Tin Star – Season 1, Episode 4: “Jack”

Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star
Season 1, Episode 4: “Jack”
Directed by Marc Jobst
Written by Rowan Joffe

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Comfort of Strangers” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bait” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.39.54 PMNorth Stream Oil is pumping out commercials, priming the town and everybody else for recruitment. And as we watch one of those commercials, we see the lifeless body of little Peter, dead on the mortician’s table. Ready for burial.
Whitey (Oliver Coopersmith) is preparing for something devious, too. He has what looks like a makeshift gun, implanted into a device like a remote car starter. He’s suiting up, as well. In the meantime, he’s being told to “abort” by Frank Keane (Ian Puleston-Davies).
Everyone in town is headed to support Chief Jim Worth (Tim Roth), his recovering wife Angela (Genevieve O’Reilly), and Anna (Abigail Lawrie) at the funeral for Peter. Everybody in collective mourning. As the procession goes on at the cemetery, Whitey poises himself to fire a couple bullets into Jim’s back. He second guesses it, though. Too many cops, fire fighters, people in general. The ole Chief was so close to death and didn’t even know.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.43.08 PMAngela: “Nobodys going to tidy our little boy away
But now the Worths are left to mourn on their own. Mom won’t have her child’s memory swept under the rug, she doesn’t want to ignore their pain. For his part, dad blames himself for ducking the shot, for putting his wife and his son in harm’s way. Angela won’t have it. For the one injured, she’s the tougher of the two.
Anna winds up finding out about dad’s one night stand on the reserve, hearing Constables Nick McGillen (Ryan Kennedy) and Denise Minahik (Sarah Podemski) discussing it. Now she’s harbouring a couple secrets about her dad. Not just that, mom wants the people who killed their boy to die, telling her husband to track them down. So their daughter’s left with no way to gauge her own moral compass, in a time where both her parents stray so far from their own.
Irony strikes when Jaclyn (Michelle Thrush), Jim’s blackout fling on the reserve, turns out to have witnessed the murder of Dr. Susan Bouchard (Rachael Crawford). Makes things all the worse that she already doesn’t trust the Chief. “Ill die on my own time,” she tells them, knowing that to talk likely means she’ll wind up dead, too. Can’t trust a cop off the reserve, let alone a cheating, alcoholic, drug loving cop.
What’s going on with Frank, anyways? He’s worried about Johnny, that he’s run off and might talk. However, that’s no worry. Because Whitey gruesomely informs him that he’s “in charge” after taking Johnny out. Things have changed ’round here.
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At a restaurant, Elizabeth Bradshaw (Christina Hendricks) meets with journalist Dermot O’Hanrahan (Craig Bierko) who’s grilling her for once being a reporter, now working for a big, ruthless oil company. Then there’s Louis Gagnon (Christopher Heyerdahl), the eerie head of security, keeping his eyes and mostly his ears on everyone around them, from Dermot to Chief Worth to anybody else who might cross their paths. Elizabeth seems dedicated to ethics, at least for now. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Federal investigators think Danny Lyle (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos) killed Peter. This has the bikers Danny runs with on lockdown, worried about federal involvement. Connected to this is Whitey, who might even be in league with Gagnon, for all we know yet.
Anna asks her dad about what happened the night he fell off the wagon. He doesn’t tell her the entire truth, which troubles the girl, who knows of his infidelity. All the while she’s watching her mother try not to fall to pieces. It might get even shittier for the family, if Elizabeth decides to take what Gagnon’s gathered on the Chief to the press. That could turn very ugly.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.09.16 PMWhen the Worths do a press conference, Angela goes to tears talking about her boy’s murder. When says she wants to know why it happened, Jim fills in the blank with one word: “Oil.” This sets the place ablaze, particularly Elizabeth; she might discover her moral trigger finger getting itchy after that comment.
Later, Gagnon sneaks into the home of Wallace Lyle (Nicholas Campbell) where he induces a heart attack. Then he presents the man with a contract, his only way out of impending death. Damn, dude. That’s fucking cold. Simultaneously, Elizabeth tosses her ethics out the window, calling Dermot with the nasty dirt on Chief Worth. It’s already bad enough Anna’s confirmed to her mother dad is on the booze again, when Dermot shows up at their door asking extremely uncomfortable, upfront questions.
On a lonesome road, Whitey uses a sniper rifle to stop a truck. He’s also wearing a local biker cut. Then he has the truck towed by Frank and Reginald (Tobi Bamtefa). Setting up more trouble for the bikers soon.
When Jim gets home he finds himself locked out. Angela is done, she wants him gone. Can you blame her? The guy went on a crack and booze binge, blacked out while he sullied his marriage. What better to do afterwards than go for a drink at the bar? That’ll surely help, Jim. This is at the same time a distress signal comes from North Stream’s supply truck, the driver got to it before he was bludgeoned. Denise is left to deal with it, while Jim beats the shit out of a biker in the bathroom, stealing enough coke to rub over his gums. Oh, man. There’s a violent downward spiral already beginning to get out of control here.
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.24.27 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.28.50 PMWhat an episode. Others don’t dig this as much as I do, I take it. Who cares? If you dig, you dig. Tin Star has a few cliches, but what doesn’t? Personally, the writing is interesting enough, as are the characters, for this to be enjoyable. On top of that Tim Roth gets to let loose.
“Bait” is next.

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Mr. Mercedes – Season 1, Episode 7: “Willow Lake”

AT&T’s Mr. Mercedes
Season 1, Episode 7: “Willow Lake”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Dennis Lehane

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “People in the Rain” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “From the Ashes” – click here
Pic 1Again, love the repetition of each morning Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) experiences. Every day is exactly the same. Shows how he’s just going through the motions. His only added change are the bits and pieces of the Mercedes Killer case he works on. Across town and then right into the neighbourhood is Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), working from afar yet right out in the open, too. A tense situation that’s bound to explode sooner than later.
The glimpses of Brady in his basement are the true views of his life we’re offered, we see him as a real person down there. We see his true self, the one he has to hide even right upstairs with his mother, from his spastic dancing to Radiohead to his bomb making and other eerie behaviour, facilitated by a cabinet full of explosives, discarded cellphones, and other treasures. Plus, he’s watching Bill. There’s nothing the old detective can do that’s out of view of Mr. Mercedes.
Another interesting note: Brady and Bill are each haunted by their past; for the former it’s his dead brother, the latter his estranged, alcoholic daughter. So to watch their parallel paths in life – one a serial killer, the other a cop, though equally damaged – is very compelling.
Pic 1ABill has to “eat shit” because he needs computer help, which means he needs young Jerome (Jharrel Jerome). He feels bad, but isn’t willing to totally eat that shit. However, he does well enough to fix things between them. He needs to dig through Olivia Trelawney’s laptop. He’s getting Holly (Justine Lupe) to help them out, too. Turns out the girl’s got computer game, she knows just about as much as Jerome. She’s both quirky AND smart.
Scary stuff now, as we see Deb (Kelly Lynch) at home, drinking, where she starts picking through her son’s things. Curious about his life. She finds one of his hats. And then finds his clown mask. Oh. Shit. Afterwards, she also digs under his mattress to find a journal with terrifying, sexual drawings on the front. A veritable horrorshow, his mind.
At work, Brady hears from Lou (Breeda Wool) there’s a shake up in the store. They’re all brought into a meeting where one of those douchey corporate guys Brady met at the restaurant gives them a verbal lashing. He berates them brutally, going “fullon fucking Mayan.” So, he decides on firing Lou randomly. Security even comes to escort her out of the building. Spineless Robi (Robert Stanton) looking on shocked. The guy’s lucky Brady didn’t slaughter them all.
Then there’s a semi-awkward situation over at the funeral parlour, Silver’s – yes, Ida (Holland Taylor). That puts Bill, Ida, and Janey (Mary-Louise Parker) in a room together awhile. Slightly uncomfortable.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 11.44.00 PMDeb, along with the old journal she apparently stashed away, found a length of rubber hose. She wonders what Brady does with it, asking him face to face. She likewise shows him the clown mask, asking why he’s got it hidden in the closet. He goes on a rant about running away with the circus. She keeps on prodding, looking through the journal, lamenting not having him “committed” years ago. Deb wants her son to have changed, from the budding psychopath that clearly existed long ago. Problem is, he budded. Fully bloomed.
The next morning, Bill and Janey have a difficult discussion. She’s headed back to California after the funeral, which doesn’t sit well with him. He does his best to act normal. Clearly he’s wounded, believing their relationship to have been more meaningful. “If I stay Ill fall in love,” she says. Not something she’s prepared to do after having been deeply wounded herself once upon a time. Sad on both sides.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 11.51.13 PMJust outside the funeral procession, Brady watches on. Janey gets up to do the eulogy. A really sick moment, Mr. Mercedes right there, watching the family of the woman he drove to suicide grieve over another family member. So twisty and turny and unsettling.
Scarier still? Brady has planted another bomb. In Janey’s car. As she drives out of the parking lot he sets it off, the car exploding while Bill and Holly sit not far off. The killer drives away, leaving the wreckage behind, as well as Bill, left there with the burning remnants of the woman he’d started to love on the street, in the car’s twisted metal.
Wow. Absolutely devastating.
This episode finally ratcheted the tension up, high as possible, before just drilling us, hard. I’m fascinated by this series. I expected an event like this, though didn’t see it coming here. Devilish, tragic. I wonder how Bill will ultimately deal with this, I know he’s going to feel responsible partly. He’ll blame himself for Janey being around him, he’ll be paranoid of everyone near him winding up dead.
“From the Ashes” comes next week. Be prepared.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”
Directed by Kim Nguyen
Written by Jane Maggs & Thomas Pound

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hello Little Light” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Problem with The Truth” – click here
Pic 1Talking through the surveillance system, Annie (Anna Paquin) talks to the Riddler, the mystery man. She thanks him, for helping with her father’s death. He helped give her purpose, in a strange way. He tells her now to “trust her instincts” about his identity. She asks him more about the murders of Jesse Sweetland and Sandy Driver, how they’re connected. It’s a strange relationship she has with the Riddler. To keep it going any further, she asks more of him. Although he doesn’t give her much more than before, only cryptic references and no promise of any concrete answers.
Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) goes to talk with Danny (Cameron Roberts), about how to remember Jesse at the funeral, what do for him; he replies only with the word “she“. At the same time, Annie’s figuring out more about Rainmaker Jed (Neil Napier), whose further information about his drug distribution sends the detectives in other directions. The package in Jesse’s room wasn’t done up like how Jed and his operation do things. So, there’s somebody else in the mix. Someone dangerous.
Not only that there’s trouble with Eddie (Allen Leech). Annie sees him punching his truck window, looking very angry. She knows’s something is up. Moreover, she starts believing he is caught in a bad place, possibly trafficking drugs. All the more troubling for the fact Daisy (Madison Ferguson) is around him. Could make for nastiness. Simultaneously, Annie believes the mystery man is suggesting things about her estranged boyfriend. He responds by telling her to wear Neil Driver’s watch during the funeral for Jesse. Hmm, why?
I dropped a stone, but youre not seeing the ripples.”
Pic 1AAt the funeral, tensions run through the crowd. Particularly when Danny comes in. But Bethany (Emelia Hellman) and others embrace him as a big part of Jesse’s life. Maggie talks about her boy, mourning his death; more importantly, she refers to Jesse as “my daughter.” Suddenly, Mr. Driver (Andreas Apergis) barges in saying she deserves everything that’s come to her family before cops pull him outside.
What’s the full history between Maggie and Sandy Driver?
Down by the lake, being morbid, Daisy hears a woman’s voice calling out in the woods. She runs into Bethany and Danny and Max (Ryan Doherty). They call out in grief to the woods, saying they loved Jesse, that it hurts having lost her. Finally they’re able to grieve, out in the open. A sad, tragic openness.
Eddie is tasked with doing something by the people for whom he’s working. While he’s doing that Annie finds their daughter’s dog in his freeze. Weird. He admits to her about owing money, but denies planting any drugs at Jesse’s place. He says the drugs were stolen from him. The dog was killed in retaliation for his debt, obviously. In way over his head.
Welland wants him to testify the drugs belong to him; they were stolen AFTER Jesse’s death. These two have history, the cop doesn’t exactly like him. Except he knows that Eddie, at heart, is a good man. So with it being a first time offence, a self-professed “one time thing” Peter is willing to give him a chance. Afterwards, he leads Annie on with more lies about the burning of the shack and the fire at his house Still playing towards something dark, unknown.
Pic 2Such a strange connection between the Riddler and Annie, like two strange souls linked together in the night. She’s starting to realise that, too. She believes he’s getting his kicks from watching her scramble, listening to his clues. Yet I can’t help wondering who he is, why he’s doing all this to her. She gets a trace on his line and finally something’s come back. Annie follows the signal out to the grave of Sandy Driver, where she finds a phone and a text message reading YOU’RE NOT CRAZY.
But she wants this relationship done, sickened by the manipulation she’s allowed.
Cali (Catherine Kidd) has ties to the drugs, whether she’s top dog I don’t know. Regardless of that, Eddie goes to her, he wants to be relinquished of their ties; it’s clear she wants Annie taken out of the equation. This requires he take a beating instead, which he does willingly.
Maggie tells Annie about the “retribution” she’s faced, for what she did to Sandy back then. Before she can tell her story, though… she passes out, having binged deliberately hard by herself on pills. No telling if she’ll survive, but the chances are good with Annie being there at the right place, the right time. We at least know there’s a strong connection between Maggie and the death of Sandy.
Annie goes back to talk with Neil, about the night his daughter die and where he was supposedly working. He kept the receipts of being on the road, all these years. In order to remember that he actually did not kill her. He gives them over to our detective, providing another bit of evidence from which she can work.
And later at home, Annie falls back to the relationship with the Riddler. Trusting in him more than she does herself, or anyone else for that matter.
Pic 3The building of character is as good as the plot development, all the backstory. Bellevue deserved better in terms of viewership. I think because of it being a Canadian show and done by the CBC, it might not have been eagerly watched by too many. Certain viewers likely didn’t expect the gritty, deep, mysterious (and weird) take on the typical crime-mystery series that we received here.
“The Problem with The Truth” is next, I’m looking forward to seeing further things about Eddie and his situation, and again – what is Welland up to? Need to know.

The Kettering Incident – Episode 8: “The Homecoming”

Foxtel’s The Kettering Incident
Episode 8: “The Homecoming”
Directed by Tony Krawitz
Written by Victoria Madden

* For a review of Episode 7, “Madness” – click here
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Dr. Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) is now a patient. She recognises the world around her, but continues having visions of Mother Sullivan’s Ridge, of Gillian Baxter in her red coat, of lights in the forest. The devious Dr. Fiona McKenzie (Kris McQuade) tells Anna she has lesions on her brain, and that her blood is changing. Just like her mother experienced. “I think I know who killed Chloe,” Anna tells the doctor. Although nothing she says is heeded. McKenzie reveals that someone or “something” tried running her off the road recently. She may not seem devious, but she is, certainly.
When Anna opens her little notebook, THEY’RE LOOKING FOR YOU is scrawled across it in bold lettering. Naturally, Anna’s breaking out of the hospital, not content with resting in bed while something strange and terrifying still lurks in their little Tasmanian town.
Can’t forget about Liza Grayson (Tilda Cobham-Hervey). She and Dane Sullivan (Dylan Young) were up at the ridge, last we saw them. She wallows in a big, dark hole below. Eventually, Dane is able to haul her out of a hole after searching all night to find her. “I think there are people down there,” she tells him in a state of shock. You can be sure with everything going on – secret tunnels below the ridge or not – you wouldn’t want to be around, now that state authorities are there, as well as Craig Grayson (Ben Oxenbould) and Max Holloway (Damien Garvey), and to a lesser extent Roy Macy (Anthony Phelan), trying to cover up whatever nastiness they buried there once upon a time.
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Kettering, Tasmania is in a bad spot. Forget all the oddities, there’s a serious socioeconomic shift happening because of the quarantine. All sorts of work shut down, plus the mill’s being sold off. So the depth of what’s been going on becomes greater, simply for the human factor.
We start to see maybe Dr. McKenzie isn’t so bad after all. I guess she’s more so worried about Anna, and still in the dark as to anything Roy, for instance, might know. She further believes Roy is hiding something from his daughter.
Detective Brian Dutch (Matthew Le Nevez) and Constable Fergus McFadden (Henry Nixon) are still trying to get everything straight on their own heads. Fergus manages to actually impress Dutch, a little. He’s managed to figure out that Craig sent letters to Max, the threatening ones. Turns out he was trying to “teach him a lesson” for getting too close with the Greenies. I find it hard to believe Craig had anything to do with Chloe’s death, though. You can’t be sure. Not yet.
Renae Baxter (Suzi Dougherty) goes to her sister Barb Holloway’s (Sacha Horler) place. She lets her know that she’ll likely leave Kettering soon, what with her daughter never turning up and now Travis (Kevin MacIsaac) supposedly running away; except we know the difference in the latter. “I know my grief drives people away, no one can understand the pain,” says Renae. Then she reveals knowing about Barb and Dutch, even Chloe knew. Most of the town does, it seems. Yikes.
At home, Craig finds her daughter carving a moth tattoo into her arm. He’s also not pleased to know she has Chloe’s camera. Maybe I was wrong about him. He definitely has a temper. Just not so positive that correlates to murder.
Everyone is a bit on edge now. Anna’s looking for Dominic Harrold (Neil Pigot) and finds him dead, what looks like a gunshot to the face. Whatever’s happening, it is starting to get treacherous. She gathers up whatever information she can find in Dominic’s camper before heading off.
So Craig didn’t write those letters. It was his daughter. She freaks out on her father, Dutch, and Fergus. Following their altercation, Dutch notices strange markings on the girl’s shoulders. She almost has a strange strength. Afterwards, Dutch and Fergus flick through the pictures on Chloe’s camera. This leads to the detective confessing to his relationship with Barb; that’s where he was the night of Chloe’s death, having sex with her mother.
Anna has Dutch meet her. She tells him about Dominic’s death. She shows him the pictures of the Dyatlov Pass Incident-related deaths, a picture of a strange orb with markings like those over the skin of people in Kettering. Worse, Dutch reveals the murder weapon used on Chloe found in Anna’s car. “Someones setting me up,” she tells Dutch. The detective further explains to Anna that her father Roy took money in the ’90s from a company dealing in radioactive waste.

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Up at Harrold’s camper, Fergus and Dutch investigate. Turns out Fergus used to talk with the man about his own father’s disappearance, the tides; I suppose that’s why he’s always out kayaking in that one area. Could Fergus’ father still be somewhere out there? Maybe up at Mother Sullivan’s Ridge? Either way, they may be getting somewhere.
In a big warehouse owned by Amber Arrow Industries, source of that triangle we keep seeing, Anna makes her way illegally down into the bowels of the structure. There, she comes in contact with one of those spiked orbs, like from the picture Dominic had and the same type of one Jens Jorgenssen (Damon Gameau) was seen burying last episode. It sits behind a pane of glass, surrounded by little glowing orbs. She also finds Lofty Sullivan (Nathan Spencer), along with Jens. She confronts him about being David Owen, the fingerprint. A moment later Jens offers up some information. He found Chloe dead, so he moved her. In order to “protect” people; like himself and Anna, so Jens claims.
The mysteries deepen.
Jens, a.k.a David, shows Anna bits of what he studies. There are x-rays of lesions on the brain. Many more things. Then, Anna sees a woman she believes to be a grown up Gillian who disappears quickly. “I want to know who I am,” Anna explains desperately, but only gets more cryptic answers.
Meanwhile, Fergus finds a clue at Renae’s place: a lipstick. It was the last photo on Chloe’s camera the night of her death, laying in the grass. There’s a letter left behind signed by Renae, describing the pain and torture she suffered after the disappearance of Gillian.
Oh, my. “Chloe had to pay the price for you all,” writes Renae in her letter.
What I find most interesting is how there’s all this nasty business going on Kettering, and the death of Chloe in particular has dredged the swampy hearts of the residents, brought out the secrets, turned over many stones that might have gone un-turned otherwise. So while Chloe’s murder might have been this big mystery that felt connected to a larger mystery, it was a mere catalyst for all the dirt to be uncovered in their little town.


At Chloe’s funeral, the word gets out about Renae, even though Fergus and Dutch try keeping things quiet. When Barb finds out she nearly collapses, as one would. Then the constable and detective receive word of gunshots up on Mother Sullivan’s Ridge.
But still, the mystery of Gillian Baxter’s not been solved. Despite now understanding who killed Chloe, that old disappearance has yet to be figured out.
In the forest, Dutch takes a bullet from Dane. Surrounding them are a bunch of people with guns, including Adam Holloway. Up at the ridge, Jens is taking Anna down below. To find her answers. Amongst the dark Anna meets: herself. It is a frail, pale, emaciated version of herself. But her, nonetheless. Has someone been cloning up on the ridge? Lots of instances of doubles. Even Jens, a moment earlier, references the King’s lomatia, which is a self-cloning species of plant. The two moons in the sky.
However, does this mean Gillian’s still out there? Obviously Chloe died. But maybe the weird behaviour from Adam and others can explain the concept of clones wandering around Kettering.

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Wow! I understood this was a mini-series, but now we need a second series. Come on! This was fucking brilliant. It kept me guessing until the very end, even while I had so many theories bouncing around my noodle. What a great instance of writing throughout, always keeping people on their toes.
Could the Greek goddess of duality, Nephele, have inspired parts of this series? Or maybe Lamia, the mistress of Zeus, whose grief and envy of others turned her into a literal child-eating demon (similar to what Renae has become)? There are plenty of ways to tie this into Greek mythology. At least we do know that the clones are roaming Kettering. So it’s now plausible how Jens could be David, among other mysteries. No wonder Anna can barely remember anything, as she’s been cloned, and the effects are untold.
Let’s hope there’s a second season. If not, that’s fine, too. I just dig that we were given eight amazing episodes. Anybody who finds themselves let down at the end, you should go back and look through everything that’s already been given. Plenty of clues to add up and lots of mysteries are unravelled through their information.

Stranger Things – Season 1: “Chapter Five – The Flea and the Acrobat”

Netflix’s Stranger Things
Season 1: “Chapter Five – The Flea and the Acrobat”
Directed by Matt & Ross Duffer
Written by Alison Tatlock

* For a review of the previous episode, “Chapter Four – The Body” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Chapter Six – The Monster” – click here
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Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) has found his way to the U.S. Department of Energy, and he’s sneaked inside. He gets himself caught, though claims he’s been summoned by Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine). then he strong arms his way in further past the security doors.
At her place Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) drinks with her estranged husband Lonnie (Ross Partridge). She talks with him about what she believes has happened. Lonnie thinks it’s all in her head. He’s level headed, but just doesn’t know what she does, hasn’t yet experienced what she has, right in her own home.
In a creepy room, Hopper finds a stuffed lion, a bed, and a picture of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with her Papa drawn in stick figures. Meanwhile, Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) are discovering more through Eleven, that Will (Noah Schnapp) may be stuck in somewhere called “the Upside Down.” Similar to a place they’ve come to know through Dungeons and Dragons: “It is right next to you and you dont even see it,” explains Dustin. Right at that very moment Hopper is coming up right against the portal to that place, that living, breathing creature in the Dept. of Energy, growing on its wall. Before he can find anything more two people in the white decontamination suits grab him and plunge a needle into his neck.
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When Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) comes home he isn’t happy to see his dad there. He’s also curious about the thing his mother saw come through the wall. He has a confrontation with Lonnie, he doesn’t want that deadbeat around. More so for the fact he knows there are strange things happening while Lonnie is trying to rush in like some drunk white knight. The next day everybody’s getting prepared for Will’s funeral, or a funeral for a stuffed dummy. Not that anyone else knows that. Although some are leaning more towards the truth than others. It’s just going to take another push for them to believe.
Joyce flashes back to watching Will draw a picture, asking about “Will the Wise” and his trusty fireballs. Sucked right into the world of magic we cut to Hopper. He’s home, passed out on the couch. He searches for a bug, somewhere, anywhere. Now, the paranoia is more than that: it’s real. Simultaneously, Dr. Brenner and his team monitor the calls, everything within Hawkins. They hear Will semi contacting his friends through the Walkie. Down at the school, some men go to check on the AV room and the boys’ ham radio.
Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan are trying to piece together mysteries themselves, so he goes ahead and lifts a gun from Lonnie’s glove compartment. He’s ready for anything.
During the funeral reception, Mr. Clarke (Randall P. Havens) fields questions on “Carl Sagan” and infinite parallel universes, et cetera. He starts to explain dimensions using the idea of an acrobat and a flea – there’s our episode title – and how the flea can travel different ways than the acrobat. Nice metaphor, I dig. He goes on to explain the idea of tearing a hole in time, a process needing massive amounts of energy. Ahh, we’ve got lots of connections.
Chief Jim gets a visit from his deputies. There are some possible missing people who were hunting out near Mirkwood. Everything’s getting stranger, more connected at the same time. Oh, and Barb’s car? It was found parked somewhere else than where Nancy Wheeler found it. So who moved it? I think we know the answer to that one.
At the Wheeler house, Dustin becomes aware there’s a magnetic disruption, as all the compasses are pointing directions other than True North. If they follow where the compasses are pointing North, then in theory they ought to find the “gate” into the Upside Down.


Mr. Clarke: “Science is neat. But Im afraid its not very forgiving.”


Joyce discovers Lonnie’s only there to try and get a settlement over the death of their boy. Essentially, he blames Will dying on her. Piece of shit. “Youre a mess,” he yells at her. But she does not back down. She will not lose faith in her son being alive, out there somewhere. Out in the woods, Jonathan and Nancy are practising their gun play, as well as bonding over their families, so on.
Worried for his safety, for whatever is happening, Jim calls his ex Diane. They talk a moment, and we can see how caring a man he is, despite what his past may hold.
Along the train tracks Mike and the boys head for wherever the compass points, leaning toward a magnet of massive power. Eleven flashes back to another experiment with Dr. Brenner, a.k.a Papa. She’s strapped to the electrodes once more and wearing some special type of body suit. They put her in a water tank. She’s submerged in a helmet, then closed inside. Out with her new friends, Eleven tells Mike to “turn back” with an anxious fear in her voice. She worries what lies ahead.
Nancy and Jonathan are also headed for wherever the gate or the monster may be. They argue a little over Steve, though Jonathan makes it obvious he does not like the vast majority of people. Furthermore, he doesn’t like the whole small town attitude so many, including Nancy, seem to have.


Hopper goes to Joyce’s place. She opens the door and notices he holds a sign: DON’T SAY ANYTHING. Inside, he wonders where the bug could be in the heap of lights she’s put up. He eventually clears the place, mostly. He tells her about the possible conspiracy, revealing that Will’s body is not actually his body; a fake. All her suspicions are now truths.
Out on their trek, Mike and the boys find they’ve looped in a circle. Then Eleven admits she messed up the compasses. She doesn’t want them to go back there: “Its not safe,” she tells them reluctantly. The gang are falling apart slightly. Lucas isn’t happy with Eleven and her meddling. When Mike and Lucas fight it sends Eleven into a frenzy, tossing him and knocking him out. She has more flash backs to the sensory deprivation tank where Brenner had her underwater. She finds herself in a black, dark space, as a Russian talks away. The words transmit back to Dr. Brenner and his associates. Then the man disappears, and something in the darkness begins to creep, making strange noises and sending Eleven running. Back with the boys, Lucas wakes up safe, a bit dazed. Though he leaves on his own. And Eleven, she’s gone, leaving Mike and Dustin on their own.
Amongst the quiet of the forest Nancy hears a noise. She and Jonathan head for it. There they find a dying deer. Before Jonathan can put the thing out of its misery, the carcass is hauled away into the trees by some unseen force. They follow a trail of blood to a hollowed out tree; a nice Pan’s Labyrinth homage, as Nancy crawls inside. She finds a terrifying space inhabited by the Monster we’ve seen before at Joyce’s house, the one that stalked Barb.
And at least for the time being Nancy is stuck in that other realm, as Jonathan’s left wondering where she’s gone.
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What a great episode! Love them all, but the intrigue and mystery and suspense are pretty amazing through the course of this episode. The next chapter is called “Chapter Six – The Monster” and I’m anticipating a bit more horror.