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Stranger Things Watch Journal (Season 3)

Read Time:5 Minute, 51 Second

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TL;DR

Stranger Things Season 3 doesn’t have the magic of the first two seasons. That being said, it’s still a binge-worthy show that continues to expand the existing cast of characters and push the existing characters to grow into new roles.

S3.E1 ∙ Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?

What a difference two years makes. Season 2 came out in 2017 and season 3 in 2019. The kids have grown a lot.

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S3.E2 ∙Chapter Two: The Mall Rats

I’m getting some serious Buffy vibes, both from seeing the actors age through childhood to young adulthood and from the plot finding ways to separate the gang into groups before inevitably bringing them back together for a showdown with the big bad.

S3.E3 ∙Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard

So far, my favorite “group” is the mall rats. I especially like the new girl, Robin. It’s crazy that she’s the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. Other than her talent, I can’t say that I see a resemblance.

S3.E4 ∙ Chapter Four: The Sauna Test

So far, I have to say that I don’t love this season like the first two. It’s not bad, but it’s not as gripping as it once was.

That being said, one of the best scenes of any episode so far is when Nancy and Johnathan are driving home after getting fired from the newspaper. The dialog between them is deeply emotional and real. I paused the show after that scene so my wife and I could discuss it. Both of them are 100% right.; Nancy has no idea what it’s like to struggle to survive and wonder if her family will be able to pay for essentials next week; while Johnathan has no idea what it’s like to be sexually harassed and dismissed as a woman.

That is a powerful message for young people to see.

S3.E5 ∙ Chapter Five: The Flayed

One thing that I’m not particularly crazy about is how Hopper’s character has been heading so far this season. He’s angry and manipulative. He’s not nearly as likable as he was trending over the past two seasons. I hope this is to set up a situation where he realizes his pettiness and determines to be better.

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S3.E6 ∙ Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum

We definitely have the ingredients in order for a climatic season ending. I’m just wondering if it will be Eleven who leads the battle and defeats The Flayed. The writers did a good job last season of making it a team effort, but it was Eleven who did the heavy lifting. I wonder if this season they switch it up somehow. They can’t just keep ending seasons by making Eleven power up to the level she needs to win. They have broken the cast up into three groups, Eleven, Mike, Will, Lucas, and Max in one group, Hopper and Joyce in another, and Dustin, Steve, Robin, and Erica in another. I think it would be best if they keep the groups apart until the very end and then it’s their unification that saves the day. That also plays off the Latin title for this episode: From Many, OneThe Flayed came together as one to become powerful. Now it’s time for the rest of the cast to come together to become powerful.

S3.E7 ∙ Chapter Seven: The Bite

Something they’ve been doing a lot more in this season is very standard and stupid horror scenes where the characters know something is coming and they just wait for it to happen, like it’s too late to do anything else. I’m thinking of the scene in the cabin where all the kids realized the Flayer was coming for them but didn’t really act on it. It’s scenes like this that make the season feel rushed. Like they didn’t get enough time to polish the scripts.

My favorite scene in the episode was Steve and Robin on the bathroom floor. The other kids are fighting for their lives, but sandwiched between those scenes Steve and Robin have a long and thoughtful conversation on the bathroom floor. I love that they didn’t give Robin and Steve the expected ending by having them become a couple. It feels more real to throw a curveball in there and build the platonic relationship between them.

S3.E8 ∙ Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt

It was refreshing to see that they didn’t lean on Eleven saving the day again. That story is getting old. It was time to have a real sacrifice to save the day and they had it with two characters. Although one of them was completely unexpected.

I wondered how they would treat Billy in the end. We hated the character and then we learned a little of why he was the way he was. Because he was badly hurt deep down inside and broken. Then he gets mind-controlled by the Flayer and has no choice but to do these horrible things. In a few scenes he even realizes what he’s done and he’s sorry for it. The ending they gave him was really touching. In a way Eleven did use her powers to save herself, just not in a way we would expect, which is nice. I admire how the Duffer brothers build sympathetic characters by starting with a character that is immensely unlikable and then learning about why they are that way before they perform some act of redemption. It’s satisfying as a viewer.

I’m sure when the show first aired it was really tragic to see Hopper sacrifice himself. The downside to waiting to watch a series is that there is some spoilage that is bound to happen. And this time it’s Netflix’s fault. The cover image for this season of Stranger Things shows Hopper when a buzz cut. I try to avoid seeing any images at all, but there was nothing I could do about that one. And since I never saw him with a buzz cut I knew that scene must come later. I guess for some reason it comes in season 4, which is stupid of Netflix to use it as the cover for this season. But it was a nice moment for him to sacrifice himself. To realize it had to be done. Now we just have to wait to find out how he survived.

Plus, the gang is all spread out now that Joyce has moved. It would be really radacle of they have to go to Russia to fight this thing now.

Conclusion

This season definitely wasn’t the best of the bunch. The bar is set pretty high so I’m not saying this season is bad. Season 3 came out in 2019. Season 4 is 2022. That gives them three years to figure out a really good script for season 4. I have my hopes up that it will be better than this one. And it will be cool to see the kids all grown up now.

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