Stranger Things season 3 review photo

The third season of Stranger Things was released on July 4, 2019, and features and Independence Day theme. (Courtesy Netflix)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you have most likely heard about the kids from Hawkins and the supernatural conspiracy they live in. The newest chapter to the story was released on July 4, just in time for the show’s Independence Day celebration in the summer of 1985. This season bringing the biggest and worst to the town, sending the heros and heroines face-to-face with the evil Mind Flayer.

The days leading up to the celebration of the holiday are filled with twists of Russian government schemes in the heart of Hawkins, Indiana, at its newest attraction, Starcourt Mall. Relationships were both formed and broken in this season, and while many expected more of the relationship between Mike and Eleven, the bond that stole the show was El and Max’s growing friendship.

As the series has done in the past, the season leaves the audience guessing what will come next with each passing minute of every episode. As El has grown more powerful with each passing day, it makes her a direct threat to the Mind Flayer, increasing the size of the bullseye on her back that formed after she closed the gate to the Upside Down last season. But why has the gate opened up again?

In an effort of staying as spoiler-free as possible, the sudden presence of the Russian government infiltrating the Starcourt Mall has something to do with the open gate. The heroines of the show are split up in different storylines, tackling enemies at each angle. Everyone picks up pieces of the puzzle to the opening up of the gate to the Upside Down and the looming doom brought on by the Mind Flayer. All the while, the Mind Flayer recruits unwilling participants to its side, showing the true intelligence of the beast and its hatred towards Eleven.

The show does a great job of focusing on the “big bad” and supernatural aspect of the plot while also putting the characters through real-life crises. Nancy deals with sexism in the workplace, Karen Wheeler works through an unhappy marriage, Hopper realizes how to deal with a teenage daughter and Eleven navigates what it means to be a “normal” girl. Because of the relatability of the characters, it is easy to become attached to them, which means viewers can expect to laugh, cry and fear for each one.

Fans of the show who are in it for the nostalgia of the ’80s will not be disappointed with this season, as they are sure to get flashbacks from details such as Weird Al and primary color-patterned outfits that are splattered across the show’s canvas.

As the show wraps up, there are completed character arcs, a large emotional loss and even a hint at redemption for villains shown in seasons prior. If you only watch up to the beginning of the credits of the last episode, it looks like the show has tied up all loose ends and could be ending for good. Personally, I believe the show could stop where season three ends with an emotional goodbye. But there is no need to panic — an after-credits scene gives hope to all "Stranger Things" fans for a fourth season on the streaming service.

For anyone who is about to binge the season, I warn you to bring the tissues and prepare for an emotional ride through "Stranger Things" season three.

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