Note: This article contains spoilers for the first three seasons of “Stranger Things.”
What’s going on with Barb?
Oh, honey. You are very behind.
Okay, what about Billy?
The just-sweaty-enough to be sexy Billy (played by Dacre Montgomery) is the bad big brother to end all bad big brothers. Introduced in Season 2 along with his skateboarding little sister, Max (Sadie Sink), Billy is quite literally the worst. He starts out Season 3 as the hot lifeguard all the sunbathing moms at the local pool would like to … spend more time with. But by the end of the first episode, instead of meeting up with one such married lady for a hotel rendezvous, Billy gets possessed by the Mind Flayer, who has not been defeated as previously assumed. The heartthrob is now a minion of the president of the Upside Down, an interdimensional monster whose campaign promise is to “to end … everyone.” By the end of last season’s finale, Flayed Billy and his darkened veins of evil have gone full demon drone. Seconds away from delivering Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) to the Mind Flayer, Bad Billy connects with his inner child via El’s magical brain waves. She reminds him of a day at the beach back home in California with his mom. “She was really pretty,” El says, “and you were happy.” The power of the memory is strong enough to wrench Billy from the Mind Flayer’s grasp and the former bad boy sacrifices himself. He dies and El lives.
Does El still have her powers?
Eleven is the telekinetic child prodigy whose contact with the Mind Flayer cuts the ribbon between the Upside Down and its portal to Earth — the hell mouth that is Hawkins. After defeating the monster’s minions in Seasons 1 and 2, the big bad returns in Season 3 to get its revenge on El and everyone else. During one of several big showdowns, El was bitten by the Mind Flayer, which left a slug souvenir in her leg. In the season finale, she uses her mental muscle to yank the wiggly remnant of the demon out of her body, and her adopted dad, Hawkins Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), crushes the parasite with his boot. But it may have already done its job because El is suddenly left super powerless. Instead of moving really big things with her mind, she’s just staring really hard. With her powers on the fritz, the Mind Flayer, who may have been defeated in the real world but still reigns in the Upside Down, is obviously plotting his comeback. Three months later, as El is getting ready to high-tail it out of town, her boyfriend and frequent smooching partner, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), reassures her that her superhuman gift will return eventually. But there is no evidence of that yet.
Wait, El moved away?
With the whole town cursed — three monsters in as many years, no thanks — El joins Joyce (Winona Ryder), Will (Noah Schnapp) and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) in getting the heck out of Hawkins. And let’s be clear, Joyce has been through the wringer. Her younger son went missing, her sweet boyfriend (Mikey from “The Goonies” all growed up) got eaten and she blew up Hopper, her new potential love interest, for the sake of humankind. The woman needs a change of scenery. So off they go in a moving van into the great unknown, also known as California.
Hopper is dead?
Maybe? Actually no. After they infiltrate the secret Russian underground lair built beneath the new Starcourt Mall with the help of the town’s corrupt mayor, Hopper, Joyce and investigative journalist/conspiracy theorist/fluent Russian speaker Murray (Brett Gelman) set out on a mission. Their goal is to destroy the weapon the Soviets are using to laser a hole into the Upside Down to somehow harness the monsters therein for war or whatever. Hopper and Joyce make it to the control room with the self-destruct keys and are immediately met with Grigori (Andrey Ivchenko), the Russian hit man who’s been stalking them all season. After a battle royal held dangerously close to the machine, the small-town sheriff manages to get the upper hand on a trained killer. Hopper survives but now he’s in the kill zone. The Mind Flayer is moments away from impaling El and the gate has to be shut down. Hopper gives Joyce a look and she knows: He’s not going to make it. Joyce blows up the machine, Hopper and their hopes for the future. But did she? In a bonus scene set in a Russian prison, two guards refer to the “American.” Could it be Hop? It is. In a Season 4 teaser released in 2020, Hopper is alive, smoking a cigarette in a Russian chain gang.
Will Joyce ever find love?
Outlook unclear. Moments before Hopper got vaporized (sort of), Joyce had finally agreed to go out on a date with him. But now she’s still a single mom, raising two sons and Hop’s adopted superhero but powerless daughter, because, in the end, Joyce is the strongest person on the show.
What are Steve and Robin up to?
Remember when Steve (Joe Keery) was cool? He’s not anymore. Remember when he was a jerk? He’s not anymore. Season 3 offered up one of the sweetest unlikely friendships in the “Stranger Things” universe: Steve “The Hair” Harrington and former band geek Robin (Maya Hawke), two almost-adults who are stuck in Hawkins hawking ice cream at the Starcourt food court. The duo lead the Scoops Troop, a monster-fighting crew that includes Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas’s sassy little sister Erica (Priah Ferguson). After Robin negged Steve all summer — “How many children are you friends with?” — it comes out via a dose of Russian truth serum (seriously) that she is not in fact secretly in love with him. Instead, she was into a girl who was into Steve, which began Robin’s jealousy-fueled obsession with the prom king. Oh, and he’d just admitted his feelings for Robin moments before she came out. It’s not awkward though. Truly. Instead of a girlfriend, Steve got a friend out of the deal. After helping to save the town — nay, world — from the Mind Flayer, the pair need new jobs. The mall is kaput and there is only one other prime choice for a teenager in the mid-'80s: Family Video, the Blockbuster of middle America.
So the monsters are all gone now and everyone can chill, right?
Ha. No. This is Hawkins, after all. In that post-credits scene at the Russian prison, the guards pass over the American (Hopper) for another sorry soul, whom they drag to a damp cell with a second door. Out comes another many-teethed Demogorgon. Cue Season 4.