STRANGER FILES AND THINGS: O-H-N-O-P-L-E-A-S-E-B-E-C-A-R-E-F-U-L (EPISODE 8)
Far be it from me to begin without using the word “penultimate,” so welcome to the penultimate episode of Stranger Things 2. It’s a moment of truth for finding out who has the will and/or telekinetic advantage to make it to the end. Is there strength in numbers, or will everyone just be shitty to each other? What’s a better weapon, a homemade slingshot or a homemade medieval torture bat? Can you really believe what a boy possessed by a killer vine says while he’s under interrogation? Will Eleven come back from Chicago in time to save everyone, or does she get stuck in traffic on the Dan Ryan? Can Bob, our slow-dancing Dracula, possibly be an action hero? Can Hopper even get any sexier with all his dad angst?
We know that these characters, in the thick of their misery, take time out to play some games. I would too if I had to relieve the stress of constantly trying to evade a growing animal-plant from hell. Will and his crew spend hours playing things like Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon’s Lair, and Dig Dug, where I’m pretty sure you dig for dragons. Plus the greatest game of all-- finding a date for the school dance despite all of the dragon stuff.
Turns out the people of Hawkins also like Bingo, but they play a local version called CloseGate because it’s the best idea one of their residents ever had. When Will “I’m Channeling the Hivemind of a Sky Tarantula” Byers is tied to a chair that’s tied to a pole, luckily his fingers are still fancy tree to tap out Morse code. First he taps H-E-R-E, because he is always good about taking attendance. Then he taps C-L-O-S-E-G-A-T-E, because he comes up with a great idea to close the gate to the Upside Down.
Why didn’t anyone else think of that? They had seven episodes, plus all of Season 1.
Also, S-H-U-T-G-A-T-E would have saved a whole letter, just saying. I know, I know, who can ever remember the Morse code for U?
The rest of the gang has to stare at C-L-O-S-E-G-A-T-E way too long for this lady, wondering what a closeg is and who ate it. Seems like they need to do a training montage with dragon-based word games.
Anyway, in CloseGate, you put a marker on each of the things you’ve done recently, and the first to fill out a row is the winner-- you know the drill. If you win, it turns out you’re going to be the next person to die. Sorry about that. But it’s so great that people still take the time to play games with each other despite everything else going on. The family that plays together, stays together, until some or all of them bite it.
Here’s the CloseGate card I found in the Stranger Games File. Good luck?
To the character who wins real hard in this episode, who I will not name because I don’t endorse spoilers or heartache: I regret I doubted you. I teased. I made an eyebrow face at you. I’m sorry. I will stand and slow clap you into this good night, my friend.
But you’re still not a hero, because you really should have made it. So close. Just sooo close.
Who knows what danger lurks at Bingo Night...but it’s definitely stranger.