March 2, 2024

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Stranger Things “The Sauna Test”

Season Three, Episode Four.

You know, I’d heard Lucas’ sister Erica makes quite the impression here in season three.

And you know what?  She sure does.

I mean, seriously.  Dustin, Steve, and Robin manage to get a floor plan for the Starcourt Mall (OK, Robin does because she’s smarter than the other two).  There is a way in if they go through the vents.  But those vents are small.  Dustin can’t even fit, and he’s missing some bones.

Enter demanding customer Erica.  Will she go?  Sure.  She’ll do it for America.  And by that, I mean you can’t spell AMERICA without ERICA.  Also, she loves capitalism.  Free ice cream for life.

Of course, there’s some more weird stuff going on, and Dustin is so engrossed with Russians that he doesn’t answer a code red from the others.  Since Eleven can’t be the only one with superpowers, Will can now sense the Mind Flayer.  Will has a theory that when Eleven closed the gate to the Upside Down, the part of the Mind Flayer inside his head got stuck on our side.  That means it needs a new host.

And since Billy is sort of feeding people to the Mind Flayer, we have a top suspect.

That’s good enough to get Eleven and Max to help out the other boys.  But I gotta call foul on one thing.  These guys are huge nerds.  How come Max is the one to introduce Eleven to superhero comics?  Even if it is Wonder Woman, that still seems a little weird.

As for also weird, that old lady eating fertilizer was acting even weirder, but turning that in doesn’t get Nancy and Jonathan rewarded.  Nope!  They lose their internship jobs.  Jonathan really needed that.  He and Nancy have a fight, but she does get a pep talk from her mom to keep investigating on her own.

OK, this is all set-up.  Did anyone have a fairly mundane experience?  Yup!  Joyce and Hopper!  Joyce mentions the guy who beat Hopper up took off on a motorcycle.  Hopper remembered he’s a good cop and realized he saw the guy at the Mayor’s office.  And the Mayor doesn’t take too kindly to potential blackmail especially when the drunk sheriff isn’t exactly clean.

Beating the Mayor up works better.  Mystery Biker Man works for…the Mall.


And the people who own the Mall also own other properties around town.  That could be why Joyce and Hopper found nothing in the lab.

OK, so, where does the weird happen?  You know there was weird happening.

First, Will says the Mind Flayer doesn’t like heat, so a little trickery gets Billy locked in the sauna.  You know, for a test.  And the Flayer doesn’t always do active stuff with its hosts.  Asking Billy questions reveals some guilt, but then Will says the Flayer took over.

At that moment, Nancy sees the old lady go nuts.

Oh, and then Billy busts through the chain.  Eleven does her thing…and it doesn’t work.  Billy is stronger than that.  Only Mike remembering he was in IT Chapter One helps.  That doesn’t stop Billy, but Eleven gets enough of a reprieve to toss him through a wall.


And he’s fine.


Not fine?  Dustin’s group.  Erica gets them into the mystery room, and they have what looks like radioactive isotopes there.  Oh, and then when they try to activate the exit door, they go down instead.  Yeah, elevator to a subbasement.  Lousy Russians.

Anything else to worry about?  Well, Billy gets back to the Mind Flayer.  And there are a lot more possessed people there than I would have thought.  Billy may have been busy.

Billy sucks.