The summer of 2019 became a whole lot better when Stranger Things 3 aired and transported everyone back to the 80’s. The nostalgia, the adventure, the laughs, the terror and most importantly, the love. While season 3 might be following the familiar patterns of previous seasons, it still delivers one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. Here is my attempt to capture all of that into words.
Before I really get into this lengthy Stranger Things season 3 review, I do recommend reading this and this. Those are accordingly my season 1 and season 2 reviews which I’m very proud of. Plus, they help to refresh the memory for those who didn’t binge the first two seasons prior to the third one – which I of course did. But now, with great pleasure, let me present to you all the wonderful things about Stranger Things 3.
This post contains massive spoilers!
So overall, the third season was definitely an improvement of the less stronger second season. Did it overpower the first one? Well, I think because first seasons are always so special for introducing us to characters, it’s almost unfair at times to compare it to other seasons. This time around, I’d say the third is as good or even tiny bit better than the first. But mostly because it had more to do for my favourite character, so in others words, for selfish reasons. In reality though, the third season really had everything it needed, plus an extra tab of something we didn’t know we even wanted. It was very close to perfection.
The third season also brings in some crazy lovable 80’s neon fashion trends which are just fun! While the previous seasons have felt less out there, with season 3, everything seemed a bit more colourful. Maybe I’m imagining things but this season felt brighter, the mall felt energetic and well, the costumes were all over the place – in the best way possible.
WHY DON’T YOU FLAY ME
Every season, Stranger Things tries to throw us a new villain. It’s always something to do with the Upside-Down but it’s always a little different. Season 3 explores the idea that the Mind Flayer is able to construct a physical body outside the Upside-Down. It does so with the help of Russians and Billy, who becomes Mind Flayers doormat. So instead of Upside-Down itself, we get to see a lot of goo and exploding rat intestines. Plus, of course, Will is connected to it which means he starts getting goosebumps.
One thing I do must say before I get into the characters and their story arcs more, is that the show hasn’t really done justice for Will. The poor boy was stuck in the Upside-Down for most of season 1, then had nightmares in between the first two seasons, then was full on infected by the Mind Flayer! In season 3 he suddenly has goosebumps whenever the monster is around? GIVE. WILL. A. F*CKING. BREAK! His storyline is very flimsy, they rarely give him anything other than being connected to the monster and poor Noah Schnapp works his ass off regardless. The kid’s a great actor, I hope the fourth season gives him something else to do because this is starting to get old.
Anyway, the following groupings are listed in the order of how much I enjoyed them. Starting with the least interested, and ending with the ones I’m completely in love with.
FORGOTTEN COUPLE WITH SILLY PROBLEMS
Nancy and Jonathan had probably the dullest story arc for me. Not to say pointless, but I just didn’t care up until they ganged up with the kids. They both worked at a local newspaper, doing photography and Nancy being your stereotypical 80’s secretary. She of course herself hated that but everyone else was awful towards her. Even Jonathan was acting like a complete asshole.
Especially far fetched was the lack of belief Jonathan had towards Nancy. Having lived through that much, wouldn’t you believe your girlfriend? Then again, Nancy rushed into all of it too, loosing both of their jobs. I understood both their perspectives, their fight made sense but man, season 3 did very little for them as characters.
Favourite scene: The entire hospital scene. Bonus: Them walking up in the morning after sleeping in.
BOYS BOYS BOYS
The reason I’m listing Mike, Will and Lucas in one and so early on, is because these kids just had less fun this season. A lot of the humour and excitement happened in other groupings and once the boys finally teamed up with the girls for the sauna test, that’s when things started to pick up for the kids.
Mike was a bit annoying this season but I get it, hormones do that. He seemed more focused on Eleven and kissing her, so he sort of became a bad friend. Will, like I already said, is a precious cinnamon bun and deserves so much more. Wanting to play D&D the entire season, with nobody agreeing, hurt me a lot. Lucas is a strange character. He seems to be smart, but in the most unlikely ways. There’s not much we know about him and it feels like he is still being used as a fill-in character. Then again, Will was very used in season 3 too.
The Sauna Test episode was their strongest, with them all realising Mind Flayer was back. And they had a strong finale moments too. Even though the boys had important conversations in the beginning, and Lucas gave Mike advice how to get Eleven back, it was all soon forgotten. So much more interesting stuff was happening. Still it’s so strange seeing them all grown up like that! I’m pretty sure Finn Wolfhard will be as tall as Hopper by season 4…
Favourite scene: Will keeps wanting to play D&D. Bonus: Boys say goodbye to Will.
This season finally gave Eleven some proper girl power moments with Max, and it was amazing! The mall sequence where they were trying on various 80’s inspired clothing was adorable and really added to this season. There were a few questionable moments of Max pushing Eleven maybe a bit too much. That in turn was evident when Mike was the only one worried for Eleven and her using her powers. Well, look what happened in the end – Eleven drained herself completely and is now unable to use them.
Granted, I think this is more psychological than physical. She lost her most strongest rock, Hopper, and I think part of her just doesn’t want those powers anymore. She wants a new start, a normal life with Joyce, Will and Jonathan, even if it means leaving her powers and Mike behind. By the way, how adorable is their new little family!? I just hope they really give Will something to do in season 4!
The saddest moments this season were between Max and Billy, because you could see the fear and love simultaneously in both. Max was afraid of her brother but she was also afraid for him. Same went for Billy, who was afraid of the person he was becoming while being possessed. Eleven seeing Billy’s past was utterly sad, and I’m grateful for those moments. Then again, the flashback scenes of Billy’s childhood just made me like him, which in turn, hurt me way more.
Favourite scene: The girls shopping in the mall together. Bonus: Eleven going into Billy’s mind.
ХОППЕР, ДЖОЙС, АЛЕКСEИ И ЭТИ ЧЕРТОВЫ РУССКИЕ
Third season brought in the Russians, probably the most cliché villains you could imagine but very in theme for the 80’s. Needless to say, the Russians want to open up the rift again and bring the Mind Flayer into our world. Hopper and Joyce catch up on their plan though because of magnets. I kid you not, Joyce becomes obsessed with magnets! Suddenly it’s tracking down the annoying major, beating the shit out of him and being followed by a Russian Terminator. Oh, and they kidnap bad guy scientist Alexei (Alec Utgoff) who ends up stealing everyone’s hearts! The guy speaks only Russian, has 4 episodes and maybe 30 minutes of screen time, but instant fan favourite.
Favourite scene: When Alexei “one of the most dangerous men in the world” slurps his slurpee. Bonus: When he wins in darts.
Main focus on this group is of course the dynamic between Hopper and Joyce. There is a lot of banter and hilarious scenes between the two, and you could cut the sexual tension with a knife! Joyce does keep her distance though, which in a way is understandable. She did see Bob (Sean Astin) die in front of her eyes, and despite starting off on the wrong foot, Bob was a nice guy. Hopper is clearly frustrated about Joyce not going on a date with him, plus he has a hard time handling his teenage daughter and her hormones!
Angry Hopper is so much fun though. Yes, for some it might seem out of character, but Hopper has always been grumpy. He hasn’t really dealt with his feelings and it’s hard for him. So he thinks he does what is best. Plus, at the end of the day, he was right. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) were spending way too much time together!
Favourite scene: Hopper wakes up naked after Joyce dragged him back to the cabin. Bonus: Joyce blows up the car.
THE SCOOPS TROOP
I mean, where to begin?! Steve and Dustin are my precious cinnamon buns and nobody shall convince me otherwise! This season they were paired up with a totally new character Robin and Lucas’s sister Erica. They were called the Scoops Troop! Everything to do with them I loved! There wasn’t a moment I thought dragged, there wasn’t an episode where I wasn’t loving them more than the others. I’m sorry everyone else, I’m #TeamSteve since season 1! And yes, that is a true fact. While everyone else was rooting for Jonathan in season 1, I was already riding the Steve train. No regrets.
What makes this foursome amazing is the fact that Steve is just the best dad to Dustin and now Erica as well. Robin is just as cool, blending into the group and providing some brains to match wtih Dustin and Erica. Steve’s just there, a bit lost at times but it’s okay. He is still resourceful, cares for the kids and would protect them forever. He is also super cool, when he confesses his feelings to Robin, and finds out she’s gay. Bless them!
The entire Russian lab break in was brilliant, the set up for it, amazing. Steve and Robin high? Brilliant! Everything to do with these four was great. If I had one negative thing, a tiny thing, it’s that at times, Erica’s comebacks started to wear me down. I get it, she has spunk but Stranger Things sometimes dials things up too much. But that is like the tiniest complaint, nothing like season 2 filler episode which I still don’t get.
Anyway, as you might realise, I had a very difficult time choosing a favourite scene for these four. So I’m gonna dump a bunch of scenes here and just call it a day. Because who are we kidding, I’m not strong enough to pick just one or two.
Favourite scene: EVERYTHING! Bonus: EVERYTHING! and this entire GIF SET.
Here’s the thing. I get that the show borrows a lot and is throwing us the same villain for season after season but so what!? Stranger Things is fun, it’s full of great characters and most importantly, it is comforting. For me, who hasn’t seen many of the references the Duffer Brothers use, it’s also sort of fresh. Plus you know, my love for Steve Harrington will keep me invested for many years. Are there weaker links and do the show runners forget characters? Yes. But with such a huge cast, it’s hard to balance it all and season 3 sort of showed it.
The cinematography was brilliant and the colour theme for season 3 felt very natural. The outfits and costumes became a huge part of this season as well. I loved the soundtrack, I loved the musical number and I enjoyed the finale. Am I worried how they will connect this finale to the next season? Yes but I’m also very excited to see how the show adapts to the new settings. Will they have the characters circle back for a summer holiday? A Thanksgiving weekend? Who knows. But I’m sure as hell excited for it all.
Oh, and the next gif is an actual description of me after the season finale.
OTHER COOL STRANGER THINGS THINGS
The Duffer Brothers share major references Stranger Things has
Watch this, and you’ll love Dacre Montgomery even more
Where dad and son wear matching shirts
Cinematic Corner shares her thoughts on season 3
And don’t worry, Hopper is alive3