My Thoughts on Stranger Things 3

If you live under a rock or have been kicked off of your exes Netflix account then you might not have binged the entire third season of Stranger Things in one day. To everyone who has fallen into the upside down world that is Stranger Things, I know you all have some thoughts. If you haven’t finished your binge of the season, then it may be better if you stop reading, I have a lot I want to discuss. A little disclaimer before I begin, I am no expert in the field, I’m just a girl who is going to school to learn about the film industry and hopefully hop on board. However, I still wanted to write a review.

First things first, I strongly think this season was more entertaining than season two. In season two there were some episodes I disliked. Yes, they were important to the plot and gave background to the characters, but I found some of the episodes to be boring. In season three I didn't have this issue. I thought the season started off fun and engaging, building suspense with every episode until the resolution in the finale. One of my favorite parts this season was the comic relief they put in when the episodes were getting  too intense. For example, the finale when Hoper and Joyce needed the code to get the case that would help them save Hawkins. To get the code Dustin had called his love from camp, Suzie. Before Suzie told him the numbers they needed, she made Dustin sing Never Ending Story to her. At this moment, it was a nice release and I felt a weight fall off my shoulders as I was distracted from the intensity revolving around Eleven getting attacked by the mind flayer and the clock ticking for Joyce and Hopper. The Duffer Brothers included a lot of this throughout this season and I loved that it gave the show a lighter feel, while still holding the sci fi appeal.

Another thing I was a big film geek about was the cinematography of this season. For those of you who don't know what cinematography is, the definition is “the art of making motion pictures.” as the dictionary likes to put it. I was impressed by the way a lot of the scenes were shot. One particular was when Nancy and Jonathan were talking to Mr. Holloway, their boss at the Hawkins post. Holloway was already infected by the flayer. The way they lit the scene and set the coloration had you in the head space that Holloway was not in his right head. To help build this ideal, when the camera would flip back to Nancy and Jonathan, the camera angles were skewed and not centered, forcing the viewer to be unsettled and feel the way Holloway was after being infected. Another amazing thing this season did was set the mood with lighting whenever the mind flayer or the flayed were around, having the graphic and flickering of lights really put you in a disheveled place and had you on the edge of your seat like a horror movie. Before I move onto characters I want to talk about transitions, the video editing in this season was so smooth, but my favorite transition was when Billy was revving the engine of his car outside of StarCourt as the mind flayer was on top of the mall. They did an incredible job of focusing on the creature, then panning out to focus on Billy in his rearview mirror. I was stunned at the expertise and how slick the transition was. Watching that had me hoping to experiment with different video techniques like that in my future projects.

Moving on to the characters, I have some good things to say, and some bad. Shall we start with the bad? I think that they did a brilliant job introducing new characters and building up their personalities from the beginning to the end, creating character development in just eight episodes. However, I wish that they focused more on Will. I think he was not given the justice he deserved this season. He was tortured all through season one and two, and was holding onto his childhood while the others grew and started to focus on other things like dating. I felt that they should have focused on Will’s pain and attachment to his childhood and how it affected him mentally with his relationships with others and himself. I also found myself sad to see Billy go. I hated him in season two, but Darce Montgomery poured his all into the character this season and it showed. You could tell how his actions from being the host of the mind flayer were eating him alive. In the end when Eleven was turning him back to human she discussed his mom, this instantly soften him, and he threw himself in front of her right before the flayer was going to kill her. I would have loved to see Billy in a fourth season having his character grow into a new person, like how they developed Steve. I would also have enjoyed seeing him try to make amends with everyone and how he would cope with the trauma. That being said, he died a hero and it was a good way to let him go.

Now, on to my favorite character developments this season! I want to start with Eleven and Max, when Max came into season two I wasn't the biggest fan. I thought she was stuck up and didn’t fit in with the rest of the kids. This season I loved the friendship that blossomed between her and Eleven. It showed a softer side to her, but also that she wasn't stuck up, she was more of a badass. One of my favorite lines of the season, to quote Max, “There is more to life than stupid boys.”

 

 I was also happy they included Erica, Lucas’ sister into the equation. I loved her personality and the sass. I also loved that she teamed up with Dustin and Steve. I think one of the best things they did for the plot of this season was split the series up into groups. I felt that it helped you get to know the characters better and give some of the characters that used to be in the background more of chance to shine, but in the end everyone got together and helped save the day. The last character I fell in love with was Robin, like Erica she was sassy and straight to the point. I enjoyed watching her unfold as a character and open up to Steve and the others. The most important scene was when they were in the bathroom at the movies. I thought Steve and Robin were going to get together but as Steve was confessing his feelings Robin's smile started to fade, you could see the realization in her eyes, and feel it in the atmosphere of the scene. The way they filmed the scene hit you perfectly. Robin confessed she was a lesbian. The screenwriters did a great job, connecting with what she said to Steve earlier, to now, but in that scene you could feel it, you could feel the strength it took her to reveal how she felt, and I think that it was so important they wrote her character up to that point. I had know idea that she was a lesbian up until then and to be able to write a character and portray a real life scenario in someone is truly remarkable. 

Stranger Things Robin Comes Out

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room; Hopper. There is a lot of theories floating around the internet about his death. Before we get into that, who else felt personally victimized by his death? I was sobbing all over my sofa. Now, the theory is this, Hopper is still alive. Before Joyce flipped the switch Hopper nodded at her to do it, even though he was going to die. When Joyce flipped it, it flashed back to where Hopper was by the gate, but he wasn't there anymore when the gate shut and everyone inside disintegrated. So, did he get out? Or did he die with the rest of them. At the end of the finale, when Joyce closes the door to the Byers empty house I noticed six minutes left of the episode, I thought Netflix you can’t play me, and fast forwarded past the credits to a new scene. It flashed to Russia, at what looked like a facility like the one they kept Eleven in, in season one. The guards walked to some prison cells, when one reached for the first door the other yelled “ not the American.” and they grabbed another Russian. They then dragged him to a cage and locked him inside, his wails and protests were in desperation to not be feed to the demadog that was released into the cage. So, was the mystery American Hopper? Maybe. All I have to say is that they were supposed to meet at Enzos at seven!!!!!

 

Hopefully Netflix renews Stranger Things for a fourth season and we can see if Hopper did escape, see how the other characters appear and grow into the next season and see more of the amazing effects like we did in season three.