Stranger Things Review: Mayhem in the Mall

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The latest trip to Hawkins is proving to be best yet. 

Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 4 and Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 5 took us on a wild ride to underground bunkers, the depths of the Starcourt Mall, and to other crazy places. 

Nancy's storyline continued to gather steam, and the increased focus on her has been welcome.

At times, Nancy has just been there with little purpose to the story. 

The Shock of Her Life - Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 4

Her sleuthing skills are second to none, and it's been grating on my nerves that she's being belittled in the workplace. As a young woman in the 1980s, she's been put in a box and wants to break free. 

I don't care about Tina or Uncle Jack's party! Your mom's not gonna be able to find us if we're dead in a Russian elevator!

Dustin

Her co-workers are disgusting. It was inevitable that Tom was going to fire both her and Jonathan after all of the drama with Mrs. Driscoll, but I did not expect her to have to fight with Tom and the Donald Trump lookalike at the hospital. 

Related: Stranger Things Review: Deliver Them to Evil

That came out of nowhere, but it had me on the edge of my seat throughout.

There were so many times I thought Nancy was going to be killed off because it seemed like it was foreshadowed thanks to earlier scenes. 

Nancy on the Case - Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 4

Her chat with her mother and her argument with Jonathan seemingly set her up for disaster, and it would have been difficult to watch the rest of the season without her. 

It was about a time a parent actually did some parenting this season.

The last person I expected to do it was Mrs. Wheeler. She's been so consumed by getting dolled up and ogling Billy at the pool that I figured she was ready to jump ship. 

But Mrs. Wheeler telling her daughter to continue her pursuit for the truth was something else.

It was a rare moment between the mother and daughter, and it was just what Nancy needed to propel her storyline forward. 

A New Horror

There's been a lot of hate aimed at Nancy, and I don't understand it.

If anything, it's great that the Duffer Brothers are using this character to portray sexism in the workplace, and Natalia Dyer continues to kill it. 

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Jonathan knew what he was getting himself into by accompanying Nancy on her side missions, so the way he spoke to her after they were fired was surprising. 

The good thing about Nancy and Jonathan's quest is that it tied into the overall arc of Stranger Things Season 3, and that's something that's making it all seem more worthwhile. 

Nancy and Jonathan - Stranger Things

The monster at the hospital was freaky, and it proved there are more horrors lurking around Hawkins than we're being led to believe. 

It's great that most of the younger characters are working together now because we're approaching the end of the season, so these storylines need to converge, and it felt organic to do it at this point. 

Eleven proved to be a formidable force, once again, but I'm starting to get the sense that the season is going to conclude with the youngster in a bad way. 

She successfully managed to overpower Billy, but it's clear that these encounters with the villains are starting to take it out of her. 

Billy the Villain? - Stranger Things

Billy was just one person, and the Mind Flayer has an army at this stage. It makes you wonder if Eleven is going to be strong enough to take the alien on if she struggled with Billy. 

Might this be the perfect time to bring Eight back into the mix? It certainly seems like she's going to need some assistance because these monsters are getting stronger by the day. 

Hopper and Joyce finding the underground bunker was quite the surprise, but after learning the truth about Starcourt, it was the natural direction to take this storyline in. 

What shocked me the most was that both of them managed to escape the Bunker.

Not In My House - Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 1

The Terminator-like dude has proven on multiple occasions already that he has superhuman strength, so they were very lucky. 

Taking Alexi with them provided a lot of laughs. He really is up there with Robin as some of the best new characters for Stranger Things Season 3. 

Bringing Maury back into the mix was a good idea. He was one of the best characters on Stranger Things Season 2, so I will take any scenes that include him. 

Having him work with the parents this time instead of the children should make for a different change of pace, but it's obvious he's going to be the one to do the translating while also providing some laughs. 

Erica Arrives at the Mall - Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 4

Inside the actual Starcourt, things are starting to heat up. Erica joining Dustin, Robin, and Steve for Operation Child Endangerment was clearly only thrown in there as fan service, but it worked. 

Related: Stranger Things Season 3 Review: Bigger, Better, and More Heartbreaking Than Ever

Priah Ferguson has the ability to make every single one of her jokes land, and that's a difficult thing to do. Erica is quick-witted, and it was perfect that she would have a lot to say about her role in things. 

I still haven’t heard what’s in it for Erica!

Erica

It was surprising that her first instinct was not to laugh in their faces and run home to tell her parents about what she was being asked to do. 

Robin at Scoops Ahoy! - Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 3

It's scary to think that these four kids are trapped under a shopping mall with a group of Russians who are blatantly trying to open the rift to the Upside Down. What could the Russians want with this? 

You can’t spell America without Erica.

Erica

It also makes me wonder whether the Upside Down can only be accessed from Hawkins.

The Russians failed disastrously on Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 1, but who could have told them about the Upside Down being accessible from Hawkins? 

What are your thoughts on the season so far?

Hit the comments below. 

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

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Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 4 Quotes

You can’t spell America without Erica.

Erica

I still haven’t heard what’s in it for Erica!

Erica