Last chapter, Will’s body or soul was being invaded by the giant smoke monster that’s been hunting him throughout the season so far.

His mother finds him standing in a field in the real world with Mike. This time though, neither Mike nor Joyce can pull him back to our reality.

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From Will’s point of view, he is still trapped in the smoky tornado of the monster’s appendage. His whole face is being filled with the monster’s substance as he silently screams. He finally snaps out of it as the monster has its fill of whatever it was doing to him. Joyce brings him home and tells him she knows what’s happening to him is real and current, not flashbacks to last year.

El goes back to the cabin and finds a very angry Hopper waiting for her. He belittles her, yells at her, grounds her, destroys her TV and threatens to send her back to the government lab. I thought Hopper was really trying before this, but he’s crossed way over the line. She was tortured and imprisoned there for years. That’s not something that should even occur to someone to say. What’s wrong with this guy?

He then says he doesn’t like her, calls her a “brat” and says it can be her “word of the day.” El gets mad for real this time. He tosses a dictionary at her and she throws it back at him with telekinesis. He yells some more and she bumps him with the sofa. She runs to her room and he bangs on the door and shouts as she sobs. Poor El. She has really bad luck with her father figures.

Joyce takes Will’s temperature because he says he feels “weird.” It comes to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is weird for sure. But Joyce promised him she wouldn’t take him to the doctor, so she runs a hot bath to get his temperature up to normal. Will refuses and drains the tub, saying, “He likes it cold.” Uh oh. That’s not something a mother wants to hear.

Hopper responds to Joyce’s calls and goes to Will’s house, finding the door open to the winter cold. Joyce and Hopper talk to Will as he sits in the wintry breeze in his underwear. He explains that he knows things after the monster invaded him, like the fact it prefers cold and fears warmth. He begins to draw his new knowledge, unable to put it into words.

Elsewhere, the group theorizes Will possesses True Sight, the ability to see the Upside Down and access it through the ethereal plane. Mike hopes to find Dart and use it somehow to help Will. Dustin seems conflicted, since he has Dart in a terrarium back at home.

Nancy and Jonathan’s attempt to tell Barbara’s parents the truth about her disappearance is thwarted by the government. Agents abduct them and bring them to the lab, where the doctor shows them the work he’s having done there.

He even shows them the breach to the Upside Down, and points out that while it’s a problem he’d like to fix, they also need to keep people from knowing the truth to keep the Soviets (this is Cold War era, remember) from using it as a weapon. Nancy and Jonathan stare, speechless, as a soldier uses a flamethrower to burn off the corruption encroaching on our reality.

Will is drawing impossibly fast, sketching dozens of pictures. Joyce and Hopper piece them together to depict a network of lines that are growing and killing, as Will puts it. Hopper believes them to be vines.

El cleans up after her fight with Hopper and discovers a trapdoor under the sofa. She finds many boxes of documents divided up by location. The label on one box reads, “Hawkins Lab.” She opens it to find a story and photo of Terry Ives, who claimed the government stole her daughter.

El uses her psychic abilities to view her from a distance. She sees Terry, who somehow sees her too and says, “Jane?” El reaches out and touches her hand, saying, “Mama?” But Terry vanishes, turning into smoke.

Nancy and Jonathan are set free from the lab and given back their car. Nancy pulls out a tape recorder and plays back a segment of the doctor’s monologue to them. It was their plan to be abducted and brought to the lab the whole time! Kudos to Nancy. She just outwitted a whole arm of the government. She plans to use this information to expose the lab. That’s risky, but again, kudos! She’s pretty good at this.

Dustin goes home to collect d’Artagnan and use him to help Will. He finds his Terrarium shattered and strips of Dart’s skin shed all over. Following the sounds (louder than before) of Dart’s creepy trilling, he finds Dart feeding on his other pets. Dart looks up at him and screams. It’s head opens up into a Demogorgon’s flower-like mouth.

I thought that was the cliffhanger but the episode continues! Hopper is in the middle of a massive hole. This guy must be on steroids or something. I’ve dug holes to plant small, 6-foot trees and it took an incredibly long time. Hopper has dug an amount that makes him a fair competitor to a backhoe. I’m not a stickler for details and I’m suspending my disbelief as you should when watching Stranger Things, but it just seems a strange decision for the director to make the hole so huge.

Anyway: Hopper breaks through to a tunnel covered in Upside Down vines. It’s very large and easily fits him, stretching off into the distance. Apparently the breach has not been contained as the government believed. The whole world could be in jeopardy.

See all our Stranger Things Season 2 Recaps here

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