Stranger Things 3: Just Strange Enough For Me
July 21, 2019
Premiering on Netflix on the fourth of July, Stranger Things 3 made a booming debut.
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**
Set in the 1980s like the previous two seasons, the third season of the show follows a group of kids in Hawkins, Indiana and their various adventures fighting off supernatural monsters coming from the Upside Down, an alternate reality of sorts.
This season, however, unlike the first two, diverged into more distinct storylines following smaller groups of the main characters. For example, instead of all six of the “Stranger Things kids” fighting off the same evil creature throughout the season from beginning to end, at first smaller sects of the group began by planning and executing attacks on separate beasts. Eventually, the three factions combined once the monsters were found to be linked to each other, and all fought for the same cause in the end.
I personally enjoyed this aspect of the show. I think that it left room for more character development. For example, Dustin’s separation from his original band of six left him to forge a more mature friendship with Steve and new friendships with Erica and Robin. Viewers were able to see a new side of Dustin because of this.
Both Erica and Robin were new additions to the main Stranger Things cast. Erica had previously been on the show, but not as a starring member; she had had a few lines as Lucas’s sister in seasons one and two. I view Erica and Robin’s characters as beneficial inclusions to the cast. Erica’s friendship with Dustin and Robin’s friendship with Steve allowed for each of their characters to grow. When all four of them united as one of the smaller groups, mostly focused on unveiling the mysteries and monsters in the Starcourt Mall, where Steve and Robin worked, they truly became, in my eyes, a dream team.
Another newly added theme to Stranger Things 3 was that of romance. With Mike and Eleven’s relationship becoming rockier as they break up for a few episodes in the middle of the season, Lucas and Max’s relationship becomes more unstable as well. These conflicts were partially a result of the newly formed friendship between Max and Eleven, according to Lucas and Mike. This added a new level of conflict, one totally separate from the main one that, of course, was occurring between the groups and the monsters that they were in a constant battle with. I think that this made the show more interesting, and honestly, more realistic. The truth of the matter is that if characters are going to become more developed as the show progresses, other conflicts will arise. I think that the writing of these conflicts made them seem believable, adding nice new elements to the show.
This season, the plot could be seen expanding outside of Hawkins and the Upside Down. Now, instead of the group just fighting the Mind Flayer, the larger antagonist in the show, Russians were added as another villain. The Russians were discovered to be working under the Starcourt Mall, which they used as a disguise to open up a passage to the Upside Down. Obviously, they had to be stopped by the Stranger Things kids. Dustin, Steve, Erica, and Robin unearthed the Russians’ secret at the same time that Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper discovered them. While the groups originally worked separately, they joined forces at the end and shared the news. This allowed Jim and Joyce to close the hole to the Upside Down while the other characters fought off the creature that had been making attacks around Hawkins.
The season ended with Jim Hopper being killed in the explosion that closed the hole to the Upside Down. Billy, Max’s stepbrother who had been abducted by the monster at the beginning of the season, demonstrated his ability to overcome the monster’s control at the very last second. He defended Eleven from being killed but ended up dying himself. I found these deaths sad, but possibly necessary. No main characters had ever perished in Stranger Things before Hopper and Billy died, and for all we know, they may not even truly be dead. After all, we never saw Hopper’s body…
All in all, I give Stranger Things 3 a 9.5/10. I just wish it had been longer!