After binge watching season 1 and 2 of Stranger Things recently, it’s no question that I had to binge watch season 3 when it debuted on July 4. I finished seeing the season almost a week later due to being busy but at least I didn’t finish it years later (lol!). Season 3 did not disappoint and it definitely was worth the hype. I’ve said in my season 2 review that season 2 is my favorite season but after watching season 3, that is definitely my current favorite season.
The main great thing about season 3 of Stranger Things is once again the story. After the cliffhanger ending of season 2, you are left with so many questions and season 3 definitely answered them. The Mind Flayer has left Will as it’s host and now is possessing Billy as the primary host while making an army of sub hosts secretly. The Mind Flayer knows about Eleven and plans to stop her at any costs from ruining its agenda. Meanwhile there’s a secret Russian base that is trying to open the gate to the upside down since they have their own agenda and it’s up to Dustin, Steve, and Robin (new character) to stop them. As like the previous seasons’ episodes, each episode has a cliffhanger ending and it makes you just want to watch the next episode really badly. I’ve been in this scenario so many times with this season and even the previous first two seasons. While the plot itself was really unique in this season, it also influenced the character development of all the old and new characters we know and love into another level. It’s like each single season, each character knows and learns more about themselves and develops for the better that makes the viewer satisfied.
You see all the kid characters we all know and love from the first two seasons a little bit more mature and grown up and they are busy with their romantic lives in the beginning of the season. However as the season progresses, all of the characters are once again split into groups and each group is trying to solve one puzzle and connecting it with the other. The Duffer Brothers are really good using that type of story method because it worked flawlessly in season 1 and 2. Hopper and Billy definitely shined a lot in this season in my opinion. You see Hopper being protective over Eleven and actually wants to go on a date at first with Joyce. However once he gets “stood up” by her, he and she team up and try to solve one part of the puzzle involving the Russians. As they do that, you see the chemistry between him and Joyce really have a spark. Hopefully in season 4, we get to see him and Joyce at last as a couple. Hopper definitely learned more about himself because the heartfelt letter he left for Eleven that she read at the end of the season proved it. He realizes Eleven is like his second chance to have a kid of his own and make things right. But he mentions in the letter that it’s okay that she’s growing up and changing because that is part of life. The letter can definitely be something we can all learn from or at least be reminded from.
Billy also shined a lot in this season as well. In season 2 he was more of a side character that had a minor role but the Duffer Brothers gave him a major role in this season. You actually hated Dacre Montgomery’s character (in an entertaining way) and you continue to hate him in this season UNTIL the reason for his bully type of character. You actually feel sorry for him since he really never was like how he was in season 2 and before he was possessed by the Mind Flayer. When Billy gets free from possession by the Mind Flayer and gets killed by it, he tells Max slowly that he is sorry before he dies. It really was a heartbreaking scene because Billy was a free man after the possession broke off and he turned into a good person instead of the regular bully type of character he normally was.
You are introduced to a lot of new characters but my two favorite would be Alexei and Grigori. Alexei at first worked for the Russians but once he was taken by Hopper and Joyce, he eventually has a change of heart and sides with them which is another great character development. Grigori would probably be the third character that shines on the show because he literally acted like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic terminator role. The way he chased Hopper and his gang, kicking ass with weapons, and interacting with others was exactly a direct resemblance to the Terminator. If you guys know me well, the first two Terminator films are in my favorite of all time list so seeing this cool Easter egg was really neat. No doubt this is my favorite Easter egg. Also I’ve heard the actor that played Grigori attempted to have his facial expressions, actions, interactions, etc similar to Drago from Rocky IV. So in a way it was two Easter eggs combined into one. Grigori was so intimidating as I was watching the season.
Steve is probably the fourth character that shined the most because you see he has a new love interest which is Robin and you see he moved on well from his breakup with Nancy. Even though he admitted to Robin he has feelings for her, he took it pretty well when he found out she was a lesbian. The Duffer Brothers did a great job once again of having Steve be a independent character instead of having him always be in a relationship with someone. But no doubt the chemistry between Steve and Robin was really good and you wish at the same time they were really a couple. Hopefully in season 4, we get to see Steve finding someone that’s right for him finally. As I’m writing this review, i actually did not know the actress of Robin is the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke! That’s really cool because she was really good in this season and I hope she has a bright career ahead of her.
There were so many twists and turns with this season and the twist and turns in this season is no doubt the best one yet. The season kicks off with a bang with the first twist which is the Russians attempting to open the gate of the upside down. The second twist that I liked was when Dustin, Steve, and Robin found out where the Russian’s secret base was which was underneath the mall. If you haven’t seen the trailer of the show, then the twist of Billy being possessed by the Mind Flayer in this season no doubt took you off guard. Even though I (and so many others) seen the teaser before the season came out, it still came to a shock to me that Billy was the primary host now. Seeing also the Mind Flayer possessing other residents such as Heather, etc as the sub hosts was also a shocker since in season 2 it was only Will that was possessed. I won’t mention all the twists and turns but I’ll mention three that are my favorites. My first favorite will always be when Eleven sees Billy’s past and realizes why he’s the bully type of character he was normally was. It was a sad scene because we see that he was very close to his mother and the way she was out of his life eventually changed his character for the worst. As Eleven tells Will and his friends this, you see they feel empathetic towards Billy. Villains in movies/TV Series that have a traumatic backstory are really unique because it develops to the villainous traits they have in the current time. It may be cliche but it’s no doubt really effective.
My second favorite twist and turn would be when Eleven loses her powers after she gets bitten by the Mind Flayer. For the first two seasons, we were used to seeing Eleven as a superhero who is unstoppable and seeing her losing her powers at the near end of the season made her really human and it really took majority of the fans off guard. My last favorite plot twist would be the end credits scene where the Russians feed a prisoner instead of Hopper (the American) to a Demogorgon in Kamchatka. We all felt like we were going to cry when we saw Hopper “die” in the last episode but the post credit scenes told us otherwise. It’s such a great cliffhanger post credit scene because it makes you wander how his Hopper going to join Joyce and the gang again and/or what his main role will be in the next season.
The season has a lot of memorable moments and it has comedy too here and there! Hopper definitely stole the show in terms of comedy. The moments when he tried to get information out of Alexei about the Russians agenda and trying to keep him from escaping was hilarious! His rivalry with Grigori was really well done since you can actually feel the hatred they have for another. The scenes where you see the Mind Flayer actually as a ferocious beast was really cool to see because in season 2, you mostly saw it in Will’s real visions. I felt this season had a lot of action, drama, thriller, and comedy elements more than the first two seasons. It was executed flawlessly! The best memorable scene would probably be when Dustin and his long distance girlfriend Suzie sing the NeverEnding Story song through the “cerebro” (X-Men reference) before they stop the Russians and the Mind Flayer once and for all was hilarious. It was hilarious because everyone was confused and pissed of why they were singing when the entire world was at stake. Steve’s facial expression when they were singing was the best reaction of all.
As usual, the season has barely any dull moments and the pacing was top notch for every single episode.
I’ve got no nitpicks or flaws with this season!
Overall, season 3 of Stranger Things no doubt was a well made season. This season actually felt like a series finale instead of a season finale but once the post credit scene showed up, it told us otherwise. It’s really amazing how each season of Stranger Things made me feel beyond satisfied once I finished each and every one of them so far. I’ve heard rumors season 4 might be the last season of the show an if that is the case, then it potentially might be the best season of them all. The Duffer Brothers has not disappointed me with the first three seasons of the show and I know they won’t disappoint me with the fourth season as well. Season 3 was definitely a game changer of the show and no doubt I’m going to rate the season five out of five stars.