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3 Times Stranger

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3 Times Stranger

'Stranger Things 3' sees Hawkins' enemy rear its head again. But now the issues are more complicated

In the third season of Netflix's Stranger Things, the Duffer Brothers' epic ode to the 1980s, the protagonists are not just the four boys whose encounter with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) changed their lives, and ours, forever. The year is 1985 and Hawkins, led by its smooth-talking Mayor (Princess Bride star Cary Elwes), is gearing up for the Fourth of July festivities to celebrate the American Independence Day. In this season, the bulk of the action moves to Starcourt Mall, where Hawkins' denizens, young and old, tend to find their nirvana, as smaller store owners protest outside the Mayor's office.

Something is brewing. For starters, it seems like hormones and teen spirit, as Eleven's sympathiser and friend, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), becomes her full-time boyfriend and the two are often seen snogging in her room, giving the head of Hawkins Police Department, Jim Hopper (David Harbour), a problem he is ill-equipped to subdue with his usual machismo or suppress to his subconscious mind with incessant drink and smoke.

If Mike and Eleven are busy, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) is also having a hard time wrapping his head around his girlfriend Maxine's (Sadie Sink) mood swings. They have already broken up five times, and patched up since.

Meanwhile, Max and Eleven strike up a new friendship. Max is showing El she doesn't need a boy in her life, and she's gonna be cool just the way she is El doesn't have an actual girl figure in her life that she can go to if she's sad or lonely, so Max and El kind of develop that this season. I think that's a really nice touch, Brown said in a press statement.

This leaves Will (Noah Schnapp) lonely. His friends are not interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons with him and, as Mike says, Will does not like girls. Add to that the bit of the Mind Flayer that remains in his body, an alarm system giving him the chills and making him an easy prey to the dark scheme of things, and Will is truly lost.

The unlikely lovebirds, Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) are coming to terms with adulthood, while dealing with cringing sexism. Nancy, who is reduced to making coffee while interning at Hawkins Post, longs to break the story of the vanishing pesticides in a schizophrenic's basement. But surprisingly, the men on the staff, including Jonathan, refuse to back her.

The good looking Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), whose only claim to fame is that he was Nancy's ex, works at an ice cream parlour in the mall. His looks have long stopped covering up for his stupidity. For what it's worth, his partner at the store, Robin (Maya Hawke), makes him earn his tip, as she goes to the back of the store to break a Russian code intercepted by the fourth pillar of Mike Wheeler's circle, Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), the guy with the ingrown teeth. Dustin often talks about his love Suzie, but never seems to be able to get her on the wireless. Even his friends are mostly unreachable. That the boys only respond to code red', may be the reason.

For the first time in three seasons, the burden of proof is not limited to the boys. Nor is the responsibility to act forced upon El. This is especially visible in the attempts of Hopper and Mike's mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder) to try and uncover what's happening at the abandoned facility where Hawkins' horrors began.

Much like the people of Hawkins, we viewers are also living in the dread of the Mind Flayer's return. We know what it looks like, we know its modus operandi, and our heart goes out to Will for his suffering. But we cannot just leave it at that. So, we join these people, who have found their comfort niches and choose to work in silos.

[In season 3] There's a new Eleven. There's new clothes and music and culture. It's a very different aspect of Stranger Things that we've never really touched on, added Brown.