Stranger Things Recap: No Girls Allowed

July 4, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV, TV Recaps
4

Summary

“The Case of the Missing Lifeguard” splits up the cast in fun ways while the plot takes some major turns.

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4

Summary

“The Case of the Missing Lifeguard” splits up the cast in fun ways while the plot takes some major turns.

This recap of Stranger Things Season 3, Episode 3, “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


Despite the title, “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard” is as much about all of the other brewing subplots as it is about the disappearance of Heather, Billy’s kidnapped co-worker. We do get some answers in that regard, but they only raise more questions, as do most of the other revelations in this surprisingly daring third episode.

We open Stranger Things Season 3, Episode 3 with Max and Eleven, still gloating over having dealt with the boys in their lives. They use Eleven’s projection powers to gloat further, and once Hopper has returned home and relaxed for the evening — David Harbour plays a great drunk — they start spinning a bottle to determine who they’re going to spy on next.

It’s Billy. Which is a problem, because we know what Billy has been up to, and he also, according to “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard”, can see Eleven’s projected consciousness. Max and Eleven decide to go looking for him, just as Will, becoming increasingly frustrated with his downbeat friends, declares a day of Dungeons and Dragons, free of girls.

Joyce turns up at Hopper’s house in Stranger Things Season 3, Episode 3, to explain to him how electromagnetism works and how it might mean that the Hawkins Lab has been reopened for business. Hopper is still incredibly salty about being stood up and has a meltdown about allowing oneself to move on, which Joyce misses because she already left to steal tools from his shed. She wants him to take her back to the lab, and she isn’t taking no for an answer.

At Billy’s house, Eleven and Max find Heather’s lifeguard gear, which they return to the pool. While there, Eleven nabs a picture of her so that she can use her powers to find her. In the vision, Heather begs for help.

Alongside the case of the missing lifeguard, Nancy and Jonathan are still investigating the case of their own, the one about the rats eating their way through all of Hawkins’ chemicals. None of the boorish men at the Hawkins Post takes Nancy even remotely seriously, which annoys but doesn’t dissuade her. She knows she’s onto something, and if only they can find proof, she’ll be able to make her bosses eat their words.

Stranger Things Season 3, Episode 3 is all about ongoing mysteries. While Robin continues to decipher the coded Russian transmission, Steve and Dustin look for “evil Russians” as per Dustin’s description, taken directly from film and television. In amongst Dustin’s romantic advice — Steve clearly has a thing for Robin — they spot a potential suspect who perfectly matches the description. Brilliantly, he turns out to be the jazzercise instructor. Meanwhile, Robin cracks the code on her own. It pertains to locations within the Starcourt Mall.

In a sad development, Will becomes hopelessly frustrated with Mike and Lucas, who just can’t forget about their girlfriends for long enough to enjoy the new D&D campaign he has dreamed up. You can see the progression of these characters across three seasons just in this scene; Mike’s mocking of the game, Lucas’s distraction, Will’s desperate desire for things to go back to how they were not too long ago. He has a tearful meltdown that he’s losing his friends and that they’re all losing their innocence. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that this is a coming-of-age show, but Stranger Things Season 3, Episode 3 was a strong, effective reminder.

And then it all went mental. “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard” saw major developments in all of the subplots established thus far. At the Hawkins Lab, after a touching conversation about living with and moving on from trauma, Hopper is attacked by the big goon who has been spotted here and there around town. Nancy and Jonathan return to Mrs. Driscoll’s house and find her seemingly possessed, eating fertilizer. Dustin, Steve, and Robin find their heavily-armed evil Russians, and almost get themselves caught.

And Eleven and Max turn up at Heather’s house, where they find her and Billy dining with her parents. All seems normal — suspiciously normal. Once they leave, Billy has a vision of Eleven using her powers last season, the outcome of which Will, miles away, is able to feel. Will declares, “He’s back.” Afterward, Billy and Heather casually poison and attack Heather’s parents.

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