‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Recap: What to Know for Season 4!

It’s official- grab your popcorn and a blanket because Stranger Things season 4 is set to release on May 27th, and here’s what you need to know going into the new season!

It’s been almost 3 years since fans have received a new season of Stranger Things, and even though distance can make the heart grow fonder- we all can’t wait! It’s no secret, though, that when a TV series takes quite a while to drop new seasons, we often forget about what happened in the previous season. Maybe it’s why you’re reading this article right now! Well, lucky for you, here’s a short recap of the 3rd season of Stranger Things:

Going all the way back to the Summer of 2019, the 3rd season of Stranger Things begins one year after the finale of season 2. What happened in that year? Well, romance has struck Eleven and Mike, as well as Lucas and Max, but that’s not all. Joyce, Will and Jonathan’s mother, became weirdly obsessed about magnets falling off her fridge.

Hopper, on the other hand, struggled with how to parent Eleven and how to stop her and Mike from having an exploring-type relationship (i.e., too much making out). But where is Dustin in all of this? Well, after spending a month at Summer camp, Dustin returns back home but with a new girlfriend whose name is Suzie.

However, romance is not the biggest takeaway from this season. Rather, it’s a shopping mall called The Starcourt Mall. This 80’s style mall is where Steve has a job at Scoops Ahoy with a classmate of his, Robin.

But when it comes to Hawkins, something evil always appears. While Dustin was trying to communicate with his girlfriend Suzie via radio, he accidentally came across a Russian message. Of course, Dustin needed it to be translated, so he went to Steve for help. While Steve had no clue what the message meant, Robin came to the rescue and decoded the message. That’s when they all found out the hidden message, which was: Russians were using Starcourt Mall to restart the Upside Down.

Of course, the new trio had to investigate it, but not without Lucas’s sister, Erica. But the plan went sideways quickly. They became stuck in the elevator and got caught by the Russians. Steve and Robin were left hostages as Dustin and Erica managed to escape. The hostages become beaten but, thankfully, are soon saved by Dustin and Erica. And later, after a little heart-to-heart scene, Robin comes out as gay to Steve.

But fans truly wanted to know where Billy was. In season 3, Billy is shown working as a lifeguard at a community pool. What really spiced things up, though, was the almost affair with Mike and Nancy’s mother, Mrs. Wheeler. But, as he was meeting her at a hotel, he crashed his car and was possessed by a demon called the Mind Flayer.

As for a favorite couple of the show, Nancy and Jonathan, they both worked as interns at The Hawkins Gazette. Only Jonathan, however, managed to get respect from the other workers, while Nancy didn’t. The couple teams up to interview an elderly lady named Mrs. Driscoll, who stated that she had rats that were possessed by the same demon that took over Billy.

Only one person, however, can see if someone is possessed- our girl Eleven. She spies on Billy and believes that he is possessed. The group then traps Billy in a hot sauna, which shows the group that he is indeed the Mind Flayer. But Billy escapes after trying to kill Eleven.

Towards the end of the season, the Mind Flayer ends up finding the group at Hopper’s house and attacks Eleven, biting her leg. Soon after that incident, the demon’s bite affected Eleven’s powers.

Hopper, in the meantime, found out that the town mayor of Hawkins allowed the Russians to use the mall to sneak in a liquid substance. As Hopper breaks into one of the properties, the Mayor mentions that he and Joyce become aware of Alexei, one of the Russian Scientists.

Kidnapping Alexei, who doesn’t speak English, Joyce and Hopper take him to see Murray, the journalist in the second season, for translation. If it wasn’t for Alexei and his love for slurpees, Joyce and Hopper wouldn’t have found out that the Russians were planning to reopen the upside down.

As Joyce and Hopper assume that their children are at the Hawkin’s carnival, an unexpecting and heartbreaking scene happens: another Russian ends up killing Alexei for betraying them.

And now, this is where fans started to become more anxious.

Season 3 Finale: What Happens?

The entire group finally are together, once again, at the Starcourt Mall. In doing so, they all decide to split up into groups to kill the Mind Flayer and close the Upside Down again. Meanwhile, Hopper, Joyce, and Murray all go to the underground Russian station to close the gate, all thanks to Dustin’s girlfriend Suzie- yes, you heard that correctly.

But things go sideways once again as Billy and the Mind Flayer enter the mall. The group battles them while Eleven is unconscious. Then, while Eleven is knocked out, Billy persuades her to take the Mind Flayer as a gift. But fans could not believe what happened next. Eleven uses her powers to channel childhood memories of Billy’s, particularly one that contained a beach and his mother, which then allows Billy to fight off the Mind Flayer and sacrifice himself for Eleven.​

While Joyce and Hopper are being attacked by the Russians, Hopper realizes that he needs to guide an attacker away from Joyce in order to close the gate. Hopper then comes to realize that there isn’t a way out for him. Here comes another sad part: Hopper has to sacrifice himself in order for Joyce to close the Upside Down gate.

But one question remained: what happens to Eleven? Well, in the final scenes of the finale, Joyce is seen with her family, including Eleven, moving out of Hawkins. And that’s the end of season three! Goosebumps, right?

Fans are not the only ones who are extremely excited for season 4 to come out! In fact, Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, tells The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m really excited for it. It’s a really crazy season.”

Make sure to check out the trailer for season four and cancel all your plans on May 27th- it’s binge-watching time!

About the Author

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Brianna DiMaio

Brianna DiMaio is a junior at The Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Digital Journalism and Media at the Bellisario College of Communications. She is currently an intern at AfterBuzz TV and Better Together with Maria Menounos.