Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 8 Review: Papa

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Splitting up Stranger Things Season 4 was always going to be risky, but Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 8 cranked up the pace, the action, and the emotion to deliver one of the series’ best episodes.

Eleven’s relationship with Brenner, aka Papa, has been one of the most controversial things about the series since it began.

Brenner has single-handedly caused many of the deaths throughout the series in his quest to have a group of supernatural beings under his rule.

He has zero redeeming qualities, and honestly, I rolled my eyes when he injected Eleven because it was just par for the course with this dude.

A part of me wanted him to get the most heinous death because of his actions, but Eleven taking back the power and leaving him to bleed out in the desert with the military is not how I expected this to go.

My only wish following that big showdown is that Brenner is gone for good this time. Even if he’s alive, keep him in a facility well away from anyone.

His constant comebacks and outmaneuvering of everyone is cumbersome. Owens has had Eleven’s best interests at heart for a while now, and you could see the pain on his face when Sullivan gave out that kill order.

After the attack, you fell into a coma. Like One, you had pushed yourself beyond your limit. And it very nearly destroyed you. But that is where your similarities ended.

Brenner

Did anyone else expect Sullivan to murder Owens? I mean, why keep someone who very clearly opposes you alive?

Maybe the intent is for Owens to take a part of the blame for events in public opinion. They need a fall guy, and if Brenner isn’t alive to be that person, then Owens may be their next best shot.

Then again, Sullivan has proven to be both resourceful and cunning in his pursuit of Eleven, so we should probably expect a lot of fighting as the season wraps up.

Eleven using her powers to take down the helicopter was satisfying. The display of her powers over these last few episodes has been excellent, and as a viewer, it’s nice to see her get them back.

Eleven’s journey has been in coming to terms with who she is and her abilities, and now, she has a renewed sense of purpose because of the imminent threat to Hawkins.

Mike, Will, Jonathan, and Argyle showing up in the nick of time to scoop Eleven out of the desert was convenient, but it was a heartwarming moment.

Eleven had been betrayed by so many people close to her that having Mike, Will, and Jonathan back allowed her to break free from going full nuclear on everyone inside the base.

I appreciated the scene with Will and Mike. There’s been tension brewing between them all season long because of different factors, but you could tell it killed Will to replace himself with Eleven during the emotional speech to Mike.

Imagine, if you will, the barrier between our worlds is a… concrete dam. Henry is putting cracks in this dam. Cracks in dams create pressure. Left unchecked, the pressure will build. And build. And eventually, it will reach a breaking point. And the dam will burst. And when that happens, Hawkins will fall.

Brenner

The line “when you feel different, you feel like a mistake” was a gut punch. It was the most vulnerable Will’s been, and I’m not sure Mike understood what happened, but Jonathan sure did.

The chaos in Hawkins as the teenagers tried to theorize ways to destroy Vecna was fun, but I wish the Riverdale-wannabe jocks didn’t have to be a part of it.

I know the intent was to highlight that the kids are trying to defeat a supernatural being while simultaneously trying to evade capture just for being involved with the Hellfire Club, but damn, those jocks are annoying.

I’m not sold on the theory that Vecna needs to kill his fourth victim to achieve world domination, but maybe I’ll be proven wrong on Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9.

There’s an element of ambiguity with Vecna because while we know a lot about him, I’m expecting him to pull the rug from under viewers in a similar manner to what he did with Eleven and those poor kids at Hawkins Laboratory.

Hopefully, Eleven makes it back in time to join in this big fight. Maybe she’ll find a way to create gates of her own for her group to cut down the 2000-mile trip.

The tension in Russia is rising, and it only reiterated my initial concerns about the storyline. It took too long to get to the good stuff, and now that it’s progressing, it’s good.

I wonder if the people working with Owens can decipher whatever coded message Joyce and the gang sends them before the other Demogorgon(s) and what looks to be the Mind Flayer escape.

He showed me things that haven’t happened yet. The most awful things. I saw a dark cloud spreading over Hawkins. Downtown on fire. Dead soldiers. And this… giant creature with… a gaping mouth. And this creature wasn’t alone. There were so many monsters. An army. And they were coming into Hawkins. Into our neighborhoods. Our homes. And then… he showed me my mom. And Holly. Mike. And they… they were all…

Nancy

There is so much we don’t know about that secret facility because there was a wide array of creatures, posing many questions as we head into the finale and the series’ endgame.

“Papa” was a solid episode. It did have some minor issues, but it got the ball rolling on the series in a big way, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

What are your thoughts on the drama at the Nina lab?

Do you think that should be the end of Papa?

Do you think Sullivan should have killed Owens?

What are your thoughts on Will’s conversation with Mike?

Hit the comments below.

Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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