I watched all of Stranger Things season three in the first 21 hours it was released – 2 a.m. to 11 p.m. – as if I were in a competition with myself to finish it as soon as possible. Having waited nearly two years for new episodes (I also finished season two in the first 24 hours it was released), I was nervous and excited for season three. By the second scene, any worries I had immediately washed away. This might be the best season of Stranger Things, ever! Even better than two, which used to be my favorite. This season is the most lowkey, laid back, and realistic. It felt like living at home in Hawkins while hanging out with the Stranger Things characters as they went on adventures that just so happened to have sci-fi elements to them. I LOVED it!
I cannot live in a world without El (Millie Bobby Brown)! This show might not survive without her! She is a badass queen who will die to protect her friends. She will NEVER be normal, which has its positives and negatives. She’s mentally stunted at the age she was when taken away. She does try her hardest to fit in though.
El and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) have one of the best relationships on all of television! Three seasons in and they still have it going on! *heart eyes* They literally cannot keep their hands off each other! These hot and heavy horny teenagers are OBSESSED with each other!!! They have seen each other every day for the past six months. He is her beacon of light and hope, her savior. Any time she’s in peril, she screams out for him. Call it what you want, "romantic," "gross," "bullshit," I love it and ship it! Having never really had any parents before Hopper (David Harbour), Eleven is living with reckless abandon. She makes out with Mike, on her bed, with the door closed. Scandalous!
Hopper, “an angry old man who hates joy,” is going crazy! He needs El to break up with that “smug son of a bitch,” Mike. Instead of killing Mike, because he’s the chief of police and can cover it up, or, better yet, having an honest heart-to-heart with the kids, because he doesn't know what that is, Hopper puts Mike in his place. That “lying piece of shit" tells Mike there is something wrong with his Nana. With Mike away from El, Hopper lays down the law! Being a dad to his daughter, he tells Mike, if he shuts up and listens, "MAYBE I will ALLOW you to continue to date my daughter." Scared, Mike doesn’t show up to El’s house the next day. When she calls to find out where he is, he lies and says that his Nana is sick. He adds he can’t see El because he needs to visit Nana in the nursing home. Not seeing Mike at his house for the first day in six months, Hopper is now the smug son of a bitch. He drives to visit Joyce (Winona Ryder) while HAPPILY singing, “You don't mess around with Jim (Hopper).”
In his tunnel vision, Hopper doesn’t see how heartbroken El is. She goes over to Max’s (Sadie Sink) to talk about stupid Mike. However, Max might not be the best person to talk about boys with as she has dumped Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) five times. Max teaches El to either give Mike the medicine (payback) or dump his ass, which leads to one of the most iconic moments in the entire series. Standing outside the mall with ice cream in her hand, El looks Mike straight in the face and dumps his ass. All of Hawkins is shook! El breaking up with Mike is justifiable though. She deserved the truth about why he had to spend time away from her.
After shopping and learning how to walk in heels, El and Max have a sleepover and read comic books. El also uses her abilities for fun in a special game of spin the bottle. Max is the girlfriend El needs. With Max, El can enjoy life more. However, Max needs to learn her place. When Mike is trying to get back together with El, Max stares them down like a hawk. She needs to give them some space. If she had just stopped watching them so intently, they would have kissed and said, "I love you."
As if it's not obvious, Mike is IN LOVE with Eleven! HOWEVER, HE IS TOO MUCH OF A CHICKEN TO TELL HER!!!!! He can SCREAM “I love her!” at his friends during a family conversation, pussyfoot around the actual three words, eight letters as she tries to coax it out of him during a heartfelt moment, but god forbid he actually say it to her face. Meanwhile, El has no problem saying it. She, who has never known “normal,” is the only one brave enough to confess their true feelings to the other’s face. I guess it’s official! MILEVEN ARE IN LOVE! <3 <3 <3 Or at least, technically, one of them is. Hopefully, in season four, Mike will be able to actually use his words.
Hopper is probably the most misunderstood character on the whole show. He’s just a nice guy who has bad dreams and literally fights for those he loves. It’s hard to believe not everyone LOVES all of him because he gives me BIG DADDY issues!!! I'll just be over here watching Hopper kick Mayor Kline's (Cary Elwes) ass on replay!
Joyce and Hopper's relationship this entire season is almost all I ever wanted! Hopper is feeling everything and feeling it a lot. He is so head over heels in love with Joyce and her beautiful hair! He finally builds up the courage to ask her out... and she turns him down! When he promises her it’s not a date, just a friend buying a friend dinner as a thank you, she agrees to go. Hopper is so excited to spend time with Joyce, even if it’s not in a romantic way, he gets a new shirt for his non-date. Then she stands him up anyway. Hopper honestly deserves better. Understandably, he is pissed at Joyce. In their every interaction, he is fuming and tense, even as angry Russians shoot at them and chase them down. Russian translator Murray (Brett Gelman), finally tells them to cut the horseshit with this “lover's quarrel,” and “jump to the part where you admit your sexual feelings for each other” and “tear-off those clothes and get it over with already!" Murray is THE BEST character on this whole damn show. He just tells it like it is. Eventually, Hopper and Joyce do share the most sensual handhold I have ever experienced, but, sadly, it doesn’t go any farther than that. Honestly, I feel like a clown for thinking these two were going to kiss at least once this season.
My baby, Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), peaked in season two. He is still FINE AF, but he just gets lamer and lamer with each season. He now works at an ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy, where he wears a sailor uniform every day. He thought this job would be a great way to pick up ladies, but he can’t even flirt to save his life. How he ever dated Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), or anyone, is a wonder.
Steve is friends with six children, but Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is his best friend for life! I mean, honestly, Steve is SO HAPPY to have Dustin back. I'VE NEVER SEEN TWO FRIENDS SO HAPPY TOGETHER!!! OR BEEN SO HAPPY TO SEE TWO FRIENDS TOGETHER!!! Steve and Dustin have more chemistry than some fictional couples! I (FRIEND)SHIP IT!!! I don't care! The adventures these two go on together warms my heart. Steve pushes Dustin’s ass into an air vent, they get trapped in an elevator together, and Steve surrenders himself to "THE GODDAMN RUSSIANS" to save Dustin. When Steve sacrifices himself, Dustin tells him “I won't forget you.” If they die, it needs to be together. Dustin agrees. He tells Steve, “If you die, I die,” to which Steve just nonchalantly responds “ok.” They either die together or need to save each other, there is no in-between.
Steve’s new co-worker, Robin (Maya Hawke), is alright. I don't love her as much as everyone else does. I found her to be really annoying! However, I do LOVE and RESPECT her for turning down Steve because she is a lesbian, as predicted. Not having to worry about her hooking up with Steve makes me appreciate their friendship even more.
Will (Noah Schnapp) is his only friend without a girlfriend. Even Dustin has one. During an intense argument, when Will is upset his friends would rather focus on girls than play Dungeons and Dragons with him, Mike seemingly outs Will as gay. Will then runs home in the rain and destroys Castle Byers. That is better than killing himself. The question remains though. IS WILL GAY?????
Dustin sings a song, a whole song, with his girlfriend, Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo). He begs her to give him Plank’s Constant, but she won’t. Not until he sings “NeverEnding Story" with her. As I’m not a fan of that movie, I did NOT need this scene! Plus, now Dustin has given Lucas and Max cause to make fun of him for the rest of his life, which is just great.
No movie is scarier than real life for these kids! Friends dragged straight to hell, disgusting exploding rats. It’s a wonder these kids even sleep at night because I certainly couldn’t. I’d feel like whatever these creatures were are crawling on me. It’s just so gross! It's cool. It's cool. It wouldn’t turn me off completely from hanging out in Hawkins, Indiana, but I wouldn’t want to pay attention to what’s happening behind me either. The next thing I’d know, I’d look up and my senses would be attacked.
While these kids are undergoing events that will send them to therapy for the rest of their lives, the rest of Hawkins, Indiana is just partying on.
Nancy and her silly hair are working at a newspaper for a boss who she’d rather ask forgiveness from than permission and is terrified of her “girl problems.”
Mrs. Wheeler (Cara Buono) finally gets a storyline this season. In the beginning, she just finds Billy (Dacre Montgomery) attractive, flirts with him, and nearly has an affair, which is completely not understandable. Toward the end though, she finally becomes a parent to her children, Nancy and Mike, and is there for them.
Season three saw a lot of death. Three to be exact.
The first death of the season was the breakout star, Russian traitor Alexie (Alec Utgoff). After Alexie won a giant stuffed Woody Woodpecker in a non-rigged carnival game at the Fourth of July fair, his ex-comrade shot him in the abdomen. His death was genuinely upsetting, but I did see it coming.
Next was Billy, which kind of happened twice. In the season premiere, the Mind Flayer took over Billy. Then, in the season finale, the Mind Flayer punctured Billy’s sternum and stabbed him with every sharp limb it has. Bye Bye Billy. Poor Max, who was actually worried about her asshole step-brother, had to watch him die so gruesomely. Thankfully, she has her friends to hold her through it.
The final, most unexpected death is still up in the air, so let’s call it fate. To kill the Mind Flayer, Hopper and Joyce needed to close the gate to the upside-down. Time was running out. Joyce needed to flip the switch and Hopper was on the wrong side of the glass. They looked at each other… as she pulled the trigger. Poof! Hopper was gone!
HOPPER IS DEAD!!! HE'S DEAD!!!!! I'm emotionally distraught! It's like I lost a real family member. I'm THISCLOSE to mentally breaking down! I don't want to believe that just really happened. I thought maybe a post-credit scene would fix everything, be like “gotcha,” but it didn't. Goodbye to one of my favorite fictional characters in pop culture. When all I want is for a ship to kiss/have sex, but instead one dies at the hands of the other. I can't believe that just happened. I CANNOT believe Stranger Things didn't make Joyce and Hopper endgame. Not only that, they never even kissed! I thought for sure this would be their season. I was THISCLOSE!!! I can't believe they didn't get their happy ending. …Just kidding. I still firmly believe Hopper and Joyce are ENDGAME. In my heart of hearts, I don't believe Hopper is dead. I'm in such deep denial. But seriously, a friendly reminder: No body, no death/murder/crime. I searched that screen for Hopper’s body harder than any of the characters. His body was not there. He is still out there, somewhere. I'm not going to believe he's dead until I see a body. No body, no death. If you really think Hopper is dead, I honestly don't know what to say to you.
After everything that’s happened, Joyce wants to move away from Hawkins. She considered staying for Hopper, he wanted to keep her safe and make her feel safe, but, with him gone, she has no reason to stay. Heading for, hopefully, greener pastures, Joyce packs her life and family, including Eleven, into her car and drives away. With Hop gone, Joyce seems to have adopted El, which means, heartbreakingly, she’s going with them. Before she leaves, El finds and reads the heart-to-heart Hop meant to have with her weeks ago. I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry every time I watch this scene. Hopper's speech hits way too close to home. "Life is moving, always moving, whether you like it or not.” Bringing everything full circle, he ends his letter with, “For the sake of your poor old dad, keep the door open three inches."
I still can't believe that just happened. I can't believe El moved away from Mike. I’m too fragile. Mike and Eleven do not deserve that ending. The worst part is we still don’t know where the Byers moved off to / how far away. East Hawkins? Chicago? California? Russia? Find out in season four, I guess.
After season three, we’re really looking to the future. Mileven and Jopper are split up and Eleven is, interestingly, without her powers. Stranger Things CANNOT end here. This CANNOT be the end of everything!!!!! This CANNOT be all we're going to get. I REFUSE!!!!!! Clearly, these stories ARE NOT finished! This would be the most TERRIBLE place to end the series! Stranger Things WILL BE back with this cast. Season four would be a flop without them.
As much as I do love all the characters, Stranger Things has way too many characters. In season three, beloved characters that have been here since the beginning, like Nancy and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), were pushed aside to give more screen time to unnecessary newer characters, such as Robin and Erica (Priah Ferguson). In season four, Stranger Things needs to reign in the number of characters. Whatever this means. Maybe Jonathan, who had no point in season three, goes to college, breaks up with Nancy, and/or dies. I don’t know. Something to cut the slate of characters.
As far as thinning the list of characters goes, Hopper is gone. Nevertheless, we NEED him back. Yes, it would change the end of this season, but maybe he’s still out there. Maybe he jumped into the upside-down??? Or he’s being held prisoner in Russia??? Who knows??? The post-credits scene wouldn't make a big deal about saying "the American" if weren't Hopper. Who else would it be?! Season four is a school trip to Russia where Joyce is the chaperone? I’d watch that!
Personally, I can't wait for season four. Mainly because I feel like it'll take place at Christmas. Unfortunately, this means having to wait a year and a half for the next season, like with every other season. Then, hopefully, season four won’t be the end of the series as whole. I feel like Stranger Things will have five seasons overall. We’ll just have to wait and see. Only time will tell what happens next on Stranger Things.
Trying to do anything productive after this new season came out when all I want to do is focus on this and watch it again, for the fifth or sixth time, has been so hard. Please comment below what you thought of the season. Anything you want to talk about. Please. I watched it ahead of everyone I know, so I need someone to talk about it with.
- Robin (to Steve): Dingus, your children are here!
- Billy (to Mrs. Wheeler): I don't think you've had the right teacher.... I could give you the workout of your life.
- Mrs. Wheeler: Did Nana call?!
- Robin (to Steve): How many children are you friends with?
- Mike: I should've shoved that little bear right up his…
- Hopper: Forget about sales. I want you to work for me at Hawkins PD. Joyce: And have to see your face every day? I don't think so.
- Mike: Did you spy on me?! That's against the rules! El: I make my own rules.
- Steve: What do you think? Petey the mall cop is gonna repel down here and save the day?
- Steve: Look at my outfit. You think I just wear this? I'm a spy in a sailor uniform?
- Steve: I don't know if you have Russian ice cream or if that's considered gelato. I don't know what's what.
- Dustin: It's official. I'm never having kids.
- Murray: I told them they should have sex. Alexei: They have not had sex?!