Warning: Friends don't lie, so we're gonna give it to ya straight – the following contains spoilers for the Season 3 final of Stranger Things .
Ho. Shelter. Crap. The epic Season 3 final of Stranger Things first made us feel like our hearts were going to beat right out of our chests, then it up and broke our hearts and, ultimately , it made our exhausted tickers go, "Hey, wait a minute, are you just brass with us?" How did "The Battle of Starcourt" go to do all that as well as destroy the mall and upend the entire series? Read on…
Though the chief believed that he was setting off on a two-man operation , it turned out to be three since, as Joyce and Murray pointed out, they would need a third in order to not just shut down the gate opener but blow it up. While Murray set off an alarm to distract the Russians, Hopper and Joyce were to retrieve the keys to the gate opener from the vault, follow a map to the observation room and kaboom! “If it all goes right, they'll never even know we were here,” said Murray… just as they were found sneaking into the compound by guards. Murray defused the situation at speaking Russian, but quickly gets Rambo on the enemy, awarding them down and stealing their uniforms. (Good thing they didn't get much when shot, I suppose.) Once in disguise, it was smooth sailing for the trio, though there was some grooming that Murray did too much chitching with the guards. Meanwhile, Nancy, Jonathan & Co. Discovered that the ignition cable had been out of the station wagon – they were going anywhere. What’s more… oh, s— Billy was a few feet away, revving the engine of his car. Needless to say, the time hightailed it back to the mall. At the same time, talk in the Todfather turned to Suzie. "She sounds made-up to me," said Erica. Steve did his best to act as if now, Suzie sounded totally real, but Steve is not half the actor that Joe Keery is. Anyway, the car came out before they'd reached the top of the hill, so "Scoops troupe" didn't hear the SOS that Mike sent out from the mall, where things were quickly going from bad to worse to whatever comes after worse. As a result, Nancy found himself unable to load Billy, El found herself unable to flip the car that she hurried to the Russians in an episode earlier that Jonathan could take its ignition cable into the station. Ruh-roh!
'IT'S A DATE' | While the kids at the mall used Physics to turn over the car, through the trash to find a can of New Coke to crush like she used to "Papa." Only she couldn't do that! Double ruh-roh! Just then, Will get a countless number, and the spider monster crashed through the glass ceiling of the mall. Ready or not, it was go time! Below, in the Russian compound, while waiting for Murray to make his way through the vents to set off the alarm, Hopper admitted to Joyce that "despite the arguing, I think we make a pretty good team." Did I get the job done or what? Detective Byers…? ”When he pointed out that it would be hard to serve in a town, she responded with five fantastically, if cautiously optimistic words:“ We'll see how it goes. ”And it got better. If they survived this ordeal, they deserved to celebrate, she added. With that, she asked him out. "Mr. Enzo's is pretty good." Dunno about you, but at this point, I was a tear. Not sure I realized how much I was rooting for those two crazy kids. Aaanyway … while Dustin and Erica were giving directions to Murray via Cerebro, Steve spotted the chaos at the mall from the top of the hill. And when he could get a walkie-talkie response from the "Griswold family," he took off with Robin to investigate. When at last Murray set off the alarm, Hopper and Joyce couldn't get into the vault given them as Planck's Constant. Since neither Dustin nor Erica knew the digits, either, they had to call in an actual genius: Suzie!
Yes, she was real. And she was adorable, like a tween version of Lisa Apple from Splitting Up Together . And of course she knew Planck's Constant. But she was mad at her Dusty Bun since he got back to Hawkins, so she wouldn't give him the number until he hears it. IT ? Oh yeah – she made him sing "The Neverending Story" with her over the radio. And if it sounds like it sounds, it was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. Again, tears. (I may be a sucker for this show, but damn…!) Eventually, I wiped my eyes, Suzie gave Dustin the number, and Hopper and Joyce retrieved the keys from the vault. "Hey," he said after they'd take over the observation deck, "you ready to end this?" Back at the mall, Jonathan tried to start the now-fixed station wagon with Will and Lucas in the while Nancy shot and shot and shot at Billy as he sped toward them. But the vehicle wouldn't start in time, and Billy wouldn't stop. Our hero would have been toast had not come and rammed the toddler convertible into the side of Billy's car at the last second! (Gasp-worthy, I tell ya!) Afterwards, they spotted the spider monster at the mall and left skid marks on their way out of the parking lot. But when it gave up pursuit, Jonathan & Co.
] 'I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL!' | Pursuing El, Mike and Max into the mall, Billy battered away the laugh two, knocked out El and laid here down in the food court as if its steps were an altar, she was the sacrifice. "Don't be afraid," he whispered, echoing words said often during Season 3. "It'll be soon. Just try and stay very quiet. ”With that, the spider monster lowered itself back into the mall. It might have been "game over" for El if Lucas had started throwing Satan's Baby at the creature. Soon, all the kids were hurling fireworks at the beast, putting on better show than Kline had at his fun fair. Downstairs on the observation deck, Grigori interrupted Hopper and Joyce, and delivered another brutal beating to his nemesis. As their fight moved out of the room, closer to the gate opener, Dustin screamed over the walkie-talkie to hurry up and close the gate – the mall rats were almost out of ammo! When the monster reeled from the explosions around it, snapped him out of his Flayed trance by reminding him of the day at the beach, when he rode a seven-foot wave, when he'd been happy with his mom… (Billy has never been my favorite character, but credit where it's due: Dacre Montgomery did great work here, shifting from possessed to free of mind control.) and c'mon, you just knew somebody was getting obliterated by that thing! – Billy stood before the spider monster and stopped its talented tentacle from reaching El. In response, the creator hurled a series of tentacles to him as his horrified stepsister looked at.
This had to be ended. Right then. Joyce could reach both keys, but… but Hopper was in the room with the gate opener. If she turned them, hey… gulp. He gave her a look that was not only here to go ahead, the ghost volumes, long, bittersweet volumes about what might have been. There were tears in his eyes, and unless you were completely dead inside, yours, too. Upstairs, Billy gave a final defiant roar, and the monster sent a death blow to his chest. When the gate opened, the creature collapsed into goop, Mike and El were reunited, and Max got to Billy in time to hear his last: "Sorry." Owens arrived with the cavalry (much too late, pal), Joyce embraced Will outside the mall. Then she spotted El. All the girl had to look at Joyce, and she knew. She'd just lost her father. From there, we flashed forward three months. Robin managed to convince Keith to not just her but Steve at Family Video (by saying that chick magnet Harrington would bring in more girls than he could handle). The Byers family was moving after all, and El with them. So there were lots of extremely good goodbyes. "As a wise man once said, we've got shared trauma," Jonathan said. “So,” Nancy chimed in, “what's a little more, right?” Though El still had regained her powers, Mike remained confident that she would. The two of them had big plans already, for him to visit at Thanksgiving and maybe for here to come back to Hawkins for Christmas. El wanted to get something straight, though. Reminding him of the day she'd spied on him when he was talking about his feelings, she took the bulls by the horns and confessed, "Mike, I love you too."
'I DON'T WANT THINGS TO CHANGE ' | Packing, Joyce found Hopper's notes for his heart-to-heart with El and Mike. The heart-to-heart that he had never had with the kids, she soon learned from El. Left alone with her father's words, El read Hopper's admission that had forgotten what feelings were for a long time; he was stuck in a deep, dark cave to the left some eggos in the woods. She'd made him happy. And he was worried, because he started to feel distance between them. "But I know you're getting older, growing, changing, and I'm really honest, that's what scares me," he confessed. He liked the way they were. Change can hurt. But even that was OK. "When life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt," he wrote. “The hurt is good. It means you're out of that cave. But please, if you don't mind, for the sake of your poor old dad, keep the door open three inches! ”Finally, as Peter Gabriel's version of Bowie's“ Heroes ”played (guess Bowie's was too expensive?), The Byerses and El inferior in their U-Haul, Mike hugged his mom, and Lucas and Dustin gave no-longer-closeted nerd Erica the Dungeons & Dragons set that had left behind. But wait, there was more… before Season 3 wrapped up, we cut to Kamchatka, Russia, where two guards retrieved a prisoner from a cell block whose inputs are seen behind their closed doors. "No. Not the American, ”said one of the guys. (Dare we hope it was Hopper behind by No. 1?) Instead, an unfortunate Russian prisoner was taken from his cell and dragged downstairs to a cage. When a dumb-waiter type was raised inside the cage, came out… well, hello gorgeous! A classic Demogorgon that rose to its feet, opened its calling-shaped mouth and screamed.
So, what did you think of the finale? Hop's alive, right? Or is that just wishful thinking? Were you surprised Suzie was real? Grade the episode in the poll below, then hit the comments with your Season 4 hopes / fears / theories.