Stranger Things: Chapter 6: The Monster
July 17, 2016 6:26 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

A frantic Jonathan looks for Nancy in the darkness, but Steve's looking for her too. Hopper and Joyce uncover the truth about the lab's experiments.

*Jonathan returns to the tree gateway in time to pull Nancy out to safety before it closes over entirely; Steve goes to Nancy's bedroom window to check on her and sees her being comforted by Jonathan and jumps to conclusions. When Jonathan & Nancy go monster-hunting-gear-shopping the next day, they find Steve & his pals spray-painting the town with slut-shaming graffiti against Nancy. Steve goads Jonathan into a fight which ends with Jonathan getting arrested.

*Hopper & Joyce find Terry Ives, but she is in a non-responsive state. Her sister tells them how Terry became pregnant while she was participating in government drug testing, and believed her daughter, Jane, was stolen from her due to the child's special abilities, although the authorities insisted that the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage in the third semester and that Terry is suffering from delusions.

*The blond woman who pretended to be from Social Services before she murdered the guy at the diner in episode 1 goes to Mr. Clarke pretending to be running a science program, as a ruse to identify the boys, since the lab scientists overheard them using the HAM radio to try to reach Will.

*Duncan convinces Mike that he needs to apologize to Lucas for starting the fight. Lucas will accept the apology but only if Mike agrees that the three of them go to rescue Will without El's help/interference, so they angrily continue their separate ways. Lucas gears up to follow the compass to the gateway on his own, leading him to the fence around the lab; Mike and Duncan go in search of El, picking up her trail at the grocery store she stole some Eggos from. Mike and Duncan are confronted by Troy & his toady by the quarry, but are saved by El - she tells them that what happened to Will is her fault, and we see the flashback of the experiment which opened the gate and let the monster into our universe. As the 3 return to Mike's house, they are spotted by the guy in the Hawkins Power & Light truck on stakeout, who radios in for backup. Lucas, up a tree with his binoculars, sees the trucks heading out.
posted by oh yeah! (25 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Man, Steve got the ass-kicking he deserved. I was worried he was going to accidentally get beat to death but this is good -- it led to character development instead of revenge.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:24 AM on July 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh, how I love Dustin: "She's our friend, and she's crazy!"
posted by mochapickle at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


Thing I hated- when Terry's sister tells Joyce and Hopper what Terry believes about her daughter, and the show cuts to multiple scenes of Eleven doing these things. Maybe trust the audience to put two and two together, show?
posted by cottoncandybeard at 7:39 AM on July 21, 2016 [16 favorites]


Where's BARB? I hope she's not dead. I thought maybe Nancy would catch a glimpse of her while she was flailing thru the Land O'Snot-n-mucus I'm really enjoying the show, but I do think it kind of sucks that aren't doing anything with Barb's family. Surely the are looking for her. Hopper never mentions Barb but I can't believe he thinks it's just coincidence that a straight laced kid like that would up and run away for no reason. With all the weirdness going on in that town you'd think he'd factor it in. Anyway .... Lucas better get on that walkie-talkie and save his friends!!! o.O
posted by pjsky at 8:41 PM on July 21, 2016


I love the neck crack way that El deals damage. too many magic wielding types use hand wavy gestures as if they need their hands to do the thing they are magicking, neck twitch broken arm/broken neck is badass!

I also like that they chose to have El save Mike by flying him, which is a pretty cool thing to have happen, she likes him and wants to impress on him and his friends that her power can be used for good things/fun things (maybe), while at the same time making it clear that she's got no time for mouth breathers.

I find the cotton fuzz floating in the air to be an excellent creepy way of indicating the danger zone.

Monster Hunting was the perfect thing for Nancy to say at the guns&ammo store.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:08 PM on July 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Terry's sister: [talks about MKULTRA experiments on college students]
Me: "Yeah yeah, we've all read Firestarter"
Terry's sister, two lines later: "You ever read any Stephen King?"

Run, kids, the Shop knows where you are!

Re: Barb, we haven't met her family, maybe her home situation is terrible and the town thinks her running away makes sense? Because otherwise it does seem like they are shrugging her disappearance off very lightly. Maybe Hopper will twig to cop #2's line about "the Staties doing all our work for us" finding Will's body and Barb's car and wonder who exactly those helpful government people are working for.
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:23 PM on July 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thing I hated- when Terry's sister tells Joyce and Hopper what Terry believes about her daughter, and the show cuts to multiple scenes of Eleven doing these things. Maybe trust the audience to put two and two together, show?

Yeah, that seemed very unlike this show.

Pet theory: Dr. Brenner impregnated Terry while she was high on MKULTRA treatments. Either on purpose because he had a theory that El would turn out like she did or just because he's a power-tripping rapist jerk. It might explain why Terry is traumatised well beyond just the grief of losing her daughter.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:56 PM on July 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I know I'm late to the party, but am I alone in finding the bully scene completely and utterly ridiculous?

First, Mike and Dustin were out in the middle of the woods. Where the hell did the bullies come from? Were they following the boys? Were they just wandering around the woods hoping they'd find them?

Second, it was so melodramatically over the top. The bully holds Dustin at knife point threatening to mutilate him unless Mike jumps to his almost certain death? It came out of nowhere and was so absurdly intense.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:12 PM on July 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


?The bully holds Dustin at knife point threatening to mutilate him unless Mike jumps to his almost certain death?

I think there was a scene in an earlier episode (with Hopper and his deputies maybe?) that established the town legend that someone had jumped from that spot to win a fairly trivial bet. They may be relying on that to establish the the bully's demand doesn't strike the boys as being as dangerous as it actually is.
posted by layceepee at 6:26 PM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I had the sense that the Hawkins crew was using the bullies to flush out El and the boys, but would have to rewatch to see if there is any real evidence of that.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:39 AM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


RE: the bully/quarry scene, it was definitely out of nowhere, but I can suspend my disbelief enough to buy the theory that the bullies followed them into the woods and then snuck around to flank them. As for the sudden serious mortal threat with the knife, well... there were a couple of older kid bullies in my town that I sure as hell wouldn't have wanted to find myself alone with on the edge of an abandoned quarry. As awful as they were allowed to be at school with teachers/aides watching them (and mostly turning a blind eye,) I wouldn't have put serious violence past them if they were confident there would be no consequences. I think I was in 7th or 8th grade when I read Stephen King's It and the Henry Bowers character and his buddies were uncomfortably realistically written (at least until later in the story.)
posted by usonian at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I know that I complained about too many '80s movie references before but any friend of Altered States is a friend of mine.
posted by octothorpe at 8:33 PM on August 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I was chased by an older boy with a knife as a child (90s). Children can be violent.
posted by domo at 1:57 PM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have some issues with the bully scene too. Even if the the huge dusty quarry was immediately adjacent to the dense green forest, wouldn't the mouthbreathers have caught up to the D+D crowd almost immediately? And if not, why would Team Eleven choose to get away via the one path that takes them to a dead-end cliff? That said, the "jump or I cut your friend's throat" scenario seems entirely plausible to me. Teenagers are pretty bad at evaluating danger.
posted by baseballpajamas at 8:43 AM on August 19, 2016


Second, it was so melodramatically over the top. The bully holds Dustin at knife point threatening to mutilate him unless Mike jumps to his almost certain death? It came out of nowhere and was so absurdly intense.

It didn't have the same intense buildup, but I felt like the whole thing was reminiscent/a call back of the "Apocalyptic Rock Fight" of King's IT. But yeah, it could have used some more tension to get us there - in IT you at least understand why the bully has gotten to the breaking point to force a confrontation that potentially deadly.

That being said, I appreciate that El didn't fuck around once she stepped in - "you have a knife? I break your arm."
posted by nubs at 9:48 AM on August 19, 2016


I think "I pissed myself in front of the whole school" is a pretty pushed-to-breaking-point for a kid like that at that age.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:46 AM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think "I pissed myself in front of the whole school" is a pretty pushed-to-breaking-point for a kid like that at that age.

'And I don't know why, I suspect you did it to me somehow' -- it worked for me in terms of motivation, and in terms of bad danger evaluation: they did make a point earlier of establishing that most people in town thought you could survive the jump just fine, but were incorrect in thinking that. But, and this is the disconnect, the way the scene is shot doesn't make clear that that is why they're doing it until after the chase is over. All of the callbacks to that scene, which was itself in an earlier episode, are at the end. Too, the bullies suddenly showing up in the woods (from the other direction?) does feel a bit random -- were they there looking for them? Were they just in the woods?

Maybe it would have flowed better with more dialogue up front, in the woods, before they run away? 'Finally found you!' [but, you know, better]. Or if there was an earlier scene in this episode of the bullies demanding to know what was what? If they cut the unnecessary flashbacks in the Terry scene, they'd have had plenty of time for an extra line or two.
posted by cjelli at 8:46 PM on August 24, 2016


The blond woman who pretended to be from Social Services before she murdered the guy at the diner in episode 1 goes to Mr. Clarke pretending to be running a science program, as a ruse to identify the boys, since the lab scientists overheard them using the HAM radio to try to reach Will.

I'm glad Mr. Clarke survives the encounter.

No comments on El's waffle heist? Tossing aside the Pretty/Good disguise, she gives no fucks about who stares at her when she walks into the grocery store and grabs four boxes of frozen waffles. Then nothing slows her as she walks out of there.

Here's the song selection for this episode:
posted by filthy light thief at 1:39 PM on August 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


never get between a girl and her waffles
posted by supermedusa at 11:24 AM on August 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Leggo my ego. Duh.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:44 PM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Show re-mentioned the restaurant murder, so I'm happy. You'd think that once Barb went missing, parents would start getting stricter towards their kids, especially since Will's initial disappearance reminded me of the Jacob Wetterling disappearance.
posted by drezdn at 9:25 AM on March 31


I know nobody's reading this anymore, but for those who are saying the appearance of the bullies in the woods was abrupt, I think we're meant to assume that it's foreshadowed by the scene of the boys biking past the grocery store post-Eleven-Eggo-heist - we see somebody's shoulder come into the screen on the right as the scene is ending, as if the boys are being watched. I thought it was govt baddies at first, but now think it was the bullies.
posted by catch as catch can at 4:47 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I'm still reading!

Terry's sister: [talks about MKULTRA experiments on college students]
Me: "Yeah yeah, we've all read Firestarter"
Terry's sister, two lines later: "You ever read any Stephen King?"


Yes, same! Thank goodness they gave an explicit nod to Firestarter. Although, as the show has progressed, the 80's movie it reminds me of most is D.A.R.Y.L. I haven't scene that is 30 years, so no idea how it holds up, but I loved it as a little kid and it's got a lot of elements in common with this: Evil government agency creates superpowered kid/robot that doesn't understand/remember its own past, has no exposure to the outside world until kid/robot gets lost in suburbia and ends up befriending some weird kids while government agency uses lethal force to get kid/robot back.
posted by skewed at 11:06 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


The bully scene was over the top, and extreme. But seemingly fitting in with the "ALL THE HORROR MOVIE CLICHES" approach the show has. We're going to put everything you've seen before in here, but do it really well and really sincerely.

Like if that shitty/awesome movie you saw when you were 8yo was made by big hollywood, instead of a cokehead with 100,000 dollars and a couple dozen friends.
posted by French Fry at 1:07 PM on August 9


The bully scene absolutely fits with the '80s trope of bullies being not only completely unchecked by any part of society, but also happily homicidal, at least in their intent. See not just Stand By Me and It but also The Goonies and The Karate Kid, where running someone off the road near a cliff seems like a good time for the popular bullying jocks.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:25 PM on October 24


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