Summary: Will's funeral is to be held but Joyce doesn't believe that it is his body. Joyce encounters Will at home. Nancy talks to the police about Barb and they predict that she just ran away. She breaks up with Steve. She goes to Jonathan for help and they discover the monster in a picture of Barb. Hopper continues his investigation and discovers that Will's body is fake. He goes to enter Hawkins Lab. El contacts Will and proves to the other kids that he is alive.
The Good: I enjoyed parts of this. The plot developments continue to be paced really well and the show really does a good job of timing when a big scene happens. There never seems to be an entire episode of build up and an ending climax, rather we have slow scenes which build up to another exciting scene or reveal just a few minutes away. It makes the show easily enjoyable and it is fun to watch this show despite its predictability and simplicity (see: The Bad as usual for this).
Joyce and Jonathan's conflict was good. It's easy to understand their grief and their fight was well den and I'm very glad that they instantly forgave each other. That's what real people in grief do: they fight but will reconcile easily because they need each other.
Hopper's investigation was once again simple but it was the easiest storyline to enjoy. It's easy to root for Hopper as he is entering waters out of his depth but he is fighting hard for justice and truth.
The Bad: There were quite a few problems with this episode though that heavily detracted from my enjoyment.
First of all, the usual complaints: the show remains clichéd and predictable. Every scene has predictable and repetitive story beats which get old quickly. One again, I do understand the novelty of a show like this, but it's getting less fascinating to see an 80s show after four episodes. It makes me wonder if this show would have been better as just a movie instead.
Regarding the movie point, it does feel like a tory suited for a movie. This entire episode was simplistic but also extremely filler. The plot has hardly progressed and we are literally at the exact same point at the end of this episode as we were in the previous episode, making this feel pointless. There wasn't even any good character development and I didn't feel at all satisfied after this episode. For an 8 episode show, a filler episode like this is pretty much unacceptable and it makes me wonder if the show would have been better if it was just compressed into a movie. It's not like the characters or plot were so complex that they needed several episodes to develop.
There were several storytelling flaws too that I will need to list off. It didn't look like Nancy got a good look at the monster in the forest, but apparently she did which was very awkward. I didn't particularly care for her storylines with Steve and her mother either. They were unemotional and pretty typical for an average TV show, not a good one. I didn't like her scenes with Jonathan either. The acting, dialogue and storytelling was very off and I just didn't enjoy them together. The clichéd nature of the final scene with them uncovering the picture of the monster was also pretty stupid overall and completely took me out of the scene.
I wasn't a fan of the kids story either. The scenes with El were played for laughs but they were pretty unrealistic and hard to believe for me. I also didn't like that El could just conveniently contact Will and didn't choose to do it at an earlier time or even tell any of the other kids that she could do it. It felt unbelievable and even her social issues can't quite explain that much. Also, without any kind of wedge between the kid characters, that makes the entire plot point of Will's fake body pointless since it had no effect on the story. Hopper was already looking into Hawkins Lab, Joyce never believed he was dead and Jonathan was already grieving so what was the point overall? Without any effect on the kid storyline it gives us absolutely nothing.
The Unknown: How can El contact Will in the other dimension and broadcast it to the radio?
What happened to the man who went into the weird place with the slime? Is he dead? Is that place the entry point to the other dimension? How did it get there? Was it from experiments? What effects does it have on the human world? Is it why the monster can seemingly go through dimensions at will?
How did Will make himself visible to Joyce through the wall?
Best Moment: Honestly it was Joyce talking to Will because that scene was decently written and had some proper emotion.
Character of the Episode: Hopper for being the most likeable and consistently enjoyable throughout.
Conclusion: This was disappointing. This show was never great or even threatening great, but this episode was sloppy and pointless. Hopefully the storytelling improves in the upcoming episodes because this was quite a bit below par.
Just a high school student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.