'Stranger Things' Season 3 Review
The third season of the science fiction-horror web television series Stranger Things, titled onscreen as Stranger Things 3, premiered on Netflix's web streaming service on July 4, 2019. The series was created by the Duffer Brothers, who are also executive producers along with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen and Iain Paterson. The show had an assemble cast of Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Cara Buono.
Season 3 of Stranger Things consists of eight episodes. In the summer of 1985 in Hawkins, the new Starcourt Mall has become the focal point of the town, driving other stores out of business. Sheriff Jim Hopper is conflicted over Eleven and Mike's budding relationship, while Joyce considers moving out of Hawkins for better prospects, leaving the state of the children's friendships and her own relationship with Hopper in the air. However, strange power fluctuations trigger Will's awareness of something otherworldly, and Eleven and Max sense something is off about the town's residents. Despite having closed the portal to the Upside Down, it may still be threatening danger.
Right off the bat I want to say I loved season 3 of Stranger Things. It's not perfect as it does have a few flaws, but all in all, I thought it was great and I was not disappointed. With that being said, I personally do think this was my least favorite season in the series, which is really saying something because I still loved it.
The flaws this season had were so small that they barely affected the quality of the show. I think when you binge watch a show, you can become a lot more forgiving to certain things. I watched the first four episodes one day and the next four the next day, so I waited a little bit to fully digest it. In the end, I stand by my initial reaction that this season didn't have a single glaring flaw that drug it down. Season two had the lost sister episode that wasn't that great, but the season good at it's worst.
This season started off slow. Not bad or boring, just slow. The first three episodes were mostly used as set up. They introduced the plot, and set up the characters and relationships. If those episodes did anything, it was to show how great all the characters really are. While watching, I was never bored. Even when not a lot was happening, I enjoyed watching the characters.
They had even more nostalgia this season. From malls and Back to the Future to 7/11 and crazy Russians. I wasn't born in the 80s nor did I live through it, but I can still appreciate it. I actually got a lot more references then I probably should. One thing I love about the series as a whole is that the nostalgia never gets in the way of the story. It's just the cherry on top of an already great sundae. Plus they had the Terminator.
The characters were great, but I do wish some of them would've gotten more to do. the Byer brothers in particular. Jonathan's only real purpose was to serve as another obstacle for Nancy. Other than that, he didn't do anything that significant. Will also felt like he was there just to be there. I think some of it has to do with the particular arc he's given as there was one very emotional moment he gets that I loved, but other than that and a few comments here and there, he's pretty much an afterthought.
With that being said, I still do love these characters and the development some of them got. Billy in particular. I loved the way he got developed over the season. He actually became one of my favorites. I also like how Max's character gets fleshed out a little more. I really like the new found friendship between her and El. The two shared great chemistry together. I loved the mall scene they had. I also like how Eleven started becoming her own person and actually started living.
I also love Hopper this season. He was so angry, and put in so many bad and uncomfortable situations. I thought they did a great job with his arc, but I know a lot of people who didn't like it. I personally thought he was one of the best parts of the season, but I can understand why some people didn't love it.
Robin is a new addition and Erika played a much bigger role this season. I thought both additions were great. They both got small character arcs, and they both had a lot to do. They really impacted the story, which is something they missed with Max's introduction last season.
I love how they take common tropes and cliches and turn them on their head like they did with Alexei's character. He was a character I was pretty sure I knew what his story was going to be until I didn't.
One thing I would consider a sour note was the sub plot Mrs. Wheeler gets. It wasn't necessarily bad, but they really don't do anything with it before it gets dumped. It was a small character moment for her, but she was so insignificant to the overall story that it just felt a little unnecessary.
Other than that, I thought the characters were great and I loved the plot. However, something I did notice after watching was that they've pretty much done the same thing for the entire series. It didn't effect the quality of this season for me personally, but it was something I noticed. How long can this gate keep opening before it becomes tedious or played out? The show does so many other things well that it's less of a problem than it should be.
With that being said, I loved season three of Stranger Things, and I just love the series as a whole. By the end of it, I was left both laughing and tearing up. Stranger Things season three did not disappoint.
The acting was once again great. David Harbour has another phenomenal performance as our slightly unhinged sheriff. Winona Ryder also gave another great performance as the best mother in this show.
However, Dacre Montgomery stole the show for me. I thought he gave a breakout performance. I thought he nailed those unhinged moments perfectly, but it was the more emotional moments that really won me over.
The acting as a whole was great. Millie Bobby Brown has another great performance as Eleven. Maya Hawke was also the perfect addition. Everyone just seems to be having fun, and it shows.
I loved both the story and the plot.
The season starts off by introducing the relationships and the state everybody is in. It also introduce the Mind Flayer and its victim. The first three episodes were mostly set up, but the fourth episode is where the show really took off.
One thing I both loved and hated was the fact that everybody was spilt up into groups. The story itself was basically told from four different perspectives. There was Eleven and her group dealing with the Mind Flayer, Dustin and his group dealing with the Russians, then you had Hopper and Joyce dealing with a crooked mayer and the Terminator, and finally you had Nancy and Jonathan investigating fertilizer-eating rats.
I liked it and I thought it really added a lot to the story, but I would've liked to have seen these characters together a little more. They really don't get together until the end, but by that time there's just so many other things happening.
The story was basically that the gate gets opened again, and the Mind Flayer starts flaying people. Our group of battle hardened heroes have to stop it.
The plot does follow closely to the previous seasons, but I really didn't mind it. There stories unfold and eventually collide with one another, leading to the climax. A climax that I really loved. For show that has recycle a lot of things, they still find a way to be very effective. With a perfect ending.
I really loved those character moments scattered throughout the story. From Will's and Hopper's to Robin's and Billy's. Those moments show just how great these characters are and how well rounded the show is.
All in all, I still thought they did a great job with the story.
The season basically starts off when the Mind Flayer that escaped mind flays Billy. Then it starts taking over people's bodies while Russian scientists try to open the gate.
This season really gave me a Body Snatchers feel. They also had a very clear Terminator ripoff. I loved that they poke fun at it, but they still make the character serious enough to be an effective villain. The same thing can be said about the sleazy mayor. His character fits that role a little to perfect, so much so that it feels a little odd. It's kinda like someone named Victor Von Doom turning into a villain. It's just too perfect to feel natural.
Another very small problem I had was with the whole Suzie subplot. Dustin comes home from camp and tells everybody he has a girlfriend, but when he tries to contact her, she doesn't answer, leading everybody to think she's fake. I thought it was very clear very early on that she was indeed real. Especially when they kept reminding us of her throughout the season. Her character kinda felt like a Deus ex Machina. It felt like her only purpose was to give the number needed and offer some comic relief, but in a show this great, having something like this can be overlooked. Plus she and Dustin sing The Neverending Story song.
I really loved the more light hearted moments. Like Mike, Lucas, and Will discussing why girls take so long in the bathroom. I loved when Steve and Robin were on drugs. I also really enjoyed watching Alexei push Hopper's buttons.
Those final two episodes were great. I loved the sequence were Eleven infiltrates Billy's mind. In addition to it being beautifully shot, it was a very emotional scene that added a lot to his character. It made his small redemption arc so powerful. He became one of my favorite characters this season, and I thought his final moments were perfect.
Hopper's end was also great (Joyce can't catch a break). However, I'm pretty sure he'll be back. During the explosion, you don't actually see him die, so I think there's a 90% chance he'll return next season. I thought it cheapened that moment up a little bit, but overall it was still a very effective moment.
In the end, Joyce decides to move her family out of Hawkins. She also takes Eleven with her. That was a very tear-jerking moment made even more emotional by Hopper's ending letter.
This season was full of so many great moments.
Overall, I thought the season was great.
The acting was amazing, the plot worked, the characters were great, even the new ones. The visuals were stunning, especially of the monster. The nostalgia was great, and all together it was even better.
This was a hilarious, heart-pumping, tear-jerking, 80s mystery, monster hunting season full of great moments.
I loved season three of Stranger Things.
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© 2019 Royce Proctor