Netflix’s Stranger Things
Season 3: “Chapter Seven – The Bite”
Directed & Written
by The Duffer Brothers
* For a recap & review of Chapter Six, “E Pluribus Unum” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, click here.
The big July 4th celebration goes off in Hawkins, just as planned by Mayor Larry Kline (Cary Elwes), whose name appears right in the appropriate place so evvvvverybody knows who’s throwing it. He gives a speech for the crowd, walked onstage by the high school marching band.
But there are bad things lurking in town, right at the edge of all the happy fun.
While others are having a great time, Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) has returned from the astral plane knowing the Mind Flayer has his target set on her, after hearing it from Flayed Billy (Dacre Montgomery). Nancy (Natalia Dyer) hears something outside the cabin. They’ve got to fortify the place, readying themselves for a battle.
Underground, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Erica (Priah Ferguson), Steve (Joe Keery), and Robin (Maya Hawke) get back to the elevator. Poor Steve’s not well, and Robin isn’t so great, either. They’re fucked up from the drugs they were given as a truth serum. Once they get out of the Lynx facility they run right into men with guns.
The group holed up at the cabin face the Mind Flayer. Its tentacle whips around inside nearly smashing them to bits. Jonathan axes it, though the thing fights back. Nancy pumps it full of shotgun shells. Before it can grab her it’s nabbed by El’s powers. The magic girl twists its tip off and the tentacle retreats.
Then more burst through. El does what she can to hold them back, twisting more of their ends off. Another tentacle grabs her when the Flayer pokes a hole through the roof. Nancy gets another few shells loaded and blasts away at the thing’s face. Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) gives it a good axing to boot while the rest hang onto El, managing to hold on until the creature backs away— our girl’s wounded. The Flayer faces her again and she rips its face in half, allowing the group time to get in the car.
Dustin takes his pals into the theatre, where Back to the Future is playing. He forces Robin and Steve to sit quietly. Gives them time to think. They’ve got to get a ride from the mall. Elsewhere, Chief Jim (David Harbour), Joyce (Winona Ryder), and Murray (Brett Gelman) are figuring out more about the secret base, where Ole Smirnoff says the key will turn off the machine. The scientist mentions a pass code— Planck’s constant, the quantum of electromagnetic action. A code is one thing. Getting inside the base is a whole other can of fucking worms. (It’s Starcourt, right?)
They’ve got the kids to worry about, as well.
At the store, the kids stop to fix El up. Max (Sadie Sink) tends to her. The others look for supplies. Nancy and Jonathan discuss the likelihood that if they kill the Mind Flayer himself, they’ll put an end to the Flayed. Lucas finds fireworks full of “gun powder.” Everybody questions his enjoyment of New Coke, too. The downtime also sees Mike apologising to El for his behaviour. He’s fallen for her, and can barely talk around her. He can’t quite come out and say I love you to her yet. They’re interrupted by Dustin over the radio. Before they can communicate much, the radio gives out. Then there’s Steve and Robin wandering out of the theatre, debating Back to the Future‘s time travel scenario under the heavy influence of Soviet drugs. After that: vomit.
What about that blood from El’s leg? There’s Flayed DNA in there.
“Stay put, Freud!”
After the puke, Steve and Robin talk honestly. He admits to his feelings for her. Well, sorta. He doesn’t say her name. She knows, suggesting he wouldn’t like her once they get to know each other. She tells him about being jealous because she was into a girl who liked him— Robin’s lesbian.
Smirnoff wins a big Woody Woodpecker. He’s having fun at the carnival. That all ends when he’s slyly taken out with a silenced pistol by the big Russian. Murray tries to help him. He locates Jim, but the Chief eyes that nasty Russian and other suspicious men. Joyce goes one way to find Murray— too late, the scientist’s dead— and Jim runs into the Big Top attraction, facing one of the Soviet killers hand-to-hand. He makes use of funhouse mirrors to shoot the other Russian. Although the big dude’s wearing a vest, and more Soviets arrive for a fight. Hopper gets out of there with Joyce and Murray, as the journalist picks up a communication in Russian from guards at the mall.
Dustin and the others are cornered in the food court. They’re about to be caught when El turns the tables by bowling the Soviets over with a display car. WHOA! Her powers are strong. Nice for Dustin to see his friends again. They’ve been separated the whole season after the initial episode. Such a stellar moment of dialogue with the camera turning around the whole group while they catch up fast.
But Eleven doesn’t feel good. She collapses. Her leg wound is festering. Inside something’s moving, looking like a mini opening to the Upside Down. Part of the Mind Flayer is in there, latched on, and watching her wherever she goes.
How can they get it out? Can they save her?
More things cropping up right before the finale. Gotta love Stranger Things— always swinging for the fences. Nine times out of ten, if not ten / ten, the series knocks it out of the damn park. Excited for what’s in store for us with the last chapter.
“Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt” is next. Get ready.