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S03.E08: Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt

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Terror reigns in the food court when the Mind Flayer comes to collect. But down below, in the dark, the future of the world is at stake.

 

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29 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

Well, this has been an emotionally exhausting day of television. I was glad for the stinger, otherwise this felt too much like a series finale. Did they imply Hopper is alive in a secret Russian base? I need Hopper to be alive in a secret Russian base.

Whew, I sure agree.  Emotionally exhausting.  I am going with Hopper is alive in a secret Russian base, 1000%.  The Demagorgon creature in the base looked partially human.

Alexei was so doomed but I was still kind of sad to see him go.  I liked the expanded role of Murray the conspiracy theorist though damn, his apartment is filthy. 

I felt so sorry for young Billy, who was just a happy kid.  I was glad older Billy remembered his humanity and went out trying to help El, or at least to give the creature a huge F you.

I had to google Planck constant.   I never thought Dustin had made Suzie up and their singing together was cute; also funny to hear "Neverending Story" and we're getting a view out of the back of the car of the monster chasing the kids.

I was a little frustrated with the whole trapped-in-the-mall-because Billy is outside scenario before the monster showed up.  The stores are locked down but there are other ways to get out than just the main door.  I also thought Hopper had time to get back into the control room.

Definite Aliens vibes with the crawls through the vents and Jurassic Park with the creature stalking the hiding kids.


 

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What a binge that was ! Mixed feelings on the ending. It does open a lot of possibilities on where they go from here though.

Steve and Robin are a nice new mix and Dustin having a GF was a great add.

I am not really a fan of how the Mike/EL thing played out through the season but I am glad they left them together so to speak. 

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This show always nails the final confrontation, it's impressive.

Looks like Season 4 will find the characters in very different places, at least to start (one thing I've noticed with streaming services is that they increasingly realize that the compressed release pattern and short durations of individual seasons mean there's no real reason they have to maintain any kind of status quo in between seasons, compared to the old pressures of broadcast TV).

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Bye, Billy. I will not miss you one little bit.

Loved Steve saving the day, yet again.

I know I burned through the episodes pretty quickly, but did Jonathan and Will have any kind of meaningful interaction all season, outside of occasionally standing next to each other?

I was shocked how happy it made me to see Paul Reiser pop back up.

With the Byers moving I hope that gives Nancy the opportunity to be on her own as a character a little bit. I feel like she hardly ever gets to do anything lighthearted.

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That was a fun, stressful ride! Hopper's totally a prisoner in Russia. I was actually thinking he jumped into the upside down before Joyce turned the keys, but this works, too. And knowing how Netflix is cancelling happy after S3, if this is the end, I'm good with it. I can imagine them all being reunited at some point in the near future. 

I loved all the 80's stuff, from the songs, to the clothes that I'm pretty sure I had one or two of the shirts shown. I definitely had El's radio, but mine was pink. And I was a fan of the backwards suspenders, too. If only El or Max had worn a hat a la Debbie Gibson (and me in 6th grade.) 

Billy wasn't a hero, but I'm glad he didn't go out a total evil bastard. 

The kids are getting old fast, and I don't want or need stories to be dragged out, but I'd take another season where they finally end the upside down once and for all. 

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4 hours ago, raven said:

Definite Aliens vibes with the crawls through the vents and Jurassic Park with the creature stalking the hiding kids.

Yes, I thought so too.  Loved it.  Total 80's junkie here.

So is El moving to live with the Byerses, then?  If they said so, I missed it.  I think she has that aunt somewhere.

I know realistically the characters have to move on/grow up.  And Joyce would want to just get her family as far away from the rather easily opened portal to the Upside Down.  But I did not like the group being broken up AT ALL!

I really think Hopper is being held in a secret Russian prison!  I don't think he is dead.

Not sure why possessed Billy had to just sit in the car in the parking lot waiting for his victims to come for him.  His character was particularly poorly done IMO.  It's been a problem ever since they introduced Max.  She lives in an abusive home and it hasn't been addressed at all.  But good riddance to ugly annoying Billy.

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What a day. I'm so relieved to see others guessing that was Hop in Russia. Because oh so many tears were just shed before that extra scene. 

I may too emotionally exhausted to say much now. But I loved Steve and Dustin continuing their friendship. Loved the addition of Robin. Loved Lucas's sister getting more of a role; and when she was given Will's D&D books, I lost it hard. Loved El and Max growing close. 

This show has great storylines and effects; but the relationships are what set it apart. So wholesome, yet So believable. 

I also had fun reminiscing about all the mall stores. Sam Goody! Waldenbooks!!! 

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On 7/4/2019 at 10:12 PM, calliope1975 said:

That was a fun, stressful ride! Hopper's totally a prisoner in Russia. I was actually thinking he jumped into the upside down before Joyce turned the keys, but this works, too. And knowing how Netflix is cancelling happy after S3, if this is the end, I'm good with it. I can imagine them all being reunited at some point in the near future. 

I loved all the 80's stuff, from the songs, to the clothes that I'm pretty sure I had one or two of the shirts shown. I definitely had El's radio, but mine was pink. And I was a fan of the backwards suspenders, too. If only El or Max had worn a hat a la Debbie Gibson (and me in 6th grade.) 

Billy wasn't a hero, but I'm glad he didn't go out a total evil bastard. 

The kids are getting old fast, and I don't want or need stories to be dragged out, but I'd take another season where they finally end the upside down once and for all. 

If there was ever a show where people don't need to worry about cancellation it's stranger things. Worrying or begging for confirmation of renewal isn't necessary.

The duffer's brothers have already cooked up a five season plan, this one of Netflix only cash cows.

Netflix has been cancel happy because they are trying to invest less on properties they don't own with the streaming wars amping up. Stranger Things is theirs. 

You best believe they are going to milk all it's worth out being able to advertise the last season of stranger things.

Great finale and great season. I can't begin to get caught up with all the nitpicking people do with this show and others. I love spending time with these characters and in this world. I'm not looking for anything more than that. And this show is always entertaining so there is that.

My only complaint about the finale is a future complaint. I feel like we are going to have to wait even longer for the core group to come together next season. Especially regarding possibly Hop. 

And as much as I enjoyed the mall adventures, don't keep Dustin away from the group so long next time. They did it with Will in season one, Eleven in season two and now Dustin. At least, with the kids, keep them together.

Man, they will barely be kids come next time. A couple of years they will almost be adults.

It would be fun if down the line, years from now, they reformed the group as adults ala IT but with the same cast.

Edited by Racj82
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This whole season gave me anxiety, but I enjoyed it. 

I hope Hopper is alive.I totally get why the Beyers moved. I think moving is too easy for any type of danger they may face from the mindflayer though.

I also enjoyed all the characters, including Erica (but not Billy until the end).

This was a hell of a ride of a binge and will write more when I am less exhausted and have processed. 

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I thoroughly enjoyed this season, like I did the previous 2.  I spent most of my 4th feeling anxious, and looking at the gory goopy flayed through my fingers.  Excellent!

If Hooper isn't the Russian prisoner, I'll never forgive them.  I luf him so!  His terrible attitude.  His shitty JCPenny fake Magnum PI shirt.  His clear attraction and feelings for Joyce.  The vo of the letter from the first episode got me the same way it did El.

I love Will.  He's such a sweet little cinnamon roll that doesn't want nor deserves any of this.  I spent the whole binge waiting for him to get taken over or something b/c maybe he is more susceptible.

It was a kick to see Cary Elwes as the dickish mayor.  Westley got got in the end, though.  Inconceivable! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the makeups of the teams.  Max and El were cute; as a 90s teen (I was one of those littles riding the coin operated rides accompanying my mom to the mall in '85), mall culture and being there with your gfs and no parents is an American girl's right of passage.  I loved every bit of that.  Dustin and Steve continue to be one of my unexpected treasures, and I actually really liked Robin and Lucas's hilarious and feisty little sister.  Steve and Robin having a platonic thing is good for him.   Mike and Lucas having girl problems, while poor Will is trying to be like old times was sweet, but sad.  Joyce and Hopper (and sometimes Alexei and Murray) had great banter.  Nancy and Jonathan are ok; wish they were a bit more compelling.  When you put them all together in the mall, I was so happy! I wished we got a little more of the entire team together before all hell broke loose, and like above posters, I do wish it happened a little earlier.

Did Finn and Noah hit a growth spurt halfway thru filming?!  It feel like their shorts got so much shorter from episode 5 or 6 on.   We were cracking up at my house when there were wandering about in the finale.  

Billy is the WORST, but I really like Dacre Montgomery, and I felt his work, especially at the very end was lovely.   Billy was a class A dick, but seeing that sweet happy child who loved his mom is quite heartbreaking.  Mostly, I feel bad for Max.  She loved him, and she watched him die.  

Now the real question:  How long is the wait until what is presumably the final season?!

Edited by TrininisaScorp
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I was OK with Billy dying but Hopper not so much.  I was incredibly depressed for a few minutes there.  I wondered if David Harbour got tired of the series or something.  I couldn't believe they would kill off Hopper otherwise, and I thought "the internet is going to blow up over this."

Thank goodness I watched the end credits.

When I first saw the white things drifting in the sky I was convinced that Hopper was caught in the Upside Down, and I would have been fine with that.  Him being in a Russian prison in the gulag is less believable, because I don't understand how any Russian soldiers got out of Hawkins without being captured.  (Maybe the same way they got in to Hawkins, which had to be with happy thoughts and fairy dust.)  

I'm a little confused by the monsters.  The one they battled in S2 and S3 was called the Mind Flayer and that's not the Demogorgon, right?  Because when the Demogorgon showed up at the end, it's a very different creature.  Are they related somehow?  (It's a bit like how I could never make sense of the aliens in the Alien movies.)  And they never explained why the monster needed fertilizer and pesticides. 

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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Considering how they love 80s movie references, I’m pretty certain next season is gonna be Stranger Things IV: The Search For Hop.

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Why do some of the guys still have bowl cuts? Besides Keanu in Bill and Ted the longer hair styles then would be more of a mullet or hair band look, bowl cuts are 70's. Also why does Winona look so frail and crazy eyed? Bless her heart but she looks like a 60+ year old with a bad wig. Besides that, so glad Hopper is alive and I didn't feel that bad about Billy because I never got attached to his character.

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6 hours ago, TrininisaScorp said:

It was a kick to see Cary Elwes as the dickish mayor.  Westley got got in the end, though.  Inconceivable! 

Thanks for the Princess Bride reference. Cary Elwes was one of my favorite things about this season! Always a treat when he turns up.

~As you wish

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4 hours ago, Armchair Critic said:

Why do some of the guys still have bowl cuts? Besides Keanu in Bill and Ted the longer hair styles then would be more of a mullet or hair band look, bowl cuts are 70's. Also why does Winona look so frail and crazy eyed? Bless her heart but she looks like a 60+ year old with a bad wig. Besides that, so glad Hopper is alive and I didn't feel that bad about Billy because I never got attached to his character.

I don't know why Ryder is dressed like that. I see her on award and talk shows where she dresses very nice. I guess someone in the makeup department hates her. It wasn't too bad in the first two seasons, but here they ruined her with gaudy makeup, an oversized shirt that would have been used as nightgown wear, and a bad wig. They should have went with her Heathers look. I hope next season. LOL.

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Instead of it being Hopper, as the American prisoner, I hope it's Murray. Yeah, even though we see him escape with Joyce. We don't see him during the aftermath outside of the Starcourt Mall. Maybe, he got nabbed during the whole hubbub? 

I enjoyed this season overall, more than season two. If this were to be the last season I'd be fine with it. Although, the Duffer Brothers have stated in the past that the plan is for four seasons. 

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If your name starts with a B on this show you are going to die. 

I'm glad Billy was able to do something good in the end. Didn't like him but he went out saving El. I also hope Hopper either jumped into the Upside Down or was captured by the Russians. He can't be dead. El doesn't need that, poor girl needs to catch a break. Even Will got a break this season (with the crazy stuff not so much with the growing up stuff). Speaking of them now that they are living together I hope Will and El can become friends. They never really talk to each other and they have both have a connection to the Upside Down and love Mike. So I hope next season when Mike comes to visit he'll see that his girlfriend and best friend have bonded. 

Obviously since the Russians have a Demi-Dog and probably Hopper, the alarm system (Will) and the powered girl (El) will be needed. At least I hope El still has her powers, I'm not really sure why she lost them suddenly. They never explained what happened there. I get she was injured and drained during the battle but she was still unable to use her powers 3 months later. This show definitely doesn't shy away from child violence everyone was getting beat up this season. 

Wasn't sure about Robin at first and spent most of the first few eps wondering why she looked like Uma Thurman. Because I forgot she's her daughter. Then I ended up loving her and her friendship with Steve. I'm glad she'll still around and her and Steve can give each other advice on girls. I also loved that she was a nerd and understood all of Dustin's references. No wonder he thought she was awesome right away. One part I wish they had spent a little more time on but I understand why they didn't, was her reaction to the sci-fi crazy stuff. She was fine with the Russian spy work because that was 1980's real life concern, then she found out all about the Demagorgan and mindflayers and that Hawkins had a real life super powered hero named Eleven. She only had a mild reaction to that.  

Also did they say where they moving? I'm hoping Chicago. I know I was in the minority of liking the El meets another like her adventure. But that's what I liked about it. El is 11 for a reason, so there are at least a couple other kids out there like her. I want to meet them and maybe they will need their help to finally defeat the Upside Down for good. Kali's power would be real useful when they are trying to sneak around places. 

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1 hour ago, harrisonjames said:

Instead of it being Hopper, as the American prisoner, I hope it's Murray. Yeah, even though we see him escape with Joyce. We don't see him during the aftermath outside of the Starcourt Mall. Maybe, he got nabbed during the whole hubbub? 

I don't think Murray being the prisoner has any narrative value. What story is there to tell? He's likeable and amusing but he's a tertiary character. 

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So the 80's movie references and homages were plentiful this season.  Day of the Dead, Jurassic Park (not really 80's but close enough), Terminator, Rambo, Neverending Story, Aliens, The Lost Boys (the shots of the fair reminded me of the Santa Carla boardwalk), Back to the Future, Red Dawn, Gremlins, and all the movies referenced by Steve and Robin during their interview at the video store.  Any more I missed?

ETA: I forgot Karate Kid!

Edited by domina89
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2 minutes ago, domina89 said:

So the 80's movie references and homages were plentiful this season.  Day of the Dead, Jurassic Park (not really 80's but close enough), Terminator, Rambo, Neverending Story, Aliens, The Lost Boys (the shots of the fair reminded me of the Santa Carla boardwalk), Back to the Future, Red Dawn, Gremlins, and all the movies referenced by Steve and Robin during their interview at the video store.  Any more I missed?

If they count, all the movies that were listed as playing at the mall theater. The one that stood out to me was The Stuff. 

Mainly because somebody else remembers that it exists. 

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10 hours ago, TrininisaScorp said:

I thoroughly enjoyed this season, like I did the previous 2.  I spent most of my 4th feeling anxious, and looking at the gory goopy flayed through my fingers.  Excellent!

If Hooper isn't the Russian prisoner, I'll never forgive them.  I luf him so!  His terrible attitude.  His shitty JCPenny fake Magnum PI shirt.  His clear attraction and feelings for Joyce.  The vo of the letter from the first episode got me the same way it did El.

I love Will.  He's such a sweet little cinnamon roll that doesn't want nor deserves any of this.  I spent the whole binge waiting for him to get taken over or something b/c maybe he is more susceptible.

It was a kick to see Cary Elwes as the dickish mayor.  Westley got got in the end, though.  Inconceivable! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the makeups of the teams.  Max and El were cute; as a 90s teen (I was one of those littles riding the coin operated rides accompanying my mom to the mall in '85), mall culture and being there with your gfs and no parents is an American girl's right of passage.  I loved every bit of that.  Dustin and Steve continue to be one of my unexpected treasures, and I actually really liked Robin and Lucas's hilarious and feisty little sister.  Steve and Robin having a platonic thing is good for him.   Mike and Lucas having girl problems, while poor Will is trying to be like old times was sweet, but sad.  Joyce and Hopper (and sometimes Alexei and Murray) had great banter.  Nancy and Jonathan are ok; wish they were a bit more compelling.  When you put them all together in the mall, I was so happy! I wished we got a little more of the entire team together before all hell broke loose, and like above posters, I do wish it happened a little earlier.

Did Finn and Noah hit a growth spurt halfway thru filming?!  It feel like their shorts got so much shorter from episode 5 or 6 on.   We were cracking up at my house when there were wandering about in the finale.  

Billy is the WORST, but I really like Dacre Montgomery, and I felt his work, especially at the very end was lovely.   Billy was a class A dick, but seeing that sweet happy child who loved his mom is quite heartbreaking.  Mostly, I feel bad for Max.  She loved him, and she watched him die.  

Now the real question:  How long is the wait until what is presumably the final season?!

The duffer brothers have a five season plan. They could change that but there is nothing leaning towards the next season being the last right now. Thank God!

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20 hours ago, raven said:

Definite Aliens vibes with the crawls through the vents and Jurassic Park with the creature stalking the hiding kids.


 

Monster was very DEEP RISING.  DP is a great movie IMHO and I tend to watch every time I see it on cable.  Me = moth and DP = flame.  Same with LAKE PLACID.  Great characters with tension and fun

Edited by ShannaB · Reason: correction

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Slightly out of the' 80s ballpark since it's from '91, but I think you can add Terminator 2 to the list of movie callbacks.   Every time the Mind Flayer dissolved and reformed, slid through a vent cover or under a door, or put out a claw to reabsorb a bit of goo I thought of that movie.

I read a review that said that Hopper's last fight was straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but I don't see it.  

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For me, I think Hopper being the American prisoner, lessens the impact of his story arc and death this season. I don't think, Murray would have a better arc. But, I hope the American prisoner isn't Hooper.

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I do think it kind of cheapens the story a bit, to have Hopper somehow survive. But I can't say I wouldn't be thrilled if he did. Also, poor Joyce - losing two men she loves in a matter of years? And the show does benefit from having the two "grown up" characters to balance out all of the kids. 

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They had me going.  I was holding on to the fact that we didn't see Hopper die, and thought he was sucked into the Upside Down.  Then they got the letter, voice over, and flashback, and I thought they'd actually done it.  Then after the credits...

The fake out seems unnecessary.  Watching that last ten minutes, I kept thinking the only way to earn this emotional hit and have him be alive is for him to be sucked into the Upside Down.  I think that would also make more sense, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for next season.  There was a little foreshadowing of the ending with the demigorgon sized cage and cattle prod, and Alexei calling Hopper fat Rambo. 

I am a little divided on this season because I thought the mind flayer and the US government were enough as adversaries without adding the Russians.  However, it makes sense in the context of the 80s-ness.

Also, the ratio of silly to serious was a little too on the silly side for my taste at the beginning.  I prefer Hopper as a small town police chief and not as an obnoxious would-be PI, and Steve was on the verge of dissolving into comic relief.  However, both rallied later. 

Cary Elwes was delightfully scummy, and the the young actors continue to be really good at this.  Nice that Sean Astin got a nod, and hopefully Paul Reiser will be back next season.

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20 hours ago, TwoBitUsherette said:

I know I burned through the episodes pretty quickly, but did Jonathan and Will have any kind of meaningful interaction all season, outside of occasionally standing next to each other?

No. And I don't think Jonathan really interacted with Joyce either during this episode, which was odd.

Erica was delightful in small doses last season, but they used her so much here that she got irritating. She earned some points back, though, when she cut off Dustin's lovey-dovey exchange with Suzie. And I enjoyed the Neverending Story duet, but thought it went on too long and killed some of the momentum. It might've been worth it to see Hopper's reaction, though.

I liked Robin, but I think that by adding her and spending more time on Erica, they didn't give some of the returning characters enough to do. I particularly wanted to see more with Will since I thought his story this season started out so interesting, only for him to spend episode 4(?) on mostly just serving as an early warning system for the Mind Flayer.

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7 hours ago, Racj82 said:

The duffer brothers have a five season plan. They could change that but there is nothing leaning towards the next season being the last right now. Thank God!

I don't want to be a downer but is this a certainty? I don't see this mentioned anywhere only that they planned to do four seasons, maybe a fifth if they have enough material. In one of the most recent article I could find, one of the producers said a fifth is a possibility but it's not yet been decided. https://tvline.com/2019/07/05/stranger-things-season-4-renewed-final-episodes/

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I binge watched this so maybe it started running together for me, but at the end was some of it out of sequence? First they showed El/Joyce and Jonathan/Will driving away from Hawkins, but then in scenes after that they are still home and haven't left yet.

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9 hours ago, domina89 said:

So the 80's movie references and homages were plentiful this season.  Day of the Dead, Jurassic Park (not really 80's but close enough), Terminator, Rambo, Neverending Story, Aliens, The Lost Boys (the shots of the fair reminded me of the Santa Carla boardwalk), Back to the Future, Red Dawn, Gremlins, and all the movies referenced by Steve and Robin during their interview at the video store.  Any more I missed?

ETA: I forgot Karate Kid!

Nice homage to Die Hard in episode 5

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The motorcycle bad guy was very Darth Vadar like when he was introduced and killed the scientist in the early episode. 

Also, when all the electronics were working on their own (when Dustin came home), that was very Maximum Overdrive. 

The station wagon full of teens reminded me a little of The Legend of Billie Jean. 

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And they never explained why the monster needed fertilizer and pesticides. 

They sure didn't. And I was hoping that the people the monster consumed would emerge from the muck like Dana and Louis broke out of their monster shells in "Ghostbusters."

Loved all the callbacks to "Jurassic Park," especially when the Starcourt Mall sign fell like the banner after the T-Rex killed the raptors.

I did NOT like the Terminator dude. It's OK to pay homage to 80s flicks, but not OK to copy a character outright. I'm glad he will not be back.

The ending was brutal. I'm so invested in these characters, I felt like I was watching my good friends move away. (That was always my biggest fear when I was their ages -- that my best friend would have to move because of her father's job. She never did, thank God.)

All the actors in this ensemble cast are top notch. Not a lazy performance in sight on this show.

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4 hours ago, Lies said:

I don't want to be a downer but is this a certainty? I don't see this mentioned anywhere only that they planned to do four seasons, maybe a fifth if they have enough material. In one of the most recent article I could find, one of the producers said a fifth is a possibility but it's not yet been decided. https://tvline.com/2019/07/05/stranger-things-season-4-renewed-final-episodes/

https://winteriscoming.net/2018/11/29/stranger-things-set-run-four-five-seasons/

They don't want to do just four because they don't think that will be enough. At the least, they'll end up doing a abridged final season. They won't be done after four. 

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2 hours ago, Armchair Critic said:

I binge watched this so maybe it started running together for me, but at the end was some of it out of sequence? First they showed El/Joyce and Jonathan/Will driving away from Hawkins, but then in scenes after that they are still home and haven't left yet.

Yes, it was out of sequence.  I take it they did that on purpose, but it was a little disconcerting.  (By the way, love your avatar, Heat Miser!)

Thinking more about the season as a whole, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed.  They haven't spent quite enough effort on the plot, or why all these shadowy government figures from the US, Russia, wherever, would even be conducting these experiments or trying to break into such a miserable world.  Yes, I enjoy the characters enough to mitigate that to some extent, but in season 2 and even more in season 3 some of the relationships (family and friend) that I loved in season 1 kind of went by the wayside.

Steve/Dustin are a cute friend pairing but do they have to be together all the time?  They were in those tunnels under the mall, like, forever.  Also, I appreciate that they tried to increase the role of female characters but am not big on adding such heavy doses of new or minor characters like they did here.  The cast is huge and for the most part they did a good job of managing that, but I missed having a little bit more time with the original friend and family groups of season 1.

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1 hour ago, mmecorday said:

I did NOT like the Terminator dude. It's OK to pay homage to 80s flicks, but not OK to copy a character outright. I'm glad he will not be back.

I see what you did there...:)

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3 hours ago, Watchingtv said:

The station wagon full of teens reminded me a little of The Legend of Billie Jean. 

Or National Lampoon's Vacation.  Their code name was even "Griswold Family".

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3 hours ago, Racj82 said:

https://winteriscoming.net/2018/11/29/stranger-things-set-run-four-five-seasons/

They don't want to do just four because they don't think that will be enough. At the least, they'll end up doing a abridged final season. They won't be done after four. 

Okay, I hope they do a fifth but it doesn't say in this article either there'll be five seasons for sure.  They haven't made up their minds yet. 

If there's a fifth one, you're probably right in that it'll be (much) shorter than the previous seasons. 

Edited by Lies

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Well I'm a wreck.

Unfortunately I was spoiled on Hopper's death just before watching the first episode.  I heard in weeks prior from that this season was sad and that a "major character" dies. Then before streaming the show on Thursday morning I stupidly went on Twitter and number one thing trending was "Hopper" and I went "Awwww fuck."

Even though I don't know how it's possible I'm praying Hop is the "American" in the gulag.

If it's not that letter was a great last moment from David Harbour.

I am glad Billy did get redemption in the end.

Thank god for Dustin and Suzie's duet of "The Neverending Story"!  It was a light spot in the midst of all the intensity. Also nice they got the three kid actors from Broadway(Gaten, Caleb and Sadie) to sing it!

David Bowie's at the end Heroes was apt because everybody got to be heroes.

I know we're all looking forward to season 4 already but man I just want Joyce and all the kids to catch a damn break.

Edited by VCRTracking
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I have mixed feelings over this season.  There were a lot of elements I really liked, Robin was a standout addition to the crew, the return of Murray was a nice touch, the Russians being baddies was perfect, being the 80s.  The whole notion of growing up, growing apart, getting on with life was a great theme.  They figured out what to do with Billy, used him solidly and then killed him off, which was perfect. Dacre Montgomery worked gold with what he was given. Nancy got a ton to do, which was fantastic.

Overall, the first half of the season was strongest. Tight, character focused writing, weaving in the growing cast as best as possible, laying the groundwork for the second half.  A great blend of comedy, action and drama.

The second half? Not so much.  It feels like the underground/Russians/mall bit with the foursome lagged a fair bit.  Like they were in a state of running down the clock while other stories were happening.  I liked Erica, but ultimately, I think she shouldn't have been the fourth player in the group.  I'm all for increased diversity, but when that diversity is reduced to one note 'sassy black woman' in a 10 year old as well as the nurse at the hospital, then maybe don't go there.  Especially when Will is basically a shadow for the second half of the season. Will got NOTHING, which was so frustrating and it genuinely felt like the writers didn't know what to do with him. Had they put him in Erica's spot, that would have been interesting, pairing Dustin/Will, the two who felt the pains of things changing. Max, Lucas and Jonathan also got shelved a bit, which is going to happen when the cast gets too big. I would hope season 4 scales that back as much as possible. The comedy was mostly hit, but it did feel like the Joyce/Hopper bickering was forced at times and a bit too loud.  Also, there was just too much physical violence. Hopper constantly getting into fights, the number of times the kids would be flung into a wall or across a room was just too much.

But it was exciting and action packed and made interesting choices for what happens next. El with no powers, Hopper believed dead when he's clearly in Russia, the Byers/El moving from Hawkins, the Demogorgon returns and the 2nd gate is very much open. Hopefully we'll see season 4 much sooner.

Edited by Vella
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32 minutes ago, Vella said:

Hopefully we'll see season 4 much sooner.

Ha, if they don’t the “kids” will be 30!  They looked so much older. Will towered over Joyce in the like one scene they had together at the end.  They need to not wait too long unless they want it to be “Stranger Things - Demogorgon Goes to College.”

3 hours ago, Dev F said:

But that was a central point in a way, wasn't it? A big theme of the season is that these previously tight groups of friends and loved ones were going their separate ways -- and that this was actually a strength rather than a weakness.

I actually found that really refreshing for a story like this. There are a lot of sci-fi tales about a group of outsiders fighting some shadowy representation of conformity that threatens to obliterate their individuality, but usually these stories are about how the heroes come together to form some alternate model of unity that's stronger and better than the bad version. Like, the villain unites everyone in ignorance/fear/hate, while the heroes join together in wisdom/courage/love. In Stranger Things 3, we have a typical Conformity Villain -- one so literal that it's actually mashing its victims together into one giant blobby monster! -- but the answer isn't just a better sort of unity. It's actually disunity. Our heroes triumph not because they pull together but because they drift apart, finding their own separate niches that each contribute in a different way to defeating the forces of conformity.

And that's a pretty cool and fairly uncommon message -- that it's OK to feel like an outsider even among other outsiders, and that even if you find yourself growing apart in small or large ways from the people you once shared everything with, it doesn't mean you have to stop caring about them or supporting them in their times of need.

Sure, the last two seasons have been big on breaking the characters up into smaller groups that each work to tackle some aspect of whatever crisis is going on. Season 3 was big on the kids growing up and developing new interests. I totally get that. But they can never see each other ever?  It was like Joyce and her kids didn’t even live in the same house anymore for instance. They didn’t all have to be together constantly but I’d like to see a brief scene for one minute every once in a while! 

Particularly the “tunnels under the mall” and “Russians grab Steve and Robin” went on way too long. 

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