Created by the Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross, Stranger Things returns for a third season as the group reunite in the summer of 1985, when the new Starcourt Mall has become the focal point of the town. With the gang on the cusp of adulthood, romance blossoms and complications begin to alter the group’s dynamic. But emotions must be put aside when the group starts noticing strange things happening around Hawkins once again. Now, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and her friends – Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Max (Sadie Sink), Steve (Joe Keery), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) – will have to band together when they discover that Russians are trying to re-open the upside-down and that the Mind Flayer is still alive.
Overall Series Review:
This latest season of Stranger Things is much of what we love about the series as a whole: horror, monsters, a group of young characters on a terrifying adventure but loving every minute of it, adult comedy, plenty of interrogations, battles of wit and nerdiness. Only this time, there’s a whole lot more hormones involved.
Beginning with a great return to the series, the first episode is set a year later as we are reintroduced to the gang after they have all moved on from the events of season two. They’re happy with their less-chaotic lives as, instead of facing supernatural terrors, they begin to experience the emotional rollercoaster of first-time relationships, as we get to see the group soak up all the fun of finally being allowed to act their age for once. Friendships may be tested, but it’s great to get to know the characters better. Especially Eleven, as we are able to see her in a new light, acting like a normal teenager for once.
The 80s setting is splashed all over the place with many references and a fantastic soundtrack, complete with 80s montages, cinema trips, and funfairs, and suits the setting of this coming-of-age season perfectly. But things quickly get dark again as they soon realise the danger that they’re about to enter back into. When a code red brings the group back together, it’s time for the adventure that we’ve been looking forward to the most.
Things get really exciting when the group find the science lab. With lots of horror and gore, the second half of the season is incredibly tense and disturbing, but it is exactly what we have been waiting for, as everything builds up to another epic finale as the group must face-off with the Mind Flayer.
The tone is certainly lighter in this season and I haven’t found it as engaging as the previous two seasons, but I did enjoy being back with the group once again. It was great to see how their well-written characters developed during this time of their lives and they have such a great chemistry that whatever they do is always pure entertainment. I’m not sure I’m excited about a fourth season, however, and I do think that they should have wrapped it up with this one.
Still, it is the main cast that lead this series into such a success so I’m sure we will all come back for more, but they will need a better plot for the characters to work with if a fourth season is going to work as well.