Netflix’s Stranger Things
Season 2: “Chapter Five – Dig Dug”
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Written by Jessie Nickson-Lopez
* For a recap & review of Chapter Four, “Will the Wise” – click here
* For a recap & review of Chapter Six, “The Spy” – click here
Again, Joyce (Winona Ryder) has her walls covered in the clues to the Upside Down. This time, it’s Will’s (Noah Schnapp) scribbles, all connected by black lines. They stretch throughout the house as she connects all the remaining pieces. Will tells Mike (Finn Wolfhard) about how it feels, that the “shadow monster” is “reaching into Hawkins” through him. Worst part is the kid’s head is constantly full of this other world. His friends tries to help by suggesting this is happening “for a reason“—so they can defeat the monster. But they’ve got to be careful, in case the creature’s watching them, too.
Below Hawkins in that massive tunnel, Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) walks deeper into the earth. He hears noises, the sounds of footsteps or running. He comes upon a bunch of things that shoot spores at him. He starts coughing, his vision becomes blurry, and soon he falls unconscious and the vines close the hole he dug in the field to trap him.
At the Motor Motel, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) check in to get a room for the night. It’s a friendly thing. They’re not sleeping in the same bed together. The whole thing’s slightly awkward. There remains a tension between the two. Nancy jokes they only hang out when “the world‘s about to end,” then they reminisce on their shared experience, those matching scars. The conversation ends with her pissed off, though.
Poor Will’s continually tortured by the monster. He’s also got something similar to the truesight of Dungeons and Dragons. He tells Joyce he’s seen Hopper, worried the chief will die. Certainly isn’t far from the truth. Our trusty cop’s not doing so well. He’s conscious again, yet stuck beneath the ground. And that tunnel turns into more tunnels, going on for who knows how long. He uses cigarettes like a white trash Hansel to mark a trail.
At home, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) asks his dad about girl stuff. He’s developing feelings for Max (Sadie Sink), just like his buddy Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). Such is the case when a group of young boys hang out with a girl— often a couple crushes. Simultaneously, at the Henderson house, Dustin’s mom is worried for her cat. Her son pretends its still alive, not working its way through Dart’s intestinal tract. Dustin has to get mom out of the house, put on hockey gear, then try to deal with his weird pet. He uses bologna to lure Dart outside, trying to trap him. The creature’s smarter than that. It starts hunting Dustin, but the kid’s able to knock it into the cellar and shut it inside. Phew.
On the road, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) hitches a ride with a trucker. She’s searching for mama. She goes to a house out in the woods, where she finds Becky Ives (Amy Seimetz). The young girl won’t leave without seeing her mom. Inside, Terry (Aimee Mullins) sits in a chair, mumbling words to herself like El saw on the astral plane. “It‘s me, Jane,” she tells mama. Unfortunately it doesn’t get through. Terry’s not well.
Nancy and Jonathan track down a shady building where where Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) holes up to work. Pretty appropriate, given he’s a paranoid conspiracy theorist. They’re shown his info surrounding Hawkins/Barb’s disappearance. An intricate mystery. Although he doesn’t have all the clues.
At the arcade, Lucas has Max brought back to talk with him. She thinks it’s creepy. Instead, he tells her about the madness in Hawkins. He explains the secrecy of what happened to Will. This is to make her part of the gang, it’s also partly him being in love with her. She doesn’t believe it, assuming it’s to gain “experience points” in their little party. After more convincing she just wants him to prove the truth.
The pattern Joyce finds are the tunnels under Hawkins. They’re trying to track down exactly where Hooper’s gotten lost. When Bob (Sean Astin) shows up with games for sick Will he’s enlisted, under sworn secrecy, to help with the puzzle pattern. He finds the whole thing real strange. However, he notices a pattern involving the shape of the lakes around Hawkins, mapping the entire area. Below ground literally in the map from the walls, Hopper discovers the vines are afraid of fire.
Becky gets talking to Eleven a.k.a June. She tells her policemen came looking for her last year. She explains Terry’s essentially stuck in a “long dream.” Mama sits in her chair and repeats most of the same words. Terry never lost the thought of her daughter despite her condition, leaving a room in the house for her in case she came back. Aunt Becky says she can stay there, so long as she talks. The lights flicker there a lot, too. Mom has powers like her daughter. Makes me wonder if Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) keeps an eye on that place. Hmm. I still believe he’s lurking somewhere.
Hopper’s trying to dig himself out of the tunnels. He makes an opening with the fire, then begins pushing through. He stops after a while, unable to go any further. He’s not doing well. The vines come for him. They start wrapping him right into the ground itself. At that same moment, the DoE are experimenting with what they found in the decaying fields.
At her old home, Eleven tries communicating with Terry heading into the astral plane. She sees mama. Out of nowhere, her mom disappears. Eleven sees her mom rushed to hospita. She also sees a glimpse of Brenner. After that, Terry was told she lost the baby, even though she heard the child’s cries. She knew Brenner took the baby, and no one would believe her. Terry tried taking matters into her own hands. And all those things she repeats? They’re from the last day she remembers fully, bits and pieces caught in her memory. Brenner had her brain fried with electromagnetic current until her memories were mush. A horrific set of revelations for Eleven.
Out in the fields, Joyce and Bob find the hole Jim dug with vines twisting inside it. She takes a shovel to them, bursting through to the other side. Bob lowers Joyce down, so she can take a better look. The two of them head through the tunnel while she yells out to the chief. The trail of cigarettes helps them. They find Hopper covered in vines, cutting him free before they choke him to death.
Above ground, the DoE rush for the field after their recent discovery in the lab. They haul Hopper, Bob, and Joyce up top. When they start burning vines, it affects Will physically. The kid goes into a state of shock, screaming almost like Dart and the creatures, rocked by convulsions.
What a great episode! I love Hopper, and it’s fun to see him in danger instead of always being the utter bad ass. Sometimes bad motherfuckers need help. Plus, Joyce is such a hero!! Can’t wait for more, it’s about to get crazy intense.
“Chapter Six – The Spy” is next time.