Hopper and Joyce do a quick recap of everything they know on the evil facility and consider the child’s room/prison Hopper found. And realise Will isn’t being kept there (there are children’s stick figure drawings in the room - while Will is a talented artist). To which Hopper remembers stories he dismissed about a woman called Terri looking for her missing daughter Jane. He realises more that he’s assumed that a witness who saw a bald kid was talking about Will but really Will isn’t the only kid in the world
So it’s time to find Terri… and ok, this is not so much a logical leap as a logical hop, skip and a jump followed by a logical meander through a hedge maze and finishing off with a logical bungee jump
They find Terri (I’m not even asking how) and find she’s near catatonic. But her sister fills them in - Terri was involved in a lot of illicit government experiments in the 50s - but she never knew she was pregnant. But Terri’s sister claimed the child died in a miscarried - but Terri believed her would return. And she has super powers
Hello there Eleven.
I’m not sure why Joyce is this invested in a missing girl from 12 years ago. She also despairs that Terri has been looking for a child for 12 years - so long without her. But Hopper, whose child died, would kill to still have that hope.
Over to Nancy and Jonathan - Nancy is in the parallel spooky fleshy forest hiding from the monster while Jonathan calls for her. He manages to find a portal - or gate - with a disturbing flesh hole in it which he manages to pull Nancy through. The portal seals behind them. Yup definitely creepy
It’s no surprise after that that neither of them wants to sleep alone and Jonathan ends up camping in Nancy’s room - first at the foot of her bed and then getting into it when she asks him to. But just to sleep.
The next day Nancy realises that if Barbara and Will are still alive - which Jonathan is sure they are since his mother is still using the ouija christmas lights - but that means they’re trapped in the other realm. Nancy who doesn’t lack for courage, decides they need to lure the beast out so they can ride to the rescue
This involves a fun day of shopping - for guns, bullets and bear traps. It’s a nice stash. She reflects on how her life has changed since the day before she was buying clothes to impress Steve and it seemed like the most important thing in her life.
Unfortunately Steve is still around and knows Jonathan spent the night in her room. He publicly slut shames Nancy with her friends and when she slaps him insults Jonathan viciously, homophobically and awfully - and Jonathan gives Steve a much deserved beating. The police are called though and he’s dragged in to the police station.
And to the kids. And we have Dustin shine this episode, desperately trying to bring Lucas and Mike back together (pointing out some obvious points about Lucas, Mike’s best friend, being jealous of the attention he’s lavishing on EL) and trying to make peace. Despite his excellence, it doesn’t work because Lucas absolutely will not trust El and heads to the Gate without the others
That leaves Dustin and Mike to find El - and run into their bullies instead. One of which forces Mike to literally jump into a quarry - which would probably have killed him if El wasn’t there to save him and pull him to safety. And drive off the bullies of course
El has been wandering, shop lifting, getting frustrated but mainly having more memory visions. We saw before that she used her woowoo to reach out to the monster in the darkness. Well it seems dear papa decided this was an awesome idea and she needs to go back into the darkness and make friends with the monster
This is… ill advised
El does this, touches the monster - and then panics and tries to escape when it turns on her. The walls crack to her powers - and she opens the Gate. The nasty fleshy organic hole in the facility and the freed monster was caused by her trying to flee the darkness.
And the moral of this story? When you find a child who can destroy buildings with her mind - do. Not. Poke.