WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer's heating up. School’s out, there’s a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town’s threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now they’ll have to band together to survive, and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The highly anticipated season 3 of Stranger Things has finally dropped, and it has been worth the wait. I had one wish for this season, and that was for poor Will Byers to not be traumatised any further by the Mind Flayer and thank goodness the only thing he was subjected to was his friends growing up and growing apart although nothing brings a group of people closer than surviving a monster literally made of melted flesh. Let’s get into this.
The season starts out just catching up with our favourite preteens who are now full on teenagers. It’s summertime; there are new jobs, budding romances, relationships that are in the trenches, and people making all kinds of bad decisions for a hunky lifeguard at the pool – I’m looking at you, Mrs Wheeler.
Our favourite mom, Steve Harrington, has a job at an ice cream shop in the new mall. Nancy and Jonathan have jobs at the newspaper, and Sheriff Hopper’s new job includes making sure that the door stays open 3 inches.
But because this is Hawkins, things can’t be normal for a long period of time. When Eleven closed the gate at the end of last season, the piece of the Mind Flayer that Joyce got out of Will was trapped in Hawkins, and when the stupid Russians decide to reopen the gate (for unknown and probably dumb reasons), that piece starts up on its agenda to eliminate Eleven. With Eleven out of the way the Mind Flayer can invade this world to destroy it, I think. We’re not privy to the Mind Flayer’s agenda. What does it want? Or is it just an agent of chaos. So it would seem.
Someone on Twitter said that this season of Stranger Things was more terrifying than seasons 1 and 2, but I disagree. It was just a lot more gross. The Mind Flayer manifested in this world in the most disgusting way possible – by literally melting the bodies of rats and humans to make its body.
Mike is the most annoying child this season. There’s a scene were Hopper is trying to lay down some boundaries for Mike and El’s blossoming romance and Mike disrespects him to his face by whispering in El’s ear and giggling in his face. Honestly, as a parent, I would throw that child physically out of my house and make him walk home. Hopper is a better parent than me though and drove Mike home and told him his future instead.
Mike and Lucas also aren’t being great friends to Will and are far more concerned about their girlfriends breaking up with them than hanging out with him. They’re growing up and growing apart, and it’s just a part of life these kids have to navigate.
Speaking of friendships, I love the one between El and Max. It’s especially poignant because El has never had a female friendship and it’s so fun to see her have that sense of normalcy by going shopping, doing silly photo shoots and bitching about boyfriends.
Soon all these trivial problems are put on the back burner though because Billy is the Mind Flayer’s first human host and Will feels a tingling at the back of his neck, so he knows that shenanigans are afoot. To Mike’s only credit this season, he believes his best friend immediately and gathers the troops.
On the other side of town, our favourite duo has reconnected and never was there a happier reunion than Steve and Dustin. Dustin has intercepted a coded Russian message, and the Scoops Troop get together to try and decode it with the help of the newcomer, Robin.
They also recruit Lucas’ younger sister Erica who is MVP of this season hands down. Yes, El has all the superpowers and saved everyone yet again, but no one spills the tea like Erica. Girl knows her worth and is just downright hilarious. I love how she could accept all the supernatural shenanigans but refused to believe her brother played any part in all of it.
The season is structured so that there are a few groups of people doing different things and figuring out different parts of the same problem before they all come together to defeat it. But not everyone is safe this time around. There are a couple of deaths that I saw coming and some that I didn’t, and for the first time, Stranger Things made me cry like this was an episode of This is Us.
As usual, the soundtrack is on point, and I doubt there was a single person who watched this who wasn’t left singing The Neverending Story for a few days.
All in all, it was a brilliant season and seeing how this one ended I’m interested to see what will be done in season 4 if it’s renewed again. Will the dead stay dead? Is Will Byers really safe? Is someone going to hug Eleven for the rest of her natural life? Can I be part of the Scoops Troop?
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: