Stranger Things: The Body – Hopper Digs (Review)

Jonathan and Nancy in The Body

Stranger Things “The Body” aka Chapter Four, follows the aftermath of finding Will’s body in the quarry.  Hopper tells Joyce and she explains that she talked to her son two hours ago.  Joyce explains about the thing in the wall (with no face) and both Hopper and Jonathan believe she has “lost it.” Later Hopper digs deeper and learns that Joyce is not crazy after all.

Michael is snappy with El as she tunes the short wave radio.  He tells her off. Then El “finds” Will on the radio, he is singing The Clash song. Once again, as Eleven concentrates her powers, her nose bleeds.

Joyce grabs an axe from the shed and in the morning thinks she can hear Will’s voice. Michael stays home from school and he contacts Lucas.  Later Dustin, Lucas and Mike meet at his house and he tells them about El’s contacting Will  on the radio.

Joyce and Jonathan go to see Will’s body. Hopper learns that Gary, the coroner for Hawkins, was sent home and that the state are doing the autopsy. As the body is uncovered, Jonathan lurches out of the viewing room.

Will’s mother comes rushing out and tells the temporary coroner that whatever that is under the sheet, it is not her son.

At the school, Nancy and Steve talk about the faceless “man”  that may have taken Barb.  Steve wants her to drop the whole thing.  Nancy is furious with her new boyfriend and she storms off.

Jonathan confronts his mother on the street and shouts at her. He tells her he plans to bury Will.  Joyce tells Jonathan that Will is not at the morgue and she will find him and bring him home.

The boys watch El try to find Will on the radio. Lucas, as usual, is “Doubting Thomas” and Mike believes that Will is alive. He also thinks that Eleven is channeling him somehow.  They decide to smuggle El into the school to use the new stronger ham radio.

Cue the lads playing dress up with El and turning her into a “normal” girl.  Michael says she looks “pretty” before changing it to “pretty good.”  El looks into the mirror and whisper’s “pretty…good.”

The deputies question Nancy about the party. They reveal that Barb’s car is now missing. By the end of the Q&A Nancy’s mother works out that her daughter and Steve had sex.  Hopper talks to Gary and learns more about when the troopers brought Will’s body in.  He also finds out which trooper  found the boy; O’Bannon (Ron Roggé).

The boys try to get El into the ham radio room when their teacher catches them. He asks them to attend the school memorial service for their friend. Afterward, he says, they can use the radio.  The boys explain that “Eleanor”  is Mike’s cousin from Sweden.

As they enter the gym every one stops and looks. Dustin whispers, “Abort” and attempts to leave.  At the Wheeler home, Nancy and her mother argue.  She storms upstairs and puts the torn picture of Barb back together. The faceless creature is on the edge of the photo.

At the lab, the volunteer who went into the wall is still not responding. (Note: This was mentioned in the previous review.) Finally the volunteer explorer, ironically named Shepard, says that there is something in there with him. The line goes dead and  the cable attached to the man begins to whip back and forth as they reel him back in. Suddenly the line goes slack. The cable is then pulled back into the room and  the man is gone.

At the memorial for Will, Mike’s two “mouth breather” bullies laugh and giggle during the ceremony. Mike confronts Troy who calls Will a fairy. Mike pushes the bigger boy down. Troy gets to his feet, intent on hurting Mike, and El forces the bully to wet his trousers.

The “mouth breather” is humiliated.

Will looks at El who does a thumb flick of her nose a’la  “Bruce Lee.”

Jonathan is looking at coffins when Nancy shows up with the repaired picture. They both describe the thing she saw at Steve’s place together.

Hopper questions O’Bannon about finding Will’s body. The chief  catches the state trooper out in a lie and things turn physical. Hopper learns that the other cop was told not to let anyone get too close to the body.

Joyce tries to “summon” Will as the kids use the ham radio to channel him. El has another flashback to the lab. As Joyce makes contact with Will, El channels the missing boy.

Joyce rips away the wallpaper and can see Will in the wall.  Something is coming and the children at the school can hear both Will and the approaching thing.  Joyce tells Will to run and she fearlessly attacks the wall with the axe.

The wall seals back up as the ham radio catches fire at the school. El has exhausted herself and the boys have to wheel her out of the building. Joyce hacks a hole in the side of her house.

Jonathan and Nancy bond in the developing room and find a better rendering of the faceless “man.”  Hopper goes to the morgue and after knocking out the state trooper left behind, examines Will’s body.

Joyce was right all along, the corpse is made of plastic or latex and stuffed with cotton wool. It is not Will.

Lonnie Byers (Ross Partridge) comes to see his ex-wife and Hopper starts cutting an hole in the fence surrounding the research facility. 

This episode of Stranger Things has a Poltergeist feel to it.  But  leaving aside all clever homages and nod and winks to other works in the genre, the plot is definitely about parallel worlds. The E.T. element is still there, that bike scene with the “alien” El on the back was a clear allusion to the Spielberg classic.

Stranger Things is easily the best drama/horror show on at the moment.  It is tempting to race through and watch the entire series in one long sitting but why rush through something so good?   Brilliant telly and excellent performances all around.

The scene between Joyce and Will, behind the wall, was a tissue grabber.

Netflix is offering the entire season right now. Head over and check this one out.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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