Jim, Joyce, and Murray drive to the food court at the mall, based on what they heard over the Russian walkie-talkie. Joyce figures that their kids are involved.
El screams in pain as the others realize there's something inside of her leg wound. Jonathan improvises surgical tools from a nearby food stand and sterilizes a knife on the burner. He comes back, gives El a spatula to bite down on, cuts open the wound, and tries to pull out the Flayer flesh. El tells him to stop, saying that she can do it, and telekinetically pulls it out. A nearby window shatters from the psychic energy as El screams and throws the flesh across the mall. As it crawls away, Jim steps on it and crushes it.
The group compare notes and figure that they have to close the gate to cut the Flayer's mind off from its body in their world. Murray goes over the plans Alexei drew of the Russian base hub, and notes that the gate is close to the vault that the keys are in. Erica says that if they do what Murray tells them, they're going to die. Dustin agrees and shows them a storage room with access to the ventilation system. He says that he and Erica can show them the way, and Jim says that they're not going. Jim gets weapons from the dead Russians, and Dustin and the other boys admit that they missed each other. As Erica tells them not to cry, Jim tosses Dustin a walkie-talkie to navigate him. Dustin warns that the signal won't reach and he needs Dustin because he's seen the control room and has Cerebro. He says that they need a head start and a car, and Steve and Robin drive Dustin and Erica to Cerebro in the stolen car.
Murray gives the keys to his safehouse to Nancy and Jonathan, and Joyce tells Will to go with them and stay safe. She assures her son that she'll be fine and hugs him. Meanwhile, El tells Jim that she can fight and eventually her powers will recharge. Jim says that she needs to rest and he needs her safe, and insists that he needs her to understand. Mike tells Jim that they have to go, and Jim and El hug. As Mike and Max lead El away, Jim tells Mike to be careful.
Once the kids leave, Jim tells Joyce and Murray that he's going into the base on his own. Murray insists that they need to blow up the laser key, not just turn it off.
The kids get to Nancy's station wagon and she discovers that it won't start. Jonathan checks the engine and discovers that the ignition cable is gone. Billy revs up his car, and Nancy gets the kids back in the mall.
Jim, Joyce, and Murray take the elevator to the base and Murray explains that he'll set off the alarms to distract the Russians so that Jim and Joyce can get the keys from the vault. Then they go to the observation room and blow up the laser key, and escape through the vents. Jim and Joyce argue about Jim's original plan, and Murray interrupts to say that if it all goes right, the Russians will never know that they were there. The Russian guards are waiting for them, armed, and Murray talks to them in Russian. When that doesn't work, Jim shoots them down. Murray says that he had it under control but Jim isn't convinced and says that he's improvising.
Steve and the others drive to Cerebro and Dustin talks about how perfect Suzie is. Erica says that Suzie sounds made up, and Steve hesitates to respond. He unbelievingly says that Suzie sounds real, and they drive up the hill but get stuck halfway up. As they start walking, Mike tries to call them on the walkie-talkie and says that they need emergency transportation because Billy has found them. Nancy prepares a gun, and Will tells Max that if Billy knows where they are then the Flayer does as well. Jonathan figures they can take the ignition cable from the display car that El wrecked earlier, and they flip the car over so Billy can get the cable. When they can't move it, El says that she can and goes to work.
Jim and Murray don Russian uniforms and drive a cart up to a guard. Murray talks them past the guard and the two men let Joyce out of the back. They get into the storage room vent, and Dustin calls from Cerebro. Murray tells him that he's going into the vent and Jim wishes him luck.
El is too weak to move the car, and others finally flip it over. El digs through a garbage can for an empty can of New Coke, sets it down, and tries to crush it with her telekinesis. She's unable to, and Mike and Max ask her if she's okay.
Will feels the Flayer coming, and the Flayer climbs up on the skylight. Everyone runs for cover as the Flayer shatters the skylight and drops in.
Grigori and his men take the elevator to the base and find the dead soldiers.
Jim worries that it's taking too long and El could have died. Joyce points out that El is safe now, agreeing with Jim, and they argue about the fact that they're not arguing. Jim admits that they make a pretty good team and Joyce agrees, and jokingly asks if she gets the job as police detective. Jim asks if she's still moving out of Hawkins, and Joyce says that they'll see how it goes. If they make it out then they deserve to celebrate, and Jim agrees. Joyce suggests that they go to Enzo's for a dinner date, and they settle on a time. He asks if she means that it's a date date, and Joyce tells him to stop talking before she changes her mind.
Murray climbs through the duct and radios Dustin for directions. Steve sees lights coming from the mall, and Dustin tries to call "Griswold Family" at the mall. The Flayer roars at the discarded walkie-talkie and throws it away. Lucas and the others are hiding, and the Flayer looks for them. Steve runs off to the mall to get the others out and Robin goes after him after Dustin gives her a walkie-talkie to stay in touch. Dustin then tells Murray and Jim that they have a problem.
The Flayer continues searching, and once it turns away Mike says that they should head up the stairs to escape. El says that they can get out through the Gap store, and he, El, and Max head there. The Flayer hears them and goes to the store and extends tentacles inside.
Murray arrives at the laser key and finds the electrical box.
The Flayer continues probing inside the store.
Murray pulls the cables, setting off the alarms. As the laser key shuts down, Jim and Joyce head out.
Lucas shoots a balloon with his slingshot, distracting the Flayer. It goes over to investigate, and Lucas' group runs into the corridor while Mike and the others escape.
Jim and Joyce go to the vault and a guard assumes that they're Russian because of their uniforms and lets them past. They get to the vault and Jim enters Plank's Constant as the code. It doesn't work, and Jim radios Murray to say the code is wrong. Dustin is listening in and admits that he doesn't know it. Erica doesn't know it, and Dustin radios Suzie.
As the kids run outside and Jonathan puts in the ignition cable, Billy continues revving his car's engine and then drives at them. Nancy shoots at him, and Steve and Robin arrive in their car and ram Billy's car just before it hits Nancy. The Flayer rises out through the skylights, and the others pull up and have Robin and Steve get in. They all drive off as the Flayer chases after them.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, Suzie is on her radio and hears Dustin calling. He apologizes for being busy saving the world, and Erica tells him to get the code.
The Flayer chases the station wagon down the road. Robin and Steve are in the back and hear Dustin and Suzie talking, and realize that Suzie is real. Suzie knows Planck's Constant, and tells Dustin to make up for not calling her by saying what she wants to hear. He finally agrees to sing their song, "The Neverending Story" to her. Suzie sings along with him, while everyone listens via the walkie-talkies. She then gives Planck's Constant and Jim enters the code and gets the case with the keys.
Billy crawls out of his car and sees Mike, Max, and El leaving the mall. They see him and go back in.
The Flayer turns around, and Jonathan drives the car back to the mall.
Jim and Joyce get to the control room and order everyone out, firing his gun to get their attention.
As Mike calls for the elevator, Max confronts Billy and tries to get through to him. He knocks her aside and then knocks out Mike when he goes for him. Billy knocks out El before she can launch an attack, then carries her off.
Murray warns Jim over the walkie-talkie that he has company. Jim and Joyce insert the keys but before they can turn them, Grigori arrives and grabs Jim. Joyce tries to go for a gun and Grigori knocks her out. Jim attacks Grigori and Grigori easily knocks him down.
Billy takes the unconscious El out to the mall and sets her on the floor. As she wakes up, he whispers to her that it will be over soon. The Flayer climbs down through the skylight and advances on El... and Lucas and the others throw fireworks at it from different sides.
Jim and Grigori continue fighting, enter the key room.
Billy moans with pain as the blasts rocks the Flayer. El crawls away and Billy grabs her leg and drags her back.
Joyce recovers and sees Jim and Grigori fighting. Grigori manages to get his foot on Jim's throat and shoves him toward the spinning laser key. Steve tells Dustin that they're running out of fireworks, and Dustin yells to Murray to blow up the laser key. Joyce hears them and uses her belt to try and turn both keys simultaneously.
Max wakes up and wakes up Mike, and Mike wonders where El is.
As Billy chokes her, El remembers his childhood memories that she saw. She describes them to Billy, and he reverts to normal as he remembers being happy.
Jim manages to knock Grigori back and then throws him into the turbine.
The kids run out of fireworks, and Mike and Max arrive to see Billy confront the Flayer. It extends a tentacle at him, and Billy catches it and shoves it back. The Flayer extends more tentacles into him. Dustin yells at them to close the gate, and Joyce reaches the second key. She looks at Jim, who looks back at her and nods.
The Flayer extends a final tentacle into Billy's chest. It lets him drop to the floor
Joyce turns the keys and the laser key explodes. The gate closes and the Flayer goes berserk. It collapses and Mike runs to El. Max stares at Billy who is dying. He says that he's sorry and dies. El comforts a sobbing Max.
Joyce goes to the wreckage but there's no sign of Jim. Murray arrives and asks a crying Joyce where Jim is. More Russians arrive in the control room and Murray leads Joyce away.
Dustin and Erica look up as U.S. Air Force helicopters arrive. The helicopters land at Starcourt, and Owens and his soldiers get out and enter the facility, entering the base and capturing Murray and Joyce. Above, the fire trucks arrive at the mall, and the soldiers take Joyce and Murray out. Joyce sees Will and the two of them embrace. An injured El comes out and sees Joyce alone, and realizes that Jim is dead.
Three Months Later
The news does a story on how Hawkins was wracked by tragedy on the 4th of July. Jim died among reports of government cover-ups and a chemical leak. Kline was disgraced and arrested, but some wonder if Hawkins is cursed.
Steve and Robin go to a video store and apply for a job. The owner, Keith, quizzes them about movies and Keith hires Robin but not Steve. Robin talks to Keith privately and says that Steve has other qualities. She says that the ladies will come in just to see Steve, and Steve will need Keith to deal with the extra. Robin tells Keith that she and Steve are just friends.
Joyce and Jonathan pack to move. Inside, Lucas and Max tease Dustin about Suzie and his singing. Mike helps Will pack up his D&D books, and Will says that he's giving them away and will use Mike's books when he comes back. He assures Mike that he'll never join another group.
Nancy offers to let Jonathan stay in her basement or in a tent, but Jonathan figures that it's going to be okay and they kiss.
El tries and fails to telekinetically pull down a teddy bear from a high shelf as she packs. Mike assures her that her powers will come back, and says that he'll visit her for Thanksgiving and then she and Will can visit him on Christmas. El starts to walk out and then reminds him of the day at the cabin when he talked to Max about his feelings. He asks what he said, and El tells him that she loves him, too. El kisses him and leaves.
Joyce finds Jim's shirt with a piece of paper in the pocket. El comes in, and Joyce realizes that Jim never talked to her. El reads it, and in it Jim says that he wants Mike and El to be happy and he cares about them both. He talks about how long he's forgotten his own feelings, and then El came into his life and he started to feel things again. Jim says that he doesn't want things to change, but he knows El is growing up. He says that when she's hurt emotionally, it means that she has feelings. Jim ends by asking her to always keep the door open three inches.
Everyone says goodbye and the Byers drive off.
The cabin lies in ruins.
Mike and others ride off. When Mike returns home, Karen hugs him.
Max sits in her room mourning Billy.
Dustin and Lucas give Erica Will's D&D books. She looks at them and smiles.
El finishes the letter and laughs, then cries. Joyce comes in and says that it's time to go, and El puts the paper in her pocket and leaves with the Byers.
At a military base in Kamchatka, two soldiers go past a cell with an American in it. They open the next cell and drag the prisoner inside away. They toss him into a cage and open a panel in the wall. A Demodog comes out and lunges at the prisoner.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 29, 2019