Stranger Things 2 recap – Chapter Four: Will the Wise

Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Netflix /

Episode Four, “Will the Wise,” opens on its titular character with eyes rolled back and shaking body; he’s has confronted the Shadow Monster and is being overcome by it.

I’ll admit that Noah Schnapp’s limited role in the first season of Stranger Things left me anxious to see how he’d fit in with the chemistry of the gang and if he had the acting chops to pull off a return from the Upside Down. Here, he pulls his weight. When Joyce confronts him over what he’s been seeing, his reply, “I felt it. . . everywhere,” is chilling.

We move on quickly to Hopper and Eleven, who are fighting over his strict house rules. When he tries to ground her, she gets aggressive, using her mind to fight back.

“You are like papa!” She screams at him. Cue my heart breaking. They’re both screaming, windows are shattering, and watching these two fight proves incredibly difficult to view.

Back at the Byer’s, Will isn’t feeling so well. Joyce takes his temp; he’s unnaturally cold. Something is off. Joyce draws him a bath in an attempt to warm him up, but Will won’t get in. He complains of the bath water being “too hot.”

When Joyce suggests that they need to get his body temp back up, Will gives us this terrifying tidbit: “No. He likes it cold.” Poor Joyce Byers just can’t catch a break!

Looks like Hopper and Eleven’s conflict is carrying on, too. They’re seen still icy the morning after their fight, with neither willing to concede to the other. Although clearly still wounded, Hop takes off for work, responding to an attempt by Joyce to get him to the Byers house.

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Over at the school, the boys—and that punk, Billy—razz Steve over Nancy’s supposed rebound with Jonathan. Although the kids are just making wild guesses intended to hurt, their accusations might not be too far off base: Jonathan and Nancy are hanging out in the very next scene.

The pair waits in a park together, where they realize that they are being watched. Before they can leave the park, their stalkers confront them. The lab has eyes everywhere.

Back with Will, Hopper has made his way to the Byers house. He listens intently as the boy describes having memories that aren’t his own. He calls them “now-memories,” yet another creepy term you can add to your Stranger Things dictionary. Per Joyce’s suggestion, Will begins to draw out these strange things he is experiencing.

At school, the rest of the boys are on edge with Will’s unexplained absence. Mike tells the others about Will’s Halloween experience with the Shadow Monster: “If we find Dart,” he postulates, “Maybe we can solve this thing. Maybe we can help Will.”

In Hopper’s cabin, El is working on her own project. As she cleans up from the fight, she accidentally discovers a trap door. Inside she finds a box labeled “Hawkins Lab.”

Cut back to Nancy and Jonathan, who are in Hawkins Lab right now. There, Dr. Owens gives them the low-down, showing them the lab’s very own gate to the Upside Down. It’s clear he’s using scare tactics in an attempt to stop their meddling. He even goes so far as to suggest that the Soviets could use a “mistake like this” for themselves.

This mistake is clearly growing, and Will has all the details. At home, he is seen drawing furiously. Joyce connects each picture for a larger portrait of something sinister. She can’t make heads or tails of it and consults Hopper for his opinion. Before he can fully explain the context of the drawings though, Hop hightailed it outta there only briefly stating, “He’s drawing vines.”

In a simpler storyline, Max is at school, upset that she’s not being included in the Party. When Lucas comes to collect her for the search for Dart, she takes a pass. “I’m out.” As she’s leaving with her brother, Billy, it would seem she’s not the only sibling upset with Lucas. Billy threateningly tells Max to stay away from him.

Back at the cabin, El is searching through files and discovers her birth mother. She uses the blindfold to reach out to her. It’s clear that Terry knows she is there, but she fades away before contact can be made.

At the very lab that took El from Terry, Jonathan and Nancy are leaving with a secret recorder in hand. Unbeknownst to Dr. Owens, they’ve recorded proof of the government’s involvement in Barb’s death. “Let’s burn that lab to the ground,” Nancy says.

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If Nancy’s sabotage doesn’t take down Hawkins Lab, maybe the Upside Down will: when Dustin returns home, he finds Dart is gone from his cage, leaving behind a skin. Dart is bigger, badder and currently feasting on Dustin’s cat. Looks like we’ve got a bit more than a Pollywog here, people.

Finally, in a step away from all the campiness and light-hearted (by comparison) fun of these first few episodes, we are beginning to get scary once more. Away from Dustin, in a pumpkin patch, Hopper digs and accidentally discovers something distinctly un-earthlike.

He drops into the hole he has found and into the Upside Down, complete with a jarring twist of the camera sure to unsettle viewers and leave you with more questions than answers.