Forget Bill Pullman. This year, we celebrated our Independence Day with Mike, Lucas, Will, Max, Steve, Robin, Erica, Dustin, and Eleven. The Fourth of July belonged to Stranger Things 3, arguably the best movie of the summer not named Avengers: Endgame and a true return to form for a show that scuffled slightly in Season 2. Now that the Upside Down dust has settled and the spoilers are no longer a big secret (for more speculation on what that major "death" in the finale might mean for Stranger Things 4, check out our coverage here and here), let's do some accounting on who won and lost Stranger Things 3.
WINNERS: Robin and Maya Hawke
Robin for this photo:
Maya Hawke for this Instagram post from her dad:
View this post on Instagram
Some of you may have missed her in last year's BBC production of Little Women. Some of you may have missed her work at Juilliard. I know many missed out on numerous high school productions - heck I even missed a few and I'm her father. Some of you may know her music, some may not. But Ladies & Gentleman, get to know MAYA HAWKE. She's the real thing. #StrangerThings
WINNER: Erica (Priah Ferguson)
You can't spell America without Erica.
WINNER: Steve (Joe Keery)
Here are Steve's favorite movies:
-"Animal House, for sure."
-"Uh, Star Wars." ("The one with the teddy bears")
-"The movie that just came out. The one with the DeLorean and Alex P. Keaton and he's trying to bang his mom."
WINNER: Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Nothing but respect for my Ewoks.
LOSER: Back to the Future
The crowd went wild when the screening of Back to the Future at Starcourt Mall ended, but Steve and Robin dunked all over it with the hindsight of screenwriters in 2019.
WINNER: New Coke
During a (commercial) break in the action during the penultimate episode, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) expounds on the pleasures of New Coke by comparing it favorably to John Carpenter's The Thing. (Coke, of course, has a major partnership with Netflix around Stranger Things.)
LOSER: John Carpenter's The Thing
Carpenter's cult classic is one of the most beloved thrillers of the '80s... and during Stranger Things 3, even jokingly, it got compared to New Coke.
WINNER: Nancy (Natalia Dyer)
We stan a legend.
LOSER: Jonathan (Charlie Heaton)
Nancy deserves an upgrade in the boyfriend department for Stranger Things 4
WINNER: The Demogorgon
WINNER: The Russians
LOSER: Hawkins' Tourism Board
The conclusion was heartbreaking, but Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour) spent all season spinning their wheels — not just with each other, but with their loved ones. For a show about the family ties that bind both Joyce and Hopper, it felt like too much of their motivation had nothing to do with their kids — Will (Noah Schnapp) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), respectively — until it was almost too late.
WINNER: Brett Gelman
Murray "Buttman" and Fleabag in the same year.
Get those Spotify streams up!
Eleven was single-handedly responsible for most of the "America F-- Yeah!" moments in Stranger Things 3, but it felt like her character was stuck in neutral. At least we'll always remember the mall montage.
DRAW: "Never Ending Story"
When Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Suzie with a Z (Gabriella Pizzolo) duet on the theme from The NeverEnding Story (complete with totally anachronistic autotune), it's so bad it's good it's bad it's good, I love it. Suzie with a Z, come back for Stranger Things 4!
DRAW: The Hawkins Post
The town's local newspaper clearly had a robust budget but leadership used it to staff the place exclusively with sexists — some of whom are now dead. Win some, lose some!
Stranger Things 3 Recaps: Episode 1, "Suzie, Do You Copy?" | Episode 2, "The Mall Rats" | Episode 3 "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard" | Episode 4, "The Sauna Test" | Episode 5, "The Flayed" | Episode 6, "E Pluribus Unum" | Episode 7, "The Bite" | Episode 8, "The Battle of Starcourt"