Making a retrofitted return, Stranger Things season 3 bursts back on to screen for audiences with its coming-of-age storytelling reaching possible peak. Fans won’t be disappointed by the Stephen King-esquesci-fi nostalgia that echoes throughout the show. As the cast returns to full form of embracing their roles, there seems to be confidence and bolder aspects now emerging from the characters. Although Hawkins, Indiana seems to be ground zero for other worldly attacks, government conspiracies, and the occasional wink at nerds save the world, the show hasn’t lost its edge in giving the suspense and thriller vibes experiences from the first season. If anything, the new season here takes great care to grow up and provide the main characters’ ability to notice when things go awry that others would dismiss. With the Mind Flayer, the series’ antagonist, plotting his vengeance against the town of Hawkins brings about creepier and raises the stakes similar to the 80s vintage feel.
Stranger Things excels in allowing each cast member to work well with different units in order to resist the Upside Down invasion from multiple angles. Examples are Nancy and Jonathan, our couple of the show, who work for a local town newspaper and flex their investigative skills, and Steve and newcomer Robin, taking in their process of codebreaking and attentiveness while providing humor. Our central characters, the kids, have now become teenagers and dealing with evolution in the group’s relationships, particularly between Mike and Eleven. However, Hopper’s paternal approach on their relationship, the other young couple, Lucas and Max, balance out and causes for great moments fitting into the main story. From female bonding between Max and Eleven, the women of the show take a hardened stance this season than previous season allowed.
The arrival of Starcourt Mall, a character itself for the third season, focuses on shutting down the small town business that make up Hawkins, Indiana and how integral character’s social lives tie in to the mall culture. A frequent pop-up for the show and excellent addition to the show is Lucas’ sister, Erica who makes many sassy and honest commentary about the rest of the cast that isn’t too tongue and cheek. As mentioned, Robin’s character plays right into the show almost as if she’s been a resident of Hawkins her whole life. These two new additions fill the show with a breath of fresh air and sensitivity audiences would find delightful and the cherry on top for the third season outing.
Stand out performances from the guest stars such as Cary Elwes and Jake Busey were clear cut and gave no overshadowing to the Independence Day build up storyline. In fact, most of the story webs itself around the connections built the Mind Flayer spreads and discords among our small town heroes. Although Billy serves as the voice of the Mind Flayer, his former villainous nature isn’t ignored and emotional depth adds to his character development that’s Emmy worthy. Speaking of performances, Jim Hopper, portrayed by David Harbour, has been our show’s backbone and grit. From fatherly duties to hilarious romance attempts, Hopper gives the most focused and solemn character development throughout the show’s history, it’s hard to think how Hop went from brute loner to caring dad in the matter of two seasons. Additionally, Hop receives layers of sentimental and emotional depth just as much as Billy given both are near-contrasts of one another.
Without spoiling much, the events leading up to the episode titled Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt Mall will please audiences strongly with creepiness and the fear factor of the first season. Many of the action sequences had to be given praise for its willingness to boldly put the characters in serious danger than before and went to lengths to get the characters in the right place and right time.
Stranger Things season three lives up to the legacy of its previous seasons and might top the Halloween-themed season two in various ways. Aside from logical exposition and pieces audiences will disbelieve, Stranger Things emulates the 80s nostalgia and definitely rises to the challenge of being an explosive Independence Day to enjoy!
Stranger Things season 3 now available for streaming on Netflix. Trailer link below.