With El and Max looking for Billy, Will declares a day without girls. Steve, Dustin and Robin go on a stakeout, while Joyce and Hopper return to Hawkins Lab.
This episode provides examples of:
- Anger Montage: Of Will destroying Castle Byers.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Played With. When Joyce starts freaking out about a minor, random bit of weirdness and wants to go to the secret government lab, Hopper ... pretty quickly agrees due to the weirdness they'd already been through in the past. Instantly subverted as he's being sarcastic, and he sets the conditions for going there the same as she had set for their "not-date". It's only when Joyce takes a flashlight and some bolt cutters from his storage shed that he realizes she's serious and decides to go with her.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Mike tries to deny that the party is becoming fractured, Will retorts by asking him where Dustin is right now, to which Mike has no response.
- Armor-Piercing Response: During Mike and Will's fight in the garage:Will: You're destroying everything, and for what? So you can swap spit with some stupid girl?
Mike: El's not stupid! It's not my fault you don't like girls!
[both freeze, visibly stunned by Mike's response]
- Artifact Alias: This episode makes it clear that even when introducing herself to new people, Eleven still refers to herself as "El" and not "Jane".
- Binocular Shot: When Dustin and Steve are spying on the mall, then again when Robin joins them to spy on the delivery truck.
- Brain Bleach: Max warns Eleven against sticking around to psychically spy on Billy if he's with a girl, or she'll be scarred for life.
- Burping Contest: Eleven has a vision where she sees Mike and Lucas burping and farting.
- Conspiracy Theorist: According to a Hawkins Post He-Man Woman Hater, Doris Driscoll once told him Lyndon Johnson killed John F. Kennedy.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Hopper is on the receiving end of one at the hands of the General's enforcer, who easily and brutally neutralizes him. Though Hopper gets some good punches in as well.
- Dramatic Thunder: Rolls when Nancy and Jonathan break into the house of the old lady at night during a storm.
- Dream Spying: Eleven uses her powers to spy on the boys.
- Emerging from the Shadows: A monster that looks an awful lot like a smaller version of the Mind Flayer. Except it's made of flesh.
- Eureka Moment: Seeing a deliveryman whose company logo is a silver lynx gives Robin the idea to look for other such connections in the mall storefronts. She quickly figures out the code is referring to packages shipped to specific stores.
- Everyone Is Related: Heather the lifeguard turns out to be the daughter of Nancy and Jonathan's boss Tom.
- Flashback Cut: Joyce has one regarding Bob when she finds herself back at the lobby of Hawkins Lab.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Heather knocks down her father with a wine bottle.
- Hysterical Woman: Mike and Lucas talk about women "acting on emotion, not logic", thus pissing off Max and Eleven.
- Instant Sedation: Averted. Billy hands Heather a rag soaked in chloroform to subdue her father, but he's still struggling as the episode cuts to black several seconds later.
- Jerkass Realization: After falling out with Will, Mike and Lucas feel guilty for ignoring him, mocking his D&D campaign and making mean comments about him so they ride over to his house to apologize in the middle of a thunderstorm. When he isn't there, they track him down to Castle Byers.
- Male Gaze: The camera lovingly pans over the lycra-clad ladies of the Jazzercise class, to Steve's (and slightly Dustin's) appreciation.
- Porn Stash: While searching Billy's room, Max stumbles onto a stash of Penthouse magazines in his night stand.
- Precision F-Strike: It's muffled, but Will clearly screams "FUCK!" while destroying Castle Byers.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted. At work, when Nancy presents her theory about the stolen supplies everyone in the room breaks out laughing except for Tom, the boss, who thinks the story has merit. Nancy's eyes widen. Then Tom adds that it should become a Nancy Drew mystery book.
- Red Herring: At the mall, Dustin and Steve follow a blond guy with a duffel bag who turns out to be a Jazzercise instructor.
- Running Gag: For the third episode in a row, Nancy ignores the red light over the darkroom and bursts in while Jonathan is developing pictures, ruining what he's working on.
- Shipper on Deck: Dustin is this for Robin and Steve.
- Slipping a Mickey: Billy appears to have slipped something in Heather's mom's drink, causing her to pass out.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Don McLean's American Pie plays while Heather's mom passes out on the floor and Tom is beaten by his daughter. The perfect All-American Family is being dragged to their final doom.
- Spin the Bottle: How El and Max decide who to spy on. First it spins to Mr. Wheeler, who is dismissed as "boring" and then they spin to Billy and find something horrifying.
- Stunned Silence: Will's reaction to Mike accusing him of not liking girls.
- Tap on the Head: Subverted as Heather whacks a wine bottle against her father's head, but it fails to knock him out, forcing her to drug him instead.
- Trophy Wife: Trophy Girlfriend variation. Dustin, when discussing how perfect Robin can be for Steve, tells him to let go of constructs like popularity and focus on finding a girl that he genuinely likes and likes him back rather than one that makes him look cool.
- The Worf Effect: The General's Enforcer, who had previously only been seen in a few scenes, delivers it to Hopper when him and Joyce visit the lab.