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Home Articles TV Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 5 Recap – The Flea and the Acrobat

Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 5 Recap – The Flea and the Acrobat

BY Harris

Published 3 months ago

Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 5 Recap - The Flea and the Acrobat

Inside Hawkins Lab

Jim Hopper slips into Hawkins Lab and goes into the quarantined wing, only to be blocked by an electronic lock. Two security guards try and stop him, but Hopper subdues them and steals a keycard.

Lonnie tries to comfort Joyce and brings a drink. They’ve now covered the wall with a tarp, and she expresses how sad she couldn’t feel Will nearby anymore. Lonnie asks her to consider that this is all in her head to help her cope with her son’s death. They should prepare for his funeral the next day.

Hopper checks around the halls, searching for Will. He stumbles into what looks like a girl’s room with a drawing of her and her Papa facing a cat on the table. As he rides the elevator to the upper floors, he finds other security personnel chasing after him.


Mike and his friends recount what they heard from Will in the AV room. El mentions the Upside Down, which reminds Mike about the time she flipped the board over. That was why El took them to Will’s house, as he was hiding in a dark, empty version of that place. Dustin compares it to the Vale of Shadows in D&D. A dark reflection of our world. A place of decay and death where monsters reside. They ask El if she knows how to get there, and she shakes her head.

Hopper reaches the room with the breach and inspects the malignant membrane. He hears movement behind him and is subdued by a guard.

The Upside Down


Jonathan arrives home and finds Lonnie sitting on the couch with his mom. He discovers the hole in the wall and asks Joyce if the creature came back. Jonathan asks to talk with Lonnie alone and tells him to leave, but the latter claims he’s there to help Joyce from going over the edge. Lonnie asks him to behave at the funeral tomorrow.

The Wheeler family wears their funeral attire for the day’s services. The Byers dog goes to Castle Byers while Joyce reluctantly follows Lonnie and Jonathan to the funeral. Joyce remembers Will drawing his D&D character, “Will the Wise,” throwing a green fireball because he ran out of red crayons.

Hopper wakes up on his couch. He goes outside in a panic with his gun, but nobody’s there. He checks the whole house if he’s been bugged and finds one in the lightbulb.


Dr. Brenner listens to Joyce and Will’s conversation on the Upside Down and confirms that Eleven is with the boys.

Nancy and Jonathan inspect the map where all of the strange things happened lately and see that it’s all within a mile radius. This means the creature isn’t traveling far. He wants to go out there and kill it. Nancy advises him to tell Joyce, but he doesn’t want to put another burden on her.

The Gate

The school hired a repairman to check the super radio that had fried in the AV room. Little did the principal know that these men were from Hawkins Lab.


Mike, Lucas, and Dustin ask Mr. Clarke about traveling to other dimensions. Clarke explains by drawing a picture of an acrobat standing on a tightrope who can only move back and forth. Beside it is a flea that can move in different directions. The only way for the acrobat to travel is by using massive energy to create a gate. In the case of a gate opening, magnetic fluctuations could be felt across the two planes.

Callahan and Powel visit their Chief to report that two hunters went missing around Mirkwood. State troopers also found Barb’s car at a bus station, which Hopper finds funny.


Lonnie takes down the lights Joyce installed and fixes the hole in the wall. He says the Sattler company should pay for their negligence after Will’s death. Later, while Lonnie takes a shower, Joyce inspects his bag and finds a flyer from a lawyer specializing in accidental deaths. Joyce scolds Lonnie for only caring about money. After all that happened, he insists that she needs him, but Joyce doesn’t care if she’s a mess as long as she finds Will. She sends Lonnie off.

Mike recounts Mr. Clarke’s explanation to El and asks her if she knows about a gate. She shakes her head, which Lucas doesn’t believe since she knows about the Upside Down. Dustin asks them all to take out their compasses after noticing they’re not facing true north. This means there’s a gate nearby with so much power that it can disrupt the earth’s magnetic field. Following the compasses should lead them to the gate.

Finding the Gate


When Steve arrives, Nancy practices swinging her bat to apologize for being a dick. He asks her to go on a date to the movies and escape everything. She refuses, saying that she’s busy and needs some time.

Jonathan practices his shots but misses much of them. His father trained him to hunt a rabbit as a young boy but he didn’t like it. Nancy arrives and takes a shot, talking about her parent’s loveless marriage. She hits a can.

Hopper calls his ex-wife to tell her he has no regrets about their relationship. She asks if he’s still drinking, which Hopper admits. He tells her to take care and drops the phone.

Dustin and Lucas follow their compasses which leads them to the train tracks. The latter suspects that El has been acting even weirder lately. El remembers being taken by Brenner to a sensory deprivation chamber. She asks Mike to turn back, but they continue.


Nancy asks Jonathan what the picture he took says about her. He says he saw a girl feeling out of place and trying to be someone else. She disagrees, saying that Steve is a good guy despite him breaking Jonathan’s camera.

Hopper visits the Byers’s home and asks Joyce to keep quiet while he searches around. He tells her about Will’s fake body, saying she was right.

Entering the Dark World

Dustin realizes that they’ve been running around in circles. Lucas sees El acting weird and confirms that she was sabotaging their compasses after seeing blood on her nose. El tells them it’s not safe. Lucas complains and accuses El that she could be the monster after sabotaging them from finding Will. A fight ensues between him and Mike, which El stops by pushing Lucas away. She remembers the deprivation tank again, which improved her powers enough to find a Russian soldier. Yet during the search, she finds something else and hears a growl. Lucas wakes up and storms off. Mike looks around and finds El missing as well.


Jonathan and Nancy’s search continues until dark. Suddenly she hears something whimpering in the distance. They follow the sound to find a mangled deer in the woods. Jonathan offers to shoot it to end its misery, but it gets dragged away. They follow the blood trail to an opening at the base of a tree. Nancy goes in closer to inspect and sees a wet and malignant mass seeping from the inside. She calls out to Jonathan, but he’s nowhere to be found. Nancy enters the membrane and finds herself in a dark version of the woods full of fleshy overgrowth. She spots the monster gorging on the deer further ahead but then steps on a vine. The creature yells, and she runs away.

Jonathan hears Nancy scream in the real world, but he can’t find her.

Our Thoughts

Not as great as the other episodes, but still fun nonetheless. Rating: 4/5

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