You know what I like about Netflix shows that have around 10 episodes a season? They don't waste time with pointless story arcs. Traditional TV shows are plagued with filler episodes; episodes that don't progress the main story but only exist to fill in a 22-episode season. Most Netflix shows don't have such episodes, and episode three is a testament to that. Each story arc is progressing quickly while still not feeling rushed (cough Game of Throne cough). The intensity and suspense are building, the stakes are higher, and you can sense that things could explode at any moment. I just published my episode two discussion a few hours ago, and here's episode three.
Spin the bottle
Looks like El and Max are getting in on the investigative action. What started out as a harmless game of spin the bottle (modified for El's special abilities) turned into a full fledged investigation to find the missing lifeguard. El and Max did find her in the end, but it looks like the Mind Flayer has levelled up from controlling demogorgons to controlling humans! Looks like he really is building an army, but it looks like it's going to be an army of mind-controlled humans.
I know that women weren't treated fairly in this time period, and this is probably a creative outlet meant to inspire women to feel empowered in our modern time, but it's still hard to watch her be treated like trash by those jerks at the Hawkins Post. I hope she gets the last laugh by the end of the season.
Hopper really needs to grow up and stop being a whiny baby. Sure Joyce stood him up, but with all the crazy stuff that has happened in Hawkins, you'd think that he would pay more attention to some weird unexplained magnetic disturbances. To his credit he did entertain Joyce in checking out the old lab, and now that he was beaten up by who I presume is one of the Russian bad guys, maybe he'll finally take things a bit more seriously. Also, looks like Joyce actually did take Bob's advice and is looking to move away. It'll be interesting to see how that plot develops.
Step aside, Batman!
Robin has turned out to be quite brilliant, first translating the intercepted transmission and subsequently decoding it. Whatever is going on in that mall, armed Russians can't be a good thing. Maybe that lab we saw at the beginning of the season is underneath the mall? This story arc is getting more intriguing.
Finally! Mike, Will, and Lucas will finally be pulled into the major story arc. You have to feel sorry for Will. The boy just wants things to go back to normal; he just wants to play some D&D with his friends. His breakdown in the woods was something I'm sure many boys must've felt as they were growing up, and it was a very well done scene. But as he chillingly discovered at the end of the episode, things can't go back to normal, not since the Mind Flayer is back. Looks like Will is somehow still connected to him, even after the exorcism in season two.
Lastly, I just wanted to give a shoutout to the cinematography in this episode. That transition from the security cam in the lab to Dustin's binoculars, and how we saw the shadow of Hopper's gun as he went out to investigate the lab, brilliant. Haven't seen much of that, but I hope we see more in the upcoming episodes.