Stranger Things 3: The Flayed

Season 3, Episode 5

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OK. This was a very enjoyable episode of television but I have some issues. And I’m going to force them on you now. I’m worried about Hopper. While David Harbour has always played him with a sparkle of levity, it feels like the character is edging too far into comic relief territory here. After a stunning beat down of Mayor Kline in the previous episode, in The Flayed he returns to the bumbling buffoon he had started to become at the start of season three. I don’t like it. If Hopper isn’t the hero that Hawkins deserves then, who is? Well, one contender for the crown is Steve Harrington who finally wins a fight in The Flayed much to the utter delight of Dustin and everyone else in the whole world.

My other issue is that after we witnessed the full majesty of the Mind Flayer at the end of season two, it now feels like the plot has taken a huge step backward. I’m not sure what the answer is here but it sure feels like we are retreading familiar ground at this point.

All that being said, there are some great moments during The Flayed. Mike’s reunion with Eleven is handled nicely, even if it does once again relegate Will Byers back into the shadows. He does have a touch of the Gollum’s about him actually. A hint of the Momo’s. He’s a weird looking kid is what I am getting at.

Elsewhere, the juxtaposition of Jonathan and Nancy killing off Tom and Bruce was really something. Top notch television. It also just about ensured that these two characters are finally relevant again after a half season of drifting.

On the whole this was an entry I enjoyed but it is a little worrying that I am five episodes in and I still feel like I’m waiting for season three to properly start.

Extras

  • Not a single second of Billy in this week’s episode. He was missed. He has a haircut to rival Steve Harrington’s even.
  • I was today years old when I found out that Mayor Kline is played by Cary Elwes of Saw and The Princess Bride fame. Great man.
  • It’s nice to have Brett Gelman back in the frame as the slimy Murray Bauman but is it OK to have an eye-rollingly unrealistic plot point (Murray being able to speak Russian) if one of the other characters acknowledges how daft it is? I would argue not.
  • Max and Lucas relationship hasn’t been addressed for a while has it? I’m not sure I’m really interested any more. Coupling everyone off is becoming a little tiresome.

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