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    • Stranger Things 3 is here! Granted, I didn't have to wait as long as everyone else since I only watched seasons one and two less than a month ago, but I'm still excited the show is back! I went back and forth between writing a single post for the entire season, or to break it up into episodes to give each one the attention it deserves. I decided to go with the latter, and to keep things organised I also decided to start a new Conversation for each episode, rather than just one Conversation with multiple posts for each episode which could get rather messy. So with eight episodes this season, let's get the discussion started with episode one.

      Mike and El and Hopper oh my!

      Eleven has changed so much! In my previous post I did say that I wanted to see El lead a normal life, and I guess nothing is more normal than her making out with Mike and Hopper being freaked out by it 🤣 It was really cute how El kept clinging on to Mike in almost every scene. And it was hilarious how Hopper ran to Joyce for advice on how to deal with it. I thought it was especially funny how Hopper thought killing Mike would solve the problem!

      Guess who's back. Back again.

      It's the Mind Flayer! I guess he (it?) has been laying low since he was separated from Will last season, but now it seems like he's ready to come back as weird things have started happening. The blackout in the mall, the rats all converging in that warehouse and spontaneously exploding. Also, what's up with the drawings in the Byers' house falling off the fridge? Whatever the connection is between these events, the Mind Flayer is definitely at the centre of it. But why now after so long?

      The Russian connection

      I suspect the Russians have something to do with it. They apparently have a portal of their own which they have been trying to open for a year. How the activity in Russia will link back to Hawkins is definitely a point of interest.

      There were other smaller story arcs that have been set in motion. Nancy looks like she'll be taking on the role of an investigative journalist to prove her worth, starting with investigating the rats. Steve will definitely do something more exciting than selling ice cream all season long, maybe he'll help Dustin find Suzie? And Billy. What can we expect from Billy after he was taken by the Mind Flayer.

      I'll post my episode two discussion soon, but it might not be tomorrow, as I have tickets to watch Spider-Man: Far From Home and I'll definitely be writing about it. What did you think of episode one? Remember, just because the entire season is available, doesn't mean other's have watched the subsequent episodes. So don't spoil anything!

    • I saw episode 1 yesterday. It was a slow start, but in a good way. After about a year since I saw season 2, it is great to see that the show takes its time to remind us of the characters in general, and specifically updates us with what happened in the meantime.

      I'm a bit unclear about the timeline. Is this the summer vacation time directly following season 2 - which, if I remember correctly, ended with some school's out celebration - or has more time passed since then? Depending on that, how does the first russian scene relate to past seasons? Is this something that happened after the events we saw, or concurrently or even leading up to them?

      Last but not least, two major elements of episode 1 seem to be that (a) there's a new mall in town, and (b) the clique now has access to world-wide radio communication. I assume both are Chekhov's guns instead of red herrings, so I'm looking forward to the big mall fight against soviet monsters down the line... :D

      I also wonder if we'll somehow see a return of Bob Newby.

    • I'm a bit unclear about the timeline. Is this the summer vacation time directly following season 2 - which, if I remember correctly, ended with some school's out celebration - or has more time passed since then? Depending on that, how does the first russian scene relate to past seasons? Is this something that happened after the events we saw, or concurrently or even leading up to them?

      I did some reading to understand the timeline better myself. From what I understand, season one happened in 1983, ending around Christmas time. Season two happened the following year (1984), occurring around Halloween. Season three starts in June 1985, where we see the Russians trying to reopen the portal that Eleven closed. And we jump forward a year later (1986) where we catch up with the entire cast.

    • Thank you so much for starting this discussion! So I binge-watched 5.5 episodes of Stranger Things Season 3 yesterday on a cross-country flight (very long flight) and LOVED it. Season 3 is so much stronger than Season 2! We've beaten that Sophomore slump!

      Ok, now to episode 1 of Season 3:

      Interesting zombie movie callouts... I wonder where this is going?

      I want Dustin's Camp Know Where t-shirt. But seriously, it seems like he's picked up a lot of skills (and mature wisdom) over the summer. While Cerebro appears to be a bit of a disappointment at first, it does seem to be connecting to ... something.

      As you mentioned @JazliAziz Mike and El's relationship has grown so much! They're super-cute together, but you do empathize with Hopper who's trying to figure out teenager / parental boundaries.

      Apparently the Starcourt Mall was filmed in an actual mall on the outskirts of Atlanta that was completely re-done from the inside by the Stranger Things team. They did a great job! (spoilers in this article about how they did it).

      Even though I didn't go to the mall a lot as a young child, we did go once every blue moon, so I did feel a twinge of nostalgia seeing the exuberant joy of the 1980's - early 1990's mall scene.

      I watched so much Stranger Things 3 last night that I'll probably be mixing up episodes, so I'll stop there, but excited to re-watch episode 2 to discuss in your next thread!

    • That makes it about 1.5 years between seasons 2 and 3 (the main action, not the first scene)? Hmm, I really didn't expect that to be the case.

    • I've now rewatched the start of episode 1, and it states "June 1984" for the soviet scene, and "one year later" for the actual story. That would mean that about 8-9 months have passed since the end of season 2. I think that's a good compromise between believability (the actors have grown; a mall needed to be built or at least opened) and not letting too much time pass (so much happens at the age of the main characters; we hopefully need to stay in the 1980s for some more seasons).

      It would also put the first soviet attempt of opening their portal somewhere between seasons 1 and 2, so concurrently to the events in Hawkins. Could this play a role in explaining what happened, or why their attempt didn't work at the time?

    • Thanks for the clarification. Not sure why the Russian portal wasn't open, or who closed it in the first place, or if it was even open to begin with for that matter, because El only closed the Hawkins portal at the end of season two, which was around October 1984. Maybe we'll get the answers later in season three.

    • I want Dustin's Camp Know Where t-shirt.

      [...] an actual mall on the outskirts of Atlanta that was completely re-done from the inside by the Stranger Things team. They did a great job!

      The work of the props department has been incredible in the past, and still is. On top of all those shirts and the mall with all their properly 80's-dressed extras, in the first episode I especially noticed:

      > Soviet-style gas masks very similar to those seen in many Chernobyl photos. I didn't immediately make the connection that the first scene did not take place in Hawkins - but when I saw those gas masks, I knew that we weren't currently in the US.

      > A can of "New Coke" - because, obviously that debacle needed to be referenced at some point. :)

      > Especially Mrs. Wheeler being the most stereotypically 80's-styled person I've seen in... well... the last 30 years. :D

    • I watched the first season when it was not yet the first season but all that the Stranger Things was, it was predictably nostalgic but not too on the nose. When Netflix saw an opportunity for a second season, I did not care. Did not watch it. Screw sequels.

      I tried watching the third season, had to turn off about ten minutes in: too much trying for the 1980 feel and way too much plagiarizing. It is a game of finding every quote from existing movies, boring, uninventive.

      As Sam Adams from Slate put it, the show turned from a loving homage into a "vampire squid, sucking increasingly hard at a corpse that has long since run dry." I'd rather watch Blade Runner for the umpteenth time. Ah, heck, I may even re-watch Videodrome. Or The Thing. Or The Lawnmower Man.

      And if I want to listen to 1980s music I'd rather watch The Americans (I have all six DVDs) or Deutschland 83.