6.5/10 The latest season of “Stranger Things” has our angst filled protagonists growing up yet much of what happens in Hawkins stays the same. Each season has gotten better in terms of special effects and how amazing this show looks. Season 3 is continued evidence of that. Many elements of previous seasons continue to work here. The acting overall is fantastic, the score is appropriately nostalgic, the characters have great chemistry together, the production and costume designs are fantastic, etc. Where this season falls short and makes the first two seasons stronger is when it comes to the story line for this season. The biggest problem is that we are starting to see quite a bit of repetition from the first two seasons. We think the “Upside Down” is contained when it is really amongst the people of Hawkins, everyone in the group bands together to stop it while everyone else in the town either is oblivious or dies from it and Elle, being the only one in the group with powers, does all of the heavy lifting in battling the monsters. This happens again this season with very little deviation. Also the fact that an entire Russian facility is able to be built, run and operated in Hawkins without any authorities knowing is laughably unbelievable. Lucas has a younger sister, Erica, who is an extremely annoying character and a chore to watch onscreen. There are some really dumb character decisions or moments that make you roll your eyes (Hopper, a trained police officer, should know to shoot bad guys in the head and not the chest, or at least double tap/make sure they are dead before moving on). The bickering between Joyce and Hopper got stale after a couple episodes and the Mayor was a rather over the top character. There is also a very emotional death in the season finale, but I unfortunately don’t think it is going to stick once next season arrives, which would be a bad thing. Complaints aside, this show is still a lot of fun to watch, the group pairings this season was an exciting change of pace, some new characters introduced were worthy additions, the mall setting worked like a charm and the finale’s ending was a bold decision. I still recommend watching this season, despite being a slight step down from the first two seasons. Luckily for season 4, it appears we will be journeying outside of Hawkins, which will hopefully be a much needed jolt of change to break free from this season’s repetition. Here’s to hoping things change and hopefully get a bit stranger…

#RedDawnOfTheDead / #NancyDrewTheShortStraw / #TheKidsInTheMall / #RussianAroundHawkins / #FullStarCourtPress / #LivinOnAFlayer

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