Billy unravels after his encounter at the Steel Works location.
Chapter 2 of Stranger Things season 3 is titled ‘The Mall Rats’. New partnerships are forged, some voluntary, others not so much. The rats are definitely not doing well, and Billy is not faring much better.
***Author’s note: Stranger Things fans know that things are not always as they seem. These reconnaissance (or recap) posts happen in real time as I enjoy the episodes myself. With that said, if I interpret something one way and it ends up being another, please don’t be like Robin and call me a “dingus”. Thanks!
we would let robin call us a dingus any day of the week pic.twitter.com/BYNHE0JCYL
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) July 5, 2019
Billy is back (sort of)
Billy leaves the Steel Works building looking worse for the wear. He exits the little red structure, heads to his car and stops at a telephone booth. Billy promptly calls 911 but never reports the incident. He walks out of the telephone booth where his surroundings are eerily similar to the Upside Down and shouts “what do you want?” He then sees a group of dark figures approaching.
As he gets closer, he sees a clone of himself standing before him. Again, what do they want? The clone tells Billy “to build”. Build what? “What you see”, replies the clone.
Billy returns to his lifeguard job the next day, but he he is not looking very good or acting like himself. He seems tormented by the bright sunlight and glare of the pool. He flashes in and out of the the present. When Karen tries to explain why she stood him up the night before, he has a vision of slamming her head against a shelf. He then tells her to stay away from him.
Billy’s skin is burning. He leaves the lifeguard stand and stands beneath the cold shower. His arm is bulging as if a creature is forming inside his arm and trying to escape. Fellow lifeguard Heather comes to check on him. She mouths, “Take me to them” in an odd voice. She then switches back to her normal self and asks if Billy needs an ambulance.
Later that night, Billy kidnaps Heather in his trunk and takes her to the Steel Works building. He leaves her to face her own encounter with the mysterious creatures insides.
1 HOUR. YOU'RE DOING GREAT SWEETIES. pic.twitter.com/zDGu1HFOHK
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) July 4, 2019
Hopper’s high and low
Hopper is feeling victorious after putting some old-fashioned fear in Mike about the rules for dating El. Unfortunately, it seems like he succeeded in scaring Mike but did not really specify the actual rules.
El calls Mike to inquire why why he has not come over to visit. He declines her invitation and insists that his Nana is indeed ill.
Timeout: Old farts like myself are reminded of the days when you shared a phone line with everyone else in your home. That means your parent or sibling could be on the line listening.
Mike’s outrage when he discovers his mom was listening is hysterical! As if he is not already freaked out enough with Hopper’s threats! Mike knows that El knows he is lying. He enlists the help of his friends to figure out what to do.
While Mike is suffering, Hopper is riding high and blasting his victory song (you may recall it from last year!), Jim Croce’s “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”. He heads to the general store to share the good news with Joyce. He fails to reveal to Joyce that he went off-book with his messaging, however.
Hopper again suggests that he and Joyce go out to dinner. But it’s not a date, he insists. She agrees to meet him at the restaurant.
Hopper’s victory party takes a dive when Joyce does not show up for the dinner. She becomes distracted with the magnets that are no longer working at the store or her house. She is suspicious and grabs some books from the library about electromagnetic fields.
Hopper finds himself alone at the restaurant (in his new Miami Vice themed outfit).
Timeout: Fans may like to know that the exterior of Melvald’s General Store is indeed across the street from the building used for the Hawkins Library exteriors in Jackson, GA. It makes sense that Joyce could go grab some books from the library on a break.
An unlikely partnership
So, the reason Joyce missed her dinner (not a date, wink!) with Hopper is because she enlists help from teacher Mr. Clarke. Mr. Clarke builds a mini electromagnetic field to demonstrate the science behind it. He then turns down the electrical current and magnets no longer hold.
Joyce asks if this is what is happening around her. Mr. Clarke presumes that her findings are probably coincidental but explains that it could happen with a ginormous machine boasting billions of volts. Wait! Remember that ginormous machine the Russians were using in Chapter One? Hmm . . .
The science experiment goes on so long that Joyce misses the dinner. Poor Hopper!
El and Max pair up when El asks Max for dating advice. El does not understand why Mike is lying to her. Max recommends a distraction. They head to the mall even though going to a place with so many people is against Hopper’s rules for El.
Max introduces El to shopping. What follows is a glorious montage of 80’s outfit with Madonna’s “Material Girl” playing in the background. She settles on a brightly colored geometric pattern (go figure!).
Mike is also at the mall with Lucas and Will looking for a gift to get back in El’s good graces. His $3.50 is not getting him very far, however. Will just wants to go back home and play Dungeons and Dragons.
The guys and gals run into one another when they are leaving. Mike continues his charade about Nana and El swiftly breaks up with him.
Man! Times are tough for young Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things season 3.
the girls are * thriving * and the boys are * a mess * pic.twitter.com/oO6SiH8Ett
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) July 5, 2019
Meeting the Mayor and Mrs. Driscoll
Hopper gets called to the Mayor’s office when protesters are gathered outside. Mayor Kline is in hot water with residents who are upset about property tax increases and the mall’s impact on local business. The Mayor convinces Hopper that as Chief of Police he needs to get rid of the protesters because they have not acquired a permit for their assembly. Hopper begrudgingly agrees.
Nancy cannot get the mysterious message from Mrs. Driscoll out of her mind. Disease and rats could be a breaking news story. Nancy tells her boss that she needs to leave for a doctor appointment for some “girl problems”. She grabs Jonathan and they head to Doris Driscoll’s home.
Doris takes the pair down to the basement where rats have eaten her fertilizer. She also has been able to capture one of the rats. Jonathan tries to take photos of the rodent, but it keeps thrashing around. Is it the flash on Jonathan’s camera? Recall that Billy also struggles with bright light at the pool.
Timeout: Is it just me, or would you be hesitant to accept Mrs. Driscoll’s offer of freshly-squeezed lemonade in a house were eating fertilizer? Nancy takes the lemonade, but I don’t think I would.
Nancy tells Jonathan she has a lead and they need to leave. Jonathan is concerned that the rat seems to be in pain. They leave and the rat explodes like the ones in Chapter One. The rat’s guts coagulate and begin to form a creature strikingly similar to Dart from last season.
just checking in. how is everyone? pic.twitter.com/fHJnIxClV1
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) July 3, 2019
“I scream, you scream, we all scream” for a scoop of Russian translation
Dustin and Steve reunite at the mall’s Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor. Steve is thrilled to see that Dustin has returned from camp. The two forged quite a bond over the last season.
Dustin tries to quietly reveal his secret about the Russian transmission he picked up on Cerebro, his ham radio. Steve is not quite sure he hears him correctly, prompting Dustin to repeat, no, yell the secret. It catches everyone’s attention.
The guys go to the back of the ice cream shop to work on translating the message. Steve’s co-worker Robin is up front fielding incessant sample requests from Lucas’ feisty little sister Erica. When Robin reaches her patience limit, she goes in the back and tells Steve to swap with her.
Robin reveals that she has overheard everything they have been talking about. She wants in on the translation project, mostly because she is bored. It turns out that Robin has quite an ear for translation based on her fluency in multiple languages and years of enrollment in band.
Robin and Dustin translate 4 sentences and Steve zones in on the music playing in the background on the transmission. As they exit the mall, the trio concludes that the odd message must be code for some important information. Steve stops to activate one of the mall rocking horses. He puts a quarter in the machine and the horse begins to rock to the tune of “Daisy Bell”, the same song heard in the background of the transmission!
Steve suggests that the message is actually coming locally from Hawkins. We shift to Hopper leaving the restaurant and get a glimpse of the Russian Comrade-General’s right hand man from Stranger Things season 3 Chapter One. Interesting!
See you next time for observations on Chapter Three of Stranger Things season 3.
Find reconnaissance for Chapter One here.
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