At the festival, Kline greets the crowd. Ted, Karen, and Holly get on the Ferris wheel and go up.
Kline asks who wants to see fireworks, and the crowd cheers.
The Ferris wheel stops and the Wheelers watch the fireworks along with everyone else. Holly sees something moving through the forest, knocking aside trees as it approaches the festival. She points it out to Karen, who tells her to watch the fireworks. The girl does so while the creature keeps coming.
At the Hopper cabin, El tells the others what Billy said about building something for her. They figure the Flayer is building an army of Flayed to destroy El. Nancy hears something approaches and realizes that Billy knows where they are... which means the Flayer knows where they are. Will senses the Flayer approaching and warns the others. They go outside and see the Flayer approaching.
Dustin and the others drive through the base tunnels, the drugged Steve and Robin laughing in the back. They slam into drums, and Dustin and Erica get Steve and Robin out and into the elevator. They go back to the surface, and Steve and Robin continue acting drunk. Dustin and Erica figure out they were drugged, and Dustin asks where Steve parked his car. Steve says that the Russian took his car keys. When they reach the surface, the group leaves the Lynx storage room. Two guards approach them and the group run back into Lynx.
Nancy gets a shotgun from the tool shed and the others barricade the cabin. They wait in the living room, and the building shakes. After a moment the shaking stops, and then the Flayer extends a tentacle through the wall. Jonathan chops at it and it knocks him aside, and Nancy shoots the tentacles as it grabs at him. She runs out of ammo and El telekinetically stops the tentacle and then breaks off the end. The tentacle withdraws and the Flayer sends two more in and El stops them. She destroys them and they retreat, and the Flayer reaches through the ceiling and grabs her leg with its tongue, digging in. Mike grabs El's arm before it can drag her out, and others grab her as well. Lucas grabs Jonathan's discarded axe and hacks through the tongue, and Nancy shoots it in the head. The Flayer finally releases El and retreats, and El telekinetically rips open its head. The other helps her out to the car and they drive off.
Dustin leads the others to the mall theater and tells Steve and Robin to sit down and watch the movie. Erica and Dustin sit down nearby and Dustin tells Erica that they're laying low. He tells Erica to watch Steve and Robin while he finds them a ride.
Jim and his group drive to Hawkins, and Alexei shows him the location of the key in the base. Jim figures that there are two keys, and Alexei says that they need to enter Planck's Constant into a vault to open it and get the keys. Jim points out that Joyce yelled at the government so they don't know if the army are coming, and the two of them argue. Murray interrupts to tell them to cut the horseshit and admit their sexual feelings for each other. He doesn't believe their denials and describes their relationship, and tells them to quit bickering and have sex. Murray drops into the back and laughs with Alexei, and Jim drives into Indiana.
Nancy stops at a Big Buy and they take El inside. They get medical supplies and treat her wounded leg, with Max walking them through the procedure. As they search the place, Nancy figures that Doris and all of the others are in the Flayer, and they realize that if they kill it then they kill the Flayed as well.
Mike and Lucas look for a bowl and find a fireworks display. Max arrives and Lucas describes the fireworks in loving detail. The girl figures that they can have El kill the Flayer, but Lucas says that she'll need backup and starts loading up fireworks.
When Mike returns, he tends to El's wound and tells her that being broke up with her has been hard. He admits that he was jealous of her being friends with Max, and he's realized how selfish it is to want her all to his self. Mike tells El that "it" makes her crazy. El doesn't know what he means and tries to explain without saying "love". Before he can say it, Lucas' walkie-talkie goes off as Dustin calls a code red. When Mike answers, Dustin explains what happened and says that the Russians have infiltrated Hawkins and are opening the gate. He asks the group to come get him, but his battery goes dead.
Dustin goes back to Erica to ask for batteries. She doesn't have any, and Dustin tells her that they have to go with Plan B. They realize that Steve and Robin have wandered off.
Outside the theater, Steve is getting water from a drinking fountain. They discuss the movie, Back to the Future, and Robin shoves Steve away to get water. Steve stares at the light coming in through the overhead windows, and calls Robin over to check it out. They both get sick and run to the restroom.
Jim and the others arrive at the festival and Jim and Joyce tells Murray to stay there with Alexei while they look for the kids. As they search, Jim apologizes for what Murray said. Kline is posing for photos and spots them as they go past. He runs to his car and calls Grigori to tell him that they're there.
El astrally projects to find Dustin and the others, while Mike and Lucas argue about New Coke. Once she snaps out of her trans, El tells the others that Dustin's group is at the theater. Behind them, the blood from the Flayer congeals and moves on the floor.
Once Steve and Robin finish vomiting, they figure that the drug is wearing off. Steve asks Robin questions to determine if she's telling the truth, and she does. Robin asks him if he's ever been in love. Steve says that he was in love with Nancy but says that he's found someone better for him. He explains that the girl is someone he didn't talk to in school, and says that she's funnier and smarter than anyone he knows. Robin realizes that he's talking about her, and Steve joins her and says that the guy is thinking straighter than usual. She explains that if he didn't really know the girl, he wouldn't want to be her friend. Robin says that she really likes him but she's not like Nancy. She explains that she had a crush on a girl, Tammy Thompson, who kept staring at Steve even though he was a douchebag. Robin went home and screamed in her pillow in frustration. Steve finally realizes that Robin a lesbian and starts ranking on Tammy. Dustin and Erica burst in and Dustin finds them laughing, and wants to know what's going on.
Billy arrives at the Big Buy and finds El's blood.
At the festival parking lot, Alexei convinces Murray to let him attend. Murray gives in and takes him in, and Alexei looks around at all of the capitalist booths and rides. The former reporter buys him ride tickets and leaves. Meanwhile, Jim and Joyce spot Karen and Ted going onto the Gravitron ride. They go over and Karen says that she hasn't seen the kids. The operator starts the riding, plastering everyone to the walls. Jim and Joyce take each other's hands.
After the movie ends, Dustin and the others emerge from the restroom and merge with the crowd. Steve admits that he told the Russians his full name so they might not want to go to Dustin's house. Russians are checking the crowd, and the group quickly runs the other way. They slide down the escalator in-between into the otherwise closed mall.
Alexei is throwing darts at a booth and the spectators applaud him as he bursts balloons. He scores the big prize--a stuffed animal-- and walks away. He spots Murray and goes over to him, but Grigori shoots Alexei in the chest with a silenced gun, killing him as he goes past. Murray sees the blood and runs over to Alexei, and then takes him between the booths. He goes to get help and yells to Jim and Joyce that they got Alexei. Jim spots Grigori and leads Joyce away through the booths. Grigori follows them, and Jim tells Joyce to find Murray and bring the car around.
Jim ducks into the fun house, identifies himself as police, and orders everyone out. Two of Grigori's men come in and Jim takes one of them out.
Murray grabs Joyce and takes her to Alexei, who has died.
Jim and the aide fight, and knocks him out.
Grigori enters the fun house.
Jim picks up one agent's gun and finds his walkie-talkie. He goes further in and Grigori arrives a few seconds later. He realizes that his men are out.
Murray and Joyce go to the parking lot, and Joyce spots Kline and punches him in the face and kicks him in the groin before walking away.
Grigori enters the hall of mirrors and shoots at Jim... and hits his reflection. Jim steps out and shoots Grigori in the chest repeatedly, but is forced to go as more Russians arrive. Grigori is wearing a bulletproof vest and gets up, and get out on the balcony just as Jim escapes on a slide. Joyce and Murray pull up in the car and Jim leaps in. They drive away and Jim has Murray translate the signal on the walkie-talkie.
Russians at Starcourt search for the kids, and one of them spots them hiding behind a counter. He radios in and his fellow agents join him, and they move in ready to shoot. Before they get there, the alarm on a display car goes off. El has activated it telekinetically and throws it at the Russians. The others are with El, and the two groups look at each other.
Once they link up, Dustin hugs El. They tell Robin that El has superpowers and introduce each other, and exchange notes. El passes out from the strain and they check her leg. The Flayed blood in it moves on its own and El screams in pain.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 28, 2019