Stranger Things season 3 continued the series’ tradition of killing characters that viewers have become attached to, but the two big deaths of the season could have been avoided. The Duffer Brothers’ hit sci-fi series Stranger Things came back with a third season on July 2019, leaving Halloween aside for a while and instead showing what summer in Hawkins looks like.
But as evil is never really gone from Hawkins, the menaces in Stranger Things season 3 were bigger and more dangerous than the previous ones. Fighting against them took a combined effort from the main characters and others who were introduced in season 2 and had more prominent roles in this new season, such as Erica Sinclair and Murray Bauman. It also had some memorable moments that went viral and even became internet challenges – and if one of these had not happened, two characters would have probably lived.
In the first episode of Stranger Things season 3, viewers learned that Dustin had a girlfriend from camp, Suzie, but failed to contact her through a makeshift radio, and his friends doubted she even existed. Cut to the last episode, where Dustin was finally able to contact her and ask for her assistance, as he needed Planck’s constant to help Joyce and Hopper close the gate. Suzie agreed, but only if Dustin sang “The NeverEnding Story”. Each group was working against the clock, and saving the song for another time could have saved both Billy and Hopper.
Very much like in Stranger Things season 2, closing the gate to the Upside Down would kill the Mind Flayer instantly, thus saving the groups at Starcourt Mall and Billy, who was under the Mind Flayer’s control. In order to close the gate, Joyce and Hopper needed to retrieve the “keys”, which were kept in a safe at the Russian lab. The code to the safe was Planck’s constant, which Murray got wrong, prompting Dustin to ask Suzie for help. Keeping the musical number for another moment (or completely avoiding it) would have saved some very precious time, with Joyce and Hopper closing the gate on time and with that saving Billy and the rest.
What was unavoidable was one last encounter with Grigori, as he was on his way to the gate room anyway, but there wouldn’t have been any risk when fighting next to the active machine, thus Hopper would have lived (and got some more bruises). While the “NeverEnding Story” scene was good comic relief amidst the tension and chaos, if it had had a different timing, it probably wouldn’t have cost the lives of some of Stranger Things' most popular (and beloved) characters.