Stranger Things 2, episode 8 review: The Mind Flayer

Stranger Things 2- Photo Credit: Netflix
Stranger Things 2- Photo Credit: Netflix /

“The Mind Flayer,” episode of Stranger Things 2 is the best episode of the new season so far. Here’s our review and episode grade.

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“The Mind Flayer,” episode 8 of Stranger Things 2 was another truly great episode of the series. The episode picks up where the sixth episode leaves off after the series showed us Eleven’s journey in episode 7, which was happening at the same time as the events from the sixth episode. Spoilers ahead! 

And, ladies and gentleman, the moment you’ve all been waiting for finally happens in episode 8 of Stranger Things 2. Eleven reconnects with Mike, the party and the rest of the gang! And, not only that, she also saves their lives, as the “demodogs” close in on the Byers’ residence, ready to feast again.

While this episode should be remembered for Eleven’s return, we also have to give it up to Bob, played by Sean Astin, who saved our heroes and lost his life in the process. His death, as Mike says, will not be in vain. Bob’s death was the grossest death we’ve seen so far in this series, as a group of the demodogs gorged on his torso while the others drove away.

I continue to be impressed with the Duffer Brothers and how they are presenting the audience with this story. The skill and deftness to maneuver their way through the season, the highs and the lows, the action sequences and the subtle moments. It’s brilliant.

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Again, “The Mind Flayer” is a perfectly paced episode. The audience has a chance to come down after the emotional and horrific death of Bob at the Hawkins National Lab. There’s a chance to think about what’s happening in this game of interdimensional chess with our heroes outsmarting the Shadow Monster and the Upside Down. Then, the phone rings and the Shadow Monster retakes control for a moment, only for Eleven to show up and save the day.

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Earlier in the season, I was a little bummed Eleven had not reconnected with the rest of the Hawkins Heroes yet. I thought we could have used it earlier in the season, but after seeing the return and how she was brought back into the fold at exactly the right time, I totally see why the Duffer Brothers chose this approach. It was the perfect way to bring her back to the group. She is truly home.

While Eleven’s return is the best part of the episode, the moment where Joyce, Jonathan and Mike describe their favorite memories to Will while trying to bring him back out of the Shadow Monster’s control was one of the best of the series, as well. Mike and Jonathan had a chance to showcase a side of themselves we hadn’t really seen in a while. Finn Wolfhard and Charlie Heaton shine in this moment, as does Winona Ryder.

A+. . Stranger Things . S2E8. The Mind Flayer

I thought “The Spy” was the best episode of the series so far heading into “The Mind Flayer,” but I think this episode was actually the best we’ve seen of this show. I don’t see how this episode could have been any better, honestly. Everything about it is perfect.

I’m expecting the final episode of Stranger Things 2 to be even better than “The Mind Flayer.” Let’s get to the Stranger Things 2 finale!