I'll give em this: the Duffer Brothers know how to do a finale.
In all, this was a solid, exciting, amusing season of entertainment, very much like an eight-hour movie in its three-act structure with very little flab. There were a couple of loose ends (why were the Flayed eating chemicals? And what was the green goo in the Russian compound? Did Nancy ever write up the story for another newspaper?) a few characters/dynamics that were neglected (poor Jonathan; even his big moment in doing impromptu surgery was a failure) and a lack of proper closure (we really needed to see the community grieving for the missing Flayed - let's not forget there was a little boy among them - , not to mention the reaction of Billy's father to his son's death) but hey - it was all good.
That said, I wasn't quite as captivated with season three as I was the previous two. On reflection, I think it's because there was no obvious main character or key relationship. The first two seasons it was Eleven/Mike and then Eleven/Hopper. Here the most important dynamics were Eleven/Mike/Max, Hopper/Joyce and Steve/Robin, with everyone else spread a little thinly across the plate.
So for the first time in the show's progression, this was truly an ensemble piece - and yet without a protagonist it did feel a little center-less. As such, I was never truly moved in the way I have been previously: Mike and Eleven's emotional reunion after a year apart is still the highest bar the show has set for itself.
For the comments on Winona's frumpy appearance: I have no doubt that she'll get to glam up when she and Hopper finally get to Enzo's. What's an eighties-based TV show without a female lead getting the "beautiful all along" transformation scene?
I didn't quite buy the calmness with which Mike and Eleven allowed themselves to be separated. Yes, a big theme of this season was growing up, and yes, the two needed to be less co-dependent, but after everything they've been through and the times they've been forcibly apart, they would NOT have handled this well. As Murray said: shared trauma.
That said, I'm interested in seeing Will and Jonathan as brothers to Eleven. Will/El is a dynamic I was looking forward to this season, and didn't get much of, even though they have so much in common.
Nice of the air ducts to magically expand themselves to accommodate Murray when it was a big plot-point that only a child Erica's size could fit (okay, so Erica's ducts were in the ceiling and Murray's were in the floor, so maybe that accounted for the difference. BUT STILL).
The Mayor was a bit of a pointless character; largely there to get Cary Elwes in the cast - but hey, I said the same thing about Billy last season, so maybe he'll be back next time.
I have no real opinion over the Robin/Steve not!ship, only that it clears the way for the potential ship I'm really interested in: Steve/Kali. DON'T roll your eyes. Just THINK about it for a minute...
On that note, I hope that season four really expands itself outside of Hawkins. Obviously we're not done with the Russia plot yet, the Byers have relocated, and it strikes me as interesting that no one visited the Upside Down this season. More than this, I want to know more about El's childhood, her mother, the government facility and the other subjects there. She's Eleven and Kali is Eight, that leaves at least nine other lost brothers and sisters...