The final episode of Stranger Things season 3 saw the Mind Flayer defeated - and raised a lot of questions for the inevitable season 4. This has been a short season, focused on exploiting the show's Cold War context for the first time, and Stranger Things season 3, episode 8 wraps all that up pretty neatly - for now. Meanwhile, it finally reveals the Mind Flayer's true plan; it wants to incorporate Eleven into itself, thus neutralizing its only threat and potentially gaining the ability to open Gates itself.
The bulk of "The Battle of Starcourt" is divided between three settings: Starcourt Mall, where the kids battle to keep Eleven safe; the Russian lab, where Hopper and Joyce must overload the Gate generator; and the highest point around Hawkins, where Dustin uses his Cerebro unit to coordinate everything. For all the action and adventure, Stranger Things season 3, episode 8 is absolutely packed with character, and it features some of the most unforgettable scenes in Stranger Things to date. Dustin gets his best moment yet, singing a hilarious duet with Suzie, while Eleven manages to reach Billy and help him fight against the Mind Flayer's control.
This time around, however, the heroes of Stranger Things must pay a terrible price if they're going to save the world from the Mind Flayer. When the dust settles from Stranger Things season 3, episode 8, there are more questions than answers. Is Hopper really dead? What happened to the Russians? And is the Hawkins Gate closed for good?
6. Is Hopper Really Dead?
Hopper has always been focused on protecting his loved ones, and in Stranger Things season 3, episode 8, that means he has no choice but to sacrifice himself in order to save Eleven. An ill-timed brawl with the Russian Terminator leaves Hopper stranded in the Gate room, with the generator primed to overload. Hopper gives Joyce one last, lingering look, and a nod to trigger it - even though he believes it will result in his death. But when the energy flare is over, it's unclear if Hopper is really dead. Alexei had warned that the energy flare would reduce anybody to dust, but that's frankly a little too convenient - and there is a well-placed ladder he could have used.
5. Who Is The Russians' American Prisoner?
The Russians manage to evacuate the lab before it was captured by the US military, and Stranger Things season 3's post-credits scene reveals that they also extracted some biological samples from the Upside Down - including at least one Demogorgon. Dialogue reveals that they have an American prisoner. Did they take an unconscious and injured Hopper with them while evacuating? Or could it be the continuously absent Dr. Brenner?
4. What Will Happen To The Hawkins Gate?
Dr. Owens, former director of Hawkins Lab, leads the American forces who capture the Russian Gate project. In one chilling scene, he approaches the Russian Gate and learns that it isn't entirely closed; clearly the fabric of reality at Hawkins has suffered lasting damage. Given Owens is shown back in Hawkins, it's safe to assume he will lead a US team who guard the Gate. Hopefully they don't resume experiments with it as well.
3. Why Is Everyone Acting Like The Mind Flayer Is Beaten For Good?
Still, the Gate is closed enough for the Mind Flayer to lose its connection to Earth once again, and the body it has created for itself collapses. Everyone acts like this is a big victory in Stranger Things season 3, episode 8, but it really isn't; in episode 5, the kids realized that the threat of the Mind Flayer will remain so long as a part of it is on Earth. With the Gate still partly open, the Mind Flayer can return.
2. Why Did Eleven Lose Her Powers?
Curiously, in Stranger Things season 3, episode 8, Eleven completely loses her powers. This doesn't seem to be a temporary thing, either; three months later, she's shown still powerless. It's unclear what happened, but the most reasonable explanation is that she's simply burnt out. Just as pressing is how she'll get them back, likely a plot point in the upcoming Stranger Things season 4.
1. Where Have The Byers Family & Eleven Moved To?
Stranger Things season 3, episode 8's ending appears to changes the show forever, with the Byers family taking Eleven in - and leaving Hawkins. It's unclear whether Eleven has been formally adopted, or whether Joyce just considers herself Eleven's most appropriate guardian following Hopper's death. Naturally, all this leads to some pretty tearful goodbyes, but the gang are all planning to stay in touch - with Thanksgiving and Christmas both name-dropped, making them likely settings for season 4.