Pacy, entertaining and emotional are the three words that would probably best describe the third season of Netflix original series Stranger Things. The latest season of the Duffer Brothers show is a far cry from its predecessor, the second season, in terms of storytelling, style and visual effects. Season 3 engages you from the get-go.
The summer is here and so is the romance. Mike and Eleven are seriously dating each other, while Max and Lucas have been bickering a whole lot lately. Jonathan and Nancy are interning at The Hawkins Post, while Will continues to experience strange visions. Meanwhile, Dustin has returned home after a month-long camp. Jim Hopper and Joyce are still not sure of their feelings for each other, whereas Steve has found a new frenemy in Starcourt Mall’s ice-cream vendor Robin.
However, the lull of the summer doesn’t last long as a new danger in the form of a monstrous other-worldly creature lies in wait for the children.
Since this is Stranger Things 3, there are more references to the 80s than the first two seasons combined. In fact, this time the filmmakers even show us a glimpse of the 1985 sci-fi-fantasy drama Back to the Future. New characters are introduced, who all play their part ably, but perhaps none better than Maya Hawke, who essays the role of the smart and sassy Robin on the show. For those of you who don’t know, Maya Hawke is the 20-year-old daughter of Hollywood stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
Maybe this is just me, but it does look like the third season has been heavily influenced by JK Rowling’s the Harry Potter series. Will’s back of the neck tingles when the monster is at close quarters is similar to the warning Harry used to receive in the way of a hot flash of pain on his scar whenever Voldemort was in the vicinity. In another sequence, during the latter half of the show, Billy the lifeguard shows Eleven a memory from his childhood, again a slight tip-of-the-hat to the part where Harry was able to get a glimpse of Snape’s memories from his early days as a student in Hogwarts.
Also, the fashion in which the camera cuts from one scene to another is noteworthy. The transition is smooth as we jump from one part of the narrative to the other. And as far as the visuals are concerned, the aura of Mind Flayer the gigantic monster is impressive, especially considering this is not a big screen release.
While the season is predictable, it does give a satisfying closure to the show. The episodes are long and could have been edited a bit. However, the rest of it was top-notch, and this is saying a lot considering the kind of mediocre web series we have been assaulted with of late.