Stranger Things season 3, episode 6 finally explains the Russian presence in Hawkins - and the Mind Flayer's mysterious plan kicks into gear. "E Pluribus Unum" is essentially an episode of explanations, with Hopper and Joyce told about the Russian Gate. Unfortunately, while Joyce's first instinct is to protect her children, she's too late; the Mind Flayer is already back, and wreaking havoc.
Eleven and her friends narrowly survive an encounter with the Flayed at Hawkins hospital, and decide to go on the offensive by tracking down Billy. They've made a big mistake; the Mind Flayer had a psychic brush with Eleven in season 3, episode 3, which means the creature has anticipated this tactic. By the end of episode 6, the Mind Flayer is preparing to launch its counter-strike.
But why did the Russians have to build the Gate at Hawkins? What exactly are they expecting to encounter in the Upside Down? And what are the limits of Eleven's powers? Let's explore the key questions in Stranger Things season 3, episode 6.
5. Why Did The Russians Come To Hawkins?
Stranger Things season 3, episode 6 explains why the Russians have come to Hawkins. It seems they've been attempting to create a portal to the Upside Down for quite some time; through his translator, Alexei explains that there have been "many keys." Eventually, the Russians realized they needed to go to a location where the Gate had been open before. He reassures Joyce and Hopper that the Gate is not yet open again, though - rather, it's opening. That explains why the Mind Flayer hasn't simply emerged through the Gate.
4. Why Do The Russians Have Cattle Prods And Cages?
Nancy and Steve may have been captured by the Russians, but Dustin and Erica are still on the loose in the Russian base. In Stranger Things season 3, episode 6, their explorations lead them to some strange discoveries; cages and cattle prods. It's interesting to note that the cage is just the right size to contain a Demogorgon, suggesting that the Russians know all about the kind of life forms they can expect to find in the Upside Down.
3. Why Did Billy's Memories Draw Eleven To The Source?
In one of the most powerful scenes in Stranger Things to date, Eleven explores Billy's memories. Stranger Things season 3, episode 6 helps viewers to understand Billy, not just as a bully but as a wounded child who has suffered terribly. The first glimpse is a beautiful one, of a moment of childlike joy, but from there Eleven winds up taking a tour of some of the worst moments of Billy's life. This inevitably leads her to a defining moment, the horrific encounter with the Mind Flayer in the Stranger Things season 3 premiere.
2. Do Eleven's Powers Have Limits?
Stranger Things season 3, episode 6 raises the stakes, confirming that for all her power, Eleven seems to be outmatched. The Mind Flayer has allowed Eleven to enter into Billy's mind in order to establish contact of its own, and the creature is able to see through Eleven's eyes and work out where she is. Eleven's powers have been used on an ever-increasing scale over the course of Stranger Things, but this is the first real hint that they have their limits, as she desperately struggles to escape the Mind Flayer.
1. How Many Flayed Were There?
The Mind Flayer's plans escalate now it knows where Eleven is. The creature summons all of the Flayed to the steelworks, where it breaks them down into raw organic matter and merges them with its own form. Stranger Things season 3, episode 6 gives a sense of just how many people had fallen under the Mind Flayer's control; although it's hard to get an exact count, there look to be over 20.
Other Questions About Stranger Things season 3, episode 6
For all the questions it answers, Stranger Things season 3, episode 6 raises a lot of new ones. Did Mayor Kline know he was in bed with the Russians? It's worth remembering that Stranger Things is set during the Cold War, which means this isn't just corruption; Kline is a traitor to his country. And why hasn't the Mind Flayer killed Eleven already? This episode gives the creature another opportunity to take on its greatest foe, and yet it passes up on the chance, preferring a more complex tactic. It's clear that the Mind Flayer has another plan for Eleven.