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S03.E04: Chapter Four: The Sauna Test

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I'm finding it a bit hard to root for Hopper this season - I feel like the writing for his character has been a bit lazy and broad - he seems unnecessarily angry hostile and violent ALL the time. I feel like the character (and David Harbour) are much more intelligent than what has been in the script this season. It's been one of the more notable weak points for me this time around.

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1 hour ago, Kel Varnsen said:

I actually totally bought that scene. This is the third time in like less than 2 years that shit happening associated with Hawkins lab is screwing with Hopper's life and potentially putting him and people he cares about at risk.. I saw it has him being super frustrated and not wanting to waste time because he knew the stakes. Plus it wasn't like a typical questioning/torture of a suspect. It was basically give me the paperwork I know you have or I will beat the shit out of you. Jerk me around and I will come back and beat you more. I can see that working a lot better than your typical tv torture scene.

I can understand him being irrationally angry, even violently so, but this was not just beating someone up. Threatening to slice off a finger is maiming, which is torture, and it is a whole other level of awful. (Not to imply that beating someone up is fine. One punch can kill a man, and TV's insistence on portraying extended violent beat-downs as standard good guy behavior that does no lasting harm is really irresponsible.) Compounding this is the fact that Hopper is supposed to be "a hero," AND the fact that he was there theoretically in his capacity as chief of police, which adds up to a major problem, and goes back to my point about media pervasively normalizing our cops and our "good guys" behaving like out-of-control violent lunatics, simply because they are in a bad mood, with no expectation that they control their emotions. Besides the fact that it's a well-worn trope, there is a direct link between lazy writing like this, and the general American disinterest in prosecuting those responsible for the CIA's torture program (many who participated/oversaw are still happily making bank in senior positions), or preventing the torture of people in detention facilities within the US today.

Are our standards really so low that we will see behavior like this as acceptable, so long as the character doing it has been framed as a good guy? I'm not squeamish about violence or gore at all, but the way this scene was framed was really disturbing.

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9 hours ago, Slovenly Muse said:

Are our standards really so low that we will see behavior like this as acceptable, so long as the character doing it has been framed as a good guy? I'm not squeamish about violence or gore at all, but the way this scene was framed was really disturbing.

I don't know that I think Hop's behavior is being framed as acceptable - I think we're supposed to acknowledge that his behavior is over the top. Just as, on a smaller scale, we're supposed to agree that Mike's behavior was bratty at best in the earlier episodes.

My standards for a fantasy show depicting people fighting something that threatens humanity are quite different for those shows supposedly centered in real life. I never watched 24 because of that, and dropped many a show for the same reasons. One set of rules doesn't fit every situation - in real life and in fiction.

Edited by Clanstarling
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That episode was scary.

No, I don't think Hopper's behavior is acceptable. I think the viewer is supposed to recognize that he is increasingly on edge/at a breaking point. He's been pretty solid and he's not anymore. I had to run out of the room when he was beating up Cary Elwes-was dangerously close to torture and I can't take that. Hopper is one of my favorite characters, so I hope it is addressed/a real plot point. My husband noted that Hopper has gained a lot of weight, and I think that's part of the storyline too-that he is losing control of everything. But we'll see if the brothers wrap all that up/use it or if it's just flotsam.

One thing that is bumming me out this season is that they all seem so separate? Especially Steve and Dustin. But even Joyce and Hopper. I hope they can all start working together soon.

I think Nancy is better off on her own and Jonathan is the most superfluous character on the show anyway. I loved her scene with her mom.

Really like Max and El's friendship. Hope it continues. Species should stick together. ;0

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Watching the scene where Billy is in the sauna pleading to Max that it wasn't his fault I think that's what their relationship used to be like when they were younger and Max remembered. When Billy was just a 13 year old and would get abused by his dad and he would be crying and Max comforting him. Then when he got older he putting all his frustration on drinking and sex and they drifted apart. They moved to Hawkins and Billy blamed Max and took out his anger on her, Steve and Lucas and their rift seemed permanent. So I think this situation reminded her how much they cared for each other before.

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Do we even know whether Billy and Max are half-siblings or step-siblings? I always took it that they were step-siblings, and that they hadn't been a family all that long. Based on nothing, I figured the reason Max was "at fault" is that they wanted to move away from her father (another move Billy's abusive Dad took to isolate and control them.)

Me, I thought it was the MF talking, trying to fool Max. The actor played it wonderfully, but color me skeptical.

I have every faith that the band (plus recruits) will all join up and be that much stronger because of their separate story lines.

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So we're definitely doing Bodysnatchers now. Poor Mrs. Driscoll, Heather and her parents, probably more minor characters too. Only the Mindflayer we saw last season is actually in Hawkins now. Well. Crap. That last scene was incredibly creepy.

Dacre Montgomery is really good at playing a psychopath. Unnerving in both his coldness and his charm. And his sulky, miserable demeanour as he sat under his parasol, with a cup of ice, makes me think he's probably good at comedy too.

I felt bad for Max, and for Billy as well. But however dark he was last season, they seem to have retconned that a little to make him a victim here.

And it looks like the Mindflayer is far more than a match for El, assuming it grows in strength as it assimilates more people.

The show is actively taking the piss now, by keeping everyone apart. El conveniently has a sleepover at the house of the creepy psychopath, just so that she's not at home when Hopper and Joyce are? The boys call Max and Dustin, but not Hopper? Or Nancy or Jonathan? Dustin doesn't want to talk to any of his friends about his super exciting, Cold War mystery?

Hopper beating up the mayor was a rather dubious moment. I get the feeling we're watching him go too far, and he doesn't have the benefit of being possessed by the Mindflayer.

I liked Jonathan and Nancy's argument, about their different life experiences. Nancy coming from a wealthy, middle class family and expecting the world, Jonathan coming from a struggling, single parent home and expecting nothing but kicks. Neither of them were right or wrong. And at least we got one scene of a Hawkins parent actually parenting.

I really, really wish they hadn't increased Erica's role. She's fucking annoying, not cute and spunky, or whatever we're supposed to think.

But now there's a huge, secret facility under the mall, run by Soviets? Come on, this is getting too far into "Reds under the bed" 80s paranoia nonsense for me.

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21 minutes ago, Danny Franks said:

I liked Jonathan and Nancy's argument, about their different life experiences. Nancy coming from a wealthy, middle class family and expecting the world, Jonathan coming from a struggling, single parent home and expecting nothing but kicks. Neither of them were right or wrong. And at least we got one scene of a Hawkins parent actually parenting.

I liked it too. They both had valid points, but couldn't hear what the other was saying, because in they were too wrapped up in their own fears and outrage. Perspective is everything when it comes to understanding each other's points of view and challenges. I lean a bit more on Jonathan's side, though I've walked more in Nancy's shoes. Financial insecurity is a heavy burden, especially when his income is also helping his family - and his mother's job is at risk with the mall closing so many downtown shops.

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On 7/5/2019 at 6:59 AM, domina89 said:

/\ THIS x 100!!!  I was amazed that she actually knew how to parent at all based on what we've seen so far.

This scene didn't work for me for exactly this reason.  We've seen no clue that Mrs Wheeler knows how to parent, yet she turns on a dime for this "touching" mother-daughter scene.  Not Buying It.

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10 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

Do we even know whether Billy and Max are half-siblings or step-siblings? I always took it that they were step-siblings, and that they hadn't been a family all that long. Based on nothing, I figured the reason Max was "at fault" is that they wanted to move away from her father (another move Billy's abusive Dad took to isolate and control them.)

Me, I thought it was the MF talking, trying to fool Max. The actor played it wonderfully, but color me skeptical.

I have every faith that the band (plus recruits) will all join up and be that much stronger because of their separate story lines.

They're step siblings. Billy's dad married Max's mom. 

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3 hours ago, Female83 said:

They're step siblings. Billy's dad married Max's mom. 

Yes, they're step siblings.

Max told the boys when she first started to get to know them that after her mom married Billy's dad, it wasn't long before her step father decided to move the family to Hawkins.  Somehow, I had the impression that her mother had married Billy's dad within the past year, and she felt that he insisted on the move at least in part to keep Max (and possibly her mother) away from her father as much as possible.

There has been no indication that Billy and Max have ever been close.  Max thought Billy was an asshole, and Billy resented that his father marrying Max's mom was the catalyst for being moved away from California.  Billy had to play nice with Max's mom, but when he and Max were alone he let her know his true feelings about the situation. 

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5 hours ago, Female83 said:

They're step siblings. Billy's dad married Max's mom. 

I thought so too - but having half-siblings (my Dad married my Mom, who had other children), I know the dynamic can be similar (well, not like Billy - my brothers were waaay better than that)

2 hours ago, Zahdii said:

Yes, they're step siblings.

Max told the boys when she first started to get to know them that after her mom married Billy's dad, it wasn't long before her step father decided to move the family to Hawkins.  Somehow, I had the impression that her mother had married Billy's dad within the past year, and she felt that he insisted on the move at least in part to keep Max (and possibly her mother) away from her father as much as possible.

There has been no indication that Billy and Max have ever been close.  Max thought Billy was an asshole, and Billy resented that his father marrying Max's mom was the catalyst for being moved away from California.  Billy had to play nice with Max's mom, but when he and Max were alone he let her know his true feelings about the situation. 

I couldn't remember if it was said explicitly, a post had me second-guessing what I thought had happened.

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I am only now picking my jaw off of the floor. That was insane.

She tossed him straight through a wall. A freaking wall.

I might come back when I can think straight and not only remember that one thing.

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On 7/11/2019 at 4:25 PM, jhlipton said:

This scene didn't work for me for exactly this reason.  We've seen no clue that Mrs Wheeler knows how to parent, yet she turns on a dime for this "touching" mother-daughter scene.  Not Buying It.

She raised Nancy and Mike. That seems to be enough evidence for me.

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On 7/13/2019 at 7:35 PM, calguy said:

She raised Nancy and Mike. That seems to be enough evidence for me.

I've seen really good people raised by crappy parents and vice-versa.  Not a convincing argument for me.

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