Stranger Things: Papa
July 1, 2022 9:11 AM - Season 4, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Nancy has sobering visions, and El passes an important test. Back in Hawkins, the gang gathers supplies and prepares for battle.
posted by EmpressCallipygos (37 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I'm home sick with a summer cold and am doing the watch-tv-on-the-couch thing and am parceling these two episodes out for myself....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I guess when fanfare keeps calling 43 minutes "an hour of TV" someone's got to rebalance the scales. I'd much prefer they just make the episodes a sensible length though.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 10:22 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Yeah, you might wanna buckle up for the finale, then.

I liked this a lot, though the action at Project NINA obviously feels pretty secondary to what's going on in Hawkins. And we're getting a lot of romantic edging now that mostly feels (to me) like throwing out red herrings about who's not going to make it out of the finale alive.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:31 AM on July 1


Oh man this, a new the boys episode AND a new joe bob last drive in episode! Happy Friday!
posted by miss-lapin at 12:04 PM on July 1


I am so here for the makeshift weapon making.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:31 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


While it's not quite as egregiously temporally incorrect as the Amiga 1000 displaying modern HTML (as plain text) a few episodes ago, this one had the soldiers driving HMMV a few years before they were deployed by the US military.

Of course both of these are very minor in comparison to the scenes ruined by an anachronistic air conditioner.
posted by autopilot at 3:57 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Nancy tried so hard to pull those boards off the doorway and my kid was all, "It's... a push door?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:29 PM on July 1 [7 favorites]


I got a tickle out of the Winona Ryder 'Alien Resurrection' gag.
posted by porpoise at 5:44 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed that the secret exit to the secret base was about six feet from the actual entrance.
posted by Shepherd at 7:22 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


I understand why they brought Brenner back (even though his continued existence is an implied insult to all demogorgons, considering that they showed his fate pretty clearly in the S1 finale). I'm not sure if the whole Vecna origin story works right if Brenner isn't there in the present to guide Eleven's recollections. I don't understand why they never tried to explain why he isn't dead.

I still hate the guy, though. Not in a good “he's a villain you love to hate!” kind of way, though; much the opposite. He's wet cardboard in every scene. What makes him treacherous is just your bog-standard abusive relationship dynamic. It's not a good sign if the viewer can do a wanking motion in response to each line of dialogue he utters.

Even within the universe of the story, I don't understand why everyone else puts up with his bullshit. People could be like, “you're an asshole, Brenner,” and he'd say something vague that sounds halfway like Shakespearean verse about how it's actually a strong and wise choice to behave like an asshole, and how hurting people is OK if your rationalization is elaborate enough.

He deserved worse than to be shot by a total stranger. I understand why Eleven chose not to kill him, but Owens should've been the one to do it; Brenner would never have seen it coming, and neither would the audience. Part of me wanted to see him decapitated so that I could be 100% sure he wouldn't show up in Season 5.
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:05 AM on July 2 [9 favorites]


I think Owens killing him takes away from El's agency, which is what her final act is with Brenner is about. Defiantly leaving as he dies. However the moment with the collar undercuts that. He lets her go first instead of her just saying "Screw this damn collar" and throwing it off in the same way she told him she's getting Dr Owens. This is exactly what Owens was fighting for. For her to have choices about her own life, good or bad. That should be the goal. The problem I have is that someone as decent as Owens would be so on board with Brenner and not see deception coming.

But also the last thing I want from the show is more monologues from villains. They need to dial that way back.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:08 AM on July 2 [6 favorites]


Good on her for not telling him she understands.

Friends don't lie. Enemies don't have to lie, either.
posted by kyrademon at 5:28 AM on July 2 [9 favorites]


Even setting aside the issue of selling guns to high schoolers in plain view of seemingly everyone in town I have to say the War Store seems really, really lax about trigger discipline.

Why does Dustin have better chemistry with every older boy who enters his life than any of this show’s romantic pairings have with each other?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:24 AM on July 2 [7 favorites]


I think it's fair to say that Gaten Matarazzo has chemistry with everyone. And that so do Joe Keery and Joseph Quinn.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:56 AM on July 2 [13 favorites]


This is exactly what Owens was fighting for. For her to have choices about her own life, good or bad. That should be the goal. The problem I have is that someone as decent as Owens would be so on board with Brenner and not see deception coming.

Agreed - she should have freed herself, taking the control from Brenner’s dying hand. And I was also hoping that Owens would be ready for Brenners inevitable betrayal and turned the tables on him. But I always knew whatever situation was developing in the bunker, it would be interrupted by General Killalot and his troops who are so unquestioningly loyal they will gun down fellow soldiers and unarmed civilians.

I know that’s exactly how they were depicted in Part I of season 4 but it disturbed me more than I expected when I watched this episode last night.
posted by nubs at 9:41 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Dr Owens reminded be of a scene in which Buffy the Vampire Slayer leaves Ben/Glory alive only for Giles to murder him. Buffy can't take a human life even in that situation in order to remain the hero, but Giles has to do it to protect her since she can not. (It's also a reminder that Giles has a much darker past and role in Buffy's life. He's not just the Good Dad stand in.) As much as I love Buffy, I think this is a better solution. That El is able to leave on her own terms and making that choice ultimately about coming into her own agency. Obviously Buffy was at a very different place and these are very different shows, but this kept coming back in my mind that have Dr Owens basically do El's dirty work wasn't a satisfying solution.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:43 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Nancy tried so hard to pull those boards off the doorway and my kid was all, "It's... a push door?"

It's a push door that still has some boards blocking the way even if the door is open, no?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:13 AM on July 2


I really, really liked most of the stuff with the kids this season. But the Hopper/Joyce/Murray stuff was bloated, stretched and dull. All of these scenes feel like they're from a different show.

How many times did we need to see Hopper beaten in a Soviet jail? Apparently, many many times. Hopper becomes a superhero. Yawn. Winona Rider kept pulling "funny" reaction faces like she's cast in a wacky comedy. I love her work usually, but she's just terrible in this show. And Murray is supposed to be funny. I don't find him funny.

The Eleven stuff was also very padded out, but generally OK.

But I loved the Scooby Doo adventures the younger cast was having. The actor who plays Max is really great. I really enjoyed all the stuff with the kids—much more so than the last two seasons. It's a shame they just had too many characters and felt they all needed to be "doing something" because aside from the kids, I did not like this show at all.

Really a love/hate series season for me. Honestly, I'll probably watch the rest of it, but I'm not super eager to do so. They should have left it as a one season show.
posted by SoberHighland at 12:22 PM on July 2 [4 favorites]


"But the Hopper/Joyce/Murray stuff was bloated, stretched and dull."

As they made their escape I joked to my wife that they were about to all be captured and put in a different prison and someone else was going to have to come rescue them.
posted by kbanas at 12:57 PM on July 2 [6 favorites]


Am I alone in liking the Hopper/Joyce/Murray stuff? And I've realized I don't like Eleven stuff; it's slow and repetitive.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:54 PM on July 2 [5 favorites]


Nah, I enjoyed the Russia stuff too. Project NINA was the weakest arc for me of the season.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:08 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I think the Russia stuff had enough charismatic performance to carry it, to be honest. I enjoyed it for the change of pace from the Hawkins stuff, which could have used a boot up the butt in terms of pacing. The sense of urgency wasn't there for a lot of the season, even with Max's literal life on the line.
posted by Jilder at 8:14 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I've enjoyed the Russia stuff only because Harbour and Ryder are charming, not because it's a good story. But that's enough for me in this show.
posted by harriet vane at 1:06 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


The Russia stuff is fine but totally superfluous. You could get rid of it and not change a thing.
posted by octothorpe at 10:54 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I am highly amused at what things slide along with my suspension of disbelief and which things just record-scratch/freeze-frame.

NO JOYCE FUCKING NOBODY IN THE UNITED STATES IN THE FUCKING 1980'S HAD AN AREA CODE WITH A '7' AS THE MIDDLE DIGIT. IS THERE ANYONE WORKING ON THIS SHOW WHO'S OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THIS SHIT? (Used to be area codes always had 1 or 0 as the middle digit and no phone exchanges could have either number and bumping into the middle 1 or 0 was how the telco switching gear figured out if it was getting a 7-digit or 10-digit phone number and how to handle it.) It changed in the mid 90's just in time for all the area codes added as part of the explosion of new numbers for new lines for cellphones and modems to connect to the internet.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:17 PM on July 3 [6 favorites]


NO JOYCE FUCKING NOBODY IN THE UNITED STATES IN THE FUCKING 1980'S HAD AN AREA CODE WITH A '7' AS THE MIDDLE DIGIT. IS THERE ANYONE WORKING ON THIS SHOW WHO'S OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THIS SHIT?

Huh? I was alive during the 1980s and this isn't something I would have even noticed THEN. I think this might be a hill you may want to reconsider dying on....

(Honestly I was more amused Joyce DIDN'T use one of the traditional "555" numbers that they always use on TV shows. I have a hunch this was the since-disconnected Duffer brothers' number when they were kids or something.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:12 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Huh?

I'm not gonna die on this hill but I will be grumpy about it - as I say, it's amusing to me what slips through my suspension of disbelief and what gets tripped up in it.

HELLO I AM A GIANT COMMUNICATIONS NERD.

Suzie "geolocating the IP address".... [uncertain hand waggle] IP addresses had been a thing in the world for a few years in 1986, and I was willing to let geolocation slide (even though the GPS system wasn't fully online til the early 90's) because okay, fine, plotonium. Having what looked like html in the screen noise there was a bit weak, though. (I have similar absurdly opinionated opinions about the apparent physics of radio waves in general in the Stranger Things universe.)

I mean, in all seriousness, I do realize that this niche area code knowledge was mostly a "hey, did you know" sort of trivial pursuit info for a lot of folks at the time who weren't the sort of people who know acronyms like NANP (North American Numbering Plan). (Related: NYC supposedly got "212" because it was the fastest area code to dial back when pulse dialing was the thing.)

In my defense, I have COVID and my brain is a bit fuzzy. (comment edited because I couldn't keep track of whether I'd taken nyquil yet today)
posted by rmd1023 at 4:37 PM on July 3 [5 favorites]


I have covid too, and I have my own "but it's not LIKE that" hobbyhorses, it's all good.

Although I have been since wondering if that might be a number that's been planted as a deliberate Easter Egg or something, and if you tried dialing it you'd get a recording that sounds like it's Owens' voicemail or something like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:03 PM on July 3


rmd1023: I remember reading years ago that film and TV deliberately use dodgy phone numbers that aren't realistic to prevent real people being phones by accident should a prankster give the number a go.
posted by Jilder at 1:50 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]


Jilder = exactly, that's why all other phone numbers on TV are 555-1234 or whatever, because no number anywhere uses "555" as the first 3 digits.

So the more I think about it, the more I think this might be some kind of Easter Egg.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:08 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Almost certainly it's an Easter egg - all of the other numbers in the show have been so far, IIRC (the specific one I can remember right now is that if you call the Surfer Boy Pizza number you get a recording of Argyle's spiel about pineapple on pizza.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:35 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


The other phone number thing that irked me enough to comment out loud about it is that the number on the paper in the pen was written 111-222-3333 (with dashes between the area code and the exchange), when it was way more common in the 80s and 90s to write the area code in parentheses, e.g. "(111) 222-3333."

that's why all other phone numbers on TV are 555-1234 or whatever, because no number anywhere uses "555" as the first 3 digits.

Actually, these days it's down to just 555-0000 through 555-0100 that are reserved for use in media. There's such a demand for numbers that reserving a full 10K per zip code no longer works.

(My personal favorite TV Phone Number gag is from the 90s, when Jimmy James on Newsradio gets the number of a teacher that he's interested in, but as a simple math problem; he gets halfway through, realizes it's 212-55..., and gives up. "Hey, this is one of those TV numbers!")
posted by thecaddy at 10:13 AM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't mean this to turn into areacodefilter. :)

I liked parts of both the Russia stuff and Eleven's odyssey, but both parts have seemed really unevenly paced though the season with bits that just seem like a bit of a slog. It's not like they're trying to pad up an episode so it hits the right length, either, since the runtimes have been all over the place.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:23 PM on July 6


Will’s explanation of his painting to Mike was heartbreaking.

This show is its most engaging when it focuses on the kids hanging out/arguing/plotting with the occasional Joyce and Hopper intervention. Big, bloated season-ending CGI battles are a bore so I’m hoping for some originality in the next episode.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:12 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, area code 775 was introduced in 1998 for (hmmm) non-Vegas Nevada. The spot on their paper map seemed fairly close to Pahrump, or Area 51, but they didn't do any more of a nod toward that.

Watching this right after Obi-Wan Kenobi leads to a little synesthesia between characters: the force is strong in El, leading to a showdown with Darth Vecna, etc.
posted by kurumi at 11:02 PM on July 7


It turns out that at least the Surfer Boy Pizza number is real and has a recording of Argyle.
posted by thecaddy at 8:37 AM on July 8


I do realize that this niche area code knowledge was mostly a "hey, did you know" sort of trivial pursuit info for a lot of folks at the time who weren't the sort of people who know acronyms like NANP (North American Numbering Plan). (Related: NYC supposedly got "212" because it was the fastest area code to dial back when pulse dialing was the thing.)

Indeed, and 213 & 312 were the next fastest, so they went to LA and Chicago. Considered this way, the original North American area codes are a decent low-res population map of circa-1955 Canada and the USA.

Anyway, I’ll see you at NANP Club.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:44 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


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