Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat Recap

At the energy lab, two scientists leave for the night and Jim slips in through the temporarily open door. He comes to the area that he saw earlier with the biohazard warnings, and goes inside. The next door is locked, and Hawkins and a guard come up behind Jim, guns drawn. Jim claims that Brenner asked for him specifically, and Hawkins starts to call. When he’s distracted, Jim punches him unconscious and draws his gun on the guard. He then takes the guard’s swipe badge and lets himself in, and then shoots out the lock.

Lonnie pours Joyce a drink and she says that she can’t feel Will anymore. She figures that Lonnie assumes that she’s insane, and Lonnie tells her to consider that it’s all in her head. Joyce doesn’t believe it, but Lonnie suggests that she talk to someone.

Jim searches the lab, calling for Will, and finds a cell with a stuffed animal on the wall. There’s a child’s sketch taped to the wall, showing a child and her parent.

In the Wheeler basement, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin try to work out what Will was saying on the ham radio. Jane says “Upside down”,” and Mike remembers that earlier she turned the map board upside down to show where Will was. The boy suggests that Will was on the “other side”, an alternate dimension adjacent to their own.

Jim continues searching and hears guards closing in. he takes an elevator down just in time.

Dustin reads a section of the Dungeons & Dragons Manual about how the Upside Down is like the Vale of Shadows, a dark reflection of their world. A place of decay and death, filled with monsters.

Jim enters the subbasement and coughs on the ash.

The boys ask Jane how they get to the Upside Down, and she nods in confirmation.

Jim enters the breach chamber and sees the plantlike growth. He touches the plantlike growth and something moves behind him in the shadows. Jim goes over to investigate and hazmat-suited men grab him and drug him unconscious.

The next morning, Jonathan returns home and finds Joyce and Lonnie sitting on the couch. Joyce says that Lonnie is going to stay there that night, and Jonathan asks Joyce what happens when he sees the whole in the wall. He asks if the monster came back, and tells Lonnie to leave. They talk privately and Lonnie insists that Joyce is sick. Jonathan says that he’s making things worse, and that she might be telling the truth. Lonnie warns him not to feed into Joyce’s hallucinations, and asks Jonathan to behave at Will’s funeral for Joyce’s sake

At the Wheeler house, Ted helps Mike dress for the funeral, while Karen helps Nancy. Nancy says that she’s fine.

Will’s dog goes to his fort in the woods.

Jonathan tries to tie his tie and finally gives up.

Lonnie tells Joyce that it’s time to go, and she reluctantly leaves with him.

At the cemetery, the minister performs the service. Dust9in points out a girl who is crying at Will’s funeral and plans to tell him later. Afterward, everyone puts flowers on the coffin and offers their condolences to Lonnie. Joyce stands and looks at her son’s coffin.

Will is at home in the kitchen drawing a scene from one of his D&D sessions and Joyce asks him why his wizard needs fireballs. Her son says that sometimes intelligence isn’t enough, and Joyce says that she’ll get him more crayons.

Jim wakes up in his living room surrounded by empty beer cans. He grabs his gun and runs outside, but there’s no sign of anyone. There’s no sign of an injection mark on his neck, and he searches the4 house for bugs. Jim finally finds one in the overhead light fixture.

At the lab, Brenner listens to the transmission that the boys picked up. When he hears Will talk to Joyce, Brenner realizes that she was there.

At the cemetery, Jonathan and Nancy go over the locations where the monster was spotted. They’re all close, and they both agree to go out looking for it. Jonathan gets a gun from Lonnie’s glove compartment over Nancy’s objections, and refuses to put Joyce more through until they kill the monster.

Principal Coleman has a repairman look at the burned out ham radio. Afterward, the repairman goes out to the Hawkins repair van and drives off.

At the local hall, Joyce sits while the others hold the wake. The boys approach Mr. Clarke and ask him about how it’s possible to “theoretically” travel to other worlds. Clarke explains that there are parallel universes and it’s possible for something to travel sideways and upside down. The teacher theorizes that it would be possible to create a breach using a massive release of energy, more energy than humans can currently generate. Mike asks what would happen in if the gate already existed, and Clarke says that it would disrupt gravity and possibly swallow them whole.

Powell and Callahan arrive at Jim’s trailer and say that they tried calling but the phone is dead. They explain that Dale and Henry went hunting and didn’t come back, and they were near the same spot where Will disappeared. Jim tells them to go back to the station and he’ll handle it, and the officers inform him that the state troopers found Barbara’s car at the bus station and figure that she ran away. As the officers drive away, they wonder if Jim is off his meds.

When Joyce and Lonnie return home, Lonnie patches the whole in the wall and takes down the Christmas lights. She puts them back up and Lonnie says that there were no warning signs at the quarry.

At the Wheeler basement, the boys ask Jane if she knows where the gate is. She can’t explain where it is. Meanwhile, Dustin asks for all of their compasses. He points out that they’re all facing one direction, and it isn’t true north. Dustin explains that there’s a more powerful magnetic field... from the gate.

While Lonnie takes a shower, Joyce goes through his wallet and finds a law officer flyer. She realizes that he plans to sue the local quarry company.

Nancy gets a baseball bat from her garage and is practicing swinging when Steve comes by. He apologizes for asking her not to tell his parents earlier and says that it doesn’t matter. Steve asks about Barbara and Nancy confirms that she hasn’t heard from him. He suggests that they catch a movie and pretend things are normal, but Nancy says that she can’t because of everything with the funeral and how hard it’s been on Mike. She promises to call Steve later and kisses him, and Steve says that he understands as he goes. Nancy then goes back to swinging the bat.

Joyce confronts Lonnie and figures that he’s there for the money. He insists that he’s there to help but has no idea where Jonathan wants to go to college. Joyce orders him out and Lonnie points out that without him, Will died. He says that she’s a mess, but Joyce tells him that she’s going to keep up the Christmas lights as long as there’s a chance Will is still trying to reach her. She then orders Lonnie out.

Jonathan is practicing shooting cans with Lonnie’s gun and missing. Nancy finds him and he admits that he hasn’t shot a gun since he was 10 when Lonnie took him hunting. Nancy takes the gun and they talk about how their parents married but didn’t love each other. She then pulls the trigger and hits a can with her first shot.

Jim calls his ex-wife Diane and says that he just wanted to hear her voice. He tells her that he doesn’t regret the seven years that they were married no matter what happened, and admits that he’s been drinking. Jim tells Diane to take care of herself and hang sp, and then starts to go. The phone rings, and Jim yanks it out of the wall and leaves.

The boys and Jane follow the compasses, and Lucas and Dustin go on ahead. Lucas wonders if Jane is acting weirder than usual. Meanwhile, Jane remembers the past.

Brenner shows Jane a photo of a Russian man and says that it’s further than ever. She asks about the bat, and Brenner asks if it’s okay. After a moment, Jane says that it is. They take her to a sensory deprivation tank filled with water, hook her up, and put her inside.

Jane tells Mike to turn back, claiming that she’s tired. Mike tells her to hold on a little longer and continues on.

As they walk back, Nancy asks what he thought she was “saying” when he took her picture. He says that she thought she could be someone else, and Nancy says that it’s bullshit. She insists that she’s not trying to be someone else and figures that Jonathan doesn’t like Steve, and says that Steve is a good guy. Jonathan doesn’t believe it, and says that he doesn’t like most people. They argue back and forth, and Jonathan says that Nancy is acting just like her mother.

Jim goes to Joyce’s home and holds up a sign telling her not to talk. She lets him in and he checks realizes that he has a lot of lights to check.

The boys and Jane arrive at an auto junkyard and Dustin realizes that they’re heading back home. He figures that something is screwing with the compasses and Lucas suggests that Jane is sabotaging their mission and using her TK to screw up the compasses. He confronts her and sees fresh blood from her nose on her sleeve. Jane says that it’s not safe.

Jim goes through the Christmas lights one at a time, looking for a bug. Once he’s sure there isn’t one, he tells Joyce that Brenner’s people bugged his place. Jim explains that he went to the morgue and confirmed that the body was a fake, and says that the whole time she was right.

Lucas argues with Mike that Jane is using them to get food and shelter, and figures that she’s letting Will die in the Upside Down. He says that Jane is the monster, and Will tackles him. Jane yells at him to stop and telekinetically shoves Lucas across the yard. He’s knocked out, and Mike and Dustin try to wake him up. Mike angrily asks Jane what’s wrong with her.

Isolated in the tank, Jane mentally listens to the Russian man talking. She relays what he’s saying to the loudspeakers in the lab. His mental image disappears and something moves in the darkness. Jane runs off and in the lab, she screams for help.

Mike and Dustin wake Lucas up, and he walks away. The others realize that Jane has gone and yell for her.

That night, Nancy and Jonathan search the forest and Nancy hears something. They continue on and find a badly wounded deer that was hit by a car. Nancy prepares to shoot the deer and put it out of its misery, but Jonathan takes the gun and says that he’ll do it. Before he can shoot, something yanks it away into the darkness. The teenagers follow the blood trail until it disappears. Nancy finds a hole in a tree, dripping black liquid, and calls to Jonathan. She realizes that he’s gone, and crawls into the hole. It leads to a large cavern, and Nancy’s flashlight flickers. She sees the monster feeding on the deer, and tries to back away but steps on a branch. It breaks and the monster turns on her.

Jonathan hears Nancy’s scream but the only thing he finds is the backpack she took off.

Written by Gadfly on Sep 3, 2016