At the Gateway to the Upside-Down…
The sixth episode in Stranger Things’ third season opens with a scene in the lab deep under the Starcourt mall. The Russians have somehow managed to construct ‘keys’ which they can use to access the Upside-Down. The Russians working in the lab under the mall have a fully operational key and have used it to open a gateway to the Upside-Down.
When Robin (Maya Hawke) asks Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) and Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) how it is they could possibly know about such supernatural events, the conversation is interpreted by Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson) when she notices the Russian communications officer is missing from the room. The Russians now know that their facility has been breached by hostile forces. They are surprised to learn that those forces comprise of two teenagers and two children.
When the quartet finds no way for all of them to escape, Steve and Robin hold off the Russians while Dustin and Erica use an air duct to achieve their escape.
In the Air Duct…
Don’t you just love how Dustin can frame a logical argument to the point where people have no recourse but to agree with him? Even though Erica does not recognise herself as a nerd, Dustin puts forwards an argument that suggests she is the quintessential nerd. Is there anything wrong with being a nerd? Everyone, regardless of how we look at ourselves, has nerdy qualities. Some of us just do not see it. Erica is certainly one of those people.
Later, Steve and Robin are interrogated by the Russians. Even though Steve and Robin were willing to allow themselves to become captured so that Dustin and Erica could escape, Erica does not want to leave either Steve or Robin behind. Even though she wants to rescue them, Dustin does not see how they can achieve it without themselves being either captured and or killed.
Ozerov (Misha Kuznetsov), the Russian officer in charge of the facility under the mall, is reminiscent of Colonel Ourumov (Gottfried John) in the 1995 Bond film GoldenEye. Both characters have a similar demeanour.
It seems Erica manages to talk Dustin into saving Steve and Robin. When Dustin rushes into the room, he immediately electrocutes Doctor Zharkov (Arthur Darbinyan) with a cattle-prod-style device.
At the Hospital…
Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) senses the Mindflayer is present within the hospital. When the group goes to check on Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), the woman at the desk tries to stop them. It is interesting how the woman at the emergency room desk insists that only two people at a time visit a patient when she herself cannot be bothered to adhere to work-related rules. People are typically not supposed to be on personal calls during work time.
Meanwhile, on another floor of the hospital, the Mindflayer is about to breach the room Nancy is hiding in. The creature can somehow reduce itself into a jell-goo-like form so that it can seep under doors. Is anyone else reminded of The Blob? The Blob, originally a 1958 movie, was remade in 1998. The alien in these films had similar biological properties to the Mindflayer when it is not in its solid form.
Possibly thinking it has Nancy exactly where it wants her, the Mindflayer is suddenly confronted by Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). One on one, Eleven manages to show the Mindflayer it is no match for her mental abilities. By using her telekinetic abilities, Eleven throws the creature up against the walls and the ceiling of the room. To add further injury, she tosses it through the window. Eleven and the group exit the emergency room moments before the creature flees into the sewer system.
Meanwhile, at the Fun Fair…
Mayor Larry Kline (Cary Elwes) is not happy to see Grigori (Andrey Ivchenko) at the Fun Fair. Grigori wants to know what it is the mayor is doing to locate Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). It does not look like the mayor is fully aware of what is transpiring. Further, it also does not look like Kline knows Jim and Joyce are with the Russian scientist Dr Alexei (Alec Utgoff).
Somewhere in Illinois…
Jim is somewhere in Illinois with Joyce, Alexei and Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman). While Murray was initially behaving like a plank Joyce, Jim and Alexei arrived, she quickly put the former journalist straight about a few things.
Even though the police chief was not able to get the Russian scientist a cherry Slurpee, Alexei is not happy with the strawberry Slurpee Jim has purchased for him. No cheery Slurpee, no deal. Alexei does not realise he does not hold all the cards. When Jim throws Alexei out the door, followed by the keys to the handcuffs, the police chief is under the impression the Russian scientist will not take this opportunity to escape. Jim his right. Alexei realises the gravity of the situation he is in. He returns and gives the keys back to Jim before re-entering the building.
Alexei talks about something the Russians built called the “key.” The Russians built keys in Russia but none of them worked. They were not in the right place. Russian scientists are using the key to break through a barrier so that they can open a doorway between worlds. Jim and Joyce realise the world Alexei is referencing is the Upside-Down. Alexei says the doorway is opening.
Jim wants to know if it is possible to turn the key off. While the Russian scientist believes breaking into the facility where the key is located is impossible, he is unaware four individuals have already breached its security.
Eleven enters Billy’s Mind…
Billy is at home in his room. Eleven tries to enter Billy’s mind. When she does so, she somehow finds herself on a beach. This is where Billy stores all his memories. There is a woman, possibly a memory of Billy’s mother, and a boy there on the beach. The boy is Billy as a child. Max says that this is a memory.
The closure to the eye of the storm Eleven gets, the more intense the memories become. Eleven can see the source in the distance. It looks like a lightning storm. The storm looks like its miles away, but this is in Billy’s mind. In another memory, Billy’s father is berating him for not being the son he wants. A few seconds later, Eleven sees a memory of Billy trying to defend his mother against his father. There is a memory of Billy meeting Max for the first time. Max is Billy’s adoptive sister.
Once Eleven reaches the eye of the storm, she finds herself at the old steel mill. When she attempts to release herself from Billy’s mind, the Mindflayer shows her the cost of her mind-meddling. The Mindflayer, through Billy, reveals to Eleven that he knows where she and her friends are located. Meanwhile, around town, the possessed people go to the steel mill and merge into a single gigantic beast.