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Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 8 Recap – The Upside Down

BY Harris

Published 2 months ago

Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 8 Recap - The Upside Down

Detention and Preparation

Dr. Brenner speaks with Joyce while she is cuffed in a chair. He asks him when and how she was able to make contact with Will. Brenner explains that six people have been taken this week but they don’t understand the creature behind it. Brenner asks for her help in order to save other people but Joyce mistrusts him for having faked Will’s death.

Connie and the other agents torture Hopper with a taser but he tells them that they messed up, which led to Benny’s death and several others. In the end, Hopper asks to let him and Joyce go find Will in the Upside Down and he promises to forget everything that happened.


Mike checks on Nancy and Jonathan but finds them gone. El says they went to fight the Demogorgon.

Nancy and Jonathan head to the Byers’ home with their supplies. They untangle the lights and affix a bear trap to the floor. Jonathan hammers a baseball bat full of nails while Nancy loads her six-shooter.

Dr. Brenner goes to Hopper to ask him about Eleven. Hopper makes him promise to not let anything happen to the boys in exchange for his silence. Joyce rejoins him and Hopper explains their agreement. The scientists let them wear hazmat suits as they prepare to enter the gate. Outside, Connie tells Brenner that this was a bad deal, but he doesn’t think they’ll be able to find Will. They mobilize to find El, along with a huge military force backing them.

In the Upside Down


As Hopper and Joyce move through the dark and hostile environment of the Upside Down, he tells a her to slow down her breathing and take deep breaths. Hopper remembers chasing her young daughter Sarah and notices her heavy breathing, which was the first sign of her illness.

Mike tries to convince the other two to help others fight the Demogorgon, but Lucas and Dustin say that their role is to keep El safe and away from the bad men. Dustin heads to the canteen to find food the lunch lady hoards.

Nancy and Jonathan brief each other on their plan to lead the Demogorgon to a trap. They slash both their palms for the bait. Later, they bandage each other’s wounds and wait for the enemy to come. Suddenly, Steve arrives and knocks on the door to apologize. Nancy asks him to leave but he’s persistent. He notices Nancy’s bandages and sees the house is a mess and they have weapons with them. Nancy points her gun at Steve to make him leave. Suddenly the lights flicker, and they arm themselves. The ceiling starts to open and the Demogorgon falls down. Steve yells for an explanation, but the two merely wait and ready their weapons. Nothing happens, so they check the empty hallway.


Hopper and Joyce find an empty egg and the remnants of Castle Byers. Hopper finds Will’s stuffed lion cub, similar to what Sarah had during her chemo.

The Demogorgon

Jonathan, Steve and Nancy return to the living room with their weapons. Steve returns to his car but finds the lights flicker once more. It soon turns completely off and the Demogorgon jumps on Jonathan. Nancy shoots it until her clip runs out but it still stands. Steve comes in with the bat and fights it, leading it to the bear trap. Jonathan does the final blow and burns it. As the flames are extinguished, the remnants of the creature disappear, leaving only stains on the floor.


Hopper and Joyce enter the Upside Down version of their house, which triggers the lights in the real world. Joyce and Jonathan hear each other through echoes of their voice.

Mike invites Eleven to live with them once all this boils over. She asks if she’ll be like his brother by then but Mike refuses. She asks him to not lie, so he invites her to the Snow Ball. It would be weird if they were siblings. He explains by kissing her.

Suddenly, the bad men arrive at Hawkins Middle and see the pool in the gym. The kids get cornered in a hallway, but El kills them all by bleeding their brains. She passes out right after.


Brenner asks the boys to leave El as the other guards subdue them. He wakes her up and promises to make things better. She calls out to Mike and the lights flicker. The Demogorgon emerges from a nearby wall. The bad men shoot at it while the boys take Eleven back to safety.

Finding Will

Hopper and Joyce follow the trail of blood into the library. There, they find several dead bodies along with Will, who has a tendril on his mouth. Hopper pulls out the worm, remembering his daughter.

Mike and the boys lead El to a classroom, where he assures her that everything will be fine. The gunshots stop and the Demogorgon comes into the room. Lucas shoots it with his wrist rocket until El steps up and uses her powers against it, but not before saying goodbye to Mike. El and the Demogorgon both disappear with the flickering lights.

Hopper and Joyce help each other to resuscitate Will. This reminds Hopper of the final moments with Sarah as the doctors try to let her live. Thankfully, Will lets out a gasp, and Hopper puts the gas mask on him.


The police and rescue services help clean up the events at Hawkins Middle. Karen Wheeler finds Michael and gives him a hug.

Will wakes up at the hospital and finds Joyce and Jonathan waiting for him. They have a heartwarming reunion full of tears. Jonathan hands him a new mix tape that he might like. Outside, Hopper, Steve, and the Wheelers wait, with the three boys sleeping on top of each other. Jonathan signals them to see Will, and the boys eagerly go and smother him with hugs.

The Hospital

Dustin and Lucas take turns telling him all he missed while he was gone. Will starts coughing, which concerns everyone. He says the Demogorgon got him, and Mike explains that it’s dead after their new friend stopped it and saved them. But she’s gone now. They tell her about El’s superpowers and her impressive feats in defeating the bad men.


Nancy smiles as she sees their reunion, but feels sad for her friend Barb. A mysterious car arrives to Hopper and lets him ride on the back seat.

One month later, during Christmas, the three boys return to Mike’s basement for another session of D&D. Now they’re going against the thessalhydra, with Will having a next move. He throws the fireball and gets a good roll, causing the monster’s death. The boys celebrate their win but complain that the payoff isn’t enough. They ask Mike about the missing plot threads that still have to be resolved, but he complains that they already went through ten hours in this campaign. Jonathan comes over to get Will. Mike looks sadly at the empty blanket fort.

Looming Threats

Karen Wheeler greets Jonathan and Will a Merry Christmas. Nancy goes down and gives Jonathan a gift. Will opens it and sees the camera–a replacement for the one that Steve broke. Nancy returns to Steve at the living room, They are still dating, and Steve was the one who bought the gift.


Hopper takes some food from the station’s Christmas party and visits Mirkwood, where he leaves some Eggos in a stash.

Back home, Will goes to the bathroom and vomits a slug. He sees a short glimpse of the Upside Down, but ignores it and returns to dinner.

Our Thoughts

The first season nails the ending, with many still left to explore. Rating: 4.2/5

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