Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor
Raise your hand if you skipped out on fireworks to binge Netflix this Fourth of July! Come on, be honest. Even if you didn’t, I’m sure the thought crossed your mind. After two years of radio silence from the Duffer Brothers, there was definitely something to celebrate beyond our country’s independence when the third season of “Strangers Things” premiered.
While the ending to this season is extremely controversial *cough cough* I can confidently say that season three outshined the previous season (and maybe even the first). Here is a brief overview of what made the two-year hiatus ultimately turn our frowns ‘Upside Down.’
*Warning: The rest of this piece includes spoilers.
After a while, there can only be so many flannel shirts and dreary days in Hawkins, Indiana. Season three brought a fresh dose of sunshine and color while providing an interesting contrast to the dark plot line. Somehow, knowing that the Russian headquarters is located underneath the flashy Starcourt Mall makes the operation seem much more intriguing. Plus, we’d be lying to ourselves if we said we weren’t loving the 1980s fashion. Scrunchies, high-waisted shorts, neon… yes, please!
Max and El give us an important reminder
We get a glimpse into Mike and El’s budding relationship. It isn’t smooth sailing, though, especially after Mike blatantly lies to El. New to the world of boy drama, El relies on Max to help her sort things out. After a few sleepovers and a shopping trip, Max reminds El, and the rest of us, that “there’s more to life than stupid boys, you know.”
First off, Nancy wants to be a journalist, so I was already on board. Then we watch her come face to face with a more realistic monster than she’s used to — not a Demogorgon, but discrimination in the workplace. Seeing Nancy tackle a realistic issue such as sexism was grounding in the midst of a fictitious series. She fights back against the sleazy men of the Hawkins Post, and with Jonathan’s help, the power of honest journalism prevails.
The ‘Scoops Troop’
The unexpected team, comprised of Dustin, Steve, Erica and Robin, delivers the humor and action that the plot needed. Even in the midst of immense danger, I couldn’t help but laugh at Dustin and Steve’s continuing bromance or Erica’s witty comments. In a comical shift of roles, Dustin finds himself acting like the big brother after Steve and Robin get caught and drugged by the Russians. Even though Robin and Steve already knew each other from working at Scoops Ahoy, they develop a close friendship that will most likely continue to evolve in the upcoming season. As for Erica and her one-liners, they were the cherry on top.
Billy. Just in general.
Billy is more than just a mullet and a pretty face in season three. His character evolved in a way I wasn’t expecting. Learning about Billy’s past while watching him as the Mind Flayer’s head minion makes him that much more captivating. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, actor Dacre Montgomery shared that he does everything himself, including the scene where Billy’s car catches on fire with him inside. Talk about commitment.
Alexei and his Slurpees
Alexei is an excellent addition to the cast. The lovable and submissive scientist proved that not all Russians are stone cold. Alexei ends up being a key reason why the Hawkins gang is successful in closing the gate. In addition, we can relate to Alexei as he calmly watches Hopper and Joyce’s relationship unfold before his very eyes. The only thing we are missing is a Slurpee of our own.
Hopper’s letter to El
I won’t even get into Hopper. I can’t. However, I will say that Hopper’s letter to El gave us the chance to grieve properly — tears, anger, the works. While the future remains relatively unknown for the characters and the course of the show, we can hold on to that final scene like El will hang onto her letter. No matter what the fate of Hopper may be, we can remember his words, “Remember the hurt. The hurt is good.”
And, yes, that epic duet
Dusty-Bun and Suzie-Poo can sing! The song “The NeverEnding Story,” originally from the 1984 film of the same name, was performed at the climax of the eighth episode. It’s difficult to tell if the rest of the characters, who are listening to the dramatic ballad over walkie-talkies, are more surprised by the song choice or the fact that Suzie is actually real. Regardless, we are extremely grateful for the scene, as are Jimmy Fallon, Steven Colbert and the rest of the internet.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia.