Fans Are In Tears Over ‘Stranger Things 3’

Kim Taylor-Foster
TV Stranger Things
TV Stranger Things Streaming Netflix

SPOILER WARNING: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Stranger Things 3. Proceed at your own risk.

Stranger Things 3 dropped on July 4 – one of the year’s most anticipated TV events. As with previous seasons, all eight episodes landed on Netflix simultaneously. And of course, we binged the heck out of it. The overriding reaction from fans to this latest instalment? That it was “emotional”.

In discussion threads on Fandom’s Stranger Things community, fans described it as “sad”, with plenty of people admitting to crying REAL TEARS during its finale, as they mourned (here’s your second and final SPOILER WARNING)…

Billy – whose tragic backstory we learn via El’s connection to him in later episodes – as much as Hopper, whose fate was less clear.

Toriona Thomas said, “Every death hurt me even Billy’s because I swore he was going to be unflayed and he would end up a better person somehow.”

Which he does, of course, for a brief moment, after El has managed to reach him and break the Mind Flayer’s hold on him. The tragedy is that, while his redemption is arguably final and lasting, he doesn’t live longer than a few moments as that better person.

BitchinOnTheseEggos was seriously affected, saying, “i cant sleep. idk what happiness is anymore”.

New Characters Worth Investing In

Robin Stranger Things 3 Maya Hawke
Robin (Maya Hawke) is a popular new Stranger Things character.

SonofKiba22, meanwhile, described the season succinctly: “Crazy. Different. Gory. Unexpected. Amazing.”

Smartir referenced its increased “danger, gore, action”, and admitted to falling in love with every character, and finding every death “sad”.

Smartir wasn’t the only one, with fans finding themselves invested in the new characters only for the show to wrench at their heartstrings with the way their stories play out.

Newcomer Alexei — with his hilarious and ultimately touching partnership with Hopper, Joyce and Murray, alongside his endearing love of old-skool cartoons and cherry milkshake — was a fan favourite, with Louis Galil lamenting, “Why they have to do Alexei like that? that s— was sad. He was such a likeable character.”

Fans who’d invested in Steve’s Scoops Ahoy colleague, Robin, and their blossoming relationship, meanwhile, were put out at her sexuality reveal coming so late on.

“Was I the only one that was upset the Robin reveal came so late? I was rooting for Steve and Robin the entire season, and now Steve’s just sad and lonely again :(,” said Abby.scamardella.

The Best Season Ever?

Stranger Things 3
Is Stranger Things 3 the best season ever?

Many fans are calling Stranger Things 3 the best season ever. High praise indeed, but it makes sense when you consider the raised emotional stakes and increased tension and horror.

Mariahanmos was one such fan declaring it “the best season to date.”

She said, “Still have some unanswered questions, but those will probably be answered in a later season. I loved it from start to finish👏🏼”

Fiona Medlar weighed in with: “I think this is possibly the saddest ending in history. Prepare yourself. It’s the best season yet and I loved every bit,” while Beepthesheep said, “Oh my gosh, it was so amazing, the mix of horror, shock, and the amazing emotion displayed by pretty much all of the SUPER TALENTED actors was absolutely fantastic!!! This has to be my favorite season yet, I’m super excited to see how they carry on the trilogy next…”.

Another fan loved it, though didn’t think it the best season: “A lot better than season 2. Almost as good as season 1,” said Lachlan Moir.

Susan18199 wasn’t impressed at all, however: “I was super disappointed.”

Join the conversation and vote in our poll to determine the best season of Stranger Things.

Here’s how things currently stand:

Season 1: 21%

Season 2: 17%

Season 3: 62%

Disagree? Cast a vote and make your voice heard!

Mileven: CRINGE

Others were preoccupied by the Mike/Eleven coupling, following on from their romantic Snow Ball kiss in Season 2.

“Is it just me or is like mileven like over the top cringe, like i can’t watch their romantic scenes,” asked Gracieebowenn, adding, “they just seem too lovey [d]ovey for being like 14 in the show. and acting like they are soulmates and stuff.”

To which Thesmalalex responded: “I think that when your 14 you kinda act like that and they been [through] a lot that make[s] them grow faster than other kids.”

Horses for courses, it seems, because Mileven is the favourite ship of Beepthesheep. Shipping, of course, being another topic of conversation among fans.

Indeed, a poll posted in the discussion asks community members to vote for their favourite ship, out of Mileven, Jopper, Sustin/Duzie, Mucas, Killy/Baren, and Boyce/Job.

Here are the votes as they currently stand:

Mileven: 44%

Jopper: 24%

Sustin/Duzie: 14%

Boyce/Job: 9%

Killy/Baren: 5%

Mucas: 4%

Theweopontosurpassmetalgear9 even started a Will shipping thread based on speculation that he is gay.

Hop To It

Stranger Things 3
Hopper (David Harbour) with Joyce (Winona Ryder).

One of the biggest topics of conversation, however, is around Hopper, with theories developing around the idea that he is still alive, despite having apparently been obliterated in the blast at the end of Episode 8.

Some think that the American in the cell in Russia referenced in the mid-credits scene could be Hopper (if it’s not Dr Brenner!), but  Zypo thinks he could instead have been transported to the Upside Down:

“Ok in season 1 when eleven killed the dem[o]gorgon she turned to dust or flakes, and the same thing happened to hopper. What I’m getting is when she turned to dust she went to the upside down same thing with hopper, so I’m thinking hopper isn’t dead he is just in the upside down.

“I’m saying this because eleven killed the dem[o]gorgon with a great force and this soviet weapon used to open the gate also had a great force and it is also linked to the upside down. But there is no way for hopper to get out. But the mind flayer could possibly open another gate and corrupt hopper. And so I’m thinking that hopper is going to be the next host.”

Alkimae refutes this: “Why do people think Hopper survived? The blast in the beginning clearly obliterated people way closer [to] the generator than Hopper was. And the “hint” in the post-credits scene is completely unreliable. Just because the one of the prisoners was American doesn’t mean that Hopper survived. And we may have not seen Hopper’s body because it was either completely disintegrated or blasted away. I’m open to the idea of Hopper surviving, I just don’t really understand why people are so sure that he’s alive without any reasonable evidence.”

Finally, after Season 1’s treatment of fan-favourite, Barb, and an ensuing ‘Justice for Barb’ campaign going viral, and Season 2’s call for ‘Justice for Bob’, Theweopontosurpassmetalgear9 is now rallying fans to crusade for ‘Justice for Billy’.

Stranger Things 3 is streaming now on Netflix.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.