'Stranger Things' season 3 ending explained: What happens to Eleven and the Mind Flayer?

The action-packed yet painful finale gave us two deaths, but while one character's fate is sealed, the other's is still open for speculation.


                            'Stranger Things' season 3 ending explained: What happens to Eleven and the Mind Flayer?

This article contains spoilers for season 3.

'Stranger Things' season 3 premiered on Netflix this Independence day and has since been the only buzzing topic on social media. Amidst the Mind Flayer possessing civilians of Hawkins thanks to the Russians, the first admittedly queer character on the show, and new budding romances between the teenagers, it has been the several deaths this season that have managed to shock us the most. Bearing that in mind, here's an explanation of the bizarre ending and where the plot stands as of now.

The action-packed yet painful finale gave us two deaths, but while one character's fate is sealed, the other's is still open for speculation. The final episode offered a wonderful redemption of the character Billy (Dacre Montgomery), as he was impaled to his death by the Mind Flayer's tentacles while trying to protect Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and her friends, including Billy's sister, Max (Sadie Sink). After two full seasons of bullying and being the bad guy as the prime host of the Mind Flayer this season, to watch Billy go out as a hero in front of his little sister's eyes was heartbreaking, especially knowing that this is it for the character. He is dead and not returning.

Billy dies at the end of Stranger Things season 3. Source: Netflix

But on the other hand, as Jim Hopper (David Harbour) died mid-explosion in the Russian lab in his quest to shut down the gate to the Upside Down, there's solace knowing that we never saw him dead. We see him last as a massive explosion engulfed him, but never see his dead body, so to speak. So right now, he is just assumed dead. That being said, the end credits scene shows another entrapment - sort of like a prison cell - where an 'American' is being held. Considering it is Russian speaking people who take care of the facility, it wouldn't be entirely wrong to expect that the American captive is actually Hopper. 

That bit of hope was much needed, especially after the devastating, heartfelt letter Hopper leaves behind for his adopted daughter, Eleven. But speaking of Eleven, the end of this season showed her losing her powers, and having to move away from Hawkins with the Byers. That being said, the Byers make up for 50 percent of the show's characters, so an upcoming season without not just Eleven, but also Joyce (Winona Ryder), Will (Noah Schnapp), and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), seems quite undoable. Despite Hawkins' failing economy thanks to the new Starcourt Mall, the fact that it was destroyed at the end of season 3 gives hope for local businesses resurfacing - meaning Joyce would have a shot at livelihood in Hawkins after all. 

Eleven moves away with the Byers at the end of Stranger Things season 3. Source: Netflix

The biggest concern viewers would still have is Eleven's lost powers. The telekinetic girl has been established as a battery that needs to charge, so we are going to be on team Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) and keep our fingers crossed that Eleven's powers return soon. But as of now, they are gone, even though the Mind Flayer might be lurking somewhere for all we know. The ending didn't exactly show the end of the Big Bad. Yes, Joyce closed the gate, and yes, the Mind Flayer - just a speck of the Big Bad made up of gooey masses from its hosts' body was deactivated at the end of season 3, but that definitely does not mean all danger has been omitted. So right now, based on the ending, it's only a matter of waiting for the next big idiot to open up the gate to the Upside Down. The danger still, very much, persists.

'Stranger Things' season 3 is available for streaming on Netflix.

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