The Complete Breakdown of Stranger Things Season 3

Stranger Things

Yello! Welcome to my breakdown and overall thoughts for season 3 of Stranger Things! I will get into all the gory details here in a minute but before we get into all the spoilers, I have to say that this show continues to impress me. I always worry with shows like this where the first season is so damn amazing that they will never live up to that level again, but I think that each season keeps the spark of the first season and adds new layers and fun characters. Obviously, if you have managed to make it through all eight episodes then you know there is a major cliffhanger at the end, and I am already counting down to season 4! I haven’t felt this way since Jon Snow died at the end of season 6 over on Game of Thrones.

Seriously, Beyond this point it is all spoilers! If you do not want to know they do not go any any further!

Let’s get into this! The first episode “Suzie, do you copy?” dives back into where all our beloved characters have been since season two ended and sets up the villains of this season. Yes, villains! We Have those damned commies, the Russians, and the ever-present supernatural threat that seems to have become the norm in Hawkins. Sure, in this season they are connected but also separate.


Mike and El have advanced their relationship to lots and lots of kissing, nearly giving Hopper a heart attack leading him to seek advice from Joyce on how to handle Mike corrupting El. He is such a Dad. Her advice is typical mom heart to heart which isn’t Hopper’s style, but he goes along with it. He also tries to act on his feeling with Joyce by asking her out, but she declines. She is still dealing with her loss of Bob last season. Later, Hopper comes home to find Mike and El together. He lies about Mike’s Grandma being sick and gives Mike a stern man talk instead of the prepared heart to heart.

Early in the episode the group minus El and Dustin are at the mall seeing “Day of the Dead”. This shows us both Steve at this new job, Scoops Ahoy, and one of our newest characters this season Robin. You’ll love her, if you don’t already. While in the movie the electric goes out and Will gets the “feeling” he used to last season before a Mind-flayer episode. This is caused by the Russians who appear to be trying to reopen the gate that El closed in the season two finale.

Dustin returns home after spending a month of the summer at inventor’s camp. When returning home, he feels like he wasn’t missed until he gets his grand and a little creepy surprise from the group. He shows off his new inventions, with the big one being a complex and powerful HAM radio he made to talk with his Mormon girlfriends Suzie from Utah. When setting up the radio at the highest location at Hawkins, El and Mike leave and the others become skeptical when Dustin is unable to reach Suzie after several hours. When all the others leave, Dustin comes across a secret Russian transmission. Another thing to point out about this trip is Will’s weird feeling he has again and the rats running past them into the Steelworks factory where something strange and rather gross is happening.

Nancy and Jonathan are still together and sneaking around although everyone knows it. On Jonathan’s way out of the house, Joyce first notices the magnets on the ground. This is important but we’ll hit on it again later. Nancy and Jonathan though, are both working at Hawkins Post where Jonathan is a photographer and Nancy is trying to make it as a reporter but is just an errand girl. Even when suggesting a story, she is laughed out of the meeting. When she is there alone at night, she gets a call from Mrs. Driscoll about diseased rats which she feels this is a story but isn’t sure she wants to share it.


Then there is Billy. Billy is the new hot lifeguard at the pool and is admired not only by the girls his age but by the moms of Hawkins as well, including Mrs. Wheeler. During the episode they even set up a motel meeting for “Lessons”. In this part it is unclear if Mrs. Wheeler follows through but the real story here is Billy. On his way to the motel his car is damaged by a rat and he wreaks into the parking area of the Steelworks factory. Initially I thought Billy was dead, but nope, he lives to see another day and even calls 911 after being dragged into the depths of the Steelworks factory. We put together quickly here from Will’s experience last season that he has been mind flayed. This is confirmed when he sees himself in the Upside Down. Later when back on the job as a lifeguard he seems to be out of it and has that adverse reaction to the sun. It wasn’t until I watched this a second time that I realized he was drinking chemicals in the pool house when Mrs. Wheeler talks to him about skipping out on him the night before.

Again, Billy sees himself in the upside down trying to figure out what this thing wants from him and the request is for Billy to build. When Billy comes to again, he cools off in the shower and where Mrs. Wheeler was able to escape Billy unharmed, the lifeguard Heather isn’t as lucky. We see her being handed over to the Mindflayer at the end of episode two, “Mall Rats”.Also, in episode two, things get a little dicey for the young love on the show when Mike doesn’t show at El’s after his “heart to heart” with Hopper. He continues to insist that his Nana is sick but El knows he is lying, and Mike knows that El knows he is lying. El turns to Max for help and she instructs her to dump him if he doesn’t come clean. She also shows her a good time without boys as they share a day at the Starcourt Mall, cementing the cutest BFF Duo.

Lucas, Mike, and Will also end up at Starcourt Mall, but to look for a gift for El to smooth things over. Although, Will would much prefer to be at him playing D&D. When they don’t find a gift for El, they head out of the mall where they run into Max and El. Mike continues to lie to El so she officially “Dumps his ass”. Sorry Will, still no D&D.

Even though everything is falling apart for poor Mike, Hopper is proud of himself when seeing Joyce again the next day. He even works up the courage to ask her to dinner again, but not a “date”. She agrees but not to let him pick her up and she can’t stay out late. Hopper is called away to a protest but not before stepping and slipping on some fallen magnets. This is all Joyce needs to know that something is up. Both the magnets from her home and work have stopped working. She proceeds to check out all the library books on magnets, but when she can’t figure it out herself, she stops by Scott’s, the science teacher. He teaches her about magnets and what could be causing the issue although, for something like this to happen it would have to be a very large, very expensive machine. Wonder where we saw one of those? Anyway, Joyce gets so wrapped up in the magnets she forgets her date with Hopper.


Hopper, after leaving Joyce earlier, cleared up the picket line and talks with the mayor. Right off the bat we know that this Mayor is an ass. He had the mall built forcing locals to have to close shop and pushed people out of their homes but is going to throw a good Fourth of July party to make up for it. There is one important person that Hopper sees at both the Mayor’s office and in the restaurant. The Russian we will be dubbing Arnold.

Speaking of Russians, Dustin and Steve are reunited! What does this have to do with the Russians? Well, Dustin takes his recording of the intercepted Russian conversation to Steve looking for help in translating it. Steve though isn’t much help, but this is where Robin and her bad-assery come in. She is able to translate the code which is: “The week is long. The silver cat feeds when the blue meets yellow in the west. A trip to China sounds nice, if you tread lightly.” This convinces Robin that there is some spy shit going on. They only learn how close to home this is when Steve realizes that the music in the background of the tape is from the Indiana Flyer horse at the mall.

As if Russians in Hawkins isn’t weird enough, Nancy decides to fake a doctor’s appointment to follow up on Mrs. Driscoll’s call about the diseased rats. She takes Jonathan with her and there they not only find that the rats are eating weird things, like fertilizer, but also acting funny. They can see this because Mrs. Driscoll traps one in a cage. Nancy calls around and gets a good lead, leaving right before the rat explodes and the goop left behind crawls away. Thinking that she has enough proof to take this to her boss, Tom, she is once again laughed at and pranked around the office.


Nancy isn’t quite ready to let this go and calls Mrs. Driscoll but doesn’t get an answer. They head to the house that evening and this time find Mrs. Driscoll out of her mind and eating fertilizer. This is just like the rats and Billy who was drinking the chemicals at the pool.

Speaking of Billy, El and Max end up on his case after they are playing the spying game. First, they spy on Mike and Lucas and she hears them talking about girls being another species and lots of burping and farting. When they spin the bottle and she spies on Billy she realizes that Billy is up to something bad. She feels that Billy was able to sense her, and they head over to Max’s house and look more into him. They find that he isn’t home, ice in the bathtub, Heather’s fanny pack and her bloody whistle.

The next day they take the fanny pack to the pool and learn that Heather didn’t show up for work and neither did Billy. El gets a picture of Heather off the board and is able to find her in her mind. She sees her beyond a red door in the bathtub full of ice being sucked down. This leads Max and El to the Heather’s house with the red door where they find Billy with Heather’s parents. This also happens to be Nancy and Jonathan’s boss, Tom. The surprise here though, is when Heather walks out of the kitchen and appears to be fine. Billy, or better yet the mind flayer now recognizes El as the girl that initially closed the gates and decides that he needs to end her. After El and Max leave, Billy and Heather then attack her parents and tie them up to offer them to the Mindflayer also. We later see Tom again at the Hawkins Post when he is firing Nancy and Jonathan for following the lead he squashed and for pretending to be reporters.


Over with Mike, Lucas, and Will, Will finally convinces them to play D&D but Mike and Lucas are just not into it. Will ends up leaving upset where he then goes onto destroy Castle Byers, even though Mike and Lucas are at his house trying to patch things over. Right after destroying the hideout, Will gets the feeling again that he has been experiencing over the last few days. This time he knows without a doubt that the Mindflayer is back and he tells Mike and Lucas when they find him. They call out a Code Red to the others but only El and Max show with Dustin being occupied at the mall.

The next day they take the fanny pack to the pool and learn that Heather didn’t show up for work and neither did Billy. El gets a picture of Heather off the board and is able to find her in her mind. She sees her beyond a red door in the bathtub full of ice being sucked down. This leads Max and El to the Heather’s house with the red door where they find Billy with Heather’s parents. This also happens to be Nancy and Jonathan’s boss, Tom. The surprise here though, is when Heather walks out of the kitchen and appears to be fine. Billy, or better yet the mind flayer now recognizes El as the girl that initially closed the gates and decides that he needs to end her. After El and Max leave, Billy and Heather then attack her parents and tie them up to offer them to the Mindflayer also. We later see Tom again at the Hawkins Post when he is firing Nancy and Jonathan for following the lead he squashed and for pretending to be reporters.


Over with Mike, Lucas, and Will, Will finally convinces them to play D&D but Mike and Lucas are just not into it. Will ends up leaving upset where he then goes onto destroy Castle Byers, even though Mike and Lucas are at his house trying to patch things over. Right after destroying the hideout, Will gets the feeling again that he has been experiencing over the last few days. This time he knows without a doubt that the Mindflayer is back and he tells Mike and Lucas when they find him. They call out a Code Red to the others but only El and Max show with Dustin being occupied at the mall.

Initially at the lab, after Joyce has a flash back to Bob’s death, they find nothing there although we see that the cameras are still working. They both have a heart to heart moment where he admits that he is also struggling with maintaining a normal life and admits that he knows she is planning to move out of Hawkins, but he wants her to stay. He reminds her of the people she still has here that care about her. This is when they hear something and go to investigate it and Hopper is attacked by the Russian. He escapes but Joyce gets the license plate number, kind of. It is enough though for Hopper to make the link with the Russian and the Mayor. Hopper holds nothing back trying to figure out what the Russians want with Hawkins and what the Mayor has done. The Mayor admits to letting them have some land. They end up at the Mayor’s home where he has these land deeds and it is Joyce that realizes that all of these are near the power plant which would give them the source of power for whatever machine is creating this electromagnetic field.


They begin investigating the locations purchased by the Russians and discover under the bed of Hess Farm an electric hub with the Russian Scientist we met at the beginning of episode one. Unfortunately, the Mayor got a hold of Arnold the Russian and he comes after them. Joyce and Hopper narrowly escape with the Russian Scientist, Alexei.


With the kids, Will puts together that the Mindflayer must not have been able to leave Hawkins before the gate was closed and is now back. El and max are able to add that they think it is in Billy. The stake out the pool and all admit that Billy Is acting weird and they come up with the plan to trap him in the sauna. Since the Mindflayer hates the heat this will help them determine if he is in Billy.

That night, after the pool closes, they set the plan in motion and discover that the Mindflayer is in fact in Billy with a showdown between him and El. El throws him through a wall scaring him off for now. This scene also coincides with Nancy, who after a pep talk from Mrs. Wheeler, goes back to Mrs. Driscoll. Here she finds that she is having an episode like Will last season when they tried to get the Mindflayer to leave him. This has Nancy calling the Byers’ house looking for Will trying to make this connection.


Will isn’t home though. He is with the others after the fight with Billy. El is looking for Hopper in her mind and learns that he is on his way to Illinois. They are working to get to Murray, the conspiracy theorist from last season. The only person that Hopper knows that speaks Russian. This has them blowing up Hoppers cruiser and then stealing a car from the 7-11. The Arnold Russian though is hot on their tail looking to get the scientist back and finish off Hopper

Back in Hawkins, Robin gets the blueprints to Starcourt looking for a way into the supply room being guarded by the Russians. They realize that if they go through the vents there is a way in but none of them are small enough, even IF Steve pushes on Dustin’s butt. However, Robin realizes when Erica comes in for another ice cream sample that she is the perfect size. After some heavy ice cream negotiations, Erica agrees to help. She gets in and can get the doors open for the others to come in as well. The discover that the Russians are bringing in some strange green goop. The real trouble comes through when they are unable to get out of the room without and access card and then the room drops. The room is an elevator down to the secret Russian lab!


After dropping they have the idea to climb out but after getting on the roof of the elevator, they realize that they are not going to be able to climb that high. Dustin tries to Code Red to the others, but he is too far below for the radio to transmit. After waiting for hours, they can leave the room by hiding when some Russians come in and then using a goop container to keep the door propped allowing for them into the lab as well. Once they make it to the heart of the lab, they get to the comms room where Steve finally wins his first fight! But then they also realize that the Russians are trying to reopen the gate. When going back to the comms room they discover that the guy Steve beat is gone, and the alarm is blaring. They try to escape but only Dustin and Erica make it out with Steve and Robin being captured.


Dustin and Erica argue about whether they should head back to save them or make a break to get help. Dustin also fills her in on all the events of season one and two. She does believe him, except that her brother Lucas was there for all of it. We also learn that Erica herself is a nerd after she can figure out how long they have been in the lab and how long it would take to get out of here. Also, because she likes politics and My Little Pony. Anyway, they shut down the fans so they can make it back to Robin and Steve who are being beaten, drugged and tortured by the Russians. After Dustin and Erica make it back to Steve and Robin, they get back up the elevator and hide in the mall movie theater for now.


While all of that is going on, real shit is happening with the others. The Mindflayer, like I said, knows that El is the one that closed the gate and now knows how powerful she is and we finale see the army he has built out of the people of Hawkins. Nancy and Jonathan find them, and they connect that what Nancy saw at the hospital with Mrs. Driscoll happened at the same time the others confronted Billy. Once Max and El tell them about Heather, Nancy realizes that Tom, her boss and Heather’s dad must be flayed as well and remembers the wound on his head from when he fired her. They all head back to Heather’s house and find that it is cold, the chemicals have all been eaten, blood everywhere and rope for binding. They believe that Heather and Billy attacked her parents and took them to another location, a source location. This is when Jonathan remembers that Mrs. Driscoll kept saying “Have to go back”. The plan is then to go to the hospital, release Mrs. Driscoll and follow her back to the source.


When arriving to the hospital things don’t go according to plan. For starters only two people can head up to Mrs. Driscoll’s room. Nancy and Jonathan head up there together with a cute elevator apology. From there we enter a horror show. Why didn’t they think that the papers on the floor were weird? Anyway, when they arrive to the room Mrs. Driscoll is gone. Instead Tom and Bruce, the Hawkins Post asshole, are there and they want Nancy. She runs but Tom and Jonathan fight and Jonathan is knocked out. Nancy tricks Bruce and beat him to death with a fire extinguisher as Jonathan comes to and stabs Tom to death. It doesn’t end there. They then turn into the Mindflayer sludge and join into a large meaty Mindflayer that goes after Nancy.

At the same time downstairs, El and Mike make up a little and talk. That is cut short though when Will feels the Mindflayer and they head upstairs just in time to save Nancy from being flayed. El throws it out the window and it escapes down the sewage vent.

From here let’s head back over to Hopper and Joyce. First, the Russian Arnold guy is still looking for Hopper and warns the Mayor to let him know when he sees Hopper again. Hopper and Joyce are with Alexei in Illinois still at Murray’s. They are trying to negotiate with Alexei for information on what is happening in Hawkins. I think my favorite part is when Hopper allows for Alexei to attempt escape because he knows that Alexei has no where to go, going back to the Russians would mean death. So, he turns and gives them the information about the lab that they are looking for. Things get lost in translation, but they make a map and understand better about why the Russians have come to Hawkins. Like we saw in the opening of this season, for their machine “The Key” to work, it had to be in Hawkins where the gate had already been opened before. I also find it hilarious that he says that the lab is impenetrable even though we just watched Erica and Dustin break out Steve and Robin.

The plan is to head back to Hawkins, break into the lab and stop the gate from opening with the two keys that will stop the machine that is “The Key”. But first, Joyce wants to check on the kids. When she can’t get a hold of them, she talks with Mrs. Wheeler who tells her that they should all be at the Fourth of July fair that is being put on by the mayor.


From here things really start to come together. El uses her mind powers to find Billy looking for the source location. She does find Billy, but he is sitting alone like he is waiting for them to come to him. Mike is against using El’s powers this much and even admits to loving her to the others, but it becomes clear that this is her choice and one that she is willing to make. Instead of going to Billy in person she goes back to him again in the mind space where she touched him like she did with Mama last season to be able to see into Billy’s mind. Here we get a better understanding of why Billy is the way he is, as in an asshole. He had these wonderful memories with his mother that were then destroyed by his abusive father. His mother left and was then replaced by his new stepmom and Max. She is also able to find the source. The Steelworks factory. El then tries to leave the mind space but instead the Mindflayer talks to her and tells her that he has built something that is going to kill her, her friends and then everyone else. And then we see all the flayed head to the steelworks factory and become one with the Mindflayer.

At the beginning of episode seven, The Bite, we see the Mindflayer head to Hopper’s cabin for El. Will is also able to feel this and they prepare for a show down. El fights off the Mindflayer, barely. With the added people he has become much stronger and only with the help of Lucas with an Ax and Nancy with the shot gun are they able to stop the Mindflayer from running off with El. Once he is disconnected from her, El musters enough power to seriously injury the Mindflayer enough to escape. Unfortunately, El is pretty injured herself.


They end up in a convenience store where Max guides them through treating El’s injury. Lucas and Will also come up with a plan using firework to fight off the Mindflayer if needed. The most important thing here though is that Dustin gets through on the Walkie to let Mike know that he is in trouble. Dustin, Erica, Steve and Robin are all trapped in the Mall. After watching some of Back to the Future, Robin and Steve have a moment in the bathroom where he admits that he has feelings for her, and she admits to him that she does like him but is also into girls. When Dustin and Erica find them, they go to head out of the mall but learn that they are trapped by the Russians who are checking people as they leave. El is able to track them to the mall and the group shows to save them from being shot up by the Russians after closing by throwing a car on them. El though gets overloaded when her wound becomes worse.

At the fair, things get bad for Hopper, Joyce, Murray and Alexei. Hopper and Joyce go in to find the kids and makes sure they are safe. Unfortunately, the mayor sees Hopper and calls in the Russian Arnold. Murray and Alexei decide to enjoy the fair as well with Alexei proving to Murray that the games are not rigged but this ends with Arnold shooting and killing Alexei. I took this harder than I should have. Then the fight ends up in the fun house with some awesome cinematography. In the end, Hop makes it out leaving behind the Russians. He was able to secure one of the radios though and learn that the kids are at the mall, this was right before El and gang showed to save Steve, Dustin, Robin and Erica.

This officially brings everyone together. Jonathan and El work to get the piece of the Mindflayer out of El as Hopper, Joyce and Murray arrive. They plan for most of the kids, Nancy, Jonathan, Eleven, Mike and Will to the Murray’s in Illinois. Murray, Hopper and Joyce are going down into the lab to destroy the key with Dustin, Steve Erica and Robin heading up to the HAM radio tower to provide them with directions through the lab. As Hopper, Murray and Joyce descend into the lab things already get off to a rocky start when Billy/Mindflayer show at the mall taking a cable from the car so it won’t start. This leaves the group that was going to head to Illinois trapped in the mall where the Mindflayer in its full form descends from the glass ceiling. El is unable to fight because her powers are on the fritz leaving them all vulnerable.

In the lab, Murray makes it into the venting system to get to the key room while Hopper and Joyce wait for access. There they have a moment to talk and finally they admit that they are a good team and set up a real date at Enzo’s. Dustin and Erica work to get Murray through the tunnels when Steve notices the lights flickering at the mall and him and Robin head back in that direction.

Inside the mall, the kids are hiding from the Mindflayer. At one point, it almost gets Mike, but Lucas uses his sling shot to distract it. This had Mike, Max and El running and the others use this as an opportunity to get back to the car with the cable they secured from the mall car. Billy almost hits them head on, but it is Harrington to the rescue when he T-bone’s Billy knocking him off course. All this action attracts the Mindflayer’s attention and they are forced to leave the mall and draw away the Mindflayer.

Back at the lab, Murray gets Joyce and Hopper into the key room, but the code isn’t working. It is based off Planck’s Constant which none of them know. Dustin is the one that comes up with the solution. SUZIE! For him to give her the code she requests a song and the best duet in Netflix history is born. When Hopper and Joyce get the code, they acquire the keys and head to the control room to shut down the machine. However, it couldn’t be that easy, could it? No. Arnold shows resulting in a brawl between him and Hopper in the machine room.

Up top is fairing just about as well. Billy, still at the mall finds Max, Mike and Eleven. He knocks out both Max and Mike and takes El. This has the mind flayer turning around from chasing the others and heading back to the mall. Jonathan and the others do the same and show as Billy is offering El to the Mindflayer. However, Lucas’ fireworks now come in handy distracting the Mindflayer giving El a short reprieve while Joyce tries to figure out a way to turn the two keys at the same time. Hopper and Arnold continue to fight and there is a moment where we are sure that Hopper is going in this machine but instead, he sends Arnold in. Unfortunately, the reaction of the machine traps Hopper from getting out of there and back to the safety of the control room.

With Lucas and the others out of fireworks the focus is back on Eleven, but she is able to reach Billy through the Mindflayer by talking about his memory of his mother and it is Billy who comes between El and the Mindflayer sacrificing himself. This is right about the time that Joyce gets the keys turned causing the machine to explode and when the dust settles Hopper is gone! My tears are pouring at this point.

Of course, now the Military shows but most of the Russians were about to make it out of the mall. I cried even harder when Joyce and Will are reunited and El realizes that Hopper didn’t make it. Dr. Owen from season two is there as well and we learn that even though the machine was destroyed and the connection from the Mindflayer was destroyed a crack remains.

So now to wrap things up and prep for next season. After a three-month time gap, we see that Joyce has decided that it is best to move out of Hawkins. This means that Jonathan, Will and Eleven are all leaving as well. Just rip out our whole heart why don’t you? It seems that Steve and Robin were able to remain pretty good friends though, so there is that. Dustin passes down Will’s D&D book to Erica for a new generation of nerd. Jonathan and Nancy say goodbye, as does Mike and El, but there are plans for holiday visits. El still does not have her powers back at this point but the theory is that they will be back. Joyce when going through Hopper’s things finds the “heart to heart” speech he had written with some additions about Hopper’s real feelings for El. Yes, let’s just emotional scar us while you are at it.

The real set up for the next season come after the credits. In Mother Russia, we learn that they do have their hands on a Demogorgon, and they are feeding people to it, BUT NOT THE AMERICAN!! Could that be Hopper? Let me know what you think! Not only about the season but your opinion about my breakdown and the future of Stranger Things! I plan to do more of these breakdowns in the future and you input is greatly appreciated!

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