BETH NETHERCOTT on tense relationships, shocking revelations and light relief in Chapter Three of the Stranger Things rollercoaster
As always, these reviews inevitably contain spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4... Proceed with caution!
Chapter Three is apparently the shortest episode of the season, but there’s plenty of tension, comedy and mystery. Further details about Vecna emerge and there are extra interactions with various characters.
The mystery in Hawkins
Nancy is determined to uncover the mystery of Victor Creel, so heads to the library with Robin while Steve, Dustin, and Max investigate the school councillor. There are strong hints of tension between the two. Does this stem from Robin’s close relationship with Steve? It’s an interesting dynamic and hopefully one that will turn into a friendship. The duo source information about Victor, answering my question from the Episode Two review: “Has Vecna struck before?” The 1959 tragedy of Victor’s family is revealed.
Lucas the Jock
Lucas tries to impress his Jock friends. He wants to fit in yet deep down he is aware he is nothing like them. Chrissy’s boyfriend and basketball captain Jason is convinced Eddie killed her. Jason clearly wants to beat the hell out of Eddie and the Jocks make progress by locating the Hellfire Club and using violence to get information. It’s obvious Lucas does not want to be involved but is conflicted because he desires popularity.
Honestly, I don’t care about Mike and Eleven’s relationship. I don’t fully believe in them like I do with other relationships or even potential ones. Even Eleven begins to question whether Mike loves her. Does he only love that she is a ‘superhero’? Perhaps Mike needs reminding she has lost her powers? Writing letters to her shows he cares but I am not convinced in the slightest he loves her.
Wince-ona’s comedy facial expressions
Three stand-out comedy scenes feature Jonathan and Argyle, Murray and Joyce, and Dustin and Steve.
In California, Joyce tells the teens she is going on a work trip to Alaska. What happened to “friends don’t lie”?! While she explains, Jonathan and Argyle are stoned and talking mumbo jumbo. Joyce looks confused with the actor who plays her - Winona Ryder – brilliant at believable facial expressions.
Murray and Joyce are on a plane to rescue Hopper. Joyce has second thoughts about whether she should have told the truth to the teens about what they are really doing in Alaska. Murray’s opinion is she did the right thing, its best her kids don’t get involved, and the worst thing that can happen is they are “doing drugs, drinking beers, and experimenting sexually.” Cue another classic Winona facial impression! An ideal partnership combining honesty with comedy.
Dustin and Steve’s bromance develops from their Season Three wholesome friendship and their banter is one of the many highlights of the show. Dustin teases Steve that he still likes Nancy. Steve’s tongue-in-cheek retort is “I’ll punch you so hard in the face that your teeth will fall back out!”
Grandfather time bomb
The discovery that the victims have been seeing the school councillor is a significant revelation. The episode concludes with Max visualising the spooky grandfather clock. This potentially foreshadows Max being Vecna’s next target – how worrying! Skilled writers always leave episodes with mysterious cliff hangers. I’m itching to watch the next episode after that bombshell!
Written by Beth Nethercott