An old Triad Industry video shows some techs trying to blow up the wish artifact. After 405 tests, nothing has gotten it to open. Clarke says they’ll use acid for test 406.
Alaric leads Cleo in a meditative session to try to release her inspiration on the Super Squad. Like Triad, they’ve had a bunch of unsuccessful tests while trying to trigger her. Cleo wants to call things off, but Hope thinks she could give them advantage against Malivore. Jed advises Cleo to be natural and stop trying to force the inspiration. I’m not sure how him staring at her will help. Kaleb’s with me.
Jed thinks it worked, and he suggests that they summon a time-travel monster that can go back in time and prevent Malivore from being created. Kaleb really wishes Lizzie were there with a biting retort. Hope says she had to go deal with a fashion emergency (Lizzie’s words). Alaric thinks that instead of trying to inspire them, Cleo should focus on what inspires her. Maybe it’s music or art. Kaleb suggests himself. “Great. If Kaleb’s game is the answer to our problems, then we’re doomed,” Hope quips.
Cleo’s eyes glow yellow and Landon asks if anyone has just had a brilliant idea (“not you, Jed”). Hope might have, but she wants to do more research before she shares it. Landon goes with her to help. Alaric might also have an idea. If the monsters are connected to the wish artifact, which Triad used to have, there could be information at their old headquarters. Cleo offers to check it out with Alaric, and Kaleb offers to check her out – uh, I mean come along to help. Jed is apparently not invited.
Hope’s idea is to take a play out of Kai’s book – they’ll sever the Necromancer’s ties to the prison world, which will make it collapse. That will destroy everything inside it, including Malivore. They’ll just need to find the Necromancer and offer him release from the prison world in exchange for his blood and the ascendant. Landon was on board until that part of the plan. Hope promises that she’s actually going to screw the Necromancer over.
She’ll astral-project to the prison world to talk to him, which is completely safe. Landon wants to come along, noting that he’s the only person who’s been able to beat the Necromancer at negotiation. Hope reminds him that the banshee said he would die. He reminds her that they said, “Screw fate.” This is how they can do it. And walking through a post-apocalyptic world together will be romantic!
Ethan and M.G. have been with Finch at their lair all night, and M.G. thinks it’s time to get Alaric involved. He didn’t say anything yet because he’ll have to admit that he didn’t compel away Ethan’s memories, and they’ll have to stop playing superheroes. M.G. tells Ethan to put on his secret identity and go to school. The Blur and E-Man will have to take the day off. Ethan agrees to go to school but not to the superhero names. After he leaves, Lizzie pops up, having eavesdropped while invisible and heard all about what M.G. and Ethan have been up to.
Josie stops by the Salvatore School for a visit, spots Hope and Landon in the middle of their astral-projection spell, and comments that it’s “business as usual” there. She hears some stomping and sees a suit of armor walking around. As she’s about to hit it with something heavy, Wade reveals himself inside it. Alaric gave everyone a three-day weekend but Wade stayed behind to defend the school from any monsters Malivore might send their way. Josie’s there for advice from Lizzie, but since she’s not there, Wade offers to listen. Instead, Josie asks to borrow the conversation prism, which Wade was using as a stand-in for a D&D crystal.
M.G. tries to explain his actions to Lizzie, who doesn’t care what he and Ethan have been up to. She’s there to figure out what to do about Finch. Finch has triggered her werewolf curse, which means she killed someone, and Lizzie can’t exactly support her sister dating a killer.
Finch wakes up and protests that she didn’t kill anyone. Lizzie says that’s part of the requirements for being a werewolf, the other being genetics. Finch had no idea that someone else in her family was a werewolf; she always thought she was the only one. Also, how does Lizzie know about werewolves, and how did she make herself invisible the night before?
Lizzie siphons from M.G. so she can conjure a sphere of light and demonstrate her magic. She explains that she’s a witch, but also Josie’s sister. “At least I know where Jo’s damage comes from now,” Finch says. Lizzie replies that Josie already has terrible taste in women, and there’s no way she’s going to date a “cold-blooded killer.” Finch swears again that she’s never killed anyone. Lizzie challenges her to provide proof.
In the prison world, Hope practices making her pitch to the Necromancer, as played by Landon. Though he makes it out like it’ll be a tough sell, he thinks Hope and Malivore are the only things the Necromancer is afraid of, and he might agree to a deal from one to get away from the other. Besides, if he says no, they can just leave him there and go back to their world. Hope needs to “project confidence.”
But when they go to the Salvatore crypt, they find signs that the Necromancer did a spell to get himself out of the prison world. Or he may have failed, since there are some dismembered body parts lying around that appear to have belonged to him. Hope notes that since the Necromancer was banished to the prison world, he can’t die there. They just have to wait around for him to resurrect. As Landon wonders what killed him, a creature crawls down from the ceiling and starts to eat the Necromancer’s body. “Probably that,” Landon whispers.
Josie uses the conversation prism, at first thinking it doesn’t work. “It works just fine,” her dark self tells her from across the room. Josie remembers all the things she did when she was Dark Josie. “Miss me?” Dark Josie asks.
Alaric, Cleo, and Kaleb go to Triad’s storage facility, which has been abandoned and ransacked since the Malivore pit dried up. Conveniently, the electricity still works and there are two active fire-suppression systems. Alaric spots a mummy statue and Kaleb declares that he’s not fighting a mummy again. Alaric wonders why someone would raid the place but leave the statue behind. He manages to find a button that makes it move aside, revealing a hidden entrance to another storage room. This one is full of documentation on all of Triad’s supernatural subjects, so Alaric figures it’s the best place to find info on the wish artifact.
M.G. and Lizzie want to do a head-dive on Finch to look around in her memories and find out who she killed. M.G. asks Finch’s permission, but Lizzie threatens to tell Alaric about his and Ethan’s “superhero extracurriculars” if he doesn’t just do it. Finch guesses that Josie and Lizzie are twins. How does she know? Because Lizzie’s the evil one. Finch gives her consent for the head-dive, if that’s what it’ll take to prove that she didn’t kill anyone.
Josie doesn’t get how Dark Josie is there, since Normal Josie destroyed her with an axe. Dark Josie has just been hiding inside her, waiting for the chance to escape. She laughs and says she’s kidding. She’s just a subconscious projection. If Normal Josie wants to see for herself, she can put down the prism. She does, and Dark Josie disappears. When Normal Josie picks the prism back up, Dark Josie says she’s “practically harmless.”
Normal Josie thinks the prism is glitching – she didn’t want to talk to her dark self. Dark Josie says that deep down, she must want to know what Dark Josie has to say. She knows all of Normal Josie’s weaknesses and what’s wrong with her. If Normal Josie doesn’t want to talk to her, she can drop the prism again. Normal Josie doesn’t.
M.G. starts the head-dive with a look at the day Finch first turned into a werewolf. He and Lizzie go into a memory in a hospital. Lizzie thinks it’s the perfect place for a killer to find a weak, vulnerable victim. Plus, there’s a girl of about nine or ten sitting all by herself, the perfect target. The girl is actually Finch.
Even though nothing in the prison world can see, hear, or touch Hope or Landon, he feels like the Necromancer-eating monster is looking right at him. He can also feel its breath. It suddenly grabs him, so Hope pulls Landon away and hits the monster. It swings at her a couple of times but she’s able to break its neck. Landon notices that the monster scratched her.
Hope reassures him that anything that happens to her there won’t carry over to her in the real world. He doesn’t believe that, since she also said nothing in the prison world could interact with them. She doesn’t want to leave before the Necromancer resurrects, but Landon is worried about her wound. Plus, there could be other monsters that can attack. As the monster revives, Hope tells Landon to leave the projection. He refuses to go without her, but she sends him out anyway. He’s concerned to see that her wound did carry over in the real world, and it’s getting worse.
Dark Josie tells Normal Josie that she’ll never have the normal human life she wants. Normal Josie is like, “Great, thanks, but I asked why all my romantic relationships end badly.” Dark Josie says the problem is her. Normal Josie decides not to ask for any details, since Dark Josie will just say she’s too weak for a relationship or not good enough for a happy life. Dark Josie seizes on the word “happy.” She never said Normal Josie couldn’t have a happy life, just not a happy human life. She can’t have a good relationship if she’s suppressing an essential part of herself.
It’s not just Dark Josie – it’s that Normal Josie is a witch who’s pretending she’s not. Normal Josie accuses Dark Josie of trying to trick her into taking back her magic. Dark Josie reminds her that they’re the same person. Normal Josie could have waited and talked to one of her friends about this, but instead, she used a crystal to talk to herself. “Why? Because you already knew the answer,” Dark Josie says. Landon comes in just then to get Josie’s help.
Ethan goes to school, but not class; he hangs out in his truck, listening to the police scanner. He leaves when he hears about an incident at a bar. Back in the head-dive, M.G. and Lizzie watch as Finch visits her grandfather in the hospital. He wants to tell her something about their family: They have a secret that can be both a curse and a blessing. She can’t trust anyone, but before he dies, he can make her strong so she can always protect herself.
He tells her to bring him his “special candies.” They’re actually pills. He instructs her to go the basement when the full moon rises that night. She can’t tell anyone where she is. Finch helps her grandfather take the pills, inadvertently aiding in his suicide.
Lizzie feels horrible for misjudging Finch, who feels equally horrible because she just had to relive the death of the only person who’s ever cared about her. “What kind of monster are you?” she exclaims.
Landon wants to pull Hope out of the astral-projection, but it’s not possible without magic, which Josie doesn’t have right now. They’ll have to wait for Lizzie to get back. Landon complains that Hope sent him back to the real world in “the magical equivalent of ‘hold my purse.'” Heh. Josie says she was just trying to protect him, but he notes that Hope’s the one who actually needs protection.
They need to find out what bit Hope, and there’s only one monster expert available: Wade. He quickly IDs her attacker as a berbalang, something he’s actually fought twice. “I’ve been gone a long time,” Josie murmurs. He’s only faced it in D&D, though. Josie’s willing to go with Wade’s knowledge anyway, so she asks how to cure a berbalang bite. Uh, you can’t. According to Filipino myth, where the berbalang originated, the monster is like a living virus that replicates itself through physical contact. If Hope was bitten by one, she’s going to turn into one sooner or later. And judging by her sudden emergence from the astral projection and her super-sharp teeth, that’s happening sooner rather than later.
Landon, Josie, and Wade run to the kitchen, where two of them start looking for food while Wade wonders how they can be thinking about eating right now. Josie explains that since berbalangs eat dead flesh, they can use food to lure the Hope-alang (TM Wade) into a secure place until they can figure out how to cure her. Wade reminds Landon of a similar experience they had during a marathon D&D game. Landon doesn’t seem to remember it.
Wade warns that they only have an hour until Hope’s transformation is permanent. Josie worries that their plan won’t work. Hope-alang suddenly crashes through the ceiling, her berbalang transformation progressing and altering her face. “Is it weird that I still find her attractive?” Landon asks.
Kaleb shows off his vamp-speed-reading skills, trying to impress Cleo. She’s less impressed than she is focused. He asks her on a date, but she declines. He asks what he has to do to get a yes. “Not this,” she replies. She doesn’t like him putting on an act for her. He just needs to be honest.
As Alaric finds something helpful, Landon tries to get through to Hope. Josie urges her to fight her transformation. Wade warns that fairies cause indigestion. They use chicken to entice Hope-alang, but apparently she’s more interested in Landon. Josie tells him to run.
Lizzie is relieved that Finch didn’t hurt anyone on purpose, but that doesn’t make Finch feel any better, since now she has to live with the knowledge that she killed her grandfather. Lizzie offers to do a spell that will make her forget. She can even forget this whole day. But Finch’s grandfather warned her not to trust anyone, so she won’t agree to that. She’s sorry that she won’t be able to make things work with Josie.
Josie goes to Twin Turret to use the conversation prism to tap into her vague memories of Sanskrit via Dark Josie. Dark Josie has no interest in helping until Josie says she cares what happens. Dark Josie translates a text that says they need a pearl-bladed weapon to stop Hope’s transformation. Fortunately, Alaric has one (he uses it to open bottles; no surprise there). Dark Josie adds that it needs to be enchanted, and there’s no witch around to do the spell.
Normal Josie refuses to use magic and allow her dark self to take over. Dark Josie reminds her that they’re the same person, so she doesn’t need to take over. She baits Normal Josie into using the power she decided didn’t automatically make her bad. If she’s really the good person she wants to be and claims she is, how can she let Hope turn into a monster?
Hope-alang stops Landon from leaving the school, and he asks if he can talk to his girlfriend before she eats him. Wade steps in, ready with his suit of armor, but Hope-alang breaks his weapon and knocks him aside. Thanks for trying, Wade! Hope-alang turns on Landon, calling him a liar. Josie arrives, uses magic to throw Hope-alang up against a wall, and gives Landon the pearl dagger she enchanted to stop Hope’s transformation. Wade tells Landon that he’ll have to stab her in the heart.
Alaric found sketches of the wish artifact from the Renaissance, signed by Leonardo da Vinci. Alaric thinks he made the artifact. Kaleb’s glad that they found something and can leave. Alaric’s aware of his girl problems and advises him to tell Cleo why he came on the trip. Kaleb says he just likes being around her, but Alaric thinks there’s more. Kaleb suddenly smells something burning. Whatever it is sets off a fire-suppression system, which somehow leads to the sketches of the artifact being dissolved.
Josie is hesitant to stab Hope-alang, since they’ll kill her if they’re wrong (which is highly likely considering they’re going off of D&D knowledge). Landon thinks the bigger risk is not trying to help her. As the self-declared defender of the school, Wade takes on the stabbing responsibility, though he’s scared, too. Landon grabs the dagger from him and stabs it into Hope’s heart over Josie’s objections. Fortunately, Wade’s intel was right, and Hope is cured.
The road-trippers return with whatever they could salvage from Triad. After spending the whole car ride silent, Kaleb tells Cleo that he has trouble being vulnerable. The real reason he went on the trip was to keep an eye on her in case Malivore sent another monster after her. Cleo thinks that’s sweet and appreciates his honesty. He admits that the last time he was vulnerable with someone, he ended up a vampire. Cleo agrees to hang out with him and hear the rest of the story. (If you’re hoping we’ll get to hear it, too, sorry!)
Hope praises Landon for what he did today, even though Wade was the one who provided all the helpful information and Josie was the one who took her magic back to actually save the day. All Landon did was get stabby. Anyway, he wants her to get that he’s useful in all sorts of situations. She already knows, and she only sent him away to figure out what the monster was. It was an instance of dividing and conquering, like any other power couple would.
The two are about to play D&D with Wade, which, honestly, he deserves after how he came through today. Landon asks Hope if the Necromancer ever revived in the prison world. She says no, and she’s not sure what that means. They’ll have to get Cleo to inspire a new plan. Whatever it is, Hope wants Landon by her side.
Lizzie and M.G. walk home, and she confirms that she won’t tell anyone about “the amazing adventures of Nerd Man and Geek Boy.” M.G. doesn’t want to erase Ethan’s memories, but he also doesn’t like lying to Alaric. Lizzie can’t judge the guys’ activities, since she was wrong about Finch and wrong to siphon M.G. and take the ascendant. She’s not the person to ask for advice. She also needs to stop pretending that she always knows the answer. She’s sure that M.G. will make the right decision.
She asks what he would do about Josie if he were Lizzie. M.G. thinks she should tell Josie the truth about Finch and let her make her own decisions. He says Finch was wrong about Lizzie being a monster. Everything she did today was to protect someone she loves, and people should feel lucky if they get to fall into that category.
Alaric calls Dorian to tell him that he lost most of the answers they needed, but he did get a name: Project Pandora. M.G. goes to his and Ethan’s lair to say that they need to tell Alaric what they’ve been up to. It’s better for them to tell the truth before something goes wrong. Too late – whatever Ethan got himself involved in alone left him in rough shape.
Hope apologizes Josie for pressuring her (again) into taking back her magic. Josie says it was time, and it shouldn’t have taken Hope turning into a monster to convince her of that. After Josie defeated her dark side, she was so horrified that she wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again. But in a way, that let Dark Josie win. Josie will always have to deal with that struggle, and she doesn’t want to run from it or who she is. Hope asks if she’s going to come back to the Salvatore School, but Josie isn’t sure yet.
Wade asks Hope if she’s noticed anything off about Landon since he got back. He forgot about a big D&D campaign earlier, and Hope-alang wanted his flesh. Also, he stabbed Hope-alang after she called him a liar. Landon would never hurt her. “There’s something wrong with him,” Wade says.
Etc.: Landon’s impression of the Necromancer is pretty good, but nothing will ever be better than Chad’s.
Too bad we never learn any more about Finch’s family. Yet another supporting character whose backstory never goes anywhere. (What up, Maya?)
Josie shouldn’t be so worried about Wade’s D&D knowledge being wrong. The kids on Stranger Things go off of that knowledge every season and they mostly get it right.