Stranger Things’ fourth episode immediately picks up the action where the quartet: Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke) and the young Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson), all find themselves trapped in a rapidly descending elevator they initially thought was a storage room.
When they climb out of a hatch in the elevator ceiling, to their shock, Dustin, Steve, Robin and Erica discover they are deep under the mall. Climbing the elevator shaft, considering how deep the shaft goes beneath the new Starcourt Mall goes, might not be as easy as they initially thought.
A Hidden Laboratory…
Elsewhere, Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) uncover the existence of a hidden laboratory. It is located on one of the abandoned properties the mall’s owners has recently purchased.
As Jim happen upon two scientists in the lab, Joyce immediately notices the sound of footsteps coming from the room immediately above them. The motorcyclist that attacked the police chief during the previous episode has arrived in the building.
Despite being involved in an intense firefight where Joyce accidentally throws Jim’s sidearm to the bad guy, the police chief and Joyce escape the lab with Russian scientist Dr Alexei (Alec Utgoff). “Do you still think it was our government?” Jim asks Joyce in a marginally sarcastic tone. While it was a plausible theory Joyce was working on, the United States government clearly does not have any involvement in what is transpiring in and around Hawkins.
Later, while Jim attempts to fix the police vehicle, Joyce attempts to speak with the Russian scientist. Even though Alexei cannot speak English, it does not stop Joyce from trying to communicate with the Russian scientist. Their broken conversation, while it is clearly annoying to the police chief, gets them pretty much nowhere.
Alexei tries to warn Jim and Joyce that the car will imminently catch fire, but because of the language barrier, the police chief does not understand what the Russian scientist is saying. Because Joyce keeps revving the police truck, the engine catches fire.
At the Police Vehicle…
Grigori (Andrey Ivchenko), the motorcyclist is tracking Jim, Joyce and Alexei. He finds the police truck but there is no one there when he arrives. The three travellers have already started to make their way on foot to Illinois, apparently.
Elsewhere, Jim and Joyce are arguing about relationship stuff again. When Alexei starts running, the police chief immediately thinks the Russian scientist is trying to escape. When Jim catches up with Alexei, Jim and Joyce find themselves standing opposite a 7/Eleven gas station.
The 7/Eleven employee mistakes Jim for a bounty hunter. Does the police chief look like a bounty hunter? Seriously?
Jim has not yet grasped, even though the police chief knows Alexei does not speak English, the Russian scientist does not understand a word he is saying to him.
While Joyce calls Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono) from the 7/Eleven payphone, Jim essentially frog matches Alexei across the gas station parking lot to where a convertible car is parked. The owner of the vehicle is filling up with gas. The police chief commandeers the vehicle because of an apparent police emergency.
When the motorcyclist arrives at the 7/ Eleven, the owner of the convertible is speaking with local police about his car.
When Jim and Joyce meet up with Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), with Alexei as their apparent kidnapee, they find the former journalist is not welcoming. Eventually, Joyce gets the better of Murray and tells him what she and Jim are looking for.
Getting the Band Back Together…
When Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) places a telephone call to Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) from outside the hospital Emergency entrance, Jonathon is initially annoyed with his now-former newspaper colleague because of how early it is. It’s 6 o’clock in the morning. Who wouldn’t be annoyed at being woken up at that time? Jonathon’s annoyance immediately dissipates when Nancy asks if Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is safe.
Eleven Finds the Police Chief…
By using her ‘spying’ abilities, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is able to locate Jim. Eleven tells the gang the police chief is with Will’s mom and they are going to Illinois.
Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) suspects everything is connected. Something smells fishy. The police chief is hiking in the woods with Will’s mom and Dustin is MIA. “It just isn’t right,” Will tells the guys. “It can’t be a coincidence.”
After Nancy and Jonathon arrive at the Wheeler residence, they meet with the gang in the basement. Nancy tells everyone about what she experienced at the hospital. “It was the same thing,” Nancy said, “the exact same thing that happened to Will last year.”
It does not take them long to realise what transpired with Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) at the pool’s sauna and that which Nancy is talking about occurred at the exact same time.
The transformation Will, Eleven, Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) saw was not an isolated event. It also occurred across town with at the hospital with Ms Driscoll. If it can happen with two people simultaneously, it could possibly occur with many other people at the same time.
When Nancy realises Heather everyone is talking about is Heather Holloway (Francesca Reale), the condition of the newspaper editor begins to make more sense. Tom Holloway (Michael Park), the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper, is Heather’s father. Tom is not as much high on drugs as he is possessed by a demonic entity.
At the Holloway Residence…
When the gang arrives at the Holloway residence, Nancy finds evidence suggesting the newspaper editor had been attacked. The blood on the wine bottle may have come from the injury Tom has on his head. Consequently, they surmise Heather is possessed and is subsequently working with Billy. Where could Billy and Heather have taken her parents?
Nancy remembers Ms Driscoll constantly spoke about having to go back somewhere. Is it the same place that Billy and Heather took the Holloways? Letting Ms Driscoll return to the source could be their only real option. By following Ms Driscoll, the gang can locate where it is Billy and Heather took Tom and his wife.
Later, after Nancy, Eleven and the guys arrive at the hospital emergency entrance, the woman at the desk stop them from entering because there is a rule which limits visitations to two persons at a time. With the others staying outside, Nancy and Jonathon proceed with the plan to get Ms Driscoll out of the hospital so that she can lead them to wherever it is she needs to get back to. Jonathon finally accepts he was wrong.
On Ms Driscoll’s Floor…
While Mike and Eleven seem to have reconciled their differences, on an upper floor, Nancy and Jonathon are running for their lives from the misogynistic Bruce (Jake Busey). Since Nancy and Jonathon were fired from the newspaper, many things have occurred. Bruce is now possessed. Consequently, he is trying to present Nancy and Jonathon from getting to Ms Driscoll.
Many of the hospital personnel are dead. Because the woman at the front desk is on a personal call, Nancy is not able to reach her.
Bruce attacks Jonathon with a stool. Stabbing Bruce in the back with a pair of scissors does not seem to slow Bruce down. The possessed newspaper editor is also in the hospital. While Nancy tries to fight Bruce, Jonathon must defend himself against Tom.
Whatever is possessing Bruce has a direct link to the entity in Tom. When Nancy hits Bruce with the fire extinguisher, the impact somehow has the same effect on Tom. This gives Jonathon a chance to stab the editor in the throat with the scissors.
Like that seen with the rat in Ms Driscoll’s basement, the bodies of both Bruce and Tom transform into slim creatures which crawl along the hospital corridor towards one another. When the creatures meet, they become a single entity. Combined, the creature is now significantly bigger than anything Nancy or Jonathon can defeat.
At the Bottom of the Elevator Shaft…
Dustin, Steve, Robin and Erica are still at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Dustin seems to think his walkie-talkie will somehow have the range required to reach someone on the outside. We and the quartet currently do not know how deep under the mall the elevator shaft goes. Further, if someone does pick up the transmission, considering what Dustin is saying, the likelihood of anyone taking a teenager seriously is remote.
After Robin tells Steve to redirect his stream so that she cannot see the product of him taking a leak, there is the sound of an approaching vehicle. They are deep underground. How can there be an approaching vehicle this far underground? “We’ve got company,” Robin tells Dustin and Steve.
By using the bio-fluorescent green fluid container to hold the elevator door open, Dustin, Steve, Robin and Erica make their escape. Unfortunately, they find themselves at the end of what is a seriously long corridor. This pretty much explains why the Russians are using electrical transport vehicles to shuttle supplies from the elevator to wherever it is they take them in the facility.
Because of the elevator door pressure on the container is increasing, the container breaks. The bio-fluorescent green fluid seems to erode the surface of the floor. Robin asks Erica if she still wants to drink that.
Later, as the quartet makes its way along the corridor, Dustin and Steve make a connection between their location, the Russian’s interest in the area and what they know of the Upside-Down. Is it possible the Russians are there to reopen a gate to the Upside-Down?
Where are They Now?
When the quartet arrives at the end of the corridor, they find a chamber occupied with Russian soldiers and scientists. Does anyone else think this massive underground facility is worthy of the James Bond villain Ernst Stavros Blofeld? It’s the mid-1980s. What was Bond doing in 1985?
According to the Bond franchise, in the 1985 released A View to a Kill, Bond (Roger Moore) was in these United States battling the psychopathic Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) as he tried to take down much of the Californian coastline in an enormous man-made earthquake. While that is not a link to Blofeld, Zorin does have a subterranean facility from which he sees the destruction of the West coast.
Where in the Russian facility is the communications room? Erica thinks she saw it but cannot be one hundred per cent sure. Moving fast and staying low is certainly the right thing to do as the placing is crawling with armed guards.
When the quartet breach the communications room, they find an officer working at one of the communication terminals. As Robin sees the officer begins to reach for his gun, she begins to speaking Russian to him in an effort to confuse him. This does not work. When he reaches for his gun a second time, Steve charges at the officer like a bull in a china shop. Eventually, Steve manages to subdue the officer by knocking him out with a telephone receiver.
While Erica, Dustin and Steve bicker between themselves, Robin investigates a room at the top of a nearby stairwell. When she tells them that “there is something up there,” it is not an understatement. The Russians are reopening a gateway to the Upside-Down.