Dustin, Steve, Robin, and Erica watch as the Russians kept the gate open to the Upside Down. As they go, Steve and Dustin tell Robin that it's bad, and they notice that the Russian comm officer has woken up and fled. Guards head for the comm room, and the group runs down a hallway, through the control room, and into the laser in the main room. Steve leads them down a stairway to the floor and into an adjoining room, slamming the door shut behind them. He holds the door shut and Robin goes to help him, and they yell to Dustin and Erica to go. The two younger kids duck into a duct, and the guards burst in and capture Steve and Robin.
At the hospital, Mike and the others notice the lights flickering, and Will feels the back of his neck itch. He says that the Mind Flayer is there.
The Mind Flayer advances on Nancy, and bags of concrete block the stairwell door. She finally gets through before the creature reaches her. It chases after her, and Nancy gets into a room and locks the door behind her. The Flayer dissolves into liquid flesh and oozes under the door, and then reforms and slams her into the wall. El and the others arrive and she telekinetically smashes in the door, then slams the Flayer against the walls and ceiling. She finally knocks it out the window to the ground several floors below, where it dissolves\ in front of the hospital.
Jonathan comes in and makes sure that Nancy is okay. The group then runs out to the front of the hospital, and see the liquefied Flayer ooze down a sewer grate. In the tunnels it merges with the larger mass, and Billy and Heather watch. Billy says that it's time.
The next day, Mayor Kline oversees the setup of the 4th of July festival. He sees Grigori waiting for him and talks to him inside one of the rides. Kline assures Grigori that his friends in law enforcement are all watching for Jim and will notify him when the sheriff shows up. Grigori tells Kline to find Jim, and Kline assures the Russian that Jim will be easy to find. When Kline tells Grigori to bring some backup because Jim got the better of him, Grigori slams the mayor into the control panel and tells him that Jim is Kline's fault and thus his problem. He gives Kline one day to find Jim, and Kline hastily agrees.
Jim returns to Murray's safehouse with fast food and hands the food out. Murray asks Alexei what the Russians are using the generators for, and Alexei complains that his Slurpee is strawberry instead of cherry like he asked. Alexei refuses to talk without cherry, and Jim slams Alexei around and then tosses him outside and tosses him the car keys. Inside, Jim tells Murray and Joyce that Alexei is jerking them around. He figures that Alexei is scared of Grigori and his superiors. Alexei drives to the gate, but then stops and backs up. He gives Jim the car keys and goes inside.
The guards take Steve and Robin away, while Dustin and Erica hide in the ducts and Dustin explains that the Russians are endangering their lives. Erica doesn't believe that Lucas was involved but believes the rest of the story. Dustin tries to get through the fans blocking their way, and she calculates the distance back. He says that she's a nerd and lays out the evidence. He shuts off the fan and they climb through and continue on.
The Russian interrogator, Ozerov, demands answers from Steve. Ozerov figures that Steve works for the government, and doesn't believe him when he says that he works for Scoops Ahoy. Steve claims that when a delivery didn't come, they went to the delivery dock and got stuck in the elevator. He promises not to tell anyone what he's seen, and offers Ozerov ice cream. Ozerov bursts into laughter and says that he likes Steve, and then continues interrogating him.
Once Steve passes out, the guards take him and Robin to a lab. They tie the teenagers together and Ozerov tells Robin that they have the best doctor. The Russians laugh and Robin spits in Ozerov's face. Ozerov says that she'll soon regret it and leaves with his men.
In her bedroom, El enters the astral plane to search for the Flayed. In the cabin living room, Mike worries that El is straining herself. Meanwhile, Nancy calls to see if any other chemical supplies have gone missing. She hasn't found any, and tells Jonathan that there must be some kind of pattern to what's going on. Max asks them if Mike should decide El's limits or El. Mike complains that Max is corrupting El, and Max says that El can make her own decisions. Nancy agrees with Max, and Mike accuses Max of having El spy on them. Max says that it was El's idea, and Mike says that they're treating her like a machine and he doesn't want her to die searching for the Flayed. He angrily tells everyone that he loves El, and they stare at him. El comes in and asks what's going on, and then says that she found Billy.
Alexei says that the laser is "the key" and it requires power. All of the houses the Russians bought through Kline are near transformers, and the Russians are stealing power. They're accessing the Upside Down in Indiana because there's a "weak spot" there in the barrier between worlds because the "door" was opened before= and was still healing. Now the Russians are opening it.
Joyce goes to call her children and warn them. Jim and Murray get vodka from the kitchen and drink. The two men figure that there's a way to turn off the key, Alexei warns that he's compromised, and Jim says that he'll get him to the key. The Russian laughs and tells him that Jim reminds him of a fat Rambo, but even Rambo couldn't get to the key because the base is impenetrable.
Dustin and Erica emerge out of the ducts into the room containing the power cylinders. While Dustin tries to get a cart working, Erica looks around. Dustin finally locates the keys and discovers that Erica has found a taser. He says that they have to escape and bring back help because they're outnumbered, and they drive off.
Steve wakes up when Robin yells for help. She spots a pair of scissors on a nearby table and says that they can hop over, grab the scissors, and cut themselves free. They fall over on the third try and Robin starts laughing. She says that she can't believe she's going to die in a secret Russian base with Steve. Robin talks about how they were in history class together at school, and admits that she was obsessed with him. She says that the losers still want to be popular, and Steve tells her that being popular isn't that great. They talk about how the popular things aren't that great, and Robin figures it can't get more messed up than it is. Steve wishes that he was on the way to college, and Robin says that she'd be happy not knowing there were Russians and with some other schmuck. They both admit that it was fun being together.
Ozerov and his men come in with Dr. Zharkov. The guards pick the teenagers up and Zharkov injects Steve with a drug, saying it will help him talk.
El goes back to the astral plane, then removes his blindfold and says that Billy is in his room. The others wonder if Steve wants to find them, and figure that it's a trap. El remembers her past, including being taken away from her mother, and she hears the others in the next room figuring that killing the Flayed won't stop the Flayer. She goes in and says that Billy knows where the Flayer is, and suggests that there's a way for her to see where Billy has been.
As El prepares to go back to the astral plane, Mike tells her that she doesn't have to risk herself. El insists that the Flayer can't hurt her and asks Mike to trust her. Mike says that he does and asks El to be careful, and El enters the astral plane. El approaches Billy and takes his hand, and says that she wants to see what happened. Billy grabs her arm, and El yanks free and falls backward.
El finds herself on a beach. She can hear Mike calling to her and says that she's okay, and describes where she is. El sees Billy and Max's mother, and Billy comes out of the ocean with a surfboard. The woman--Billy's mother--agrees to let him swim for ten more minutes. El realizes that it's a memory of when Billy was a boy in California. She sees the source in the distance and walks down the beach toward it.
At the safehouse, Jim says that he wants them to trace him and calls a government number. A government man picks up and Jim says that he got the number from Dr. Owens. Jim wrote down the identification number and says that the Russians are opening the gate and there's an entrance at Starcourt. He says that he needs backup, and the government man tells him that his message will be relayed. Jim tells Murray and Joyce that now they wait. Murray complains that Jim compromised his location and he'll have to wait, and Joyce points out that their children are in danger. She calls the government man back, identifies herself as Jim's partner, and says that the situation is urgent. Joyce tells him to find Owen, tell him what's going on, and get to Hawkins with his men. She then wakes up Alexei and says that they're going back to Hawkins. Jim and Murray reluctantly follow them out to the car.
Steve and Robin start laughing, figuring the Russians messed up the drug. Ozerov and Zharkov come back in and Zharkov takes out torture implements. Ozerov asks who they walk for, and Steve tells him the truth. Zharkov starts pulling out Steve's fingernail, and Robin yells that they heard the code that the Russians broadcast and cracked it in a day. Steve says that Dustin knows where they are and he's long gone, and is probably calling in Jim to bring reinforcements and kick the Russians back to Russia.
As they all laugh, an alarm goes off. Ozerov goes to the key room and discovers that there's a green hole in the floor.
Dustin and Erica charge into the lab and Dustin tasers Zharkov. He then frees Steve and Robin.
El approaches the storm that represents the source, and she sees Billy's father yelling at the boy, who is wearing a baseball uniform. Young Billy says that he was afraid of being hurt, and his father calls him a pussy. The boy runs off and El follows him, and sees more memories of Billy's father and mother arguing over him thinking she saw another man. There's another memory of Billy talking to his mother on the phone, begging her to come home. More memories follow, of Billy beating up boys and Billy's father introducing his new sister, Max.
El comes to Billy's memories of the abandoned factory after he wrecked his car. El tells the others that she's found the source and reads the sign on the front of the steelworks. Once Jonathan looks up the address in the phone book, Mike tells El to get out. She flashes through Billy's memories and returns to the real world, but discovers that everyone is gone. Billy steps out and says that she shouldn't have looked for him because now he sees her.
The Flayed Janet and Heather go to the festival.
Billy tells El that she let them in, and now she'll have to let them stay.
More Flayed walk through the festival.
Billy says that they've been building it for El.
The Flayed arrive at the factory.
Billy says that it's all been for El, and now it's time to end her, and then end her friends, and then end everyone. El telekinetically throws him away and appears in the real world where the others are. Mike holds El as she sobs in terror.
In the factory basement, the Flayed dissolve and their flesh merges with the Flayed. It grows larger and bursts out of the basement.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 28, 2019