Spoilers ahead, feel free to come back once you’ve seen the fourth episode.
Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Max and Joyce find Will blinking wildly in an almost catatonic state. When he finally regains consciousness he describes feeling it ‘everywhere’ to his mother as he trembles with tears in his eyes. This is the best acted scene in this season so far, it embodies all the fear and trauma that has accumulated with every vision that Will has suffered through.
Eleven and Hopper’s relationship reaches breaking point and it results in a heartbreaking scene of Hopper struggling to explain his actions to Eleven who feels betrayed by his decisions. They’re both restrained by their circumstances and neither can do what they really want. Hopper is starting to lose control over Eleven, like any parent would over a rebellious teenager, but this teenager has telekinesis. Yet, Eleven has legit grievances, being isolated for as long as she has been forced to be would take its toll on anyone.
Meanwhile Will is in a deep state of fear and it is finally revealed that the shadow monster has possessed him, ‘he likes it cold’. The organism inside of him is starting to take over. Hopper and Joyce desperately continue to figure out what is wrong with Will and how they can help him. Will scribbles out his visions onto mountains of paper and Joyce figures out they all connect to form a rough image of plant vines. Hopper makes the connection and we have the mystery of the rotting pumpkins half-solved. There is a huge tunnel underneath the pumpkin field with what seems like a layer of membrane grown over it.
Nancy and Jonathan’s little plan works so far as getting them a meeting with Dr. Owens. He shows them the ‘mistake’; a membrane or a window to the Upside Down and explains how he is tasked to keep it a secret because of international political implications of it being revealed, including the threat of Russia attempting to replicate it. His explanation makes sense, and he doesn’t seem like he is hiding anything from them, however, I will continue to side-eye him for the time being.
In her continued isolation Eleven reads clips from old newspapers and she may have figured out who her mother is, Terry Ives. She tries to contact her through her telekinesis and actually reaches her, similar to how she reached Mike. Terry feels her presence when Eleven says ‘mama’.
This episode finally moved the plot forward at a good pace; the different threads of storylines are reaching their climax. Eleven now has a reason to really leave the shack in search of her mother, Nancy and Jonathan plan to tear down the lab after hearing what Dr. Owens had to say about Barb’s death (he’s dismissive of it), Will is revealed to be possessed and Dart has grown much larger and escapes.
I hope Dustin finally lets go of his obsession with Dart, it’s sending him down a dark path, and he seems to be prioritising it above his friendships, especially when they find out he’s been hiding him from them. It also killed and ate his cat!