THIS TIME IT'S MAGNETS (STRANGER THINGS RECAP)
Welcome back to Hawkins. Let’s catch up, shall we?
We open not back in Hawkins. There are people breathing heavily in hazmat suits. It is June 28, 1984. On this day in history, Richard Ramirez performed his first known murder as the "Night Stalker."
We meet a man who is so bald, so dour, and so casually smoking in a quarantined area that he must be Russian. The Soviets are testing a giant piece of equipment that appears to be made of leftover parts from a Tesla coil, a particle collider, a proton pack, and an industrial washing machine. They are apparently filming an episode of Mythbusters to determine whether the Upside Down is still, in fact, a hot mess. Spoiler alert: yes. Yes it is.
Flash forward to one year later, back in home sweet Hawkins. On this day in history, Bill Cosby was on the cover of LIFE magazine with the headline “America’s Funniest Father.” (Poor Bob Newby, rest in peace, used to think he was in the running for the Funniest Stepfather category if everything played out right.) Dusty is just getting home from summer science camp, where he built a robot girlfriend, I mean met a real human girl, mastered the ins and outs of Mormonism, and assembled a portable SETI station to make radio love to his girlfriend who is definitely real and warm and made of skin and human insides.
There’s a new spot for mall madness in Hawkins. Let’s all meet at Starcourt! I can smell the stale movie theater popcorn and the fresh Baby-Sitters Club paperbacks at Waldenbooks, and I love it. At a slightly later moment than this day in history, my mom and sister and I made a special trip to the mall in our California suburb for a Jodie Sweetin meet-and-greet. I got a signed 8x10, no big deal.
Everything is scoop-tastic. Nancy is getting the scoop as an ambitious coffee secretary at the Hawkins Post, Steve is serving ice cream with a dollop of sad flirting at Scoops Ahoy, and Joyce is scooping magnets off the kitchen floor to warn us that the Upside Down is still a real problem. Because this time it's magnets. Move over, flickering string lights.
But here’s the real question of this chapter: what is the grossest?
We have several options.
1. The conference room full of sexual and emotional harassment enthusiasts at the Hawkins Post, led by Son of Busey, who have clearly never seen 9 to 5 or they would be more worried about getting kidnapped.
2. The hot moms at the pool who are hot for hot lifeguard Billy.
3. Billy chewing his gum seductively at Mrs. Wheeler.
3b. The fact that Billy had to be keeping his gum either inside his whistle, inside his swim trunks, or on the ground.
4. Mike and El kissing like pubescent birds.
5. Exploding rats.
We must all answer this question for ourselves. I, for one, after much deliberation, landed on exploding rats, based on the criteria of which thing made me say “eewww” the loudest and longest. “I GET IT!” I screamed at the TV after the fourth rat exploded. "I UNDERSTAND THE PATTERN YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED! PLEASE STOP NOW."
We end this chapter with Dusty intercepting Soviet spies on his girlfriend satellite, all of us sad again about Bob, and Billy getting dragged away in the night. Probably by Richard Ramirez.
It’s good to be back.