Friday, July 5, 2019

REVIEW: 'Stranger Things' - Nancy and Jonathan Confront Their Bosses at the Hospital in 'Chapter Five: The Flayed'

Netflix's Stranger Things - Episode 3.05 "Chapter Five: The Flayed"

Strange surprises lurk inside an old farmhouse and deep beneath the Starcourt Mall. Meanwhile, the Mind Flayer is gathering strength.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Stranger Things.

"Chapter Five: The Flayed" was written by Paul Dichter and directed by Uta Briesewitz

Tom and Bruce haven't exactly been consequential characters this season. They were mostly defined by being the sexist and deplorable co-workers to Nancy and Jonathan at The Hawkins Post. They were absolutely expendable especially once the premise became about the Mind Flayer taking over the bodies of multiple people in the town. The audience has seen what has been happening within the rats. They explode and become something new altogether. That transformation appears to be helped by the various chemicals that the hosts are now consuming. All of this allows for them to be a human interface to the various supernatural happenings this season. It's not just the young protagonists fighting against these creatures. There is now a human cost to it. People have died from these attacks from the Upside Down. Bob and Barb are the most significant ones to date. But now, Nancy and Jonathan are forced to kill just in order to survive. They may be able to see it as self-defense. They did want they had to do to prevent ending up exactly like them. The team mostly understands now that the hosts have to go to a specific location in order to be infected by the Mind Flayer. That presents as a significant difference from the past encounters. Sure, Nancy still springs into action the moment she recognizes what this threat actually is. At first, she saw it as the transformation of the community leading to the poisoning of the animal population. She viewed that as a huge piece of breaking news that the newspaper is right to print. She was fired because of her dogged determination. She was encouraged by her mother to fight back and sell her story to an even bigger media outlet. That was the right advice that lit a fire under her once more. But now, everything she is doing is of preservation for herself, her family and her loved ones. This may not be a story that can escape the ever expanding circle of information. Robin and Erica are still in the dark about what the Russians are exactly trying to do underneath the town. They just know they are fueling their endeavor with a poisonous substance. Dustin and Steve know the truth though. They understand just how big a deal all of this has the potential of being. They have been through all of this before. They can't warn their friends that it's all happening once more. Nor do they know what's happening on the surface. The Russians and the Mind Flayer appear to have very different motivations and ambitions for this world. The Russians are simply trying to open the gate. The Mind Flayer is collecting an army of soldiers to use in its war. If they fail, then they can simply come together to fuel the creation of its new body. That is an absolutely terrifying sight. It was a dragged out fight for Nancy and Jonathan when they were simply battling the men. But now, Tom and Bruce form together to create a new embodiment of the Mind Flayer. All of this happens while the young teens are completely oblivious downstairs in the hospital. They don't know that this horror show is happening in the same building. Apparently Will's connection to the Mind Flayer is completely gone. It doesn't warn him that danger is near until it may be too late. Sure, these teens could ultimately rescue Nancy and Jonathan when they could really use it at the moment. But the sheer body count of the threat this season runs the risk of the government not being able to cover up this attack as easily as the events from the first two seasons. That too could present a way that this season stands out. Maybe then, Nancy will be able to share this story with someone. This group supports each other instinctively. And yet, the yearning for more from life has proven to be a very central conceit for this season. That can sometimes get a little lost during the big fights with monsters though.