Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 3 Recap – Holly, Jolly
Published 2 weeks ago
Barb wakes up at an alternate version of Steve Harrington’s pool, but this place is dark and full of black tendrils growing on the ground. The creature that took her, which looks like a faceless man with monstrous figures catches up as Barb struggles to climb out of the empty pool, yelling Nancy’s name. Nancy senses her friend calling out, but she’s currently losing her virginity to Steve.
Nancy leaves while Steve sleeps while wearing his sweatshirt against the cold. Karen scolds her for coming home late. Nancy makes an excuse that she forgot the time but her mom notices Steve’s sweatshirt. She brushes it off as nothing, even when Karen tells her she can be honest with her.
Jonathan wakes up to the sound of his mother talking to Will through the lights. He finds her surrounded by lamps from all over the house, which are now arranged around her. Joyce asks Will a question and one of the lights flickers but Jonathan isn’t convinced. She insists that Will is talking to her while Jonathan urges her to get some sleep while he makes breakfast.
To prepare for another night of searching for Will, Lucas brings binoculars, a knife, a hammer, and a wrist rocket to Mike’s house. Dustin brought some snacks and trail mix, saying they don’t need weapons now that they have Eleven. They argue as to whether or not she has after what little they saw, so Dustin asks her to let Mike’s Millennium Falcon fly. Karen calls everyone to prepare for school, but before leaving, Mike asks eleven to meet them at the power lines by 3:15. He gives her his digital watch and tells her how to check it.
Secrets at Hawkins Lab
At school, Nancy notices she’s getting a ton of looks from other students. Steven promises he didn’t tell anyone and she’s being paranoid. Back in their classroom, Nancy notices Barb’s chair is empty and nobody knows where she is.
Hopper and his officers visit Hawkins National Lab to investigate. The guard won’t let them in without a clearance, So he tries to haggle for ten minutes inside, as the media, the mayor and Joyce has been on his tail for this missing kid’s case. There, they check the drainpipe opening they found the piece of cloth but the security guy says the missing boy should have been caught by their cameras.
The officers watch the surveillance room footage and see nothing out of the ordinary. On the way out, Hopper notes that it was raining on that day but not on the footage. This means that they were being lied to.
Now alone at Mike’s house, El manages to let the Millennium Falcon levitate without any issue. She goes to the living room and sits on the La-Z-Boy. She then checks the TV and searches the channels, where she stumbles upon a soda commercial. Suddenly she’s reminded of a test that Dr. Brenner put her in, where she was tasked to crush a soda can with her mind. El managed to do it, to Brenner’s approval. El stumbles into Nancy’s room and sees from her photos how much her family loves her. She also notices photos of Barb with Nancy.
Joyce takes out her Christmas lights from a box and lays them out on her wall. There isn’t enough, so she goes to her employer and buys a few more boxes.
Dr. Brenner and his team install a rope system facing the fissure inside Hawkins lab. There’s a dark vine-like mass that seems to be growing inside.
The Search for Barb
Nancy joins Steve and asks his friend Tommy if he saw Barb leave but he claims she was already gone before they left. Later, she calls Barb’s mom and learns that she hasn’t come home as well.
While collecting stones for their sling, Dustin wonders if El’s powers were inherent or acquired. Lucas teases Mike for her apparent crush on El. Suddenly, the bullies Troy and James teases them for their missing friend and trips Mike as he ignores them.
Nicole notices Jonathan developing photos of Nancy and her friends in the school’s dark room. He hurries to take them away.
Steve and his friends confront Jonathan after Nicole told them about the photos he took. Tommy snags his bag away and they call him out for his creepy photos of them. Nancy comes around and sees the picture of her undressing through the window. Steve tears the photos apart and drops Jonathan’s camera to the ground. Nancy sees Barb’s photo as she’s sitting by the pool and takes them.
Nancy returns to Barb’s car, which was still where they left it that night near Steve’s house. She goes into Steve’s pool to search and hears a rustling in the woods, which freaks her out. Nancy goes home and tells her mom about Barb’s disappearance.
El goes to the power lines at the designated time and finds a cat growling at her. This reminds her of another experiment where Brenner asked her to kill a cat with her mind, but she couldn’t do it. They lead her to solitary confinement, but she manages to kill her guards out of fear. Brenner sees this and rewards her with praise and affection. Mike and his three friends arrive and he asks El to hop on his bike’s back seat. She asks Mike about his wounded nose, which he claims he got from a fall. El reminds her that friends tell the truth, so Mike reveals that he was tripped by this mouth breather named Troy.
Karen, along with her youngest, Holly, visits Joyce to bring her a casserole. Joyce greets her with a smile, even with her disheveled hair and the house filled with Christmas lights. Karen assures her that she isn’t going mad and must do what she can to cope with her son’s loss. Suddenly, Holly notices the lights go up in a sequence and follows them, leading her to Will’s room filled with lamps. The lights start dancing but then abruptly stops. Joyce finds Holly staring at the wall where the creature appeared, saying she saw something. Joyce asks them both to leave.
Later, Joyce and her dog see the lights turning on in a sequence that leads to a cupboard. She asks Will some questions and instructs him to blink once for yes and twice for no. She learns that she’s still alive but is in danger. Since she can’t communicate outside of a yes or no question, she decides to paint the walls with letters.
Hopper goes to the library to search for old newspapers in the Hawkins Lab. They find numerous articles on alleged human experimentations. Cal and Hopper’s investigation leads them to CIA-led research that links Brenner to the hospital gown they found in the drain. Suddenly he gets a call.
El leads the three boys to Will’s home, saying he’s been hiding there. This leaves Dustin and Lucas disappointed and asks them to call the cops. They find the police cars whizzing past through and follow them.
After setting up the lights and letters, Will sends Joyce a message that he’s “Right Here”. Not knowing what it means, she asks what she should do. The letters spell “Run” as a creature emerges from their wall.
The boys and Eleven follow the police to Sattler Quarry’s lake. They watch in horror as the rescue team takes Will’s body out of the water. Mike blames El for lying to them and then runs home in anger.
The show has so many rich characters and a very realized small-town world. Rating: 4.2/5.