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OK, then, I will go ahead and review the rest of #StrangerThings, the season that dedicated itself to two noble goals: exploring the worlds of one-handed suspended strangulation and Soviet stereotypes. Also, apparently, it's very heavy on long-distance relationships. Bummer, Mike
Here is my review of the glorious Soviet stranglings in Episode 1:

And here is my explanation of Russian linguistics in American ice cream parlors in Episode 2:

Let's move on, then, with the final few episodes. Poor Alexei 😭
Let me first pay tribute to the Glorious Comrade Baumann, easily the least annoying character in season 3. The working masses of the world express the greatest hope that capitalist pig Hopper stays dead and the Marx-bearded Murray takes over as the male lead. Now, his Russian...
Murray's Russian is actually quite correct, idiomatic and well-written. His accent is heavier than a sack of glorious Soviet concrete, but I have known many Americans and Englishmen who, while possessing terrific vocabulary, couldn't master pronunciation, so it's not implausible.
In the scene here, Murray pronounces "Molchat, svolaaaach" in such a hilariously effeminate way, he instantly becomes a Russian gay stereotype, which, under the circumstances and considering his pending bromance with Alexei, is the one and only laugh-out-loud scene of the season.
Murray's accent, though, becomes a problem in episode 8, where we are supposed to believe that he managed to convincingly fool Private Socialist Diabetes and pass for an actual Russian soldier. Even taking into account the fact that the private's brains are coated in pork lard...
... his only plausible response to the appearance of Murray and Hop was to open fire immediately, because he is facing two people who look less like Soviet sergeants than the Jamaican national bobsled team. They are both way too old, sporting against-the-code facial hair...
... and one of them an obvious member of Jewish intelligentsia. And that's before we notice their bullet-riddled uniforms and Murray's incredibly thick accent, making him sound like the stock Evil American Spy character in any glorious Soviet film.
Then again, Private Marxist Bacon should probably kill himself, too, since he is about 20 years too late to be a private and 200 kg over the ability to serve in a secret military installation. The porridge budget alone would have to be tripled on his account.
Speaking of dodgy Russian, here is Robin running into the simple truth that knowing random words does not constitute language knowledge. The caption, BTW, is a lie on two levels. First, it's barely Russian. Second, to the extent that it is, she is actually saying "to be careful"
Here is what Netflix did here. They hired a so-so translator and gave them the script. The translator, not knowing or not willing to know the context, translated the phrases in the "Secret Russian Code" to the best of their ability, changing the Enlgish idiom "tread lightly"...
... which Russian doesn't exactly have, into a common phrase "esli byt' ostorozhnym" ("if one is to be careful"). The dodgy translator (fire the agency, Netflix, really) didn't know that the script would lean heavily on the LITERAL meaning of the word "tread", so hilarity ensued.
Damn right you don't, Comrade Junior Sergeant of the Artillery For Some Reason. But we have a question for you, too. First of all, why do you sport black artillery/tank shoulder bars when the rest of your comrades are in red infantry ones? Aren't you a comm officer, anyway?
As an aside, black shoulder bars were very popular among discharged conscripts in the USSR because the red infantry ones looked too much like the maroon bars of the prison guards, and a newly-discharged soldier had great chances to getting knifed in the train on the way home.
Adding to the shoulder bar mystery, this scuttling oaf here is Senior Lieutenant of the Army, who has strangely mislaid his peaked cap, the identifying mark of the officer, and grabbed a wholly inappropriate enlisted personnel's "pilot cap." For shame, Lieutenant. For shame!
For the love of Lenin, what are you blabbering about, private? You have an unshaven sergeant reeking of alcohol and a female lieutenant in an ill-fitting men's uniform in front of you. Open fire! Open glorious workers' fire immediately, you damned советская сволочь!
Wait a minute... Make Hawkins Great Again??? A Russian-compromised corrupt politician puts on a gaudy 4th of July celebration in order to distract citizens from his crimes? All sins are forgiven, Strangler Things. All sins are forgiven!
A note for all Americans out there who may consider to someday engage on the suicidal mission of drinking with Russians. Please, don't pour vodka like this. It's considered disrespectful and unlucky.
You may say this is a horrible Evil Doctor stereotype from a bad Bond movie. Fair and true, but he also reminds me of the dentist who came to do checkups in my school when I was 13... OK, here is an aside about Soviet dentistry. When I was 10, one of my molars needed extraction..
The dentist attempted to first kill the nerve with arsenic, a popular rat poison. A standard in Soviet dentistry at the time. The arsenic didn't kill the nerve, the fact that was discovered after the dentist poked inside my tooth with a sharp tool. I ran out and never came back..
My tooth, meanwhile, proceeded to rot from the inside out, the fact that the dentist who came to our school noticed. "This needs extraction", he said and asked the nurse for novocaine. The nurse answered with the words of the Soviet anthem: "We ran out. There is a shortage"...
"It's OK", said the dentist. "We'll do it like this. He is a boy, he'll serve in the Army, better get used to the pain now." He grabbed his pliers, positioned himself behind me for greater leverage, and gave it a mighty pull. I came back to class with my face smeared in blood.
Years later, an extremely surprised American dentist had to perform surgery to dig our small pieces of rotting, infected tooth out of my gum. So, no, Dr. Five-Year-Murder-Plan here does not strike me as inauthentic. Even if he is a dead ringer for the great novelist Boris Akunin.
A note on Soviet elevators. They comfortably fit 2.5 human beings of the average Party-approved degree of starvation and got stuck roughly 50% of the time. Riding a Soviet elevator was a like a bumpy death lottery, but don't fear: most of them never worked anyway. So, accurate...
This scene is much funnier than you think. See, one of the most common jokes in Russia was, and still is, "There is no sex in the USSR." This seemed to originate in a letter to the editor of a famous Soviet magazine, which complained about portrayals of sex in Western movies...
"What is this sex?", the female worker wrote. "We don't have this in the USSR! I have been married for 20 years and raised 9 children and never had any of this sex and never will!"
The USSR, see, was a very prudish society. For a long time, even kisses couldn't be shown on film.
So, the word "sex" sounded like something dirty and depraved. One can only imagine what it meant to the socialist farm worker who wrote the letter. Probably something as revolutionary and subversive of Soviet morale as the "woman on top" position. But the phrase became immortal..
I will finish by paying another tribute to the Glorious Soviet Heavy, seen here reciting another line from the Soviet national anthem. The actor who played Grigori obviously grew up on @Schwarzenegger films shown semi-legally in late 1980s USSR in what was called "video salons"..
A "video salon" was someone's basement, where you went and paid a ruble to someone with tattooed fingers, then sat around a small TV screen and watched "Dzhekki Chen", "Bryus Li" or "Sil'vyestr Stallonyeh" perform things unseen in Soviet cinema ("Is this the sex?")...
Grigori's very faithful homage to his childhood hero (affectionally called "Shvarts" by Soviet youth) is touching and sweet. I still have trouble believing that a sergeant of the Fictional Purple Shoulder Bar Elite Military Death Division would lose to a pudgy American cop, but..
... I understand that this is TV reality. Besides, seeing that Grigori looks nothing like an innocent black motorist, I am sure that Hopper actually went pretty easy on him.
But the laws of American movies do dictate that the Soviet Heavy must die of gruesome death. So it goes...
In reality, Grigori's death would have been much more pedestrian. He would have left the Army in 1992 to become a bodyguard for a newly capitalist Russian mafia banker. He'd torture people with clothing irons. He'd be killed by a hired assassin, along with his boss, in a brothel.
So, hey, maybe dying in a Spinning Death Ray Thingy somewhere under Asswipe, IN isn't such a bad thing, Grigori. Your purple shoulder barred comrades will shed a manly tear and avenge you by feeding another prisoner to Flower-Petal Face. Rest easy, Comrade. Rest easy. Fin.
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