Stranger Things – Season 2: “Chapter Four – Will the Wise”

Netflix’s Stranger Things
Season 2: “Chapter Four – Will the Wise”
Directed by Shawn Levy
Written by Paul Dichter

* For a recap & review of Chapter Three, “The Pollywog” – click here
* For a recap & review of Chapter Five, “Dig Dug” – click here
IMG_0138When Joyce (Winona Ryder) doesn’t see Will (Noah Schnapp) after school when he’s supposed to be home, she rushes to the school. She finds Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Max (Sadie Sink). Out on the field, Will is stuck in the Upside Down having one of his episodes. The black smoke of the monster fills him up. Soon he comes back to the world, frightened as ever. Afterwards, mom takes her boy home leaving his friends behind, worried and partly terrified. The boys wonder if it’s “truesight” like from Dungeons and Dragons.
At home, Joyce asks her son what happened. Will can’t tell her exactly. He only remembers tiny pieces. She confronts him with the drawing of the tentacled monster and the one she saw on the VHS tape. She believes him, she just needs him to be honest: “No more secrets.” He tells her of the monster, though he doesn’t understand what it is himself. The whole ordeal’s tearing him apart.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) returns to an angry Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour). He questions where she went. She feels like a prisoner in that place. Jim forgets he’s dealing with a powerful entity, one he can’t possibly control totally— one that could hurt him bad if she wanted.
IMG_0139Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) gets home to find mom in bed cuddling her youngest son. However, Will isn’t sleeping, there are things going on behind his eyes as his body rests. His most recent encounter in the Upside Down is going to have consequences. Just a matter of how bad. When he wakes he feels strange. Joyce checks his temperature: he’s colder than normal.
Dustin keeps looking after Dart at home. In school, he pretends not to have found him, as the rest of his friends go on searching for the creature. He’s also clearly developing deeper feelings for Max, as well, which is becoming more obvious to her. Mike also can’t help but think of Will, who’s at home for the day.
Things get creepier with Will. His actions are getting more unsettling to his mother. When the bath water’s too warm, he tells his mother: “He likes it cold.” Oh, shit. Like with Dart, perhaps Will’s been bringing things back with him after he returns from the Upside Down. Things are clinging to him and crossing the divide. This time, it’s something incredibly large, something evil.
Jonathan and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) are off on a mission together – giving Steve (Joe Keery) pause for thought back at school – to try and tell Mrs. Holland the truth about Barb. They soon feel suspicious. Every second person looks like an undercover government agent. They’re eventually stopped by several people from the Department of Energy.
Chief Hopper gets frantic calls from Joyce. He shows up at her place. The house is freezing, to keep the “shadow thing” happy. Hopper asks the kid questions. Will’s only able to tell him it feels like memories from the past and present intertwined. Mom suggests her son try drawing what he feels, so he starts scribbling in mad strokes.
IMG_0141In the AV room, Mike calls a meeting with Dustin and Lucas, omitting Max from the group. He tells the boys about what Will said he saw in the sky on Halloween. This makes them think more about truesight. Mike also wants to find Dart, believing the sounds Will heard in the Upside Down are related, putting Dustin in a sticky situation.
In an interrogation room at the DoE, Jonathan and Nancy are held until Dr. Steve Owens (Paul Resier) turns up acting all casual. The doc talks about Barb, the others who’ve disappeared or died. He takes them to see the eerie, tar-like opening to the Upside Down. He tries stressing secrecy, which the pair broke by reaching out to Barb’s mother. He doesn’t know Nancy’s recording him on tape secretly.
Scribbles after scribbles, Will turns out pages of colours. His mother and the chief try figuring out a pattern. Joyce sees a connection of black lines. They spread the papers out like a puzzle, fitting sheets together. But it doesn’t look like anything to them. That is, until Jim thinks of “vines” that are “spreading and killing” like the ones both Will and Eleven have seen throughout the Upside Down. So, amongst the rotten pumpkin patches, Hooper digs looking for them. And does he ever find them, too. He also finds a massive hole tunnelled through the earth, as if by a giant worm.
IMG_0144At the cabin, Eleven uses her powers to clean the place following her outburst. She finds a hatch in the floor leading to a basement. There are boxes including one marked Vietnam and another marked Hawkins Lab. She hauls out the lab box, looking through files. She sees news reports of a stolen baby, pictures of Brener with her mother. She decides to try reaching out across the astral plane, this time using a small radio. She sees her mother, reaching out to touch her. But the woman turns to ash and blows away— gone.
When Dustin gets home, he’s surprised by the rapid growth of Dart. The creature’s escaped his cage and he’s feeding on the family cat. Dart’s got a face very similar in look to that of the Demogorgon, opening in meaty flaps. Shit, that’s creepy.
IMG_0146IMG_0147Another solid episode of an incredible series. Only the best shows get better with age, and Stranger Things is one of them. I can never get enough. I can’t believe I waited a whole year to watch this season, either.
“Chapter Five – Dig Dug” is next.

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