Since this is a first impressions essay, I will be trying to avoid spoilers like the plague.
My first rule for non-spoiling is if it happens in the first five minutes it’s not a spoiler. Second rule is if they included it in the trailer it’s not a spoiler because they did the spoiling.
I had an extremely lazy and enjoyable 4th. I barbacued a pork shoulder for eighteen hours. I got some things done that were pretty low on the to do list and I watched a couple of episodes of Stranger Things 3.
This is a much tighter show than last season’s. No irritating and distracting backdoor pilot for a spin-off series this time. It flows a lot better. The kids are getting older and they handled the changing relationships that come with that.
The plot is better too. Season 2 was in a lot of ways just a rehash of season1. When the show started, I saw the giant laser thing opening The Crack and I thought, oh no, they’ve completely run out of ideas. The Evil American Government has about-faced and reopened Doctor Evil’s world destroying secret weapon’s project because the Duffer Brothers can’t come up with anything else. But then I saw one man in the uniform of a Soviet era General and I went, “oooh, maybe there is something good here after all.
Yep, a big chunk of this year’s plot is Red Dawn. They have my attention.
Another, thing that I liked was the girl-friendship that developed between Max and Elle. Last season Max was thrown in because they were apparently being ordered to shovel more grrl power in this show (sigh, stick a pin in that one, we’re coming back to it). Consequently, the writer’s just gave her “stuff to do,” Which meant she had, “no reason to be there.” However, making Max Elle’s bestie, expanded both character’s in a very natural and satisfying way.
The thing from the Upsidedown, I can’t get into without real spoilers but so far it’s an improvement over last season’s. And it’s actually pretty much in keeping with the tropes of a Cold War adventure.
They are still doing a great job with the Eighties vibe.
Some plot elements have been a little predictable. Since everyone with a romantic pairing really can’t develop those anymore we have to go through the soap operaish breakup and makeup. (Included in the trailer so not a spoiler.)
The Duffer’s are also pretty big on hand-waivem. There was no affection between Billy and his step-sister Max last season. None at all. Suddenly it’s there, this season because, Drama! Billy wrecks his car at the end of one episode but when he has to escape it’s miraculously healed at the beginning of the next.
Steve, (who is now hero,) has to suffer a massive loss in social status because he is now a hero and rich boy’s can’t be heroes. Also the Duffer’s needed one of the heroes to have a job in the mall. So the same father who gave his son a freaking BMW 7 series, (a high end executive’s luxury car) now forces him to get a job in the mall since the moron couldn’t get into “Tech.”
Writer’s contrivances. It’s TV what do you want?
Well actually I wanted a bit more effort, truth be told.
It’s not actually, The Bad so much as it is Even More The Meh. Grrl power. The first season was pretty much about boys, men and male problems. This season it’s a completely vagina filled year at Stranger Things. The boys are along for the ride and so far they can’t get anything right. We’ll see if this lasts.
That’s it for first impressions.
Okay, I’m done here.