Stranger Things: Chapter 2: Vecna's Curse
May 27, 2022 1:23 PM - Season 4, Episode 2 - Subscribe

A plane brings Mike to California - and a dead body brings Hawkins to a halt. Nancy goes looking for leads. A shaken Eddie tells the gang what he saw.
posted by Navelgazer (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Dunno about anyone else, but for me, the doin's a-transpirin' inside the skating rink were more viscerally terrifying than anything happening in Hawkins.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:41 PM on May 27 [25 favorites]


I'm not feeling super invested yet after these first two episodes. Maybe it's because the gang's not all together yet - reminds me of that section of the 'Legends of Tomorrow' season after Sara's alien abduction, where it didn't get good again until the group was reunited. I just want them to hurry up with getting Hopper back, and getting El her powers back.

I thought maybe El's roller-skate-smash was going to turn out to be a fantasy. I'm not sure I buy that she wouldn't have snapped and lashed out physically before this point after being bullied all year, but maybe that's just me not enjoying seeing her so browbeaten.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:37 PM on May 27


This is not working for me.
The kids are now too old and too awkward and -- dare I say it? -- have lost their charm. The story line is clunky. I am only on Season 4:E3 "Chapter Three" but ... it's not holding my attention. Maybe I will come back to it tomorrow.

The good news is that in prep for the release of Season 4, I binged through Seasons 1-3 again and thoroughly enjoyed them. But I was so looking forward to 4. Well, maybe it gets better?
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 8:37 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Having been bullied in school in the '80s, I felt like Chapter 1's portrayal of '80s high-school cruelties was a lot more realistic than Chapter 2's. It's as if they decided to escalate from "this is what it was really like" to "this is what '80s movies and TV portrayed it as having been like." Milkshake attack on the rink floor, I buy, but the level of A/V coordination (not to mention the sheer number of co-conspirators) strains credulity. This may have been a deliberate choice and maybe even for a good reason…but it's possible to over-meta-it, I think. See also the direct Michael Myers reference.

I worry that the Li'l-El-Bloodbath flashbacks are being set up to deceive us, and she was really the hero of that previously-unseen incident—which would be a pretty cheap approach to generating suspense. I may well be mistaken there, and I hope I am.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:03 AM on May 28 [6 favorites]


I worry that the Li'l-El-Bloodbath flashbacks are being set up to deceive us, and she was really the hero of that previously-unseen incident—which would be a pretty cheap approach to generating suspense. I may well be mistaken there, and I hope I am.

I’m pretty sure you’re right; I expect we will find out that the backstory involves Vecna’s first contact with our world and El shutting the door on him.

Was not a fan of the roller rink scene - it went from uncomfortable bullying to unbelievable pretty fast. But I expect there will be some pretty serious fallout for El.
posted by nubs at 2:29 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


The bullying was over the top, for sure, though definitely well within the bounds of 80s movie bullying. What hit me so hard about it was that El's plan of showing up at the Rink-o-Mania with Mike there, claiming that Angela is her friend, is a colossally bad idea. Obviously. It's just about impossible to imagine how Eleven thinks this is going to go well. But MBB plays it like she's got an amazing fantasy in her head about how this is going to solve her social problems, she's shutting up Will because he knows enough to see the outlines of what's coming but can't stop it, and Mike is too ill-informed (and too often useless even if he knows the score) to do anything but follow along.

Also, the fact that El finds it necessary to lie about this at all speaks volumes about the level of insecurity she's dealing with on a day to day basis, and just how much she'd pinned her hopes on how much Mike's arrival for Spring Break is going to make everything better. So while the "wipeout" stuff was a bit unrealistic, I thought it rose to the level of just how much El was betting on this trip to the roller rink. The boys in her group have dealt with shit like this their whole lives, and have strategies for avoiding/dealing with it, even if those strategies are imperfect, but nobody's taught El any of that.

And then, the skate. The retaliation was just stomach-plummeting for me in how much worse it was going to make everything. And Mike, of course, continues be be "no help at all," to use Dustin's immortal words.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:59 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Speaking as someone who lost a parent in the middle of high school, I would totally vote to acquit El because, no, you went too far, you bullying asshole.

I also assume El was the hero in the opening sequence and we'll have an eventual reveal about that (whether or not anyone else at the lab knew it at the time).

And I'm also assuming that in some later episode, El will be in sight of the Annoying Bullies and will do her reach-and-yell thing once or twice at some cosmic threat and the bullies will snicker 'what the fuck, kid' and then El will get her mojo going and kick some ass and they will be in righteous awe of the terror of a fully operational battle-Eleven. She may or may not kick the bullies' asses (or even just fuck with them) along the way. As a treat.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:00 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


A man offers to help Hopper escape.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:14 PM on May 29 [6 favorites]


A man offers to help Hopper escape.

This is superbly meta, well played.
posted by mcstayinskool at 3:34 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Loved the Sneakers homage in the phone call shenanigans!
posted by adrianhon at 11:57 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Was I the only person who was put off by Fred dying? Chrissy was built up to be such an interesting and complicated character (it felt like she was heading in that direction) so that her death, so early, was truly shocking.

To have the same thing repeated, and to such a flat character, felt both repetitive and also kind of boring. And that punch was telegraphed early, so you knew it was going to happen like halfway through the episode.

It would be shocking enough to have the gang trying to suss out Chrissy's murder, and we know enough to want to stop the Vecna/Sorcerer/Nightmare/Whatever creature. We don't need a string of deaths -- it doesn't raise the stakes, really. It feels too much like the bad parts of 80s monster movies, and not enough like the good parts.
posted by heyitsgogi at 11:10 AM on June 1 [1 favorite]


Chrissy was built up to be such an interesting and complicated character (it felt like she was heading in that direction) so that her death, so early, was truly shocking.

gotta say i agree. the development from flat cheerleader character to eating disorder sufferer to (maybe) hallucinations to meeting up with neighborhood dealer - fast and believable - because that's how I've seen it go down.

a authorial misstep.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:15 AM on June 2 [1 favorite]


The scene when Murray arrives at Joyce’s house and pulls his luggage out of the taxi trunk I initially took to be a rare anachronistic moment for the show: wheeled luggage in 1986? But I turns out the Rollabord seems to date from right around then, and Murray is totally an early adopter.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:47 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


the development from flat cheerleader character to eating disorder sufferer

I assumed Chrissy was pregnant. In her visions her mother kept talking about letting out her dress, which seemed like a twisted thing to play on Chrissy's anxieties about being pregnant at the prom. Although if Chrissy did have an eating disorder, I suppose the talk about the dress might be a reflection of Chrissy's mother hassling her about her weight.

It seemed like Vecna had toyed with Chrissy's mind for a while, maybe days or weeks, but he only messed with Fred for a few hours before he offed the poor kid. I'm guessing Vecna feeds on their negative emotions, and maybe it took a lot less time to get Fred stirred up because of his guilt over surviving the accident.

Vecna's thing about them "joining" him gave me some hope that the kids might survive in some form, and maybe they'll be able to play a part in his eventual downfall.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:37 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I just started this episode but I want to say 3 things before I get any farther. 1 Who thinks Doctor Zhivago is a "morning movie"? Noooooo no no no no no. Not even when I was in high school could I pull that off. 2 Now I want to watch Thundercats. 3 I'm enjoying some of the new characters like Argyle. 4 The show continues to hit the sweet spot of nostalgia for me.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:55 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I'm just sad that we never got to see Robin trying to convince Steve that Julie Christie in Zhivago is hotter than Phoebe Cates in his beloved Fast Times.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:19 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Dear cops, you’re being obnoxious assholes to a teenager with a dead girlfriend.

Woot, Tarzan Boy by Baltimora.

Phone number: 7-415-218-3642. (others online see it as 4642.) 7's the country code for Russia, but without it, 415 is the San Francisco area code. I tried calling variations, and none of them connected.

It looked like they left and locked up the video store with a customer behind. When Steve was talking about paying attention to babes and non-babes alike, someone came in behind him, and he totally ignored them.

Wasn’t Victor Creel the Absorbing Man in Marvel Comics? Looking: nope, Carl “Crusher” Creel.

Be sure to break the write-protect tab on the cassette tape so you don’t accidentally record over it!

I'm honestly surprised no one else has made a joke about Black Widow breaking him out of jail.

I laughed when they all swore - on Dustin’s mother.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:56 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Wasn’t Victor Creel the Absorbing Man in Marvel Comics? Looking: nope, Carl “Crusher” Creel.

Victor Creed was Sabertooth, though.
posted by The Tensor at 10:09 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


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