Poor Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) also has a rough go of things in this episode. Apart from Eleven, Will you have gone through the most tumultuous journey, so who can blame him for wanting to be a little kid for just a few more months? Will and Mike's intense conversation about the ramifications of growing up is compelling, but also sad. The Duffer brothers are finding impactful ways this season to highlight the tragic nature of the kids' life-and-death predicament. It also appears that Will's connection to the Mind Flayer is still strong. Does it reach the back of his neck remind you of Harry Potter every time he senses Voldemort?
Billy's arc gets more interesting after Max and Eleven discover him at Heather's house during a peculiar dinner with her parents. Dacre Montgomery plays overly ingratiating house guest well – equal parts charming and creepy. The most fascinating reveal from the scene happens after Eleven and Max leave. Here, we see Billy / the Mind Flayer remembering the events at the end of Season 2 after Eleven closes the portal. So is Billy building an army for his evil master, is there something else afoot?
In an episode filled with tragic stories, it's nice to know that we can always rely on Steve and Dustin's shenanigans to make us laugh. Their "find the Russian" mission at the mall is amusing, especially after the duo discovers that their primary suspect is the local Jazzercise instructor. The way the kids' adventures are structured in a season makes Hawkins feel like a bigger place, and it's been fun to explore all of the new locations.
Nancy and Jonathan's arc, however relevant, is the least interesting plot to follow so sheep. And even though it sucks to see Nancy getting picked up at work, she and Jonathan's Holmes-and-Watson routine isn't quite as captivating as the rest of Hawkins' storylines. Presumably, their investigation will enable them to cross paths with other characters, but for now they feel a bit out of place in what is otherwise a great narrative.