Stranger Things: "Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum"
July 4, 2019 2:19 PM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Dr. Alexei reveals what the Russians have been building, and Eleven sees where Billy has been. Dustin and Erica stage a daring rescue.
posted by Fizz (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Loved the whole season, but man I have to give them genius points for the Koyaanisqatsi reference (via the music) after Billy says "Now we see you", and they show all the flayed marching toward the source.

Another among the myriad of 80's references, and as it hit me what they were doing I just got a huge smile on my face. They mirrored the point of the film (Koyaanisqatsi), showing the odd interaction between humans and the unnatural. Even to the point where like in Koyaanisqatsi the things are machines and buildings that are man-made, to an extent this situation is man made because the gate is only open because of the machine they have blasting energy into it.

Just a great, great moment. Goes along with the 80's packaging that calls to mind SO much - the Doritos package, the crocheted blanket on the couch, and so many other things. Each season of this show has been its own thing, and I don't know how they're doing it but they are absolutely crushing it.
posted by cashman at 8:20 PM on July 4, 2019 [9 favorites]

ERICA IS THE BEST BABY SISTER. That she believes everything fine, except that her lame older brother was involved. Her deadly weapon!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:26 AM on July 5, 2019 [11 favorites]

So many reference lists getting checked off now: Terminator, Return of the Jedi. The Russian base scenes really seem to echo so many of the Death Star scenes.
posted by Miko at 8:24 PM on July 5, 2019

Erica is my favourite character!! That is all.
posted by Pendragon at 12:12 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Robin and Steve's conversation while alone and tied to a chair was great, though I felt like I was a on a see-saw the way they kept flopping back and forth. Pick a pair of angles and stick with it.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:29 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

There was something affecting about Robin’s dialogue when they are tied up back to back, talking about her high school obsession with Steve. She says something about how he never even noticed her — “Do you even remember me from that class? Of course you don’t. You were a real asshole, you know that?”

I think they are leaning on the fourth wall a bit here when we consider that Steve was written very differently in the first season and Maya Hawke wasn’t part of the cast.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:14 AM on July 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

Erica is my favourite character!! That is all.

Heh... I laughed out loud when she said; "Can't spell America without Erica".
posted by jkaczor at 5:31 AM on July 8, 2019 [10 favorites]

What's up with all the torture this season? Even Hopper tortures people. Now the Torture Doctor.
posted by umber vowel at 9:02 PM on July 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't think it was intentional but I got some strong Bloodborne vibes from the final scene, specifically The One Reborn.

There have actually been strong Bloodborne vibes going back to Season 1. The idea of a waking nightmare, having "eyes to see beyond", and experiments on a child who joins the waking world to the other world. These aren't especially uncommon tropes but lining them all up with the end scene from last night was a bit of a brow raiser for me.

Hopefully next season they'll go all-in and blood-starved Hawkins residents will start hunting people's eyes while the gang figure out the nature of their reality and the justification of its existence (or not).
posted by Tevin at 5:34 AM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love that Steve and Robin are both in their dorky sailor uniforms when the Russians catch them. (“Scoops Ahoy! I work for Scoops Ahoy!”)

The inside of the cyclotron ride makes a great Tardis-like sci-fi set. They could have done an amusing fake-out by waiting until the end of the scene to reveal the exterior.
posted by mbrubeck at 6:13 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I was sort of annoyed that they never once let the Gravitron do it's whole schtick - the trays slid up the wall once it was at speed, and the operator could speed it up and slow it down to make you rise to the top *clank!* and fall back down *thud*.
posted by Kyol at 9:08 PM on July 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Can I get a ruling on whether bagels would’ve been a thing in small-town Indiana in the early 80s? Because I don’t remember them really starting to be a thing until the early 90s in small-town New Jersey, with much better access to the bagel epicenter of the US, but I’m willing to accept that I may have just been extremely culinarily unaware.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:36 PM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Bagels definitely weren't a thing in Indiana in the mid 80's and especially not in small, ruralish areas.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:45 PM on July 21, 2019

Were there bagels? What scene? I missed that!

Hmm, I have to say even in New Jersey until at least the mid/late-80s, "real" bagels were not that prevalent outside the cities where there was enough of a Jewish population. But we used to get frozen Lenders' Bagels (made in CT) from the grocery store, and they were bought in 1984 by Kraft and expanded range, so if it was a Lender's I'd say maybe possible? (They're distinctively smaller and pioneered some of the weird/inadvisable flavors that have become commonplace now even in old bagelries).
posted by Miko at 5:07 AM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

You could get bagels in Indy at Shapiro's but definitely not "real" bagels anywhere else. I remember seeing Lender's in the "fancy" grocery store in my small, ruralish town.
posted by cooker girl at 8:06 AM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Were there bagels? What scene? I missed that!

There were not on-screen bagels, but Robin says Steve had a breakfast sandwich on a sesame bagel in history class every morning and my brain locked up between "they let you eat IN CLASS?!?!" and "Hawkins has a bagel place?!?!?" And I guess Steve could've been bringing a sandwich from home on a Lender's bagel, but Robin saying it like it wasn't remotely unusual struck me as anachronistic.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:27 AM on July 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah I 100% agree with you on that one.
posted by Miko at 4:42 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I get that people like looking for anachronisms in shows like this, but I wouldn't get hung up on "there couldn't possibly be X in town Y in 1985", because it's not at all impossible. There was a place called Lox Stock & Bagel at the mall in Normal, Illinois in the early 80s, where I'd get my fix. All it would take is one local baker who liked them well enough on a visit to Indy or Chicago and introduced them in Hawkins, and very patiently corrected people who called them "bread donuts." Hawkins doesn't have to be literal Averagetown, Indiana.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:28 PM on July 28, 2019 [6 favorites]

It's not that it's "there couldn't possibly be", it's that it's not very likely. So, Normal, IL's population in the mid-80s was around 40,000. The population in my hometown in central IN, which seems to me to be very close to the Hawkins ideal (one middle school, one high school, not a very big mall, etc.), in the same time period, was just under 18,000. That's a big jump! It seems very likely that Normal, IL would have a bagel shop around that time, just based on the size of the town. It seems very unlikely that Hawkins would. But like I said above, the "fancy" grocery store in my town did have frozen bagels, so while I'm definitely not saying that Bagels Didn't Exist, it does take a person out of the story when something quite unlikely happens.

And just to make it clear, I LOVE thought exercises like this; I'm not offended and I hope I'm not offending anyone else!
posted by cooker girl at 8:43 AM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

My hometown in central Indiana had a population around 22,000-25,000 in the mid-80's. Bagels just weren't a thing here until later.

I am in the same boat as cooker girl as far as just finding this interesting. The two story mall was much more annoying to me as far as pulling me out of the story, though.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:12 AM on July 29, 2019

Your malls weren't two stories? In NJ, the basic mall design was a typical upper and lower level. Also, since the set is a real partially-dead 1980s mall in Georgia, two-story malls were at least heard of there, too.
posted by Miko at 5:44 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it's hard for me to know what the overall economics of Hawkins is supposed to be like - I mean my neighborhood mall in the 80's was a two story mall built in 1972 and by god it was an exact match for the show mall. And it was in a smaller suburb. On the other hand, it was built in peak Milwaukee Metro, so a million-ish person metropolitan area, not a sleepy small rural town.

I sortakinda handwaved that away as the Russians financed it to get access to the portal.
posted by Kyol at 6:36 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Your malls weren't two stories?

The mall in the largest town close to my hometown only had multiple story anchor stores, and I think there were only two of those? It's hard to remember for sure. And my hometown didn't even have a traditional mall, just an outdoor strip mall.

But don't forget that Indiana sees multiple tornadoes every year, so multiple-story malls aren't the best idea.
posted by cooker girl at 7:19 AM on July 30, 2019

I lived five minutes from the biggest mall in the state in the 80s. One story...three of the anchor stores were two stories. I do not frequent malls but it seems much the same now.

I associate two story malls with the south and east.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:29 AM on July 30, 2019

Milwaukee metro in the 80's, uhh.

Southridge: 2 stories (lingering on)
Northridge: 2 stories (closed)
Grand Avenue: 2 stories (clinging to life)
Mayfair Mall: 1.5 stories (expanded to a full 2 stories, down an anchor)
Bayshore: 1 story (converted to a pedestrian-style "town center" that is obnoxious in the summer and freezing in the winter, wtf architects)
Brookfield Square: 1 story (Doing OK)
Capitol Court: 1 story (long gone)

...we had a lot of malls, y'all. But yeah, two stories didn't ring weird to me whatsoever.
posted by Kyol at 7:55 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had no idea that bagels were exotic in the Midwest in the 80s. (I was born in a smallish town in the Mid-Atlantic in 1977, and have never known a world without bagels. I mostly remember frozen Lender's from my childhood, though.)

If Eleven isn't fronting a riot grrl band before this series is over, then I want my money back. I guess it's a few years too early for that. Alas.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:33 PM on July 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

There was a stunning amount of "squelching" in the captions of this episode.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:36 PM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

I watched this while house sitting in a home with Amazon Echo. Apparently Joyce’s “Alexei, the generators, what are they powering?” = “Alexa, play Sweet Caroline.” Scared the crap out of me.
posted by Missense Mutation at 9:34 PM on June 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

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