Stranger Things Season 3 and What To Expect (SEASON 2 SPOILERS WITHIN)
If you're like me, you usually watch your Netflix shows the same way that you drink a wine with friends: You gulp it all down in huge swallows and then feel a combination of emptiness and shame when it comes to a close. Well, when it came to the magic which was Stranger Things Season 2, there was no change in behavior despite the voice in the back of my head telling me to slow down and savor. While I didn't exactly feel empty at the end (that ending was awesome!) I did feel a weird sort of longing and a strong anticipation for the next season to come out. As a man who has cast himself into the endless void of horror, Stephen King, and pop culture for my entire life, I do have some pretty strong feelings about what to expect next for our band of 80's misfits in the coming season. Read on and let's see if your thoughts align with mine, but be warned: There will be some spoilers!
The Mind Flayer is Far From Done
I think many ended the season feeling like all was well again in Hawkins, and they weren't necessarily wrong. Eleven is going to have her opportunity to grow up like a regular kid, Mike and El (finally) had a kiss which has been long in the making, Lucas and Max have coupled up, Will barfed up the gross cloud of blackness, Nancy and Jonathan are finally an item, and Dustin has some pearly whites (grrrrr) and a pretty great mentor in Steve. But that bit of business at the very end, showing us The Upside Down and The Mind Flayer looming over the school in the swirling blackness was not just for the sake of having an eye-popping visual at the end. There was quite a bit going on there. Right when El sealed the gate, we had a look at her being face to face with the entity for the very first time. Ultimately, Eleven showed how badass she is by sealing the gate and cutting off The Mind Flayer before things could go absolutely bonkers, but she did something else too: She entered it's awareness. In the final scene, The Mind Flayer could have been absolutely anywhere else in The Upside Down, licking it's wounds and maybe devising a new plan. However, it was at the school, not just hanging out, but looming and watching. Hell, "I'll Be Watching You" was playing at the dance as it hovered over Eleven and the gang. The Mind Flayer is pissed, and I expect it to be gunning hard for El in Season 3.
Romance Between Hopper and Joyce
We all were crushed when Bob (Sean Astin) bit the big one in Episode 8. His death was brutal and it ended a connection between the worlds of The Goonies and Stranger Things which I was personally delighted by. That being said, I think we all have known that Hopper and Joyce have kind of been on a collision course of romance since the start. There was a connection right from the get go (Joyce's reliance on Hopper) which only got amplified when Hopper sort of showed that he was a bit jealous of Bob at the start of Season 2 and recalled a high school memory he had with her when they used to get in trouble for smoking. With Bob (#justiceforbob) out of the picture, it is all but certain that we will see a will-they-won't-they situation develop between our two adult protagonists. I think it will be a slow burn, but you can bet it will happen.
A New Creature Will Emerge
This show has been largely inspired by 80's pop culture and the Ghostbusters franchise was a major influence on Season 2. Also like the Ghostbusters and so many other franchises of the 1980's, Stranger Things is reliant on formats and formulas. Anybody can watch the first two seasons back to back and see similarities between the story structures. I personally have always been a fan of structured storylines (Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 are basically the same movie) and I feel that it is what has made Stranger Things such a huge success. In the first two seasons, we were introduced to some very unnerving characters. We met The Demogorgon in Season 1, and have just had our collective pants scared of in Season 2 by the Demo-Dogs and The Mind Flayer. There is a 100% chance that the mind flayer will return and will likely be joined by some new monstrosity. I won't even try to come up with an idea as to what the monstrosity might be, because we are all starting to learn that the possibilities are endless when it comes to The Upside Down.
The Return of Dr. Brenner
Eleven met with a girl she referred to as her sister in Season 2, an older teen who had been through the same trials and tests she had been through, which had altered her abilities and left her a misfit. While they may not have parted under ideal circumstances, their time together was important because the girl (Kali/ Eight) indicated that El's worst fear may still be alive and well. I never stopped to think about it until the moment when Eleven sees Dr. Brenner as an illusion brought on by the abilities Kali, but we never really did see him die, did we? He was pounced on, and that was that. I think he is unquestionably still alive because there was no reason to include that little nugget otherwise. The gate may have been closed by Eleven at the end of the season, but there is still a man out there who is smart and crazy enough to reopen it.