Stranger Things: S02E08 – The Mind Flayer

Stranger Things: S02E08 – The Mind Flayer

And now, we return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Yes, episode seven felt a tad out of place, no matter how you twist it. I’ve talked to person after person who has finished the season, and the main question they’ve all had is, “What’d you think of the story with her sister?” Don’t worry, for now, that story is a wrap, and Eleven is back on her way to Hawkins to save the day, because things are about to get much more serious.

When we last left off in Hawkins, we had just learned that Will was essentially being used as a spy by the big-baddy from the Upside Down, and had lured the majority of the guys with guns to a killing field in the midst of the tunnels. Just before the credits began to roll, we saw that some of those adolescent demogorgons were crawling up through the tunnel in the lab. So now, welcome to “The Mind Flayer,” the penultimate episode in Stranger Things season two.

We open on one of the cooler moments in this season, where upon realizing that Will is compromised, Joyce simply turns and says, “Hold him down.” A bit of shouting and some sort of knock-out drug later, Will can no longer be used as a tool for destruction and deception. Each taking a turn, much of the cast reminds Will of who he was, and is, and that they are on his side. Sure, it’s not replacing his heart of stone with a heart of flesh, but we all see the analogy. Joyce, at least, will do whatever it takes to make sure her son can bear no more death and destruction into this world. It’s going to hurt him. It’s going hurt her. But at the end of the day, he will be better for it, and so will everyone else involved. Well, not before we bid farewell to a character, in one of the saddest things to happen in this show.

Raise your hand if you thought Bob might be a bad guy near the start of the season? My wife did. I wasn’t so sure. That conversation with Will in the car had an air of strangeness about it, but alas all is made clear. Bob was just a really good and kind guy. (To be fair, the reason I didn’t think Bob was bad, was because Sean Astin is almost always the good guy.) He was an anchor of hope in this season, comforting and affirming the Byers family that it was okay to be weird and strange, all at the cost of his life.

Speaking of, raise your hand if you also thought Dr. Owens, was just going to be awful the entire season? We’ve caught glimpses of the kind and caring person he might be, when getting incensed at the idea of seeing Will die just to further a scientific study, but not to this effect. He risks himself in quite the ultimate way to make sure everyone can make it out of the lab safely. Yes, this was an episode of intense turns and realizations about characters. In the heat of the moment, people like Joyce and Hopper were willing to do whatever needed to be done to make sure everyone was safe. And we also see how the kids, despite being told to, “stay put,” care little for their own safety when it comes to making sure this town, and more importantly one of their best friends, makes it out of this alright.

The end is just around the corner. Eleven is back, and she’s all out of bubblegum. She’s taken out this evil before, in what we thought was an ultimate sacrifice. Curious to see what happens when she does it again, against an even stronger and more capable opponent? See you on Tuesday for the final episode of season 2: “The Gate.”

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