There are simply too many ’80s movies and pop culture references in Stranger Things 3 for me to sift through in on sitting. There’s Back to the Future, Die Hard, Magnum P.I., Dawn of the Dead, Alien, The Terminator, X-Men, The Shining, The NeverEnding Story… to name a few, it never ends.
SO INSTEAD, I’ve put together seven – and some bonus titbits – details from Stranger Things 3 ranging from “aggressive sobs” to “OHHHHHH” to “He’s fucking alive, goddamn it.”
Spoilers, so many spoilers ahead.
Let’s kick things off with some heartbreak, shall we? In the season one finale, there’s a Hopper (David Harbour) flashback where we meet his former wife and late daughter, Sara. In the flashback, she wears a distinct blue hair tie, which Hopper ends up wearing throughout his daughter’s battle with a terminal illness.
In season two, after Hopper adopts Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), he gives her the blue hair tie. She wears it a bunch of times including in the season two finale Snowball scene.
Eleven wears Hopper’s blue bracelet to the Snowball with Mike. This was his daughter Sara’s hair tie & he started wearing it after she died pic.twitter.com/AmWnl2ndL8
— Stranger Facts (@UpsideDownFacts) October 31, 2017
Cool, cool, cool so this is already emotional as hell. Then, then, there’s the season three finale.
At the beginning of the episode, when Hopper and Joyce (Winona Ryder) reunite with the kids, Hopper and Eleven say their goodbyes ahead of the big battle. El is wearing the hair tie and Hopper tucks his thumb underneath it.
— h a n a ???????? | #fyeahcharacterdevelopment (@shunkenzakii) July 7, 2019
I refuse to believe Hopper is dead but hell, this made their goodbye 10x more emotional especially after eight episodes of Dad Hopper. AND, El’s wearing the goddamn hair tie on her wrist when she reads his letter at the end of the episode.
Netflix won’t let me screenshot the scene, (pirating reasons etc) which is probably a good thing because I’ve cried enough.
Never mind, a bit of it is on YouTube.
Farrah Fawcett Hairspray
And now for some quick relief. In season two, when the bromance between Steve (Joe Keery) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is just beginning to blossom, Steve bestows some sacred hair tips.
“When your hair’s damp – it’s not wet, okay? – when it’s damp, do four puffs of the Farrah Fawcett spray.”
This brings us to season three, episode one – the surprise welcome home. El uses her badass powers to take over Dustin’s toys and Dustin, understandably terrified, grabs a weapon to defend himself – Farrah Fawcett spray.
WHAT DUSTIN SPRAYED ON LUCAS' FACE WAS THE FARRAH FAWCETT HAIR SPRAY DFKJKJSF pic.twitter.com/6hngCblvuu
— valeria is crying over st3 (@umbrllafive) March 20, 2019
A small detail, but a bloody adorable one.
Phoebe Cates – the ’80s icon Dustin compares his new girlfriend Suzie to. Dustin says Suzie is hotter than Cates which his mates vehemently believe is not possible.
I am not an 80’s kid so I had no idea who Cates was but at the end of season three, while Robin (Maya Hawke) is trying to get Steve a job at Family Video, Steve knocks over a cardboard cutout of – that’s right – Phoebe damn Cates.
— hen (@henaslett) July 7, 2019
The Dungeons & Dragons Foreshadowing
D&D is a big ol’ part of the Stranger Things world. Back in season one, the boys’ D&D campaign foreshadowed their battle with the Demogorgon. At the end of the season, when Will is back, another game of D&D is played and we cop a look at the Thessalhydra, a multi-headed big-ass monster who teased the appearance of the Mind Flayer.
In season three, during Will’s D&D campaign to get the boys back together, he says: “Do you guys hear that? It sounds like… thunder. But no, wait. That’s not thunder. It’s… a horde of juju zombies!”
Instead of literal zombies, season three has The Flayed.
The Flayed are the rats and people the Mind Flayer infected to become part of its body. Once infected, they were under the control of the Mind Flayer and all they wanted to do was go to the Mind Flayer, hence poor Mrs Driscoll screaming “I have to go back” when she was shipped off to hospital.
Eventually, The Flayed turned into goo in the Mind Flayer’s lair at Brimborn Steel Works and merged into its growing body.
The Curse of the B
Justice for Barb, Justice for Bob, Justice for Billy.
Again, I refuse / am in denial that Hopper is truly dead so I’m not chucking his name on that list.
Barb (Shannon Purser), poor Barb, was dragged into the Upside Down during a pool party in season one. RIP Barb.
Absolute babe Bob (Sean Astin) was torn to bits by a Demodog at the end of season two. JUSTICE FOR BOB.
Sure, Billy (Dacre Montgomery) was an utter wanker in season two and a bit of season three but he did fight back against the Mind Flayer and sacrificed himself to save El.
Benny wasn’t a major character but I was still sad when he died so JUSTICE FOR BENNY.
Benny (Chris Sullivan) was the friendly giant who first served El when she appeared at his diner, Benny’s Burgers at the very beginning of season one. The quality bloke called social services but unfortunately, social services ended up being some gun-wielding DOE agent.
The ‘Queer Eye’ Cameo
Queer Eye fan fave / big pop culture head William Mahnken made a cheeky little cameo in episode one of the third season. Mahnken was the hero in the QE episode ‘A Decent Proposal.’ The former scruffy bloke appeared during a scene set at The Hawkins Post, the one with the all-male news meeting, Nancy (Natalie Dyer) and the frustrating mustard / sandwich comment.
— William Mahnken (@SilverLimePhoto) July 4, 2019
Mahnken and his wife Shannan Eller also cameo’d in episode two of the season, during a scene with a stood up Hopper.
Who caught Shannan from @QueerEye looking lovingly at @DavidKHarbour on our date in the second episode of @Stranger_Things?
(@SilverLimePhoto @Treeandshield #StrangersThings3 pic.twitter.com/hAIMPkD1Sq
— William Mahnken (@SilverLimePhoto) July 5, 2019
Heroes by Peter Gabriel
The David Bowie cover plays at the end of season three, when El is packing her life up to leave Hawkins. In Hawkins, people believe Hopper is dead. The song softly begins just as he finishes reading his letter to El.
In season one, episode three, the same song plays when the fake Will Byers body is pulled out of the river. Mike, who had been depending on El’s powers to find Will, lashes out at her and the two separate.
Maybe the song symbolises the separation between Mike and El. OR, it’s a little clue that Hopper isn’t dead.
It’s, uh, a bit too early for the full season three ending to be up on YouTube.
BUT, here’s something cool. Fans in the US can actually call Murray‘s (Brett Gelman) phone number.
In episode six, the slightly eccentric man’s number is revealed to be 618-625-8313.
TV Guide called it and copped Murray’s very real, very fake voicemail, which is:
Hi, you have reached the residence of Murray Bauman. Mum, if this is you, please hang up and call me between the hours of five and six p.m. as previously discussed. Okay?
And if this is Joyce, Joyce, thank you for calling. I’ve been trying to reach you. I have an update. It’s about — well, it’s probably best if we speak in person, it’s not good or bad but it’s something. And if this is anyone but my mother or Joyce, well, you think you’re real clever getting my number don’t you? Well, here’s some breaking news for you. You’re not clever. You’re not special. You are simply one of the many, many nimwits to call here, and the closest you’ll ever get to me is this pre-recorded message. So, at the beep, do me a favour. Hang up and never call here again. You are a parasite. Thank you, and good day.
BONUS: Random Trivia Time
This is just a bit of a fluff I can’t get over because I grew up on The Princess Bride but absolute snack Westley (Carey Elwes) is Mayor Kline.
The “as you wish” handsome pirate is the dodgy weasel Hopper beats up. How times change.
Binge / rebinge / analyse the hell out of Stranger Things 3 on Netflix now.