Netflix’s Stranger Things
Season 3: “Chapter One – Suzie, Do You Copy?”
Directed & Written
by the Duffer Brothers
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, click here.
* For a recap & review of Chapter Two, “The Mall Rats” – click here
It’s June 28th, 1984. Sinister military forces are at work. A couple scientists take out identical keys, turning them to ignite the core of a massive machine. It starts going and a beam of energy bores through a wall, opening a rift to the Upside Down. Slithering arms start to worm through. The machine soon shuts down, closing the wall.
Then an explosion occurs, burning everybody inside. When it’s over, a Soviet general touches the wall. He tells the scientists they have “one year” to get things done. Another big Russian strangles a scientist to death. Definitely some kind of Soviet influence connected to Hawkins. But how does all this relate?
Well, welcome to Season 3 of Stranger Things!
Summer of 1985.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) are making out. He sings along to “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart. In the living room, Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) watches Magnum, P.I. and worries about his surrogate daughter and the “three inch minimum” door stipulation they have for house rules— cute how Jim and El have a typical father-daughter relationship now. Later, Mike meets up with his crew. Him, Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink), and Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) are at the mall. They’re using their connection— reluctant big brother figure, Steve Harrington (Joe Keery)— to sneak into the new George A. Romero flick, Day of the Dead. Except power goes out across the mall.
Is there more trouble happening right there in Hawkins, Indiana? It IS one year after that Soviet experiment, after all. Not long until there’s something emerging from the cracks of the town’s very foundation in an old steelworks building. The mall’s power returns. Everyone’s happy, though Will feels goosebumps on his neck, like when he saw all those horrible things from the Upside Down.
Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) are rushing off while she’s late for work. Then there’s Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) returning home from a month at science camp to a lot less fanfare than he imagined, as if his friends “just forgot.” He’s greeted by all his toys coming alive. He follows them into the living room, completely oblivious to his friends about to spring a surprise party using El’s powers.
Best friends never forget when it counts.
At the pool, Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) is the greasy, moustached man of all housewife dreams. He bullies fat kids and struts his stuff for Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono) and the other moms. Karen specifically is real interested in him. Not all is swell in town. The downtown area is withering, even if the pool and the mall are crowded. Joyce (Winona Ryder) continues working at the store, also attempting to give Jim parenting advice / mourning Bob.
Nancy struggles at the Hawkins Post, where Jonathan also works. She’s effectively a coffee girl among a bunch of sexist newspaper douches. She throws her ideas out there whenever she can, like a piece about the Starcourt mall, drumming up ideas about “the death of small–town America.” The men are more interested in their lunch orders.
The kids check out Dustin’s new machine, “Cerebro“— the “Cadillac of ham radios.” It might seem like a super cool invention, and it is, but it’s mainly been created so he can talk to his new girlfriend, Suzie from Utah. Speaking of girls, Steve is at the mall struggling to look cool wearing an ice cream shop hat, and juggling working class expectations. He hates covering up that sweet hair, too.
Dustin takes the others to use Cerebro. They’ve got to get up high to get the best reception. He isn’t happy to see El and Mike sneaking off using “curfew” as an excuse to be alone— ah, the struggles of being a kid and being in love while also having a tight-knit group of friends. Will’s not telling the others about the creepiness he feels. Rats all around Hawkins are going to the same place, where that crack opened up in the old steelworks. Inside, they explode into blood and guts on the floor.
Up on the hill, Dustin sets up Cerebro. He’s trying to get Suzie on the line. She’s not responding, which has him making all sorts of excuses for his girlfriend— who’s “hotter than Phoebe Cates“— in Utah who TOTALLY EXISTS, YOU GUYS. At the Hawkins Post that night, Nancy’s cleaning after hours and receives a phone call about rats and disease.
It takes Jim a while to work up to talking to El and Mike about the house rules. He sits them down and gives conversation a shot. He doesn’t quite have the words, even after Joyce has given him plenty to say. Mike and El just giggle. This pisses Hopper off, so he resorts to fairly shitty behaviour in order to get the kid out of there. He sits in the car outside alone with Mike and goes all psycho dad.
After his friends leave, Dustin hears a cryptic Soviet transmission: “The silver cat feeds when blue meets yellow in the west. A trip to China sounds nice, if you tread lightly. The week is long.” Then, the message repeats. In that U.S.S.R. lab, there are more experiments being conducted, perfected, and there are big things happening.
Billy is meeting up with Mrs. Wheeler at a motel. On his way something hits his windshield. He crashes right next to the steelworks. He gets out and notices a strange goo all over his car. Shadowy things move around in the darkness. Something unseen pulls Billy inside the factory, down where all those rats were bursting.
Uh oh. Don’t look good for the Moustache Man.
What a great opening for Season 3! Every year, Stranger Things gets better, at least in Father Gore’s eyes. Other fans feel the same way. There’s going to be many more compelling moments, as always. So buckle up.
“Chapter Two: The Mall Rats” is next.