Well, I just finished a Stranger Things marathon of all three seasons thus far and I gotta say, This show just rocks! The combination of 80s tropes and Easter eggs, a riveting scifi horror plot and engaging characters is just unparalleled on television right now.Alas! I binge watched it so fast!
And now it’s gone.
But I do have a few predictions for the next season if Netflix is intelligent enough to abandon their notorious three season limit guideline for this one.If you have not watched Stranger Things Season 3, you need to read something else because this post contains definite SPOILERS for Season 3 and potential SPOILERS for Season 4.OK, let’s get into it.First, Jim Hopper (David Harbour) isn’t dead.
I predict that he leapt through the portal to the Upside Down just before the machine blew up and was somehow transported to Russia. Why? Well, the end credits scene shows a prisoner in the USSR being selected as Demogorgon chow. When selecting the beast’s meal, they pass over a cell and one of the guards says, “No, not the American.”
Now it is possible that the American referred to is Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) aka Papa. While he was presumably eaten by the Demogorgon at the end of Season 1, we never saw a body. And the rule is that if you don’t see a body, the character is still in play. Then in Season 2’s Episode 7 “The Lost Sister,” in which we also meet Kali Prasad aka Eight (Linnea Berthelsen) and her gang, who have been hunting down Hawkins Lab employees to exact vengeance, we get a hint that his story isn’t over.
Together they track down Ray Carroll (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who worked as an orderly at Hawkins National Laboratory under Brenner. Carroll tells Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), aka Jane Hopper (born Jane Ives) and Kali that Brenner is still alive and offers to tell them where he is in exchange for his life. Kali wants him dead, reasoning that Eleven doesn’t need Carroll to find Brenner, but Eleven spares him, which leaves him open as a possibility for locating Brenner in Season 4.
While Kali doesn’t initially believe Carroll, later she uses her powers to cause Eleven to have a vision of Brenner to try to manipulate her into finding him. Apparently, the Duffer Brothers and executive producer Shawn Levy have confirmed that Brenner is still alive.
While it would make a lot of sense if the Russians had Brenner, my money is still on Hopper. Throughout Season 3, it really bugged med that the Russians kept calling Hopper and Hopper alone “the American.” I mean, there was no logical reason why they would do that. They were in a secret subterranean base in America literally surrounded by Americans. Logically, when one Russian said, “It’s the American,” his buddies should’ve asked, ‘Um, which one?” Identifying Hop as “the Sheriff” would’ve made more sense, but not if the Duffer Brothers wanted to leave a few bread crumbs to let us know that there is still hope for Hop.
If Brenner is the captive American, that still doesn’t mean that Hopper didn’t enter the Upside Down before the machine blew. It just means he’s trapped there until he finds a way out or Eleven rescues him.
Secondly, I predict that Eight and Hop will be the keys to Eleven’s powers returning. The Mind Flayer did a number on her and its bite rendered her powerless. I think something fishy from the Upside Down will cause her to seek out Eight, hoping she has the key to restoring her powers. Admittedly, it’s possible Eleven will track down another MK Ultra facility or more of her numbered “siblings” for answers. Either way, I think that she won’t get them fully back until she sees Hop is alive and the primal urge to save him forces her powers to go back online.
Of course, if we entertain the idea that Papa is the American, it’s quite possible that Brenner it is Brenner who tells Eleven how to access her powers again. I won’t discount that as a possibility.I also predict that all roads will lead back to Hawkins, where nothing ever really happens. The Duffer Brothers have made it clear that Season 4 will expand a bit beyond Hawkins (and to be fair, we saw some of that in several episodes of Season 2 when Eleven went on her journey to find her mom and sister. While some of the characters have moved away, they took Eleven with them, which puts one in mind of the old maxim that you can’t move away from your problems. The plot will definitely find Eleven and I think it will draw her back to Hawkins because (a) that’s where her friends are and (b) there is a lot of unfinished business in Hawkins.
Personally, I think that the Russians were in Hawkins because their gate is open and they wanted to reopen the Hawkins gate for an invasion. I mean, barring teleportation (and this is a scifi show involving an alternate dimension so that’s not entirely out of the question), the Russians would only need to secretly make the journey through the Upside Down. Do the Upside Down vehicles and planes still work? If not, they could always bring in their own toys.
I don’t know if we’ll get a new big bad from the Upside Down. I suspect that if we do, the Duffer Brothers will continue to give the Demogorgons and the Mind Flayer things to do. The downside of this is that we probably haven’t seen the last of the Flesh Thralls (as the Hospital Creature and the Bite Blob are referred to on the Stranger Things wiki), aka those nasty, melty, regenerative monsters the Mind Flayer makes from its hive-minded rats and people (i.e., the Flayed), or Proxys (what happens when you melt a bunch of the Flayed to form an 20 foot tall incarnation of the Flayer that closely matches its Upside Down counterpart in terms of its shape and proportions).
Frankly, I was much more interested in the super strong pod people as a foe. Oh, well. Somebody grab a mop.
I suspect that the next Big Bad our heroes encounter will be more human (and likely Russian) and, if captured Demogorgons are any indication, out to exploit the Upside Down, perhaps even hoping to harness and weaponize the Mind Flayer’s powers. I suspect it will also find a way to turn the tables on them. Or perhaps the Mind Flayer’s mate or consort might subvert the Big Bad’s forces without him realizing it in order to free or avenge the captive Mind Flayer. There are a lot of good possible threads to pull here.
All we know for sure is that the gang in Hawkins only fought a remnant of the Mind Flayer, stranded in our dimension when Eleven shut the gate to the Upside Down at the end of Season 2. Most of the Mind Flayer jn all his smokey glory is still seething from his defeat on the other side of the Upside Down.Hopefully, Netflix gives the Duffer Brothers another run at the story so we can see where else it leads.