What would be better than a bunch of teenagers fighting Russian Commies and a mind controlling monster that turns people into mush?
It all seems too surreal at first, but it somehow bodes well and is an amazing entertainer. It is not easy following the footsteps of the preceding seasons, which were great in their own right. The plot is interwoven very well, with some of the most interesting characters making a comeback and being given a more prominent role (Read Erica, the real MVP). Perhaps one of the reasons is that it now appeals to a broader audience as compared to before where it seemed to cater to a more teenage audience. Although the plot paces at a breakneck speed considering that it has just 8 episodes, it never feels rushed. It is very much an amalgamation of Sci-fi, horror and teenage romance, but just the right amount. Although there are moments were the romance between the character El and Mike were highlighted, it never steals the show because it is not a rom-com or anything on those lines. The show sticks to its strength of giving us gory monsters and witty dialogues, never once wavering. However, I wouldn’t mind having a little spin off of the characters and their romantic lives, where they aren’t chasing monster or communists. Watching the tube socks and short shorts were a cringe fest in its own right, but that is part of the charm that Strangers Things serves.
The shortfalls in the plot, however are the gaping plot holes and preposterous logical inconsistencies. The characters make some stupid mistakes that definitely left me frustrated and scratching my head. A six legged monster is wreaking havoc in the neighbourhood and nobody notices. It is as if the only inhabitants are the characters which dominate the story. Russians somehow infiltrate the town and start buying acres of land and conduct highly illegal experiments. However, the show’s purpose is not to portray the reality but to take us to an alternate dimension where such things are possible and teenagers do rescue the earth without adult supervision. It can also serve as an allegory to capitalism and how it turns us, the consumers into mindless zombies that it uses to feed itself and grow larger and larger. Some dialogues also critique the communistic way of life, which was a rather interesting touch.
The character execution is incredible. Each of the actors did a great job of portraying their characters. Since this season takes place after a brief time skip, the characters themselves have grown and the actors have done a great job of not appearing stagnant. The central party, comprising of Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matrazzo) and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) all have grown as well, transitioning from kids to teenagers. This growth has also put its strains on their group dynamics, following the entry of their girlfriends or lack of girlfriends which was admittedly a nice touch, serving as foreshading to El (Millie Bobby Brown) blooming and developing her own sense of individuality as opposed to before, when she was largely dependent on Hopper (David Harbour). This journey of growth was aided by Max(Sadie Sink), with whom she discovers all the joys of female friendship. The little side story of El and Max also gives coming of age element. This is not just for them, as we experience a lot of tension bubbling between Hopper and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder). This tension leads to a lot of comedic and heartwarming moments. Not only that, but the adults are themselves forced to grow up and shed their emotional shortcomings in this Horror Sci-fi Drama. Besides, the Actors share an incredible amount of chemistry between them.
Against a kafkaesque backdrop of LED and 80s’ Pop songs, Stranger things Season 3 is a guaranteed entertainer that will make you invested in the lives of these teenagers fighting monsters and Russians at the same time. It is a fun watch that you can binge on.
I give it 3.5 chirps.