*WARNING: Major Show Spoilers in This Blog*
Major Takeaways from Season 3: The Good, The Eh?, and The Bad.
El is still as bad ass as ever – I mean come on, when she crushed those Russians with a car? Phenomenal. The casual slam of the door on Hop? Relatable. The spying on Mike and Lucas? She does what she wants. EXTRACTING AN ALIEN SENTIENT TOOTH FROM HER OWN DAMN LEG? UN. BE. LIEVE. ABLE. An archetypal hero who still needs help from her friends and makeshift father. Somehow a relatable young teen, yet capable of ripping a human-meat-monster clear in half. Bad ass.
Robin is an awesome addition, and an important LGBT character. She’s smart, funny, quick-witted, and a good foil to Steve’s goofy, emotionally immature character. It’s revealed late in the season that Robin is attracted to women, yet leaves her sexuality ill-defined. Robin is a great character and certainly adds to the show, while not being defined as “the gay character;” she can and is gay, while still contributing meaningfully to the storyline as more than just her gay-ness. This is finally a good representation of LGBT people being functional characters in important roles not defined by their sexuality.
Hopper isn’t dead. No chance. You think Hop’s dead? That’s on you. Where was the body? Where was the blood? Did anyone actually see him die? THE ANSWER IS NO BECAUSE HE IS NOT DEAD. My theory: Hopper was transported to the upside down during the explosion and is now trapped on the other side. Bet me.
The eating of the chemicals….why? We never got an answer as to why the flayed people were fixated on gorging themselves with chemicals. It seemed to be a major plot point, but then was never resolved. It would seem that we likely will never get an answer now, since the mind flayer is dead, or at least, the mind flayer on this side of the wall.
Season 3 ‘played the hits.” They split up the characters into groups, notably the Dustin-Steve pairing, with the new Erica and Robin additions. Nosebleeds and lots of time spent remote viewing. The sacrificial sympathetic hero. Some major plot points seemed like repackaged season 2 material, with the whole focus on the mind flayer and the resulting groups fighting the darkness.
Alexei said the Russians came to Indiana because the wall to the upside down was thin there. But. The last scene of the season, in Kamchatka (Russia), the soviets clearly have already accessed the upside down, since they have a demagorgon trapped in their siberian dungeon. Which begs the question: If the Russians knew what was on the otherside of the wall (which they clearly did), why would they want to open the gate in Hawkins? Maybe to destroy America? Seems to be easier, more effective, safer (for Russia) ways to do that.
The whole Russian conspiracy? Not a terrible idea at face value, but it certainly had some flaws in development. Hundreds of Russians move to a tiny Indiana town all at once and no one is suspicious? Do they just stay underground at all hours? How do they get enough food and water down there? The whole concept that they needed the mall “as cover” really just doesn’t hold any water. If the Russians are capable of developing a massive underground city, described by Erica as “more than 10 miles,” than they are certainly more than capable of sneaking the necessary breaching components in through one of the many side properties they own. A lot less obvious than hundreds of non-English speakers roaming a small town Indiana mall. And seriously, a multi-million dollar mall? Really unnecessary. Even if you suspend belief, say for whatever reason, they need this massive underground city-mall complex. Why do they use the SLOWEST red carts on the planet to transport fuel cells? WHY. Just build a direct elevator over the weapon and take the fuel cells directly down?
What was the point of mind-controlling the small army of people? If the mind flayer was just going to consume them all anyways, why not just use Billy as bait, then consume them to begin with? The ruse really seemed unnecessary and a waste of time. A plot device for stalling while the kids decipher what is going on with Billy. Billy said that the mind flayer was building up to fight El, and that he was only ready to attack because they “could see El now.” Does the mind flayer not remember the last time he saw El…end of last season?
Finally, I don’t understand the death of the mind flayer? Will Byers led the audience to believe that the mind flayer existed in their world because a piece of it was cast out of Will after El closed the gate in season 2. Sooo….why does closing the gate in season 3 kill the mind flayer? The whole premise for the villain to be alive is a remnant of him survived the gate closing in season 2, grew huge with power, and then is killed by the very thing that couldn’t kill it when it was at its weakest in season 2? Seems…irresponsibly written at best.
I, being a normal human, am a big fan of the Stranger Things franchise. There were alot of things I liked about this season, and they seemingly did a much better job of setting up future Russian-based seasons. El remains an incredibly strong heroine for the series, with a cast of diverse characters with varying opinions and motivations. With a good mix of emotion, relatability, and special effects, Stranger Things continues to deliver on its original promise: a group of unspectacular kids, with unspectacular problems, met a spectacular friend and together saved the world. The few flaws in the series are generally insignificant, since the audience has to suspend their disbelief to really get into the show anyways. While overall, not quite as good as the original season, it is quality entertainment, and I look forward to the rescue of Hopper from the Upside Down in season 4. Because, ya know, that’s what’s gonna happen. Overall ranking: 7.8/10.