"Chapter Seven: The Bathtub" is the seventh episode of Stranger Things and the seventh episode of the first season. It was written by Justin Doble and directed by the Duffer Brothers. It premiered on Netflix on July 15, 2016 along with the rest of the season.
Mike Wheeler and Eleven share an intimate moment in which they almost kiss, before being interrupted by a panicked Dustin Henderson, having received a frantic call from Lucas Sinclair, warning them that the "bad men" are coming. Seeing the repairman outside, Mike asks his mother if she scheduled any repairs, which she did not. The kids flee on their bikes as Martin Brenner watches them from the front lawn. Lucas joins them as vans pursues them, another van turning in front of them and blocking them in. Eleven uses her powers to make it flip over them, blocking the other vans from pursuing. After they escape, Lucas earnestly apologizes to her for his behavior, and Eleven apologizes for misleading the group. Mike and Lucas reconcile over their fight.
Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper find her son in custody, and find his and Nancy Wheeler's hunting equipment in his trunk. The teens explain to the adults what happened in the woods, leaving Joyce upset that Jonathan risked his and Nancy's lives. Hopper leaves the group briefly to deal with Troy Walsh's mother, shouting at Phil Callahan and Calvin Powell for ridiculing her son's story of how his arm was broken. Hopper believes Troy when he mentions Eleven's powers and asks who she hangs around with when Troy mentions "those losers." Karen finds a strand of hair from Eleven's wig just as Brenner, Connie Frazier, and a group of Hawkins National Laboratory soldiers come to the door and search the place. Brenner finds the Benny's Burgers shirt Eleven wore when the boys found her and claims to Karen and Ted Wheeler that Mike is in danger. Dustin notices a helicopter searching for the kids, and they hide their bikes under an abandoned bus before hiding in it themselves.
Steve Harrington nurses his injured face and argues with Tommy Hagan and Carol Perkins. He almost fights Tommy before leaving abruptly and cleans the graffiti he left off the movie theater out of guilt. The teens and adults watch the soldiers take suspect items out of the Wheeler house. Worried about Mike, Nancy wonders how to find him, and Jonathan gets the idea to grab Will Byers' Supercom and contact the kids on it. Mike hears the call from Nancy but initially does not answer, worried that the men from the lab may be tricking them. He picks up when Hopper calls them.
Several armed lab men arrive at the bus and find the bikes. Before they can get on the bus and find the kids, Hopper arrives and incapacitates them. They all meet at the Byers house, and the boys explain the gate is inside Hawkins Lab, and Hopper recalls seeing it when he broke in. Joyce and Nancy ask Eleven to find Will and Barb Holland, but she is not powerful enough to locate them. Washing herself up in the Byers' bathroom, she notices their bathtub and gets the idea to build a makeshift sensory deprivation tank. Dustin calls Scott Clarke and learns how to make one, learning he needs a large quantity of salt, and the group drives to Hawkins Middle.
As Nancy and Mike grab the hose for the Byers' kiddie pool, Nancy has Mike promise her to stop keeping secrets from each other. When they ask each other, they both deny their respective attractions to Eleven and Jonathan. Joyce sets up a makeshift blindfold for Eleven and thanks her profusely for helping them, promising her she will be there if Eleven gets scared. The group fills the pool with salt from the school's kitchen and Eleven gets in it, entering the void. She finds Barb's dead body and Will in a decaying version of Castle Byers. She relays a message from Joyce, and Will tells them to hurry. As Joyce and Hopper leave to enter the lab's gate, Nancy and Jonathan agree to lure the Demogorgon away to keep them safe in the Upside Down. Joyce and Hopper are almost immediately caught in the lab.
As Will sings "Should I Stay or Should I Go" to himself, the Demogorgon rips the fort apart and attacks him.
- Joyce Byers - Winona Ryder
- Jim Hopper - David Harbour
- Mike Wheeler - Finn Wolfhard
- Eleven - Millie Bobby Brown
- Dustin Henderson - Gaten Matarazzo
- Lucas Sinclair - Caleb McLaughlin
- Nancy Wheeler - Natalia Dyer
- Jonathan Byers - Charlie Heaton
- Karen Wheeler - Cara Buono
- Dr. Martin Brenner - Matthew Modine
- Ted Wheeler - Joe Chrest
- Steve Harrington - Joe Keery
- Officer Powell - Rob Morgan
- Officer Callahan - John Paul Reynolds
- Will Byers - Noah Schnapp
- Mary Mack Girl #2 - Shae Britt
- Jen - Jackie Dallas
- Agent Connie Frazier - Catherine Dyer
- Movie Theatre Manager - Charles Green
- Scott Clarke - Randy Havens
- Lead Agent - Tobias Jelinek
- Holly Wheeler - Anniston and Tinsley Price
- Tommy H. - Chester Rushing
- Florence - Susan Shalhoub Larkin
- Carol - Chelsea Talmadge
- Agent Repairman - Robert Walker Branchaud
- Mary Mack Girl #1 - Abigail Whitlock
- Troy - Peyton Wich
- "Fields of Coral" by Vangelis - The group share and discuss their collective knowledge of the supernatural events. Also as the group form the sensory-deprivation tank.
- "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash - Will sings to himself as the Monster nears.
- "Still Pretty" - Mike and Eleven share an intimate moment that is interrupted by Dustin.
- "Leap Of Faith" - Lucas comes into contact. Mike, Dustin and Eleven make an exit.
- "Time for a 187" - The kids are chased by Brenner and his workers.
- "Kids Two" - Lucas reconciles with Eleven and Mike.
- "Speak of the Devil" - Brenner's workers search the Wheeler's basement.
- "Bad Men" - Brenner requires Karen's trust.
- "Starts to Rain" - Troy describes Eleven's appearance to Hopper
- "Run Away" - Hopper, Joyce, Nancy and Jonathan search for Will's walkie-talkie.
- "Over" - Mr. Clarke explains to Dustin how to create a sensory-deprivation tank.
- "Rolling out the Pool" - The group attempt to set up the pool.
- "Tendril" - Eleven finds Barb's dead body.
- "Castle Byers" - Eleven reassures Will.
- "They Found Us" - Hopper and Joyce attempt to break into Hawkins Lab. Nancy and Jonathan steal their weapons back.
Behind the Scenes
The show-runners Matt and Ross Duffer revealed that this episode was their most purely "fun" episode of the season because of featuring the bike chase scene with the kids, and following up with a "crazy van flip" sequence. Originally, they didn't have a bike chase planned for the episode, but opted to go for it as they felt it fitting to the plot, aside from recalling the famous chase scene from E.T..
They explained that the iconic moment where Eleven flipped the van was "very stressful", because they decided to shoot the stunt practically, without any use of CGI. "Our plan was to shoot the kids with a locked off camera as they biked across the street, and then merge that with a separate shot of a van flipping," Matt said. They tested on parking lots by blowing off explosives under a van. However, during filming, one of the explosives didn't trigger, causing the van to skid down one of the cameras, destroying it while causing production thousands of dollars. The Duffers convinced the line producer to try the stunt a second time. Ultimately, it was a success as the van soared high into the air and they shot the whole scene perfectly, which ended up on the final cut.
- This episode has the shortest running time in the series
- This is the only episode of season one which does not feature The Demogorgon.
- This episode references to a Sensory Deprivation Tank which made its debut in the previous episode and in the prequel comics, Stranger Things: SIX.
- "Stranger Things: The Duffer Brothers say episode 7 is the 'most fun'"EW. July 21, 2016.
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