Stranger Things Gets Stranger


Emily Woo '22

Netflix has been instituting changes lately, and while many are sorry to see long-beloved titles such as NBC’s The Office go, it can’t be denied that fans have been eating up Netflix’s new creations as fast as they’re being dished out. One such creation is the sometimes funny, sometimes tear-jerking, sometimes mind-boggling mystery horror series Stranger Things.


With its original series Stranger Things, Netflix takes what would otherwise be a terrifying, perplexing concept and weaves it into a captivating story with funny characters who demand the viewer’s attention, sympathy, and love. Hooked after a single episode, viewers binged the first season after its release in July of 2016 and dangled helplessly over a sea of suspense until the second season was released over a year later in October of 2017 after which they anxiously awaited the arrival of the third season on Independence Day 2019. The third season, like the two preceding it, ends on a cliffhanger for the purpose of luring fans back in for a fourth season. 


While some people sat in a pool of despair, wondering why the writers would ever decide to kill off Hopper, true fans sprung to action. To the delight of many, it has been discovered that the number given by Hopper in the sixth episode of season 3 is in fact a real working number. When called, a message from Murray to Joyce can be heard, saying he has news about Hopper- implying that Hopper is not dead. Another hint is found at the very end of the last episode of the third season, when a Russian soldier mentions an “American” (presumably Hopper) behind one of the cell doors.


Another glimmer of hope remains for Hopper: the main characters, him being one of them, seem to have been blessed with immortality. No matter how hopeless or impossible their situation seems to be, they always make it out alive while background characters such as Barb, Bob Newby, and Billy are killed.


Assuming Hopper will be making a reappearance, it can only be expected that his posse from Hawkins will come to his rescue- meaning that this upcoming season will take place in Russia since that is where Hopper currently resides. Undoubtedly, they will encounter the Mind Flayer, only to find that it has become bigger and badder than ever before. Eleven’s power will return to her, and alongside her team of child geniuses, she will save the world once more under the watchful eye of Joyce Byers. 


Therein lies the main flaw with Stranger Things. As an action-packed horror/mystery series, the show relies on suspense as a driving force. Not only is suspense necessary to push the show forward, it is what pulls viewers back for more. The first season was wildly successful and the second season equally so, but the suspense began to wear off by the third. The patterns of the show have been exposed, making it predictable and robbing it of suspense. What began as an intriguing idea snowballed into a wildly far-fetched one that is less believable and consequently, less scary. Everything that happened in the third season was fittingly strange, but almost too much so.


With the suspense and fear factors both starting to wear off by the third season, the question has to be asked: how much longer can the show go on for? Will the fourth season turn things around?