WARNING: This review will be delving into spoiler territory, so please watch the complete third season before reading.
It’s the 4th of July and Netflix’s original show ‘Stranger Things’ is back with a bang – full to the brim of 80’s nostalgia, emotion and heart.
When I wrote my review for the second season of Stranger Things, I noted how impressive it was of the Duffer Brothers to continually improve upon their work. Season 3 continues that trend as every piece of this saga levels up. The key to this show is not the sci-fi elements, not the nostalgia, but the core relationships between these characters – whom we genuinely care about. This season once again expands and grows those relationships in exciting and heartbreaking ways.
The introduction of the Russians as a dual threat this season helps to further the more supernatural backstory of the Upside Down, without giving away every piece of the puzzle at once. We knew in Season 1 that the US was manipulating these cracks between worlds for their own Cold War agenda, so it’s no surprise to find out the Russians are doing the same. It also allows for the threat to be a global epidemic, something which might be touched upon down the line in other seasons.
The writing and performances in this show are on another level, with characters who previously we didn’t give a second thought to *cough, Billy, cough* becoming sympathetic, and complicated. Dacre Montgomery and Millie Bobby Brown in particularly share a sequence which will be undoubtedly loved by many audiences for its emotional pulling of our heartstrings. David Harbour and Winona Ryder are once again given absolutely stellar material, and are allowed to work off each even more this season – delighting the Jopper fans in all of us.
Unlike Season 2, the show this year flows rather well and there aren’t many moments in which you’re thinking “oh, this is dragging quite a bit”. Even the scenes which are heavily focused on character development through exposition provide interesting and rewarding gratification for audiences. Take Robin & Steve’s drugged up truth session in the toilets for example, we could have been building up to a generic declaration of love and kiss scene – but the Duffers subvert our expectations by revealing Robin’s sexuality. It isn’t used to shock, but rather just adds another layer to these characters we love. Steve and Robin end the scene laughing & we see their friendship blossom ever further, it’s delightful.
Stranger Things is guaranteed to entertain as you’re pulled through a plethora of different emotions: happy, sad, fear, despair, hope, and sometimes…all of these at once. The delightful cast feel part of our family, and much like Papa Harrington – we are protective of these characters. That’s a sign of a show successfully managing to make you care about it, and it’s worked – bring on Season 4.
1: Who is the American?! – we see that the creature from Season 1 is being held by the Russians. Does this mean Hopper is alive, or perhaps someone far more sinister…
2: I asked last time for more of Erica and the show delivered – what a brilliant character and performance.
3: David Harbour deserves every award for that final speech, a beautiful piece of writing made 10x better by a heartfelt delivery by a spectacular actor.