July 13, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Stranger Things “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club”

Season Four, Episode One

Woo hoo!  Stranger Things is back, and I finally have space in the viewing schedule to watch it!  How long has it been?

Probably too long.

So, this being the first episode back after all that time off, it may be time to catch up with where everyone was, and the episode does a good job doing that in the form of Eleven writing Mike a letter to say what she and the various Byers are up to out in California, and then there’s time back in Hawkins where Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Max have all started high school.  It looks like Nancy and Jonathan are maintaining a long distance relationship as are Mike and El.  Oddly enough, Max and Lucas seem to be on the outs because she is mourning the loss of Billy and he’s trying to fit in with the cool kids on the basketball team.

That’s a good way to suggest the kids are finding new interests.  Mike did ask Will if Will expected the boys to play games in the basement for the rest of their lives, but oddly enough, it’s Mike who still wants to play games with the gaming group at the high school, a group made up of all the stereotypical D&D types that this show has long avoided up until now.  That goes especially for the leader of this “Hellfire Club,” one Eddie Munson.

Eddie seems to be a guy who’s been held back multiple years, a drug dealer, and a “rebel” who is the kind of dude a young kid like Mike or Dustin might find edgy but is really just kind of a dork.

Spring break is coming up, though, with the promise that Mike can see El and Jonathan and see Nancy, except those two are not going.  Might have something to do with how Jonathan is becoming a pothead.  Joyce hasn’t noticed yet.  Possibly because she’s getting odd porcelain dolls in the mail from the Soviet Union, and following advice from paranoid dude Murrray, she breaks the thing to find a note from Hopper.

Wait, Joyce and Hopper are still (sort of) staying in touch?  Are Lucas and Max the only couple having problems?  They’re the only ones that can still see each other every day!  Heck, Dustin is still with his own long distance girlfriend, and Steve might be doing better just offering advice to Robin.

It’s like Lucas kinda sucks now as far as everyone else is concerned.  He’s the one who wants to be elsewhere, like at the championship game instead of the final night of the D&D campaign.  That means Mike and Dustin have to ask everyone they know to find a sub, finally getting…Lucas’s badass sister Erica, and she’s good.

That both Sinclair siblings win the big game at the same time was a really nice touch.

That said, why are bullies so bad in the 80s?  Why pick on El?  Just because she idolizes her presumed dead father?  I guess El is lucky these aren’t the murderous sort of bully you might see in a Stephen King story.  Then again, said bullies are lucky that El isn’t able to use her powers anymore, or else the King story I’d be seeing would be Carrie.

However, this is still Stranger Things, so what weird thing is threatening Hawkins this time?  Well, head cheerleader Chrissy Cunningham is scared of something.  She supposedly has it all.  But then she has visions of her mother, looking kinda demonic and like a zombie.  She goes to Eddie for the strongest stuff he’s got, but a funny thing happens, and by funny, I mean terrifying.  She had another vision, and Eddie sees her basically just standing there…until she starts floating and hits the ceiling of Eddie’s trailer.  In her dream, some sort of monster man catches her…and in Eddie’s trailer, her body just…breaks.  Badly.  Looks like an ugly way to die.

And with that, Stranger Things is back.  If it stays this good, I won’t mind the long wait quite so much.