Hopper continues his infiltration of the sinister lab by means of lots of punching until he finds the scary basement with the weird plant/tunnel/monster/thing
At which point he’s captured and dumped at home expected to sleep it off and forget everything. Instead he tears apart his house looking for a bug - and just when it seems like he’s just being paranoid he finds one.
The rest of the police think he may have lost it - but they tell him that Barb’s car has been found - clearly staged to be found (again by the State police who are so conveniently all involved outside their jurisdiction). And 2 more people have vanished
It seems like Joyce is more stable - but only because Lonnie the terrible is there to help them with the funeral. Jonathan is really not a fan because a) he hates his father and b) he’s now team supernatural doesn’t need someone getting Joyce back on team sensible. Or team withdrawn
At the funeral she is definitely low key, everything focuses more on Lonnie and the whole service is terrible (the pastor runs the worst kind of funeral - one where he seems to spend more time excusing god killing the dead kid than actually focusing on the grieving)
Still Lonnie continues to be helpful, fixing the great big holes Joyce put in the wall searching for Will. He also talks ominously about how the quarry was so very much to blame - yep, Lonnie is planning to sue the quarry. He is here playing kind and nice because he wants to cash in on his son’s death.
Joyce. Is. Not. Amused. Lonnie is giving his marching orders. And out comes the lights again.
Hopper also joins her to tear the house apart finding another bug- and telling Joyce she was right about everything.
The Geek Squad becomes more obsessed with the idea of an alternate dimension which Mike is stuck in and run it past their fellow geeky character who accepts the possibility and throws physics at the idea to try and pass it off as something other than magic. It’s going to need lots of power - so they to El to use woo-woo but first they need to find the place. To which Dustin actually does something and points out all their compassess (apparently everyone carried compasses back in these dark ages before coffee came in 169723 delicious flavours I could order over the internet? What a dark and terrible era). Are pointing the wrong way. Clearly if they go that way they will find the portal
Instead they end up walking in circles - because El is terrified. She really doesn’t want to them to find the other side (and we have a flashback of her astral projecting there for evil daddy and finding the monster in the first place) and wants to keep everyone away from it. So uses her woo-woo to move their compasses
Lucas rages and rants and suggests that El is behind everything. Mike defends her, they fight - and El slams Lucas into a wall. He’s unconscious for a while before waking up and storming off - while he was unconscious Mike yelled at El and she left as well so that kind of breaks up the kids.
I’ve been saying geek squad a lot but really it’s wrong - because this is Mike. Dustin is just kind of there ineffectually hanging around the edges of the group while Lucas is just angry and contrarian without ever actually achieving anything or having his viewpoint be anything but overruled. They could have made this all Mike and El and not meaningfully changed the story. Considering we’re talking about a disabled and Black kid and the two only minorities in the show, that’s a problem
In terms of world building it looks like tinkering with El’s super brain may have opened the portal and let awfulness out.
It’s that awfulness which Nancy and Jonathan are now after (though Nancy has to duck Steve first who wants everything to be back to normal and be forgiven for ignoring Barb’s disappearance). She practices with baseball bats, Jonathan with guns which is slightly worrisome. They also compare family stories, including Nancy’s fear of normality (seeing her parents’ oh-so-deal-marriage with money and the kids and everything right - except her mother doesn’t love her father, he was just the Right Choice) which, when they inevitably fight, Jonathan throws back at her because her rebellion (having sex with the popular guy) is so very normal.
Can we not make this true? Can we subvert this? Can we have Nancy having sex with Steve not because of rebellion or resisting “normality” but because she *gasp* thinks the hot guy (despite tragic hair) is hot?
Jonathan talks about Lonnie the worst father ever. Both do agree that they couldn’t tell an adult because the only one who’d believe them is Joyce and she’s… not in a good place.
They search the woods at night because they have not watched enough horror films. See, this is what a wholesome 50s upbringing does to you. You see teens these days not fully aware of the murdering they’ll get going into the woods at night? Nah kids these days have been raised correctly!
There they find a wounded deer - and when preparing to put it out of it’s misery, it’s creepily jerked deeper into the woods at high speed. They follow it… correctly assuming the faceless monster is behind it. And they separate (lack of horror films again) and I think the monster just got Nancy….