The problem with shows that number around eight episodes per season is that sometimes they may end feeling a little too slow with an abrupt climax, or they try to fit too much in too little time. Stranger Things seems to have found the right fit in this episode though.
The plot has progressed quite nicely, and the more elaborate details appear to be straightening themselves out. This episode seems to be aiming towards providing a transition from the small town feel of the previous episodes to the reveal of the proverbial evil which has been hinted towards in small instances which include Billy being indoctrinated by some force from the Upside Down and the rat which appears to have an appetite for ammonia.
However, in this quest of aiming towards the more significant aspects of the show’s mythology, the Duffer brothers have not abandoned the small personal details of the characters. I found that particularly pleasing as the exhibit is built around heart-warming characters and the association between them. Max and Eleven continue their friendship but rather than going on a capitalist urge to spend their capital in the towns shopping mall; they go searching for Max’s stepbrother Billy. This is due to Eleven using her telepathic capabilities to witness him subduing Heather. This take on the female association is distinct from the last two seasons where the show lacked a central pairing between the leading women of Hawkins. The other investigative pairings are also not far behind. Jonathan and Nancy continue to search for the rat, and they find out that Mrs. Driscoll (the woman who caught the rat first) is also infected with a similar ailment as the rodent and has the same affinity for fertilizer. Dustin, Steve, and Robin observe a Russian regiment enter the mall where they found the radio signal originating from while Joyce and Hopper go to the old Hawkins Lab where the Russian Thug from the last episode attacks Hopper. At times, this does seem an attempt by the show to tie the knots together, but the chemistry of the characters pulls it through. Added to that is the fact that despite these multiple investigative efforts, all that we know for sure is that Billy is possessed by something, and so is Heather but other than the Russians, there is no obvious explanation which does produce an element of curiosity in the plot.
The story also does not shirk away from a personal problem in the original gang wherein Will believing the boys are drifting apart arranges a dungeons and dragons session which subsequently becomes a venue of an argument between the kids. This take on Will as the outcast of the group is growing old and unless it plays into something bigger, the desolate shot of him back at Castle Byers does not cut as deep as it should have.
The show continues to develop along nicely, but now I think that it is time to up the ante. There is enough of character development as it is and the numerous references to something big happening will not cut it. The story, for all the beautiful little intricacies it may have will not win over any fans if it does not amount to anything now.