Stranger Things 3 feels like it came out ages ago even though its almost been three years. I remember there being some backlash to some of the elements in this season, which I didn’t understand. The biggest thing I saw was about how Hopper was during the season, which I didn’t understand. I think this was an overall improvement over the previous season, which was an improvement on the storytelling from the first season.
My biggest issue with how Hopper was portrayed in this season is he basically became a sitcom dad for the first part of the season, some bumbling buffoon that somehow functions. In the grand scheme the entire season he continued his journey that started in the first season, even is it seemed like he wasn’t growing as much as he actually was. The ending of the season was one of those moments where you immediately go into denial, though what we’ve learned since makes it even more clear. Though I’m sure it’ll be revealed what happened in the upcoming season.
The use of Billy Hargrove in this season is interesting. He went from human antagonist in the previous season to the main puppet of the main antagonist of this season. There’s even a small redemption arc for him, that I feel falls a little flat. There’s an even bigger revelation of Billy’s background, which was an expanding of what was revealed at the end of the previous season. I feel his small redemptive arc falls flat because of his death. If he were still around to make amends for his vicious past actions.
The continued evolution of Steve Harrington continued in this season. He shifted into a weird older brother/babysitter relationship with most of the kids, especially with Dustin though. His relationship with the new character of Robin is the biggest source of his complete change from the character he was in the first season. I really think it’s a one two punch of his new relationships in this and the previous season.
The story for the season is split into three storylines. There’s the mall storyline, the kid storyline, and the adult storyline. The disparate storylines ended up connecting at the very end, which makes sense with what they all dealt with. The mall and adult storylines both had to deal with Russians and the kid storyline was the only one that was still connected the previous seasons. The kid storyline is also the most horror that there’s been in any of the seasons yet.
There’s a focus on relationships throughout the season. The focus works well since it doesn’t just focus on the romantic relationships, though those are some of the most major things. The shifting friendships are also a major focus, which led to a lot of the conflicts between the characters. The friendship between Max and Eleven is one of the more interesting things in the episode. The possible relationship that was hinted between Steve and Robin, that led to the revelation of Robin’s sexuality is the biggest talking point for this season though there are hints about Will as well. Mike mentions that Will doesn’t like girls and its never spoken of again.
Stranger Things 3 is the biggest change to the world of the series that set the stage for where the story would go. With the fourth season premiering the same day as when this is published, I will be elbow deep in the new season. I’ve avoided as much as I could about the next season except the name of the new main villain, which is another D&D related name. I also want to mention that this season had some of the lesser recurring stars with Jake Busey and Cary Elwes as opposed to Sean Astin and Paul Reiser. I give Stranger Things 3 9.5 d20s out of 10.