Netflix’s Stranger Things
“Chapter Six: The Dive”
Directed by Nimród Antal
Written by Curtis Gwinn
* For a recap & review of 4×05, click here.
* For a recap & review of 4×07, click here.
More police sirens wailing in Hawkins. This time, the cops find the jocks all horrified, particularly Jason, who’s holding Patrick’s corpse in his arms. An awful scene. The cops ask about Eddie and Jason says Eddie was in the boat. The story’s a bit wild to hear for anybody, especially a bunch of foolish cops. Jason claims that Eddie “is a vessel . . . for Satan.” Definitely not something the police are going to believe. As the cops search everywhere nearby, Vecna lurks everywhere, especially below.
The government’s busy torturing the surviving agent from the Byers house for information. Lt. Col. Sullivan is sure “Dr. Brenner‘s special little pet has gone rogue again.” He won’t stop until the agent gives him something and the hot locker torture they’re putting the man through is a literal hell.
Dr. Brenner relates what happened to Eleven was like a stroke, in that when Eleven was attacked her brain was scrambled and she simply has to remember how to use her powers again. He needs her to re-experience the past, not only watch it on the videotapes he’s gathered over the years, and by submerging her in the past they can restore the memories of Eleven’s traumatised brain. She tells him about the memory she saw full of blood and he tells her: “You have demons in your past.” They have to proceed carefully from here, or else Eleven might become “lost in the darkness,” and in turn the rest of humanity might, too.
Eddie manages to sneak a radio from a construction to contact his friends. At that same moment, his friends are just finding out about the latest murder in Hawkins and they see all the cops and the media gathered near Reefer Rick’s place. The town is concerned about “a serial killer” on the run and the cops are putting Eddie’s face out there as a person of interest. Eddie gets in contact with Dustin and the gang tell him they’re on their way to find him at a place known as Skull Rock, a “popular makeout spot” Steve would like everyone to know he helped popularise. A true pioneer, that Harrington.
Mike, Jonathan, Will, and Argyle go to Susie’s house where they come upon a bunch of kids cosplaying and play fighting and even making a movie. They eventually meet a young woman called Eden who points them to Susie’s room. They find Susie out on the roof messing with an antenna and now this truly feels like a Stephen Spielberg film.
Somewhere in the wilderness of Russia, Joyce and Murray survived their plane crash and they’ve tied Yuri to a tree. They have to find the prison but Yuri’s not giving over anything without a bit of cash. Murray and Joyce won’t be handing over any money; they only offer Yuri his life. Yuri says there’s a warehouse to the east with “supplies, guns, truck.” They’ll need such things if they hope to reach the prison and get Hopper out.
We see that Hopper and his fellow prisoners are being treated to a big meal and lots of drink for some reason. While the others eat, Hopper drinks. That’s because Hopper knows the food isn’t to make them strong to train a “monster for war,” it’s to make them “full of all the nutrients and protein a growing monster would need.”
The scene with Hopper amongst the Russian prisoners serves as a great juxtaposition to the one with Eleven sitting with the orderly, experiencing her own training for war like it’s the first time all over again. The orderly starts to tell Eleven about Papa and his lies, mentioning another child like Eleven who found strength from a past memory that provided both sadness and anger. He mentions a memory from Eleven’s past when a woman came looking for her. He says what Eleven knows about that memory of her mother isn’t necessarily true. Then Dr. Brenner arrives to take the kids somewhere again. We have to remember, even this orderly is a manipulation, as Drs. Brenner and Owens watch the experiment unfold.
Lucas puts together, along with Max, that everybody Vecna targets has something “haunting them” in their personal life, whether it’s abuse or otherwise. He feels bad he didn’t notice what was going on in Max’s life. “But I see you now,” he tells her. Something fun about Stranger Things is that even while there’s all this otherworldly chaos going on around these young folks, they’re still young, and they’re still filled with emotions and everything else, so all their everyday romantic/friendship drama never fades too far into the rearview. Soon the gang meet up with Eddie at Skull Rock, while back in Hawkins there’s a proper Satanic Panic mess brewing against him with the cops putting his name out in the media. Townsfolk are growing restless about Eddie not being behind bars, too. Jason adds fuel to the Satanic fire by yakking on about “ritualistic sacrifices.” He blames all of Hawkins problems on the Hellfire Club. Another reason I love this series is they’ve incorporated not only visual 1980s aesthetics, they’ve brought in Satanic Panic and other issues from the decade that were so prominent.
Susie’s got the number and she hears about the “Nina Project” and it’s a tough pill to swallow. But Mike and the others try to explain it as best as possible to convince her. Well, kinda. They call it a top secret Nintendo thing. Unfortunately, as much as Susie would like to help, she’s had her computer confiscated because of helping Dustin hack his grades. Dad’s got the computer in his study, locked away for work. Unless there’s a way to work around that. Hmm.
At Skull Rock, the gang are sussing out a way to find Vecna in The Upside Down. Much easier when Eleven was around and had her powers. Then Dustin realises his compass was wrong which is why he had trouble finding Skull Rock; not because it’s a bad compass, but because of electromagnetic fields. Dustin thinks there’s “a gate” somewhere nearby. If so, it’s a way to Vecna and a method of saving Max and Eddie, along with everybody else. Now they’re headed “into Mordor.”
Dr. Brenner has all his children gathered. He’s making them face each other, one-on-one, standing in a circle. He says anger is not the answer. Two of the older kids face off and one of them easily pushes the other, though quite hard. The competition continues as the kids face each other in pairs, whittling the numbers down. Eventually it’s Eleven and Two with her blasting him away, using the powerful memory of her mother to help aid her powers. The orderly’s advice helped.
Joyce, Murray, and Yuri make it to the warehouse, an old church; the same place Hopper briefly got to chow down on peanut butter. There they find not just peanut butter, they find guns and ammunition, along with a map to help them locate the “deadliest prison” in Russia only two hours away somewhere hidden in the mountains.
Hopper and Dmitri fight in the yard, creating the perfect moment of distraction and Hopper goes for a guard’s gun. But he’s stopped with a pistol whip and tossed back in his cell. Not quite a good plan, apparently. Or, maybe it was since Hopper got his hands on a lighter from the guard. He’s gathering tools to use against the Demogorgon, to which he and the Russian prisoners will be fed soon. This man, always thinking!
Susie and the boys wait for a momentary shut down in power and a restart to sneak into dad’s study. She gets the computer going while downstairs the kids distract dad with their utter insanity. She uses the early internet to do her hacking magic, using geolocation to search for Nina. She finds coordinates in Nevada, printing them for Mike and the lads to follow. Once more her “certified genius” comes through. Outside, Argyle and Eden are hotboxing the van. Good times. In Hawks, the rest of the gang are at Lover’s Lake, where they believe they’ll find the gate.
Eleven hears strange noises so she walks out into the bunker corridors. She sees Dr. Brenner watching over orderlies who are torturing the orderly who’s helped her so much. When Eleven goes back to the Rainbow Room there are other kids waiting, including Two, who’s angry with her. Two calls her “weak and pathetic.” He throws her to the ground with his own powers. He abuses her more and threatens to kill her if she tells Papa, as the others mock her, too. She looks in the mirror and sees herself covered in blood. She remembers all those bloodied corpses and her own rage. Then she comes back out to Drs. Brenner and Owen above her. Yet she feels terrible guilt, believing she “killed them all” years ago.
On the lake, Nancy, Eddie, Steve, and Robin see the compass go crazy. That means there’s something below. Steve offers to go, given his athletic experience. Nancy can’t help but watch Steve strip down before he goes for a dive, and Eddie wraps up a flashlight for Steve. Then ole Hairy Harrington jumps into the lake, heading down into its depths. Soon, Steve finds a gate and he’s back up to the surface, right in time for cops to turn up on the shore searching for Eddie. They catch up to Dustin, Max, and Lucas after the kids try to run. Even worse, something pulls Steve back down into the lake, refusing to let go.
And then, Steve’s dragged into The Upside Down.
His friends in the boat aren’t letting him go alone, so they dive in after him. Steve battles flying bat-like creatures coming at him, biting and strangling him. Can he hang on until his friends arrive? Will Steve survive?