I believe it was 7 episodes.
And the ratings are a huge disappointment. Me? I tend to believe that this is what CBS gets for their scheduling ineptitude (Big Brother in the 9pm slot is doing even crappier ratings than Jericho at 10pm, and the two aren't even close to compatible shows on top of that). But as a fan, I've talked to others who blame the "re-tooling" mentioned above as the reason why there are fewer fans, claiming the new tone is alienating old viewers.
I'm not denying the "re-tooling" is real; it is. But to me, it's the furthest thing from a Bad Thing. Six or seven weeks into the first season, the show had a choice to devolve into trite, small town soap opera nonsense, or get a little edgier. They chose to get edgier, and I likey. The first two shows of the new season are just the combination of that evolution *and* the fact that they are concentrating probably 13 weeks of ideas into 7.
I think the test on this issue is simple. Ask yourself, "After the first season, who was the coolest, most interesting character?".... if you say "Hawkins," then you love the "re-tooling." If you said anybody else? Eh, maybe not so much.
We may be in for only five more weeks of it, but while it lasts, I say bring me the layers and the conspiracy and the stuff-I-have-to-think-about-to-figure-out. Lord knows that Farmboy and IRS Lady supply more than enough of the old Small Town Charm to keep the show honest to its roots, so let's keep the creepy new American Flag and revisionist history textbooks and whatnot coming....