The Darkness has come. The character you barely know from last season, Will, is now infected by what seems to be the chief bad guy from The Upside Down. To be fair, as little as you know about him from last season, Will’s character has developed quite a bit through a few important scenes this season. He’s stuck being viewed by everyone else as a character who is fragile and strange. Even some of his closest friends seem to regard him with kid gloves. This episode begins by reinforcing that, and the reason why. With tearful eyes, he expresses his deepest fears to his closest friend, and his mom responds the only way she knows how: with bravery.
The Darkness continues to spread as we see the rift between Eleven and Hopper grow. Her decision to go adventuring for the day (and getting seen by some neighbors) sends Hopper into a somewhat understandable tirade. I imagine many of us can empathize with his side. Protection is the chief goal and many see his inability to simply relent and apologize to her for keeping her locked up as a fault. It’s yet to be seen if Hopper will realize his error, but there’s no doubt that at this point, their relationship is on the rocks at best.
And more evidence of some strange darkness in this town comes from our newcomers, Billy and Max. Their relationship seems to have more going on than we know. They don’t seem like family (mainly because of the strange way he refers to Max and treats her) but I also can’t think of any other way they know each other. I hope it has something to do with the very odd opening scene to the season, regarding some teens, in a big city, performing heists. But who knows?
Much like season one of Stranger Things, the stage is being set for some great battle. Whatever this odd creature is that Dustin has found, he has decided that it’s important enough to lie about. Whatever is affecting Will and causing him to refer to himself in the third person (“He likes it cold.”). Whatever the scientists over at Hawkin’s Lab are so intent on lying about, that’s what is coming for this little town. There is a great darkness sweeping over the story, and understandably, most of those in-the-know are afraid.
This thing that has friends lying to one another– this thing that has our heroes afraid– it is worth fearing. Truthfully, without someone who is actually capable of fighting such a villain (See, our favorite heroine Eleven), I totally get why everyone is on edge about what is happening. She’s gone. For all most of the characters know, she’s dead. And she was the only thing who was able to fight this the last time. It’s not voiced openly, but her absence from the lives of Mike, Will, Lukas, and Dustin, is leaving a giant hole. She’s meant to save them, and she’s nowhere to be found when things don’t make sense.
El’s absence from the main story of season two has left everyone on edge. But for us, as the audience, we’ve been treated to some of the best performances you’ll see. David Harbour (Hopper) and Millie Bobby Brown’s (Eleven) scenes ooze with acting ability. There is a lot about this season that makes this show worth sticking around for, but their relationship is up there as one of the best reasons. Critically, this show continues to perform way beyond expectations. And as a story, it reminds us that there is a great darkness that seems to find its way into everything, and needs to be fought. Episode four is a wrap, but we’ve got five more. See you next Tuesday for episode five, but until then remember: friends don’t lie.