Over a year and a half after the premiere of Stranger Things 2, Stranger Things 3 finally hit Netflix on July 4, 2019. The expectations were high for the much anticipated next installment in the incredibly successful series, and once again, everyone involved in the making of the show totally delivered. Featuring as many heartwarming and hilarious moments as ever, and just as many doses of heartbreak, too, Stranger Things 3 fired on all cylinders from start to finish.
Heading into the third season, there were plenty of questions that season two left us with that we desperately needed answers to. The good news is that Stranger Things 3 did provide us with a lot of answers, some of them more unexpected than others. But, of course, we now have plenty of new questions to stress over.
10 Answered: Is The Mind Flayer Really Gone?
In the second season finale, "The Gate," Eleven put some of her most impressive powers on display when she used her abilities to close the gate between Hawkins and the Upside Down once and for all. With the gate closed, and the Mind Flayer exorcised from Will, it seemed like the smoky beast's reign of terror had finally ended.
Of course, the Mind Flayer was never really gone at all, but instead trapped in Hawkins in a new, disgusting form. Over the course of the season, the Mind Flayer sought out flesh sacrifices—ranging from rats, to lifeguards, to senior citizens—to try and build itself a new body made from guts and bones alike.
9 New Question: What Will Happen To Hawkins Now?
At the start of Stranger Things 3, Hawkins is a fundamentally changed place. The main street of town is almost a ghost town after the opening of Starcourt Mall. Businesses have closed, and people are picketing outside Mayor Kline's office at Town Hall. When the season ends, however, Starcourt Mall is a wasteland as a result of the climactic confrontation with the Mind Flayer.
So with Starcourt out of the picture, what will happen to the town? Can it rebuild and survive? Furthermore, a news exposé on the town seems to be airing on a series called Cutting Edge in the finale. Will Hawkins suddenly become a national landmark for supernaturally curious individuals?
8 Answered: Why Is Billy The Way He Is?
Introduced at the start of Stranger Things 2, Billy Hargrove was just about one of the worst people in the series. Unabashedly sexist, racist, and abusive, it was hard to find any real reason to be interested in his character. But the third season was determined to make us learn more, given the prominent role he played in the overarching mythology of the Mind Flayer.
And what we learned about Billy's backstory turned out to be heartbreaking. He once lived happily with his mother and was once a kind, loving little boy. But as his domineering father grew more abusive, his mother left not only his father but him, too, hardening him to the world. It's only through a reconnection with these memories, and a show of affection from Eleven, that Billy is able to overpower the evil of the Mind Flayer and redeem himself.
7 New Question: How Is There A New Demogorgon?
Stranger Things 3 introduced a lot of new large scale mythology for the series, particularly concerning the involvement of Russian scientists like Alexei (also known as Smirnoff), who seems determined to reopen the gate between our world and the Upside Down. While we still don't totally know what their end game is there, we do know something truly shocking at the end of the season.
The credits scene at the end of the finale reveals one hell of a game changer: a new Demogorgon has been spotted in captivity in Russia. Where did it come from? Did they create it? What do they plan to do with it? Will it arrive in Hawkins?
6 Answered: Do Hopper & Joyce Have Romantic Feelings For Each Other?
It's been clear from the first season of Stranger Things that Eleven and Mike had feelings for each other, and that Jonathan and Nancy would eventually find their way to each other, too. By the end of Stranger Things 2, both of these romances were solidified and thriving. But one potential series-defining romance hung in the balance: the one between Chief Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers.
It was clear that there was something between these two, given how protective they were of each other and their shared history. Stranger Things 3 finally took the initiative to explore it fully, with multiple missed date opportunities arising, as well as Murray frankly commenting on their unresolved sexual tension.
5 New Question: Where Did The Byers & Eleven Move?
At the end of Stranger Things 3, the universe of the series is a vastly different one than the one we've known all series long. One of the biggest changes comes in the fact that some of the series' most important characters are moving out of Hawkins—possibly for good. Joyce, Jonathan, and Will Byers are leaving Hawkins and all the sad memories it carried behind.
But they're also bringing Eleven with them, taking on custody of her in Hopper's absence. While we know everyone is moving away, we have no idea about where exactly they're headed. How far are they moving away? Will they stay in touch? And come on, really, how long will it take before they wind up back home again?
4 Answered: What Does The Mind Flayer Want?
From the beginning of the series, it's never been completely clear what these monsters, whether the Demogorgon or the Mind Flayer, have wanted with our world. But with Stranger Things 3 giving the Mind Flayer a voice of its own in the form of host Billy Hargrove, we finally got some of the answers we have long wanted.
Eleven was the first person to make contact with the monsters of the Upside Down, and the first person to let them into the real world. So what, then, does the Mind Flayer want? To kill Eleven, and everyone else. As "Billy" explained, the Mind Flayer wanted to build something big enough to destroy her first, but then everyone she loved afterward.
3 New Question: Will Eleven Get Her Powers Back?
One of the most shocking consequences of Stranger Things 3's final battle was the reveal that Eleven, always the most reliably strong character in the series, has suddenly lost all of her telekinetic abilities. It's not entirely clear why, either. Did she simply overexert herself? Or did it have something to do with the creature she tore out of her leg?
Whatever the case may be, we have no idea whether her powers will ever return, which might be the scariest part of all. Mike seems to think they will, but Eleven doesn't seem as certain. But on the other hand, maybe this is what El really needs to start her life over outside of Hawkins, as a normal teenage girl with no powers to speak of.
2 Answered: Does Will Have True Sight?
In Stranger Things 2, the boys consider the possibility of Will having True Sight, which would explain how Will is able to see the Upside Down and its inhabitants while still being in the real world. Stranger Things 3 doubles down on that connection in a new way.
While Will may not have True Sight in the way the gang was originally thinking, he does still have an innate connection to the Mind Flayer and the Upside Down, making him physically and emotionally aware of whenever the Mind Flayer is arriving and readying to attack. It's a convenient plot device, sure, but also a heartbreaking reminder of everything that poor Will has been through in the series.
1 New Question: Is Hopper Really Alive?
The most shocking and heartbreaking moment in the entirety of Stranger Things 3 comes when Chief Jim Hopper, always the lovable hero, seemingly sacrifices himself for the greater good. As things stand, we're led to believe that Hopper went out with a bang, exploding alongside a few scientists when Joyce used the key to close the gate to the Upside Down once again.
But is Hopper really gone? We're not so sure. A post-credits scene set in Russia shows Russian guards referring to a closely guarded character as "the American." Is it possible that Hopper could have gotten away before the blast happened? We're not sure. But we're hoping that's the case. Even just trying to think of Stranger Things without Hopper feels wrong.