If you’re like me, you binged the entire season of Stranger Things over the weekend. Season three really snuck up on me though, I honestly forgot that it was happening! The Sunday prior to was when I really realized that it was airing on July 4th! So, instead of going anywhere to watch the fireworks we stayed home with our dog and cats and curled up to start Stranger Things.
This season started off with the wonderful Stranger Things-esque men in hazmat suits and gas masks doing something they probably shouldn’t be doing. This thing they probably shouldn’t be doing is drilling into the veil in between the world and The Upside Down. So, at this point we have no idea what these people are doing and why they are doing this. Things go awry and a lot of people die. We meet a General who screams in Russian at a couple of scientists giving them one year to fix the mistake that was made.
We then end up in Hawkins. Our familiar happy Hawkins. Mike and Eleven are magnets and will not leave each other alone. They’re in Hopper’s cabin and are in a pre-teen “make out” session. It’s pretty gross and Hopper absolutely hates it. He keeps yelling about the three inch rule and when El sees him spying she powers her door shut. This does not bode well with our Hopper and he basically flips out. I get it, he’s fairly new to this fathering of a teenage daughter thing!
The New Fad
Mike takes off to meet up with the rest of the group at the Starcourt Mall, which is a new establishment in the Hawkins area. This place seems to have it all. Food, movies, shopping, and the best part Steve Harrington! His summer job is scooping ice cream for whiny kids and letting his pre-teen buddies sneak into movies. It’s pretty awesome.
We also realize that Dustin’s not there! Turns out he’s been away at camp Know Where, a camp for super smart kids. Dustin apparently also met a dreamy mystery girl “Suzie”. While he was away he made an amazing radio that can pick up frequencies from long distances so he can chat with his beloved. He affectionately calls this radio “Cerebro”. The kids all surprise Dustin when he gets home and it’s a pretty cute heartwarming moment. It is also one of the only times during this whole season of Stranger Things that the whole group is together!
We also catch a glimpse of what Joyce has been up to, which is essentially nothing since Starcourt opened and killed all of the businesses in downtown Hawkins. The store Joyce works in hasn’t seen a customer in a while and when Hopper pays her a visit to talk about the Mike El conundrum she welcomes his company. They devise a plan to get Hopper talking about his feelings about Mike and El’s relationship, but Hopper doesn’t seem all that into it. He invites Joyce out to dinner which she declines. Their relationship is cute, but obviously Joyce hasn’t gotten over Bob. Because who could get over Bob?!
On this same empty stretch of downtown Hawkins we find out that Nancy and Jonathan’s summer jobs are at the local newspaper. The males in the office treat Nancy like absolute garbage. Her story-line this season is probably the most frustrating for me, but we’ll get into it. Jonathan is doing just peachy, enjoying his time alone in the dark room processing photos for stories!
Evil is Hot
We also discover what Billy has been up to. He’s a lifeguard at the local pool and making all of the women sweat more than a normal summer Hawkins day. He especially catches the eye of Mrs. Wheeler, aka Mike’s mom. I didn’t realize it was Mike’s mom until the next episode and I don’t know why that didn’t click. He tells Mrs. Wheeler that he can give her swim private swim lessons and the two agree to meet.
Billy never makes it there. Instead something hits his windshield causing him to crash and wake up in a daze. The first episode ends with a disappearing Billy. I gotta say it was a really good first episode! From here on out I’m going to talk about Stranger Things as a whole, instead of my feelings about the specific episodes.
The Kids Are Alright
Obviously, the kids are a huge part of the series and are pretty much the backbone of Stranger Things as a whole. This season was no different. They really hold this show together and make you really know what it’s all about. This season is a bit different and you can really feel that “coming of age” and “growing up and out” thing that kids experience. The core group splits up the majority of this season, which really hits home the separation part.
Dustin was down in the Russian labs with Steven, Robin, and Erica whereas the rest of them were out trying to fight off the Mindflayer in Billy. Let’s not forget about poor Will, who despite his friend’s obsession with girls, just wants to play D&D like always. I guess when you’ve actually defeated real life monsters make believe monsters aren’t as exciting. He seems to have developed a “spidey-sense” type deal when the Mindflayer is around. It’s pretty intense. He is a larger part of this season and I’m pretty happy about it. There is no Stranger Things without Will!
Love like El
I’m really happy that El discovered that Billy was the bad guy pretty quickly. When they went to Heather’s house to confront them and nothing was wrong I thought El was going to just be okay with it. Not! She knew something was wrong and followed her gut! I got legitimately frightened during a few of the Mindflayer scenes, I will be honest. When they were in the Starcourt mall and it was straight up like Jurassic Park! I loved it! El was great this season, but El is always great. It was sad to watch her lose her powers and then also lose her father-figure. I wonder what’s going to happen going forward with her!
Mike kind of pissed me off this season. He was a prick to Hopper (did kids talk to adults like that in the 80s?), he was careless about his friend’s feelings, and he just really looked out for himself. Did he even do anything redeeming later on in the season? I can’t think of anything to be honest. I wasn’t a fan of him that much, even with his care for El.
I loved their friendships throughout this season, it seems like they were at such odds and Hawkins being in danger really brought them all back to the roots of their group. I was worried they were going to completely forget about Dustin. They seemed to be just fine not wondering where he was when they were trying to figure out where the Mindflayer was! It was pretty sad when Will just wanted to play D&D and be a kid, then yelled at Mike for not caring about anyone other than himself…well, and El. If it weren’t for the encounter Mike probably would have never realized how much of a jerk he was being. I was sad when Will destroyed Castle Byers too. That place meant a lot!
Lucas did seem pretty sympathetic towards Will when he wasn’t too busy trying to win Max back, or trying to help Mike win El back! I loved the makeover scene and when the boys went on a quest to buy El and Max a gift. Lucas was a great sounding board for Mike’s plight and it was a fun dynamic to see Mike being pulled between growing up with Lucas or staying a kid with Will.
Speaking of Dustin, he was so awesome this season! First off, I love that he went to camp and found a girlfriend. Second off, I love his friendship with Steve. Third off, how badass was his serenade? Dustin was easily the best character this season. Well, ok, best main character this season. He picked up a random Russian transmission, worked to crack it, successfully infiltrated a Russian lab, AND saved his friend’s lives multiple times. He’s a badass. Of course, he couldn’t do this alone! He had the badass Steve Harrington by his side! Not only Steve, but two badass girls, Robin and Erica. Erica has been a fan favorite since season one when she was super sassy to her brother Lucas.
Their storyline was awesome. Four kids cracking a code, sneaking into a base, and successfully surviving being tortured? It’s just enough of the suspension of disbelief that I’m into! I will say it was a bit silly no one noticed them when they were in the main part of that lab, especially when they were all wearing really bright colors. I can overlook it because of how much fun I had while watching them try to figure everything out together. Robin was a really great addition to this cast. She brought great sass and humor and was a great partner-in-crime for Steve! I can honestly say that their storyline was my favorite out of everyone’s!
The Young Adults
Alright, let’s talk about the young adults in this show (aside from Robin and Steve, that is). So, Nancy season one. Not everyone’s favorite and kind of a weaker character. In season two she had a more redeeming plot and actually stood up for herself and started on this kind of journalist endeavor. Season three. Well, she’s an employee at a newspaper, but is treated like absolute garbage. The guys she works for are assholes, even the boss who she thought was on her side.
While cleaning up at the end of the night she gets a tip from a lady about weird things happening which sends Nancy into a flurry trying to figure it all out. She drags Jonathan along and ends up stumbling into a really big story with the Mindflayer. The problem is that no one believes her and they continue to treat her like garbage until she’s finally fired, along with Jonathan. The fight they had was pretty dumb, Jonathan does understand how she’s feeling but he clearly did not sympathize with her, nor understand her ambition. He was pretty meh this season, but he’s always been pretty meh in my opinion. Nancy really deserved a lot more recognition and more excitement. Maybe she could take over the newspaper since the awful bosses are gone? I did love her bonding moment with her mom and that her mom pushed her to not give up on her dreams, Nancy deserved that!
Billy seems to be a pretty controversial character this season. By controversial I mean that most people really didn’t care for him. I personally liked him. He was a douche enough to not make me particularly sad when he got taken by the bad guy, but “good guy” enough to make me sad when he died. His backstory was truly tragic and it made sense for him to be the way that he was in life. His dad treated him like garbage, of course he’s going to turn out the way he did!
He was convincing enough as a suave persuader to make it logical that people would fall into his trap and be taken to the Mindflayer. I think that they played him pretty well and the Mindflayer knew that he was sought-after enough to use him to build the army. He was creepy when he was possessed and then he redeemed himself by saving El! Also, it was heartbreaking to watch Max have to watch her brother die and to see the grief she felt from losing him.
The adults in this season of Stranger Things were also just meh to me. I absolutely hated Joyce this season. I’ve never really been a fan of her, but this season she just put me off so much. She’s always been a bit on the crazy side, but I couldn’t handle it this time. I just think she was over-the-top and wasn’t even willing to listen to Hopper’s suggestions. Plus, the bickering between her and Hopper really did get old. I don’t feel like they had that much charisma or spark between each other anyway. It was really just a screaming match and not a sexual-tension battle.
Hopper was also pretty lackadaisical, but he was much more enjoyable than Joyce. I’m really interested to see if he’s truly gone (which, yes, I did cry a bit) or if he somehow managed to get poofed away to somewhere else! I also cried when El was reading his letter. Heart strings! I gotta say that I was surprised when Hopper was right about Alexei not leaving Murray’s house because he knew that he was going to be murdered by them if he did. That scary Russian Terminator dude was also eerie and completely inhuman. The whole time he was in the show I felt like I was watching The Terminator! He even kind of looked like Arnold! Murray was fun and I liked his addition to the storyline!
The Elephant in the Room
Before I wrap up, let’s quickly talk about the elephant in the room. Why does Stranger Things have a tendency to introduce a new love-able character TO JUST KILL THEM OFF?! Dr. Alexei was that character this year. Sure, he started off as the enemy, but do we really know what the Russians are trying to do to the Upside Down? Are they trying to harness its power or are they trying to destroy it?! Now that our precious Alexei is dead we may never know. He was such a fun character; his love for Cherry Slurpees and Woody Woodpecker will live in our hearts forever. R.I.P sweet angel!
There is a lot to unpack this season of Stranger Things; it’s filled with a lot of emotions and the things that happen seem much more… dire? It’s hard to explain because I know that the past seasons have had just as many consequences, but this one seems like they are more serious! I don’t know how else to explain it. This season was really excellent. I loved almost everything about it and I had a blast watching the whole series in one weekend. I’m so sad that the Byers are moving away with El. What does this mean for next season? How are we going to move on from this?! I can’t wait to find out!
Stranger Things TLDR;
Stranger Things Season 3 was the best one yet. El was badass as always, the new characters introduced brought some new life to the cast, and tears were shed. It also made me want to play D&D again pretty badly.
JUSTICE FOR ALEXEI!
For all your nerdy news