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Stranger Things: 10 Characters With The Best Survival Skills, RankedOn

From the Russians to the Mind Flayer, Stranger Things 3 saw the gang facing more threats than ever — and it got us thinking, how are they all (okay, most of them) still alive? We decided to get to the bottom of this mystery and discover how the show’s heroes all stack up.

While some characters are victims more than saviors (we’re looking at you, Will) others know how to rise to the top and save their friends and family again and again.

Quick shout-out to the honorable mentions including Mike, who is always emotionally supportive and Lucas, who is along for the ride. Will, maybe you’re not the strongest fighter, but you’ve endured a lot, and for that, we applaud you.

Let’s head back to Hawkins to find out who would make the best survivalist.

10 Erica Sinclair

Don’t underestimate the power of the youngest. Not only was she brave enough to climb through air ducts and sneak her way into an underground Russian fort, but she was smart enough to work her way out. Sure, she had some help along the way. But don’t be fooled by her sass; She knows what she’s doing.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why Erica Is The Best Character (5 Reasons Why Robin Is)

Dustin teases Erica for being a nerd, but as it turns out, this is one of her many superpowers. The knowledge she has now could be handy to her in the years to come.

9 Steve Harrington

Season 3 Steve honestly didn’t do a lot. Of course, he acted as Dustin’s sidekick, and okay, we’ll hand it to him — he did sneak into a top-secret Russian fort. But then he got himself caught and managed to knock both him and Robin to the ground while making an attempt to rescue them both.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Times Eleven And Hopper Gave Us All The Feels

His confidence is his downfall and his strength. It helped him in early seasons, but in the latest, it didn’t do quite as much. He is durable, though. He got beat up a ton after being abducted by the Russians yet still made it out.

8 Nancy Wheeler

Nancy has intuition going for her. In Season 3, she knows something is wrong with the rat the elderly Doris Driscoll finds in her house, so she takes it upon herself to investigate.

RELATED: 10 Great Movies To Watch After Binging Stranger Things

Nancy is smart and can hold her own, but on the downside, she doesn’t have many physical survival skills. That being said, she knows how to use a gun when she needs to. Shooting is just one of the things that comes naturally to her, though.

7 Joyce Byers

Joyce has a whole lot of determination and will do what she needs to save her family. Like Nancy, she knows when something is up and acts on it. Example: the falling magnets in Season 3.

She fights her way through every dangerous situation she faces and ranks a little higher because of her experience. Her undying courage — and ability to help bring Hopper back to health after his early Season 3 fight — makes up for her lack of formal training.

6 Max Mayfield

When Eleven first injures her leg, Nancy tries to immediately clean the wound without first clotting it. Max corrects her, referencing what she’s learned about injuries through skateboarding.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Obscure Pop Culture References Everyone Missed In Season 3

In addition to knowing how to treat a wound, Max is good at controlling her emotions in tense situations. While characters like Joyce let emotions drive their decisions, Max is able to put her feelings aside in order to do what is necessary in the moment. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t get scared; It just means that she thinks before she feels.

5 Robin

Robin is both street-smart and academically bright. When Steve and Dustin find themselves unable to crack the secret Russin code, she steps in and solves it. Being that she’s fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish, this comes as no surprise.

When Robin ends up tied up in the Russian’s underground fort, she doesn’t stress. She stays brave and tries (emphasis on the word tries) to reach some scissors with Steve that will cut them out. Both these skills come in handy when your life is on the line.

4 Jim Hopper

If you haven’t finished Season 3 of Stranger Things yet, you should completely skip over this entry. And now that that’s covered, it’s time to talk about this man’s survival skills. Yes, (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) Hopper doesn’t actually survive, but that doesn’t discount how well he could. His death in Season 3 was a sacrifice. It was a choice. He knew what he was getting himself into and didn’t end up carelessly dying. (END OF SPOILER) So pushing that aside, Hopper has a lot going for him. As the sheriff of the town, he has formal training other Stranger Things characters don’t have.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Season 4 Fan Theories That Could Actually Happen

He did get knocked out early in Season 3, which left Joyce to drag him out of the situation, and his temper gets in the way sometimes. Otherwise, he has the makings of a survivalist.

3 Jonathan Byers

Although Jonathan can sometimes come off as timid, he’s grown into himself as the series has progressed. In fact, he has a lot of the confident, quick-thinking skills needed to survive a town haunted by The Upside Down’s monsters.

The greatest example of this comes during the climax at the Starcourt Mall, during the point at which Elven’s leg has been infected by the Mind Flayer. Rather than sitting by complacently, Jonathan runs away to grab a wooden spoon El can bite down on and a knife he can use to cut the monster out. He makes sure to disinfect his makeshift medical tool and then keeps calm as he works on her leg even though it is absolutely disgusting. Without him, her leg might have faced a very different ending.

2 Dustin Henderson

What Dustin lacks in strength he makes up with smarts. I mean, seriously. A child outsmarted Russians with years of training and preparation.

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 3’s 12 Biggest Unanswered Questions

Let’s also not forget how brave Dustin is, as he chose to journey deeper into the Russian fort to rescue Steve and Robin when they were all tied up. He planned his attack, got them free, and dragged their drugged-up selves around as he considered his next move. Successfully babysitting a couple of useless teenagers older than you has to be a necessary survival skill.

1 Eleven

Eleven comes out on top because she has awesome telepathic powers. How can you beat that? She can use them to throw objects, fight people, and even snoop on others’ thoughts.

El also happens to be mentally strong. She’s survived all sorts of mental and physical trauma, so she knows how to face new challenges that come her way. As aforementioned, Jonathan tried to cut the monster out of Eleven’s leg in the Starcourt Mall during a tense moment. Eleven is so determined though, that she takes the knife from Jonathan midway through his attempt to gouge out the monster herself. That has got to take some strong willpower.

NEXT: Stranger Things: 10 Hilarious Season 3 Memes That Are Perfect


2019-07-15 01:07:53

Brooke Bajgrowicz

Stranger Things: The Show’s 10 Most Badass Characters, Ranked

Stranger Things is one of the most suspenseful and action-packed series airing on television right now. It’s impressive, really, considering about half of the series’ main characters are children under the age of 14. But season after season, the smash hit Netflix series proves that it’s one of the best in the game when it comes to delivering amazing action sequences and shocking twists.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Things From Season 3 That Even Superfans Were Shocked By

Unlike typical action movies and other action-packed procedural series, however, Stranger Things boasts a unique kind of character-driven action, due in large part to the strength of its own cast of characters. Whether a child, a teenager, or an adult, the series’ characters are all incredibly strong in their own way, each having their own distinct roles and journeys. Here, we take a look at the ten most badass characters the series has introduced so far.

10 Murray Bauman

Sure, Murray might not be your conventional action hero character, but there’s no denying that the series’ resident conspiracy theorist is a total badass in his own right. In the series’ second season, it was Murray’s dogged pursuit of the truth regarding Barb’s disappearance that led to the truth about Hawkins Lab being exposed.

In the third season, it’s Murray’s keen skills with Russian translation that allow Hopper and Joyce to learn the truth from Alexei about the current Russian experiments. He also manages to get the three of them into the Russian base with those same skills and proves that he’s also quite handy with a rifle.

9 Max Mayfield

It’s easy to write Max’s character off as a brat since she’s got one of the more aggressive personalities out of the group of children in the series. But across both of the seasons she’s appeared in, Max has revealed herself to have her own secret badass streak, despite the struggles she’s experienced in her own upbringing.

In the second season, Max drugs her abusive older brother, Billy, and threatens to beat him with a bat if he doesn’t start to shape up his act. And in the third season, when Billy is possessed by the Mind Flayer, she stands her ground, fearlessly facing him down and trying to get through to him on multiple occasions, no matter how afraid she is.

8 Nancy Wheeler

The Nancy Wheeler we leave at the end of Stranger Things 3 is practically a completely different young woman from the Nancy we met way back in the series’ pilot. Originally introduced as a total good girl with a secret desire to break free from what’s expected of her, Nancy soon revealed her investigative nature, hunting monsters with Jonathan and wielding a bat and gun alike.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 6 Best (& 4 Worst) Friendships

Over the years, she’s grown quite skilled in fighting monsters, exposing large scale conspiracies, and tackling sexism in the workplace. In the third season, she even gets a few action sequences of her own, fighting men possessed by the Flayer and squaring off with the slimy beast itself.

7 Bob Newby

When Bob was a high school student in Hawkins, he was known as Bob the Brain. But as the second season of Stranger Things showed, even the nerdiest of boys can grow up to be a total unexpected badass. After spending most of the second season as the supportive and geeky boyfriend of Joyce Byers, Bob became the hero everyone needed as the season neared its end.

As a crisis arose at Hawkins Lab that could only be solved by someone with a familiarity with computer programming, Bob rose to the task and saved the day, braving certain death in the form of invading Demodogs to ensure the safety of the Byers family and friends. Though he tragically lost his life in the process, Bob secured his place in the history of the show as Bob Newby: Superhero.

6 Billy Hargrove

It was practically impossible to like Billy Hargrove in the series’ second season. A one-note bully with a real penchant for sexism and racism, Billy was one of the series most underdeveloped characters. But the third season changed everything. In Stranger Things 3, Billy was possessed by the villainous Mind Flayer, serving as its new human host.

Multiple times throughout the season, Billy challenged the strength of the Flayer’s hold, letting his own personality and psyche peer through in desperate attempts to communicate. At the season’s end, Billy finally broke free of the monster’s grasp, physically fighting the enormous beast and giving his life in an attempt to save the nearby children, including his own step-sister, Max.

5 Will Byers

For three years, Will Byers has been fighting the control of Demogorgons and Mind Flayers alike, routinely proving himself to be one of the strongest characters in the series in the process. In the first season, Will survived the torture of the Upside Down, beating all the odds. In the second season, he endured being possessed by the Mind Flayer, surviving the beast’s otherworldly control and letting his family know he was still there all along.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Most Heartbreaking Moments, Ranked

And in the third season, despite taking more of a backseat role, Will continued to prove that his strength and skills were one of the series’ most valuable assets, as his understanding of and connection with the Mind Flayer were immensely valuable.

4 Joyce Byers

From day one, various characters have questioned Joyce Byers’ fitness as a parent. But again and again, Joyce has shown that she’s one of the only characters in the series who has been totally paying attention and one of the only parents in the series who will go to any lengths to keep her child safe. Her strength and badassery in the series’ first season are unparalleled, whether in chewing out her jerk of an ex or venturing into the Upside Down to save her son.

In the second season, she stormed Hawkins Lab to demand answers for her son and took on the leadership role in the essential exorcism of the Mind Flayer from Will. And in the third season, she showed that she has what it takes to cut it as Detective Byers, beating up Mayor Kline and kicking ass and taking names while undercover.

3 Grigori

As one of its many homages to decades past, Stranger Things 3 introduced the character of Grigori, the Russian assassin assigned to take out characters like Alexei and Jim Hopper. A total homage to The Terminator, Grigori was ruthless, aggressively physical, and skilled at wielding most any kind of weapon.

Aided with a badass wardrobe, including leather and bulletproof vests, as well as a motorcycle for a quick getaway, Grigori is the first character that the series has introduced who has truly felt like nothing more than a killing machine. It’s ironic, then, that he winds up being killed by a machine. But the path of destruction he weaves throughout the season changes the show forever.

2 Jim Hopper

As the Chief of Police in Hawkins, Jim Hopper undergoes one of the biggest transformations in the series. When the show begins, he’s bumbling and clueless, weighed down by self-loathing and alcohol addiction. But as he becomes aware of the corruption and conspiracy going on in his own backyard, Hopper quickly gets into action hero mode and never really looks back.

He knocks security guards out without so much as a second thought and mows down the monsters of the Upside Down and evil foreign scientists alike. He beats the crap out of the corrupt Mayor Kline, refuses to give in during brutal interrogations at Hawkins Lab, protects his found family with his life, and heroically sacrifices himself to ensure the safety of those he loves.

1 Eleven

Eleven may have had a truly terrible upbringing, but as a result of being trained to be a weapon of super-powered destruction, this little girl has routinely shown herself to be a pint-sized powerhouse. She has killed countless people throughout the series’ run, all without raising a finger. Her telekinetic abilities may cause her to have a bloody nose, but the blood she has shed far outnumbers it.

She’s killed corrupt agents of Hawkins Lab and Russian guards, and she’s defeated Demogorgons, Demodogs, and Mind Flayers alike. She’s risked her life on countless occasions, even straining herself to the point of physical exhaustion and harm, all so that she can keep her friends and newly found family safe.

NEXT: Stranger Things: 10 Things That Make No Sense About Eleven


2019-07-15 01:07:35

Katerina Daley

10 Great Movies To Watch After Binging Stranger Things

So, you’ve consumed Stranger Things entirely too quickly. And now you have no idea how you’re going to wait until season 4 comes out. Well, fortunately, the show was inspired by countless movies that can help quench your thirst a bit. If you’ve seen them already, then you know perfectly well they’re just what you need. If you haven’t, then it’s absolutely time to soak in the real deal, and not just settle for a reverent homage! These selections were alluded to, or influential to, Stranger Things. However, all references aside, they actually capture the essence of their decade and setting.

10 It (2017)

It, oddly enough, is actually a result of the tremendous success of Stranger Things. The story was updated to take place in 1989, opposing the source material to incorporate the current trend. It even borrowed Finn Wolfhard himself! This is one of many stories about suburban kids uncovering the mystery of an evil, invading force. Also, the kids have to deal with growing up, all the while. The film’s horror is tastefully executed, with the dreaded Pennywise being driven by a terrifying Bill Skarsgård. In fact, the performances are impressive all around. But if a supernatural clown wasn’t enough, every single adult in the film is icky or terrible. This movie also has modern production values, which doesn’t hurt.

RELATED: It: Pennywise’s 10 Creepiest Moments From The 2017 Reboot, Ranked

9 Carrie (1976)

One of the most effective Stephen King adaptations ever put to film, director Brian De Palma spent a lot of his career paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock. As such, the movie develops its tension slowly and effectively, and is filled with the paranormal. It may not be from the 80’s, but it’s a Stephen King classic about a young girl with telekinetic powers. She has a troubled home life, and deals with a lot of high school drama, which eventually pushes her over the edge. There’s a lot of growing pains in this story, especially emphasized by that agonizing opening about Carrie’s first period. A bullied outcast, with an oppressive mother, it’s hard not to be sympathetic for her. As such, it’s both rewarding and difficult to watch her snap.

8 The Monster Squad

This movie is an absolute breeze to watch, with a runtime that’s fitting for an homage to the Universal Monsters. One of the co-writers is Shane Black, who has developed a number of famously successful movies. Then there’s the director, Fred Dekker, who only has two other movies to his name. And yet, he once again blends comedy and horror into a children’s tale. A group of witty kids have to save their small town from the forces of Dracula and his cohorts. It sounds silly, and yes, it absolutely is. However, although the tone is cheesy, the monsters themselves are presented as genuinely scary things. This selection is perfect for Halloween, and certainly for Stranger Things fans.

7 The Terminator

This is a movie that wasn’t actually popular when it came out, but has garnered complete reverence since. In Stranger Things, it was referenced at a theater before season 3, but now it couldn’t be more blatant. The Russian villain that’s after Hopper and Joyce not only has a similar build and appearance, but is even depicted like Arnold’s T-800. There’s always a reason to revisit the original Terminator film, which has great performances and Stan Winston’s fantastic special effects. The movie is full of 80’s culture like neon, big hair, and terribly dated synth music. The evil Model 101 is actually treated as a serial killer throughout the film, and the relationship between Reese and Sarah is genuinely touching. So, the combination of horror, action and romance makes it a great selection after viewing Stranger Things.

RELATED: The Best Gifts For Terminator Fans

6 Back to the Future

Another reference from season 3, it just doesn’t get more 80’s than this movie. It’s steeped in dated vernacular, hilarious attire, and nostalgia for the 50’s. Easily one of the best films ever made, it starts off rather slow, before you realize that so much of what you’ve just seen is crucial because of time travel. With the incredible Michael J. Fox, then known for Family Ties, an everyday kid ends up threatening his entire family’s existence after going back in time. All thanks to an odd, unexplained friendship with an old, manic scientist. Who makes a time machine out of a DeLorean, by stealing plutonium from Libyans. Does any of this sound plausible? No. Is it entertaining? Beyond compare.

5 Poltergeist

If you go into this movie expecting to be scared, you probably won’t leave satisfied these days. Even at the time of Poltergeist’s release, there had already been films like The Exorcist and The Changeling that took paranormal oppression more seriously. This movie leans more towards fantasy, and involves a suburban family that discovers a portal between realms in their house. This doorway between dimensions causes a number of disturbing occurrences, namely the vision of a melting face. So, there’s no denying that the premise had a large effect on Stranger Things. It’s been contested that Spielberg may have directed it himself, rather than Tobe Hooper. That says a lot about how perfect this movie is for you Hawkins fans.

4 Gremlins

This is a unique story all around, mixing in elements of horror, comedy and even Christmas. Although, it was written by Chris Columbus himself, who would go on to helm Home Alone. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, this strange movie fills one more small town with an unnatural, invasive force. A teenage kid gets a weird little creature for a Christmas present, who later spawns a group of vicious counterparts. Gizmo is very much like Dustin’s pet, in season 2. This movie is over-the-top, cheesy, and bizarre—all the necessary staples of the decade. At times, it’s genuinely endearing, needlessly sad, and a lot of fun. Keep coming back for the mom’s initial showdown with those pesky gremlins.

3 Firestarter

This is the first of two movies that comes immediately to mind when watching Stranger Things for the first time. And it took them three seasons to finally directly reference it, as a poster outside the video store. Firestarter is the story of a little girl who can cause fires with her mind. Also, a clandestine laboratory is chasing her down because of those abilities, for nefarious reasons. Drew Barrymore is fun, and it has T.J. Hooker’s Heather Locklear. The effects could use some work, and the cinematography is literally nonexistent. However, it’s conceptually robust, keeping you intrigued about the end. And the villain has a questionable, disturbing interest in Barrymore’s protagonist. It really makes you want to see him get his comeuppance.

2 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

This is probably one of the most famous movies of all time, although Spielberg is known for making movies like that. It’s very likely that he’s made something definitive for all of our childhoods, at one point or another. But in a time when he pumped out an entire trilogy of Indiana Jones classics, there’s no omitting this obvious selection. A broken family discovers a supernatural presence, with the government hot on its heels. E.T. helps to heal a damaged home life, as the kids alone uncover the mystery of his powers and goals. Yet again set in suburbia, the movie is filled with that playful Spielberg charm which Stranger Things has borrowed often. This is essential viewing for any human being, let alone a Stranger Things fan.

RELATED: 10 Movies Written (But Not Directed) By Famous Filmmakers

1 Stand By Me

It’s time to reference Stephen King again. Truly, what is Stranger Things without his influence? Stand By Me is one of the most engaging, emotional coming-of-age stories ever told. It boasts an all-star cast, who play another set of kids in a small town. This time, the savvy group discovers a murdered corpse, and they go about investigating the truth. It’s an incredible adventure, and they frequently have to contend with a frightening bully. That may seem like a trope, but we all know that’s just reality. There’s always a bully. The framing device is also very touching, with Richard Dreyfuss reflecting on his childhood. This movie has pure nostalgia for a different era—but it’s still a perfect fit because of its themes and tone.

NEXT: Stranger Things: 10 Best Episodes, Ranked


2019-07-14 07:07:25

Anthony Fertino

How Stranger Things Books Made Season 3 Way Better | ScreenRant

Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things season 3.

The finale of Stranger Things season 3 was already emotional, but if one went into the latest batch of episodes having read all of the tie-in books, it’s made all the sadder – and more satisfactory.

The so-called Stranger Things Expanded Universe – which includes comic books and video games as well as the novels – has been quickly growing and includes a lot of background material on characters like Police Chief Jim Hopper and plot elements like Project MKUltra, the initiative that ultimately produced the superpowered Eleven. While some of these stories may seem like nothing more than filler on first blush, the Netflix show’s third installment really pays off on their developments in some perhaps-surprising ways, making them must-reads.

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 3’s Ending Irreversibly Changes The Show

There are two ways in particular this dramatic heightening occurs, and they both revolve around figures who perish by the season’s end (or, at least, who appear to be killed off): Billy Hargrove and Hopper. The most recent of the Stranger Things releases, Runaway Max, retells the events of season 2 from the perspective of Max Mayfield, dropping in a slew of flashbacks to how she first met her step-dad and -brother – providing a better understanding of how the deranged Billy came to be so psychologically damaged. Along the way, audiences learn about Billy’s special relationship with his car – the only one he truly cares about – and realize that he may very well physically brutalize Lucas Sinclair, Max’s newfound Midwest love interest, since the last time one of his step-sister’s friends defied him, he ended up breaking the adolescent’s arm.

The revelation at the end of season 3 that Billy was a good-hearted boy with a loving mom who was chased away by a sadistic dad doesn’t come as a shocker in the slightest. What does prove to be shocking, however, is the way in which the teenager both verbally and physically accosts his car, easily his most valuable possession and the thing that might best be described as his closest companion – meaning that the beginning of his character arc this season is weighted with a lot more emotion, thereby helping it better parallel his heartbreaking climax. (Speaking of which, readers might be forgiven for weeping alongside Max once he is slaughtered by the Mind Flayer.)

RELATED: Stranger Things Learned The Wrong Lessons From Season 2’s Backlash

Then there is Darkness on the Edge of Town, a novel that ostensibly is about Jim Hopper tracking down a (slightly-telepathic) serial killer in New York City six years before Stranger Things begins but which is really a meditation on his recovery from the Vietnam War and his relationship with his family, both in the past (with Sara, his late daughter, and his ex-wife) and the present (his newly-adopted daughter of Eleven). The book opens on Christmas 1984, just a few weeks after season 2 has ended, with the police chief actually enjoying his formerly-favorite holiday for the first time since his first little girl died, and it closes with Christmas 1977, the last one he would ever spend with Sara – a beautiful and yet haunting bookend that perfectly manages to get into the psyche of, arguably, the TV show’s main lead.

It’s easy to see how this makes Hopper’s apparent sacrifice in the third season finale all the more tragic, and how it would render it all the more devastating still for book readers. The scant pages both Jim and Eleven manage to share together in their little cabin, in the midst of a snowstorm with nothing else to do but keep each other company, suddenly becomes, in retrospect, one of the highlights of Stranger Things’ entire run to date.

It’s harder to think of a better compliment – or a better way to appreciate season 3.

NEXT: Predicting How Stranger Things Season 4 Can End the Show


2019-07-14 05:07:31

Marc N. Kleinhenz

How Stranger Things Books Made Season 3 Way Better | ScreenRant

Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things season 3.

The finale of Stranger Things season 3 was already emotional, but if one went into the latest batch of episodes having read all of the tie-in books, it’s made all the sadder – and more satisfactory.

The so-called Stranger Things Expanded Universe – which includes comic books and video games as well as the novels – has been quickly growing and includes a lot of background material on characters like Police Chief Jim Hopper and plot elements like Project MKUltra, the initiative that ultimately produced the superpowered Eleven. While some of these stories may seem like nothing more than filler on first blush, the Netflix show’s third installment really pays off on their developments in some perhaps-surprising ways, making them must-reads.

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 3’s Ending Irreversibly Changes The Show

There are two ways in particular this dramatic heightening occurs, and they both revolve around figures who perish by the season’s end (or, at least, who appear to be killed off): Billy Hargrove and Hopper. The most recent of the Stranger Things releases, Runaway Max, retells the events of season 2 from the perspective of Max Mayfield, dropping in a slew of flashbacks to how she first met her step-dad and -brother – providing a better understanding of how the deranged Billy came to be so psychologically damaged. Along the way, audiences learn about Billy’s special relationship with his car – the only one he truly cares about – and realize that he may very well physically brutalize Lucas Sinclair, Max’s newfound Midwest love interest, since the last time one of his step-sister’s friends defied him, he ended up breaking the adolescent’s arm.

The revelation at the end of season 3 that Billy was a good-hearted boy with a loving mom who was chased away by a sadistic dad doesn’t come as a shocker in the slightest. What does prove to be shocking, however, is the way in which the teenager both verbally and physically accosts his car, easily his most valuable possession and the thing that might best be described as his closest companion – meaning that the beginning of his character arc this season is weighted with a lot more emotion, thereby helping it better parallel his heartbreaking climax. (Speaking of which, readers might be forgiven for weeping alongside Max once he is slaughtered by the Mind Flayer.)

RELATED: Stranger Things Learned The Wrong Lessons From Season 2’s Backlash

Then there is Darkness on the Edge of Town, a novel that ostensibly is about Jim Hopper tracking down a (slightly-telepathic) serial killer in New York City six years before Stranger Things begins but which is really a meditation on his recovery from the Vietnam War and his relationship with his family, both in the past (with Sara, his late daughter, and his ex-wife) and the present (his newly-adopted daughter of Eleven). The book opens on Christmas 1984, just a few weeks after season 2 has ended, with the police chief actually enjoying his formerly-favorite holiday for the first time since his first little girl died, and it closes with Christmas 1977, the last one he would ever spend with Sara – a beautiful and yet haunting bookend that perfectly manages to get into the psyche of, arguably, the TV show’s main lead.

It’s easy to see how this makes Hopper’s apparent sacrifice in the third season finale all the more tragic, and how it would render it all the more devastating still for book readers. The scant pages both Jim and Eleven manage to share together in their little cabin, in the midst of a snowstorm with nothing else to do but keep each other company, suddenly becomes, in retrospect, one of the highlights of Stranger Things’ entire run to date.

It’s harder to think of a better compliment – or a better way to appreciate season 3.

NEXT: Predicting How Stranger Things Season 4 Can End the Show


2019-07-14 05:07:31

Marc N. Kleinhenz

Stranger Things: 5 Reasons Why Hopper Is Still Alive (& 5 He Definitely Isn’t)

In the climactic scenes of Stranger Things‘ third season finale, the unthinkable happened: everyone’s favorite Chief of Police, the grump with a heart of gold Jim Hopper, apparently met a totally heartbreaking end when he sacrificed himself to close the gate to the Upside Down – hopefully, for good this time. David Harbour has always been one of the most enigmatic actors in the series, and through his utterly winning performance, he has transformed Hopper into one of the most series’ valuable assets.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 6 Best (& 4 Worst) Friendships

It’s not at all a shock, then, that the internet has been running wild with theories about how Hopper could have potentially survived the catastrophic blast. Any possible answers to this shocking turn of events are certainly a long way off, given Netflix’s production schedule. We’ve gone ahead and rounded up some of the reasons that Hopper might be alive after all… but also some of the reasons that we might need to come to terms with the fact that he might actually be gone.

10 Alive: We never saw a body

It’s more or less become an unwritten rule in the world of television, especially for series with supernatural or science fiction elements: if the show doesn’t show a body, or someone meeting their end, it’s entirely likely that those characters will return in some for or another. Stranger Things was very deliberate in showing the Russian scientists near the gate in the secret lab quickly being turned into goo by the explosion.

But no such treatment was given to Hopper’s character. Before Joyce used the key to close the gate to the Upside Down, she closed her eyes for quite some time, potentially allowing Hopper time to slip away unnoticed. We have every right to believe, therefore, that he’s perfectly fine.

9 Not: David Harbour’s career is on the rise

Okay, fine, maybe Hellboy wasn’t exactly the success that some people were hoping it would be. But that doesn’t mean David Harbour’s career has cooled off in the slightest. Projects that are currently on his slate of upcoming work include the film Dhaka with Chris Hemsworth, and a little film you may have heard of called Black Widow. He’s also produced a mockumentary with Netflix, and has been routinely working in film and television both in recent years.

Harbour isn’t slowing down any time soon, and while his contract with Netflix does include the option for a fourth season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be brought back for a potential Stranger Things 4.

8 Alive: His journey doesn’t feel like it’s over

From the very beginning of the series, Hopper has been one of Stranger Things‘ most compelling characters. When the show started, he was totally closed off to the world, full of self-loathing and alcohol and bitterness. Over time, however, he has softened up, forming meaningful friendships and adopting Eleven as his own daughter.

He has opened up about the trauma he’s endured, and asked for help in situations where he would never have done so before. When Stranger Things 3 ends, Hopper is about to make another big step forward in his emotional development, by going out on a date with Joyce. His arc, therefore, is nowhere near completed. In many ways, it’s only just getting started.

7 Not: The series made the finale epilogue seem pretty final

Before the mid-credits scene that’s been driving the internet wild with theorizing about what the truth is regarding Hopper’s status, the season three finale featured an epilogue scene that felt like a truly final ending to this chapter of the story. The Byers family – arguably the center of the whole series – have packed up and moved out of Hawkins, taking Eleven with them.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Things From Season 3 That Even Superfans Were Shocked By

The group of friends is dismantling. Eleven’s powers are missing. Joyce and Eleven are both carrying Hopper’s legacy onward, bringing his things with them and paying tribute to him in their clothing styles. The finale even concludes with a moving montage of scenes set to the narration of Hopper’s own passionate emotion letter. So many things felt pretty final here. It’s hard to imagine some of them being a fake out.

6 Alive: “The American” theory

The mid-credits scene at the end of Stranger Things 3‘s finale episode has been the subject of much discussion since the season was released on July 4 – and for good reason. The scene, entirely in Russian, depicts Russian guards feeding a prisoner to the demogorgon they are keeping in captivity and monitoring.

While it’s shocking enough that the Russians have acquired a demogorgon of their own, one of the biggest shocks in the scene is a blink and miss it line of dialogue. Before they choose the prisoner to feed to the monster, one of the guards cautions the other, “No. Not the American.” Earlier in the season, Hopper had been ominously referred to as “the American” by other Russian characters. It’s pretty easy, therefore, to draw the logical conclusion from that.

5 Not: The situation was pretty impossible to escape

As we’ve already said, the show made no mistake of showing just what happened to anyone who was within range of the gate and the key’s blasts. Russian scientists were immediately turned into nothing but gory remains, so it’s hard to imagine how Hopper could have avoided the intensity of the heat and explosion.

Even if he’d somehow gotten down off the platform he was standing on, how can we assume that anywhere below the key was safe from the intense range of its destruction? It’s wishful thinking, in that regard, to think that he was able to get away just because he managed to climb down a ladder or a staircase, as some fans have suggested.

4 Alive: David Harbour basically confirmed it

We’ve already explored the details of “the American” theory that fans all over the internet are obsessing over and clinging to, when it comes to Hopper’s fate. But according to a recent post-season three interview with David Harbour himself, the theory might not even really be a theory: it might just be the simple truth.

In an interview with /Film, Harbour explicitly references the mid-credits scene as an answer to Hopper’s fate. As the interviewer, Chris Evangelista, reports, “I straight-up asked: is that Hopper behind the door? According to Harbour, that’s the most likely scenario. Throughout the season, the main Russian baddie refers to Hopper as ‘the American,’ and having another Russian refer to the mysterious prisoner in the same way was the big giveaway.”

3 Not: The series hasn’t had a real major loss yet

As with any series with horror elements, Stranger Things has featured plenty of characters being eaten or killed by monsters, but none of the losses so far – whether Benny Hammond, Barb Holland, Billy Hargrove, Alexei, or even poor old Bob Newby – could really count as a major loss for the series. These character deaths also served meaningful purposes for the series, but none of them have really changed the stakes of the show.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Most Heartbreaking Moments, Ranked

Until now, that is. Hopper is the first true main character that the series has lost, and it’s almost impossible to envision what the show will look like without him. Hard as it may be to deal with, it’s also important to consider the fact that undoing this massive change might cheapen the stakes of the series on the whole.

2 Alive: The Duffer Brothers may have confirmed it, too

We don’t know much of anything about Stranger Things 4. Heck, at this point, we don’t even know for certain that Stranger Things 4 is happening, since Netflix has yet to officially announce a renewal. But the Duffer brothers have already started to make it clear that they have some ideas of what’s coming in terms of the scope of a potential fourth season – and there’s a big reveal embedded within it.

Matt Duffer has been quoted as saying, “I think the biggest thing that’s going to happen is it’s going to open up a little bit, not necessarily in terms of scale, in terms of special effects, but open up in terms of allowing portals into areas outside of Hawkins.” Reports are conflicting about whether that should say “portals” or “plotlines” – but in either case, it’s clear we’re heading out of Hawkins for a bit. And maybe, just maybe, on a rescue mission to Russia.

1 Not: He got to go out like a hero

In the grand scheme of things, Hopper really couldn’t have asked for a more fitting end to his journey, even if it came much too soon. As the Chief of Police in Hawkins, he’s devoted his life to protecting the community in the once boring little town. He’s also newly devoted himself to protecting his daughter, Eleven, and doing everything in his power to ensure her safety, even if it means overstepping.

At the end of the day, then, Hopper got to go out exactly in a way that he should: by protecting everyone he cares about, and those he loves, especially. So yes, maybe his death was a big shock, and maybe it happened far too early in the series’ run. But maybe this was the end of his journey all along.

NEXT: 10 Movie References You May Have Missed In Stranger Things Season 3


2019-07-13 11:07:54

Katerina Daley

Stranger Things: 5 Reasons Why Hopper Is Still Alive (& 5 He Definitely Isn’t)

In the climactic scenes of Stranger Things‘ third season finale, the unthinkable happened: everyone’s favorite Chief of Police, the grump with a heart of gold Jim Hopper, apparently met a totally heartbreaking end when he sacrificed himself to close the gate to the Upside Down – hopefully, for good this time. David Harbour has always been one of the most enigmatic actors in the series, and through his utterly winning performance, he has transformed Hopper into one of the most series’ valuable assets.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 6 Best (& 4 Worst) Friendships

It’s not at all a shock, then, that the internet has been running wild with theories about how Hopper could have potentially survived the catastrophic blast. Any possible answers to this shocking turn of events are certainly a long way off, given Netflix’s production schedule. We’ve gone ahead and rounded up some of the reasons that Hopper might be alive after all… but also some of the reasons that we might need to come to terms with the fact that he might actually be gone.

10 Alive: We never saw a body

It’s more or less become an unwritten rule in the world of television, especially for series with supernatural or science fiction elements: if the show doesn’t show a body, or someone meeting their end, it’s entirely likely that those characters will return in some for or another. Stranger Things was very deliberate in showing the Russian scientists near the gate in the secret lab quickly being turned into goo by the explosion.

But no such treatment was given to Hopper’s character. Before Joyce used the key to close the gate to the Upside Down, she closed her eyes for quite some time, potentially allowing Hopper time to slip away unnoticed. We have every right to believe, therefore, that he’s perfectly fine.

9 Not: David Harbour’s career is on the rise

Okay, fine, maybe Hellboy wasn’t exactly the success that some people were hoping it would be. But that doesn’t mean David Harbour’s career has cooled off in the slightest. Projects that are currently on his slate of upcoming work include the film Dhaka with Chris Hemsworth, and a little film you may have heard of called Black Widow. He’s also produced a mockumentary with Netflix, and has been routinely working in film and television both in recent years.

Harbour isn’t slowing down any time soon, and while his contract with Netflix does include the option for a fourth season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be brought back for a potential Stranger Things 4.

8 Alive: His journey doesn’t feel like it’s over

From the very beginning of the series, Hopper has been one of Stranger Things‘ most compelling characters. When the show started, he was totally closed off to the world, full of self-loathing and alcohol and bitterness. Over time, however, he has softened up, forming meaningful friendships and adopting Eleven as his own daughter.

He has opened up about the trauma he’s endured, and asked for help in situations where he would never have done so before. When Stranger Things 3 ends, Hopper is about to make another big step forward in his emotional development, by going out on a date with Joyce. His arc, therefore, is nowhere near completed. In many ways, it’s only just getting started.

7 Not: The series made the finale epilogue seem pretty final

Before the mid-credits scene that’s been driving the internet wild with theorizing about what the truth is regarding Hopper’s status, the season three finale featured an epilogue scene that felt like a truly final ending to this chapter of the story. The Byers family – arguably the center of the whole series – have packed up and moved out of Hawkins, taking Eleven with them.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Things From Season 3 That Even Superfans Were Shocked By

The group of friends is dismantling. Eleven’s powers are missing. Joyce and Eleven are both carrying Hopper’s legacy onward, bringing his things with them and paying tribute to him in their clothing styles. The finale even concludes with a moving montage of scenes set to the narration of Hopper’s own passionate emotion letter. So many things felt pretty final here. It’s hard to imagine some of them being a fake out.

6 Alive: “The American” theory

The mid-credits scene at the end of Stranger Things 3‘s finale episode has been the subject of much discussion since the season was released on July 4 – and for good reason. The scene, entirely in Russian, depicts Russian guards feeding a prisoner to the demogorgon they are keeping in captivity and monitoring.

While it’s shocking enough that the Russians have acquired a demogorgon of their own, one of the biggest shocks in the scene is a blink and miss it line of dialogue. Before they choose the prisoner to feed to the monster, one of the guards cautions the other, “No. Not the American.” Earlier in the season, Hopper had been ominously referred to as “the American” by other Russian characters. It’s pretty easy, therefore, to draw the logical conclusion from that.

5 Not: The situation was pretty impossible to escape

As we’ve already said, the show made no mistake of showing just what happened to anyone who was within range of the gate and the key’s blasts. Russian scientists were immediately turned into nothing but gory remains, so it’s hard to imagine how Hopper could have avoided the intensity of the heat and explosion.

Even if he’d somehow gotten down off the platform he was standing on, how can we assume that anywhere below the key was safe from the intense range of its destruction? It’s wishful thinking, in that regard, to think that he was able to get away just because he managed to climb down a ladder or a staircase, as some fans have suggested.

4 Alive: David Harbour basically confirmed it

We’ve already explored the details of “the American” theory that fans all over the internet are obsessing over and clinging to, when it comes to Hopper’s fate. But according to a recent post-season three interview with David Harbour himself, the theory might not even really be a theory: it might just be the simple truth.

In an interview with /Film, Harbour explicitly references the mid-credits scene as an answer to Hopper’s fate. As the interviewer, Chris Evangelista, reports, “I straight-up asked: is that Hopper behind the door? According to Harbour, that’s the most likely scenario. Throughout the season, the main Russian baddie refers to Hopper as ‘the American,’ and having another Russian refer to the mysterious prisoner in the same way was the big giveaway.”

3 Not: The series hasn’t had a real major loss yet

As with any series with horror elements, Stranger Things has featured plenty of characters being eaten or killed by monsters, but none of the losses so far – whether Benny Hammond, Barb Holland, Billy Hargrove, Alexei, or even poor old Bob Newby – could really count as a major loss for the series. These character deaths also served meaningful purposes for the series, but none of them have really changed the stakes of the show.

RELATED: Stranger Things: 10 Most Heartbreaking Moments, Ranked

Until now, that is. Hopper is the first true main character that the series has lost, and it’s almost impossible to envision what the show will look like without him. Hard as it may be to deal with, it’s also important to consider the fact that undoing this massive change might cheapen the stakes of the series on the whole.

2 Alive: The Duffer Brothers may have confirmed it, too

We don’t know much of anything about Stranger Things 4. Heck, at this point, we don’t even know for certain that Stranger Things 4 is happening, since Netflix has yet to officially announce a renewal. But the Duffer brothers have already started to make it clear that they have some ideas of what’s coming in terms of the scope of a potential fourth season – and there’s a big reveal embedded within it.

Matt Duffer has been quoted as saying, “I think the biggest thing that’s going to happen is it’s going to open up a little bit, not necessarily in terms of scale, in terms of special effects, but open up in terms of allowing portals into areas outside of Hawkins.” Reports are conflicting about whether that should say “portals” or “plotlines” – but in either case, it’s clear we’re heading out of Hawkins for a bit. And maybe, just maybe, on a rescue mission to Russia.

1 Not: He got to go out like a hero

In the grand scheme of things, Hopper really couldn’t have asked for a more fitting end to his journey, even if it came much too soon. As the Chief of Police in Hawkins, he’s devoted his life to protecting the community in the once boring little town. He’s also newly devoted himself to protecting his daughter, Eleven, and doing everything in his power to ensure her safety, even if it means overstepping.

At the end of the day, then, Hopper got to go out exactly in a way that he should: by protecting everyone he cares about, and those he loves, especially. So yes, maybe his death was a big shock, and maybe it happened far too early in the series’ run. But maybe this was the end of his journey all along.

NEXT: 10 Movie References You May Have Missed In Stranger Things Season 3


2019-07-13 11:07:54

Katerina Daley

Stranger Things Season 3: Biggest Unanswered Questions

Stranger Things season 3 left some major unanswered questions following the evil Mind Flayer’s latest attack on the town of Hawkins, Indiana. Once more, the young heroes, including Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink), and Will (Noah Schnapp), took on the beast from the Upside Down but the conclusion of Stranger Things season 3 upended the status quo as Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) and Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) both apparently died.

Set in early July 1985, Stranger Things season 3 revolved around the Mind Flayer taking over several of Hawkins’ townspeople, starting with Billy, in order to kill Eleven. Concurrently, the new Starcourt Mall became the focal point of the town until Dustin (Galen Matarazzo), Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), and Erica (Priah Ferguson) discovered the mall was actually a front for a secret underground Russian base where the Soviet Union was trying to breach the Upside Down using their own Key. By the final episodes, all of the storylines converged so that Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Hopper, Murray (Brett Gelman), and Joyce (Winona Ryder) all joined forces in the Stranger Things season 3 finale, “The Battle of Starcourt.”

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 3’s Ending Irreversibly Changes The Show

Generally praised as an improvement over Stranger Things season 2 and a return to form for the series, Stranger Things season 3 has set Netflix streaming records, introduced a new fan-favorite character in Robin, expanded the scope of its universe, and set the stage for the story to continue in Stranger Things season 4. However, the series also doubled down on product-placement and nostalgia for 1980s music and movies, recycled many of its tropes and, once again, the villains’ motivations were sketchy and unclear major plot threads were left unresolved. All in all, here are our biggest questions about Stranger Things season 3.

12. Is Hopper Really Dead?

Whether Jim Hopper really did die when the Russian Key to the Upside Down exploded is the biggest question coming out of Stranger Things season 3. The poor sheriff never got his date with Joyce Byers and his sacrifice left Eleven without the man she’s come to regard as her father. Even before he died in the Russian base, Hopper suffered through a difficult season where he fought a Terminator-like Russian assassin and suffered serious beatings, not to mention his shack in the woods was destroyed by the Mind Flayer.

Since Hopper’s body wasn’t found (even though it was specified the Key would vaporize him), the possibility exists the scruffy lawman did survive and could reappear in Stranger Things season 4 – which is strongly teased if fans call the phone number of Murray Bauman and hear his voice message suggesting Hopper could still be alive. (David Harbour’s contract also includes an option to return for Stranger Things season 4.)

11. Who Is The American Imprisoned By The Russians?

Stranger Things season 3’s climactic moments take place at a Soviet prison facility in Kamchatka, USSR. A doomed Russian prisoner is dragged into a face-to-face confrontation with a Demogorgon but the truly compelling part is right before when an unknown American prisoner is spared that fate. Who could “the American” be? The most obvious possibility would be Jim Hopper, who the Red Army would have captured as they evacuated their Starcourt Mall base before the U.S. Military arrived.

Related: Stranger Things: Is Sheriff Hopper Really Dead? Here’s How He Could Have Survived

10. Where Is Dr. Martin Brenner?

Another possibility for the prisoner in Kamchatka could be Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine). Brenner, the scientist who “created” Eleven, was presumably killed by the Demogorgon in Stranger Things season 1. However, his fate was never confirmed and Brenner could still return in Stranger Things season 4. It’s not clear how the Russians could have captured and imprisoned Brenner halfway around the world but they have a motive: In Stranger Things season 1, episode 5 “The Flea and the Acrobat”, a flashback showed Brenner making Eleven use her powers to spy on the Soviet Union. This moment was the first tease of the Russians’ future involvement in Stranger Things season 3; it’s possible the USSR realized what Brenner was up to and capturing the white-haired scientist led to the Soviet Union’s own interest in breaching the Upside Down.

9. How Did The Russians Capture a Demogorgon?

Stranger Things season 3 makes the Russians a real threat. The season began with the Soviet Union failing to open a gate to the Upside Down, which led to the construction of the Key beneath the Starcourt Mall one year later. But apparently, the Russians did have success reaching the Upside Down during that year because they captured a Demogorgon. The fact the USSR has one of the deadly creatures makes them more successful than the Americans, who have apparently not managed to snag one of their own (although the Soviet Union has no Eleven of their own to kill the monsters). But the hows and whys of the Russians possessing a Demogorgon remain a mystery that will hopefully be answered in Stranger Things season 4.

8. Do The Russians Have Any Other Monsters From The Upside Down?

The return of the Stranger Things season 1 Demogorgon begs the question of whether the Russians have encountered other creatures from the Upside Down, perhaps even new monsters the residents of Hawkins, Indiana haven’t faced yet. At the very least, do the Soviets only have one Demogorgon or do they have more – and how did they manage to capture it? What’s more, have any Russians encountered the Mind Flayer and does the ruler of the Upside Down have any agents under its thrall in the USSR?

7. How Did The Russians Build A Secret Base Beneath Starcourt Mall?

The U.S. Military was a non-factor until the very end of Stranger Things season 3 and they completely missed the massive national security threat in Hawkins, Indiana, i.e. the Soviet Union was able to construct a massive underground base on U.S. soil and build Starcourt Mall above it. But even with Mayor Kline (Cary Elwes) looking the other way and taking kickbacks to the detriment of Hawkins’ downtown businesses, how did the Russians build that entire base in one year and staff it with Red Army soldiers all completely under the nose of the United States? And are there any other secret Soviet installations beneath malls elsewhere in the U.S.?

RELATED: Stranger Things Complete Timeline Explained

6. How Did Eleven Lose Her Powers And Can She Get Them Back?

Eleven’s leg was infected by a piece of the Mind Flayer’s Meat Monster at Hopper’s cabin but after a grotesque and painful surgical attempt by Jonathan, El used her telekinesis to tear the creature from her body. However, Eleven lost her powers afterwards. It’s unclear whether the sheer strain of removing the monster from her leg short-circuited El’s psychic abilities or whether it’s a side effect of the Mind Flayer infecting her body, but her powers still hadn’t returned at the end of Stranger Things season 3. While this could be a welcome break for Eleven and a chance to feel normal, it’s not clear if her telekinesis will manifest again or how it can happen in Stranger Things season 4.

5. Will Eleven’s “Sister” Return In Stranger Things Season 4?

One way Eleven could get her powers back is by encountering her older “sister” Kali Prasad aka Eight (Linnea Berthelsen). El, whose real name is Jane Ives, met Kali in the infamous Stranger Things season 2 episode “The Lost Sister”. While Eleven was tempted to remain with Kali, she rejected the vengeful life on the run Kali and her friends lived and chose to save her friends in Hawkins. However, Eleven moving away from the Indiana town with the Byers family opens up the chance of bringing back Kali. Eight’s psychic powers differ from El’s; Kali can project incredibly realistic illusions – could another meetup with her lost sister be the key to Eleven regaining her abilities?

4. Why Didn’t The Mind Flayer Kill Eleven When It had Many Chances To?

The Mind Flayer’s whole goal in Stranger Things season 3 was to kill Eleven; it called the many people in Hawkins in its thrall to it and melted them to create a giant monster before attacking Eleven and the rest of the kids. However, Eleven hurt the Mind Flayer when she telekinetically exploded its head, allowing the young heroes to escape. But at “The Battle of Starcourt”, the Mind Flayer still couldn’t kill El despite her losing her abilities and the fact that it already wounded and infected her leg. Considering the Mind Flayer’s actions in Stranger Things season 3 were so it could become powerful enough to kill Eleven, the fact that it failed so spectacularly really undercut a lot of its menace.

3. Why Did Everyone At The End Act Like The Mind Flayer Is Defeated?

For the third time, the heroic citizens of Hawkins sealed the Gate to the Upside Down and saved their town – temporarily. But by now, they should all know the Mind Flayer will return. In fact, earlier in Stranger Things season 3, they did know this because of the kids having the important discussion acknowledging it’s not enough to seal the Gate, they have to eliminate the Mind Flayer from Earth entirely. Instead, Stranger Things season 3 ends with the Gate being sealed but the Mind Flayer still an enemy that will surely return in the future. However, after the emotional traumas of Billy and Hopper’s death and the calamity at Starcourt Mall, plus the Byers and Eleven moving away, everyone seemed content they won – even though they all must know it isn’t really over.

RELATED: How Old Are The Kids In Stranger Things 3?

2. Where Are The Byers And Eleven Moving To?

The Byers adopting Eleven and moving away from Hawkins is a smart move. Joyce’s store in downtown Hawkins went out of business thanks to Starcourt Mall, Jonathan lost his job at the newspaper, and with Hopper dead, Eleven needed a fresh start away from Mike and the monsters in Hawkins. Even before they parted ways, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Max, and Nancy made their plans to see the Byers and Eleven over the holidays but Joyce and her family never said where they were moving to. But maybe the Byers purposely didn’t reveal their destination; if so, this would be a smart move. Getting as far away from Hawkins as they can but also not revealing where they’re going would be an ideal way for the Byers to get a fresh start and keep Eleven safe.

1. Will Stranger Things Be Different In Season 4?

Stranger Things season 3 has been warmly received by critics and fans, with some calling it the best season so far. However, it’s also clear Stranger Things needs to change and could benefit from a shakeup of its worn-out formula of monsters breaching from another dimension, terrorizing Hawkins, and a handful of children fighting back. Meanwhile, the villains remain one-dimensional, with unclear motivations, and the resolutions to the problem of the Mind Slayer come off as stopgap solutions.

Stranger Things season 3 broadening the scope to include the Soviet Union’s efforts to reach the Upside Down is intriguing and nicely ties into the waning days of the Cold War in the mid-1980s, but the series has also gone overboard with 1980’s nostalgia and incessant product placement. While the kids, the town of Hawkins, and the period setting are the hallmarks of the show and the key reasons for its success, fans still hope Stranger Things season 4 can find a way to freshen up the series and not just repeat a variation of what they’ve done to death.

NEXT: What To Expect From Stranger Things Season 4

Stranger Things is available to stream exclusively on Netflix.


2019-07-13 05:07:39

John Orquiola

Stranger Things Season 3: Biggest Unanswered Questions

Stranger Things season 3 left some major unanswered questions following the evil Mind Flayer’s latest attack on the town of Hawkins, Indiana. Once more, the young heroes, including Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink), and Will (Noah Schnapp), took on the beast from the Upside Down but the conclusion of Stranger Things season 3 upended the status quo as Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) and Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) both apparently died.

Set in early July 1985, Stranger Things season 3 revolved around the Mind Flayer taking over several of Hawkins’ townspeople, starting with Billy, in order to kill Eleven. Concurrently, the new Starcourt Mall became the focal point of the town until Dustin (Galen Matarazzo), Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), and Erica (Priah Ferguson) discovered the mall was actually a front for a secret underground Russian base where the Soviet Union was trying to breach the Upside Down using their own Key. By the final episodes, all of the storylines converged so that Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Hopper, Murray (Brett Gelman), and Joyce (Winona Ryder) all joined forces in the Stranger Things season 3 finale, “The Battle of Starcourt.”

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 3’s Ending Irreversibly Changes The Show

Generally praised as an improvement over Stranger Things season 2 and a return to form for the series, Stranger Things season 3 has set Netflix streaming records, introduced a new fan-favorite character in Robin, expanded the scope of its universe, and set the stage for the story to continue in Stranger Things season 4. However, the series also doubled down on product-placement and nostalgia for 1980s music and movies, recycled many of its tropes and, once again, the villains’ motivations were sketchy and unclear major plot threads were left unresolved. All in all, here are our biggest questions about Stranger Things season 3.

12. Is Hopper Really Dead?

Whether Jim Hopper really did die when the Russian Key to the Upside Down exploded is the biggest question coming out of Stranger Things season 3. The poor sheriff never got his date with Joyce Byers and his sacrifice left Eleven without the man she’s come to regard as her father. Even before he died in the Russian base, Hopper suffered through a difficult season where he fought a Terminator-like Russian assassin and suffered serious beatings, not to mention his shack in the woods was destroyed by the Mind Flayer.

Since Hopper’s body wasn’t found (even though it was specified the Key would vaporize him), the possibility exists the scruffy lawman did survive and could reappear in Stranger Things season 4 – which is strongly teased if fans call the phone number of Murray Bauman and hear his voice message suggesting Hopper could still be alive. (David Harbour’s contract also includes an option to return for Stranger Things season 4.)

11. Who Is The American Imprisoned By The Russians?

Stranger Things season 3’s climactic moments take place at a Soviet prison facility in Kamchatka, USSR. A doomed Russian prisoner is dragged into a face-to-face confrontation with a Demogorgon but the truly compelling part is right before when an unknown American prisoner is spared that fate. Who could “the American” be? The most obvious possibility would be Jim Hopper, who the Red Army would have captured as they evacuated their Starcourt Mall base before the U.S. Military arrived.

Related: Stranger Things: Is Sheriff Hopper Really Dead? Here’s How He Could Have Survived

10. Where Is Dr. Martin Brenner?

Another possibility for the prisoner in Kamchatka could be Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine). Brenner, the scientist who “created” Eleven, was presumably killed by the Demogorgon in Stranger Things season 1. However, his fate was never confirmed and Brenner could still return in Stranger Things season 4. It’s not clear how the Russians could have captured and imprisoned Brenner halfway around the world but they have a motive: In Stranger Things season 1, episode 5 “The Flea and the Acrobat”, a flashback showed Brenner making Eleven use her powers to spy on the Soviet Union. This moment was the first tease of the Russians’ future involvement in Stranger Things season 3; it’s possible the USSR realized what Brenner was up to and capturing the white-haired scientist led to the Soviet Union’s own interest in breaching the Upside Down.

9. How Did The Russians Capture a Demogorgon?

Stranger Things season 3 makes the Russians a real threat. The season began with the Soviet Union failing to open a gate to the Upside Down, which led to the construction of the Key beneath the Starcourt Mall one year later. But apparently, the Russians did have success reaching the Upside Down during that year because they captured a Demogorgon. The fact the USSR has one of the deadly creatures makes them more successful than the Americans, who have apparently not managed to snag one of their own (although the Soviet Union has no Eleven of their own to kill the monsters). But the hows and whys of the Russians possessing a Demogorgon remain a mystery that will hopefully be answered in Stranger Things season 4.

8. Do The Russians Have Any Other Monsters From The Upside Down?

The return of the Stranger Things season 1 Demogorgon begs the question of whether the Russians have encountered other creatures from the Upside Down, perhaps even new monsters the residents of Hawkins, Indiana haven’t faced yet. At the very least, do the Soviets only have one Demogorgon or do they have more – and how did they manage to capture it? What’s more, have any Russians encountered the Mind Flayer and does the ruler of the Upside Down have any agents under its thrall in the USSR?

7. How Did The Russians Build A Secret Base Beneath Starcourt Mall?

The U.S. Military was a non-factor until the very end of Stranger Things season 3 and they completely missed the massive national security threat in Hawkins, Indiana, i.e. the Soviet Union was able to construct a massive underground base on U.S. soil and build Starcourt Mall above it. But even with Mayor Kline (Cary Elwes) looking the other way and taking kickbacks to the detriment of Hawkins’ downtown businesses, how did the Russians build that entire base in one year and staff it with Red Army soldiers all completely under the nose of the United States? And are there any other secret Soviet installations beneath malls elsewhere in the U.S.?

RELATED: Stranger Things Complete Timeline Explained

6. How Did Eleven Lose Her Powers And Can She Get Them Back?

Eleven’s leg was infected by a piece of the Mind Flayer’s Meat Monster at Hopper’s cabin but after a grotesque and painful surgical attempt by Jonathan, El used her telekinesis to tear the creature from her body. However, Eleven lost her powers afterwards. It’s unclear whether the sheer strain of removing the monster from her leg short-circuited El’s psychic abilities or whether it’s a side effect of the Mind Flayer infecting her body, but her powers still hadn’t returned at the end of Stranger Things season 3. While this could be a welcome break for Eleven and a chance to feel normal, it’s not clear if her telekinesis will manifest again or how it can happen in Stranger Things season 4.

5. Will Eleven’s “Sister” Return In Stranger Things Season 4?

One way Eleven could get her powers back is by encountering her older “sister” Kali Prasad aka Eight (Linnea Berthelsen). El, whose real name is Jane Ives, met Kali in the infamous Stranger Things season 2 episode “The Lost Sister”. While Eleven was tempted to remain with Kali, she rejected the vengeful life on the run Kali and her friends lived and chose to save her friends in Hawkins. However, Eleven moving away from the Indiana town with the Byers family opens up the chance of bringing back Kali. Eight’s psychic powers differ from El’s; Kali can project incredibly realistic illusions – could another meetup with her lost sister be the key to Eleven regaining her abilities?

4. Why Didn’t The Mind Flayer Kill Eleven When It had Many Chances To?

The Mind Flayer’s whole goal in Stranger Things season 3 was to kill Eleven; it called the many people in Hawkins in its thrall to it and melted them to create a giant monster before attacking Eleven and the rest of the kids. However, Eleven hurt the Mind Flayer when she telekinetically exploded its head, allowing the young heroes to escape. But at “The Battle of Starcourt”, the Mind Flayer still couldn’t kill El despite her losing her abilities and the fact that it already wounded and infected her leg. Considering the Mind Flayer’s actions in Stranger Things season 3 were so it could become powerful enough to kill Eleven, the fact that it failed so spectacularly really undercut a lot of its menace.

3. Why Did Everyone At The End Act Like The Mind Flayer Is Defeated?

For the third time, the heroic citizens of Hawkins sealed the Gate to the Upside Down and saved their town – temporarily. But by now, they should all know the Mind Flayer will return. In fact, earlier in Stranger Things season 3, they did know this because of the kids having the important discussion acknowledging it’s not enough to seal the Gate, they have to eliminate the Mind Flayer from Earth entirely. Instead, Stranger Things season 3 ends with the Gate being sealed but the Mind Flayer still an enemy that will surely return in the future. However, after the emotional traumas of Billy and Hopper’s death and the calamity at Starcourt Mall, plus the Byers and Eleven moving away, everyone seemed content they won – even though they all must know it isn’t really over.

RELATED: How Old Are The Kids In Stranger Things 3?

2. Where Are The Byers And Eleven Moving To?

The Byers adopting Eleven and moving away from Hawkins is a smart move. Joyce’s store in downtown Hawkins went out of business thanks to Starcourt Mall, Jonathan lost his job at the newspaper, and with Hopper dead, Eleven needed a fresh start away from Mike and the monsters in Hawkins. Even before they parted ways, Mike, Lucas, Dustin, Max, and Nancy made their plans to see the Byers and Eleven over the holidays but Joyce and her family never said where they were moving to. But maybe the Byers purposely didn’t reveal their destination; if so, this would be a smart move. Getting as far away from Hawkins as they can but also not revealing where they’re going would be an ideal way for the Byers to get a fresh start and keep Eleven safe.

1. Will Stranger Things Be Different In Season 4?

Stranger Things season 3 has been warmly received by critics and fans, with some calling it the best season so far. However, it’s also clear Stranger Things needs to change and could benefit from a shakeup of its worn-out formula of monsters breaching from another dimension, terrorizing Hawkins, and a handful of children fighting back. Meanwhile, the villains remain one-dimensional, with unclear motivations, and the resolutions to the problem of the Mind Slayer come off as stopgap solutions.

Stranger Things season 3 broadening the scope to include the Soviet Union’s efforts to reach the Upside Down is intriguing and nicely ties into the waning days of the Cold War in the mid-1980s, but the series has also gone overboard with 1980’s nostalgia and incessant product placement. While the kids, the town of Hawkins, and the period setting are the hallmarks of the show and the key reasons for its success, fans still hope Stranger Things season 4 can find a way to freshen up the series and not just repeat a variation of what they’ve done to death.

NEXT: What To Expect From Stranger Things Season 4

Stranger Things is available to stream exclusively on Netflix.


2019-07-13 05:07:39

John Orquiola

Stranger Things: 10 Things Season 3 Does Better Than The First Two Seasons

Stranger Things is the ultimate blend of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg. Due to the fantastic performances, high production value, and unabashed nostalgia, it quickly became an absolute phenomenon. However, this unhealthily binged juggernaut has been through a lot of changes over the last three years. The tone has shifted often, and the beginning of every sequel season always plays catch-up for a couple episodes. There’s plenty of pros and cons in the new season, and it’s crucial to bear in mind that it carried a uniquely summer theme with it this time. Now that you’re all done with barbecues and fireworks, here are ten improvements that season 3 has delivered.

10 Moral Ambiguity

There was a lot of black and white morality in the first season, thanks to the kids’ innocence. Now that they’re older, some more interesting questions come into play. The misuse of Eleven’s powers to spy, and Hopper’s threatening mania towards Mike, for example. There’s even a point where we are reminded why the doorway in Hawkins was opened to begin with. But then there’s the sleazy mayor. And smaller moments, like Mrs. Wheeler’s thoughts about cheating in the premiere. Or Joyce, unsure if she should move on, and date someone new. Even more fascinating, there’s the endearing enemy of the state, Alexei, who we should otherwise despise. It wasn’t absent before, but it’s more emphasized now, and it all adds up to a richer story.

9 Pacing

This show started out as more of a slow-burn mystery, something akin to The X-Files. This is definitely reinforced by the Halloween-themed release of season 2. But the subject matter of a kidnapped child is treated very seriously, and that mystery takes a while to get going. This manic new season decided to go for a breakneck pace, with almost non-stop action. It’s exactly what we needed after season 2, which had an entire subplot about Dustin finding his very own Gizmo. The mystery unfolds quickly, thanks to some sharp investigations from various groups of characters. Actually, it’s adapted the pace of an actual 80’s movie.

8 Convincing CGI

Alright, so maybe those fireworks don’t look especially convincing at all. However, the success of the series has clearly granted it a much higher budget. The new villain looks like it belongs in a Hollywood creature feature more so than any TV show. We’ve been spoiled by modern television, and have come to accept that such creations are simply made available. However, it’s actually pretty stunning, especially compared to something like Dustin’s pet in season 2. Also, those dog-creatures didn’t look quite so sharp. We’re thankful that the VFX department has kicked it up a notch. It’s more immersive this way, pushing the limits of CGI on television.

7 Relationships

A whole lot of puppy love is going on this season. It might be groan-inducing for some viewers, but the show seems to be pretty self-aware about all of it. Lucas and Max are a hilarious couple, and they seem to be racing ahead of their age. They function as agents of that self-aware tone, although the show often portrays precocious children, like Erica. There’s plenty of flirting all around, even between Hopper and Joyce. Then there’s Steve and Robin, the latter of which thankfully points out what a jerk Steve had been. But the relationships are a fun addition to the show, causing a lot of division among friends, and emphasizing change. Steve isn’t a bully anymore, Hopper is a neurotic dad now, and the kids are all falling for each other. It’s silly fun.

6 Comedy

The volume of jokes per minute was cranked up to, well, eleven for this season. Aiming for a 4th of July, summer bash attitude, the show has abandoned most of its gritty tone. Given that the majority of the comedy is surprisingly sharp, it’s a very welcome addition. This show hasn’t exactly been known for delivering the laughs. Now, every character makes light of a situation, and there’s even a lengthy truth-serum gag. Seeing Stranger Things take itself a little less seriously actually has a lot of charm, and its attempts to do so are far more successful. This is because it chose that lane, and stuck to its guns, rather than contrasting it with the prior mood.

5 Lots Of Music

If the show was going to adapt this new tone, it’s only sensible that they would soak the entire thing in music. It’s something an actual 80’s movie would do, and indeed, there’s a full montage set to Madonna. The series has always been steeped in nostalgia, and few things establish an atmosphere like music. Sure, it felt more organic before this season, but it’s also a lot more fun this time around. That seems to be the general goal for season 3, overall. Either way, the soundtrack has another set of great selections—and if you’re fueled by nostalgia, you may as well own it.

4 Cheese

Probably the most fascinating creative decision for this season is its determination to literally become an 80’s movie. Rather than simply pay homage to the decade, this season has become full of excess, and its references are more blatant than ever. More so than season 2, this is mostly a successful experiment. Much like Rocky IV or Red Dawn, the Russians are the bad guys. We even have a full-on Terminator, with matching appearance and depiction. We’re already invested in these characters, and this season was a chance to give them fun over logic. Sure, a lot of senseless things happen, with plenty of conveniences. But you’ll have to decide if the entertainment value outweighs the plausibility. There’s more cheese, but it’s done so effectively!

3 Structure

The habit of binging isn’t always helpful for a television show. You don’t allow the audience time to process and reflect, or even to miss the show between episodes. However, stories like Stranger Things were designed for sudden mass consumption. They’ve generally been one ongoing narrative, like a non-stop movie. However, this season, each episode has a tidy structure that allows people to enjoy them at a more reasonable pace. The plotting moves along nicely, there’s a cliffhanger at the end of every episode, and the story is more digestible for it. You can watch a single episode and feel like you got the full Stranger Things experience. Also, the easygoing tone doesn’t prevent the escalation throughout the season from being smoothly executed.

2 The Mystery

The mysteries actually unfold surprisingly well, especially given that we already know what the source of the problem is. It’s the manner with which the characters go about discovering them that’s so effective. The characters all become involved in an organic way. Joyce is understandably neurotic, Nancy has become a reporter; Eleven has the power to read minds. And Dustin sets an entire group of kids off on an adventure in the nerdiest way possible. It’s tightly woven, and playful. Season 2 didn’t quite deliver that, and mostly felt like a retread of the first season’s mystery. The symptoms of the new mysteries are also more intriguing, including rabid rats and people, rather than some decayed pumpkins.

1 Horror

The heavy emphasis on horror this season works like a charm. Again, this is a result of excess indulgence this season. There’s murder and monster mayhem galore. With nods to Aliens and other classics like The Blob, the new villain is fantastically disgusting. The revolting sound effects for its movement, and the sheer amount of gore are very effective. Given the villain’s goals, it’s fun that the show references Day of the Dead. But it’s also an indicator of what level of blood is in store. The kids are older now, and that’s the kind of movie they want to see—so, it makes perfect sense to allow the same for us. The stakes never felt quite as high without this degree of horror, which balances out the comedy.

NEXT: What To Expect From Stranger Things Season 4


2019-07-13 05:07:26

Anthony Fertino