO IT and get it over with?' to Winona Ryder in Reality Bites? That guy -- oh shit it was Maya Hawke's dad -- was a dick too).
posted by trotzdem_kunst at 3:26 AM on July 6, 2019 [10 favorites]

He's always had his moments in prior seasons, but this season it's been really pronounced and sustained.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:08 AM on July 6, 2019

Yeah, Hop is in a bad bad place this season. And it's not like they don't know that he is - his showdown with Mike in the truck was fucked up, he then tried to trick Joyce into a date she didn't want, got shitfaced in public when she didn't show, drove home, we see him yank a beer out of the fridge first thing in the morning in one of these episodes, something he hadn't done since early season 1, and for as much as he's angry protective dad over Eleven when Mike's around, as soon as El and Max are hanging out Hopper seems to more or less forget about her.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:43 AM on July 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

Hopper has the just-barely-contained rage that I remember being a hallmark of masculinity in the 80s. It's not a great look, but it wasn't then, either.

Brett Gelman's character was one of the worst parts of season 2, I kinda hoped we could have left him back there. His sole purpose in the show has been to grind everything to a screeching halt.

This is the most lax hospital I've ever seen. Huge empty rooms under construction accessible to the public, an entire floor full of dead bodies, the only staff appears to be on the phone the whole time. And to make it worse, there were no red M&Ms in 1985. MY IMMERSION!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:16 PM on July 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

Also now I am crushed, Hopper's shirt was custom-made. That's OK, I can't really grow that mustache anyway. I wonder if I can pull off Steve's hair?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:23 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, it's not that Hopper's anger bothers me in and of itself, but that, as you say Navelgazer, the show seems pretty aware of how bad it is, and at the same time seems to be pushing Joyce to take him on as a romantic partner. I was kinda hoping we were getting away from narratives that suggest that a woman should look past a man's uncontrolled temper, poor communication skills and use of violence to the true good guy underneath. I guess not.
posted by trotzdem_kunst at 2:23 AM on July 7, 2019 [11 favorites]

So - interesting, the hidden entrance in the farmhouse is identical to a similar hidden entrance in season 2 of a different Netflix show that recently dropped (I am trying not to spoiler anything) - and in that show, one character was trying to describe alternate dimensions to a date, who proclaimed loudly, "oh, you mean like the 'Upside Down'" - nice bit of cross-over...
posted by jkaczor at 5:28 AM on July 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

jkaczor, I feel like it's become a sort of trademark for Netflix to place self-aware cross promotions in all its properties. ("Always Be My Maybe" name-checked "The Crown," for another example.)

Some subplots are still dragging in this episode, but the whole zombie horror sequence in the hospital was solid.

The mayor wasn't exaggerating much when he flippantly told Hopper the guy in the bike was "Arnold Schwarzenegger." Getting some serious Terminator vibes from his scenes.

> But also -- was it a callback to Janeane Garofalo's 'would the two of you just DO IT and get it over with?' to Winona Ryder in Reality Bites?

Also a bit of a callback to when Nancy and Jonathan showed up at Brett Gelman's place last season.

There were some nice musical callbacks too, like the theme that plays when Mike and El start to reconcile. And I think this is the first time this season we've heard the original end credits theme?
posted by mbrubeck at 3:11 PM on July 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Hopper's shirt kept giving me flashbacks to the maddening-red-herring-Twitter-80s-pattern-conundrum of recent weeks.

I'm strangely disorientated because I was vaguely assuming it'd be a 13 episode season (because in my mind all American seasons are that long, didn't bother checking back to previous ST seasons) and now I've realised it's only 8, that makes much more sense given how far along in the escalating threat we are, but also means I only have three episodes to go, and now my mental pacing is all off.

A little more eye-rolling sexism this ep as Joyce can't throw the gun properly, and then nearly fails to start the car to get them away from psycho gun guy. Lol, girlz are so useless rofl! But I forgive it all (almost) because Erica is SO FECKIN AWESOME.

It's amazing how they manage to make the fight scenes fun even when they're so madly formulaic:

1. Two or more people in a room, baddie looming. Potentially dangerous object (metal pipe/vase/surgical scissors) skimmed over by the camera as part of the set dressing.
2. Baddie starts beating the shit out of one character, all hope is lost, they're clearly too strong and can't be stopped!
3. Another character, out of shot during the beating, picks up the potentially dangerous object which bursts into shot and realises its potential as it's dashed against the back of the head of the baddie.

But it's still fun. Almost didn't get off my bus at the end of the route this evening because I was right in the middle of the sauna fight.
posted by penguin pie at 3:57 PM on July 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Actually, I did like the bit of business where Joyce asks Hopper to throw her the keys, and he was way the hell off as well.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:09 PM on July 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ah, I missed that, tobascodagama!
posted by penguin pie at 2:05 AM on July 9, 2019

So, the actor who played Grigori did an AMA on the Stranger Things subreddit (obligatory spoiler warning for the other questions in the AMA) where he mentioned the gun-throwing scene! Apparently, it was a mistake during shooting that they decided to keep.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:39 AM on July 10, 2019 [10 favorites]

So now all those of us who were wondering how in hell Hawkins got such a big mall get answers.

I was thinking the other day about how a lot of malls were built as a money laundering scheme. Starcourt is a couple of steps beyond that...
posted by Foosnark at 9:01 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hopper has the just-barely-contained rage that I remember being a hallmark of masculinity in the 80s. It's not a great look, but it wasn't then, either.

To the list of things that are not a great look, I'd add Sassy Black Hospital Receptionist. Yeesh.
posted by HeroZero at 7:37 PM on July 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

"Because you're a policeman. There are rules for policemen." - (almost) identical to the quote in 'Die Hard' (1988)...
posted by porpoise at 10:28 PM on July 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

That underground secret volcano lair though - that's straight out of Austin Powers, no?
posted by Acey at 5:18 PM on July 15, 2019

I'm greatly enjoying the "let's solve a mystery!" bits, and don't like the horror. Maybe I should be watching something else.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:40 PM on July 21, 2019

Me too, The corpse in the library. I’m committed to seeing this season through, but if this is the kind of horror that we’re in for next season, I may have to opt out. I like suspense, I like uncanny, I can tolerate jump scares to a point, but this is past my threshold for body horror - I couldn’t watch a lot of the closing minutes of this episode.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:32 PM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was okay with Joyce fumbling the pistol because I like when characters aren't unrealistically adept with firearms and Hopper also had a few unforced errors fighting The Terminator (I actually had a moment when Hopper put a gun to his head where I unthinkingly expected to see the bullet ricochet off his robot skull).

But later when the zombie gave Jonathan that brutal super-strength blow bringing a big metal something down on his back, I thought, "My God, they're gonna have his character be paralyzed or something," and then when the other zombie started bashing his head with super strength into the wall and floor, I thought, "No, they're actually going to kill him." This is too brutal. I don't wanna watch this.

But then Jonathan stood up and kept fighting, and I realized, "Oh, I'm watching a cartoon." So no real stakes, I guess. Just sit back and enjoy the gory wrestling match.
posted by straight at 9:42 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also, that bit where Team Erica sneaked into the Russian coms room was straight out of every video game with a ridiculous "cover" stealth system where the enemy NPC's can't see you if your character is pressed against one of the waist-high walls.

So, kinda anachronistic for an 80's show, is what I'm saying.
posted by straight at 9:57 AM on July 23, 2019

In spite of those negative comments, I'm really loving so many of the characters this season. Nancy Drew, El & Max, Joyce, every single one of the Ice Cream Crew.
posted by straight at 10:14 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

But I am really disappointed in Mike. Him being thoughtfully kind and gently hospitable to El was one of the things that early on convinced me this show might be worth watching. Needing advice from Lucas about how to talk with her is worse character backsliding than Hopper's.

I was hoping he would at least own up to having lied. C'mon Mike, FRIENDS DON'T LIE.
posted by straight at 10:32 AM on July 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yeah, the character work was what really brought me into the first season, more than the spectacle or the 80s nostalgia. (The first season couldn't afford more than the bare minimum of spectacle anyway.) When seasons 2 and 3 haven't worked for me, it's because either spectacle or nostalgia has interfered with the character work.

BUT, that said, the show is still working for me on the whole, largely because of the great character work that's still going on, and absolutely looking forward to the next season.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:39 AM on July 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

But then Jonathan stood up and kept fighting, and I realized, "Oh, I'm watching a cartoon." So no real stakes, I guess. Just sit back and enjoy the gory wrestling match.

Yeah, this distracts me from the story so much. I had the exact same thought about Jonathan--woah, he's gonna be paralyzed after getting hit with that chair like that. I don't think the extreme beatings they've been doling out to Hopper, Eleven, and Jonathan really fits with the overall tone of the show. The heroes are not supposed to have enough hit points to take that kind of damage.
posted by skewed at 11:33 AM on January 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

(It is the third season, so i think everyone's got at least three hit dice.)
posted by kaibutsu at 9:18 PM on May 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

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