Always have your guards up if you’re a Hawkins resident…
Stranger Things 3 opens on an eerily note. The camera protrudes a secret laboratory set in a cold, dark winter landscape, witnessing men in lab coats and military attire fiddling with forces they probably shouldn’t be playing with, eventually landing on a shot of the Soviet Union flag. Fast-forward a year, and it’s the summer of ’85 where romance is blossoming for most of the characters in the town of Hawkins (except for a certain ice cream captain whose charms are not particularly efficient with the ladies… Ehm, Ahoy!). Even Dustin has found himself a girlfriend, albeit, they communicate over a radio. Expectations are high, as you head into the third season of one of the world's most talked about shows. The obsession is real.
Last we saw of the Stranger Things gang was when Eleven closed the main entrance to the Upside Down, and seemingly all was left A-OKAY. As the characters live out their colourful 1980s summer, a complete blackout intercepts, but the lights turn back on right away and the technicolour summer resumes with plenty of perms and 80s beats to satisfy our senses - everything seems to be normal and no one suspects a thing of what’s lurking (besides Will’s occasional foreshadowing gut feeling). But as we know so well with this small town, in particular, teenagers don’t get to be teenagers for long as strange things persistently interrupt their existence. Faint Russian voices disrupt Dustin’s radio chat with Suzie. Billy is dragged off violently by something mysterious at nightfall… Oh dear.
Perhaps the writers played it a little safe by keeping the 80s nostalgia (and doing it amazingly well, might we add) such a main focus, allowing less time to dive deeper into each character, their individual mindsets and development. How was Will really coping following the events of Season 2? And Mike's experience of first love was put on pause by Chief Hopper. But it's all forgiven when your heart is lit by hearing your favourite song from when you were a teenager - and the title song of NeverEnding Story is still playing in your head days after finishing the show.
Stranger Things delivers what you expect and fulfils all the things you fell in love with in the first place.