'Stranger Things 3': Hawkins heroes deal with more than just evil forces and it sets up an interesting season 4
This article contains spoilers for 'Stranger Things' season 3
Seasons 1 and 2 saw the quaint town of Hawkins have one adversary- the Mind Flayer. The evil creature inflicted much trouble and it took some stellar telekinetic abilities from Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and a dash of wits and bravado to pin down the creature.
When the much-anticipated trailer of the new season released, not many thought that there would be a new enemy in the form of Russians and in many ways, it is they who are the root cause of all that happens in season 3.
The first episode of season 3 sees the Russians set up an underground base in Hawkins, Indiana and try and open up the dimension - The Upside Down. The portal was closed by Eleven and her friends in season 2 and in an attempt to learn more about the phenomenon, a group of Russian scientists work with the military to try and open the dimension and explore it further.
This enables the Mind Flayer to make a return and start possessing the people of Hawkins so as to kill and take over the town. Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) who was introduced as the teen antagonist in season 2 is one of the victims and is influenced by the Mind Flayer as he sets about his mission to kill Eleven and her friends. This sets off an epic battle between Eleven and the Mind Flayer that sees a few casualties in the process, including Billy.
Despite being aware of the horrors, the Russian scientists continue to experiment on opening the portal to the Upside Down by building a cannon that lets them see the other side. And in an attempt to stop them, the final episode sees Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) along with Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) infiltrate the Russian lab, located below the Starcourt Mall. Their attempts to thwart the Russians' plan is successful but sees Hopper perish in the process.
Soon after, the Russians are rounded up and arrested, but the credits scene sets them up as the villains again in a potential season 4, while also teasing that Hopper may, in fact, be alive. When Joyce shuts down the cannon, the effect is such that the people around the device are instantly vaporized and while Hopper is not shown to be zapped, he's presumed dead considering the impact the explosion of the cannon has and his proximity to the device.
The credits scene, however, shows a Russian prison and the soldiers are seen pulling out a prisoner, who is Russian. It is revealed that one of the creatures survived and the prisoner is fed to it.
Prior to pulling out the Russian prisoner, a locked chamber is shown and the inmate in it is supposed to be an "American", but it is still unclear if it is Hopper. Now aside from the fact that it may or may not be Hopper, the news that Russia isn't done yet with their experiments and will most definitely come back to Hawkins to finish what they started is a perfect set up for the next season.
This pretty much ensures that in addition to the evil that is still lurking in the world, Hawkins and it's heroes have to be on their guard to fend off another Russian attack.
'Stranger Things' season 3 is available for streaming on Netflix.