WARNING, THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE INCLUDES SPOILERS FROM STRANGER THINGS: SEASON 3!
While the third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things starts with various plot threads, everything seems to wrap up by the penultimate episode. This includes a plot of evil Russians, inter-dimensional invasions, flesh monsters, and more. When we do reach the final episode, we learn that Russians have infiltrated Hawkins. Using the pre-existing breach to the Upside-Down, the Russians essentially have undone what everyone worked so hard for in Stranger Things: Season 2.
This allows the Mind Flayer to return, except this time it’s prepared via a make-shift physical body. This body is composed of rats and people after they consume multiple chemicals assumed to help their bodies become a substance suitable for the Mind-Flayer’s objective. This distracts Eleven and the group of teenagers while Hopper and Joyce attempt to close the breach.
Unfortunately, by the time Hopper is able to reach the machine keeping the gateway open, evil Russians learn of the plan. During the conflict, the machine not only closes the breach but disintegrates several Russian operatives while Hopper is transported to an undisclosed location. This leads into the mid-credits scene which features a remote Russian base (in Kamchatka). When selecting a sacrifice for a Demogorgon, the prison guards says to not pick “the American.”
This can mean many things within the context of the show. Is it Hopper? Is it a character we’ve met before? Is it a new character?
If “the American” turns out to be Hopper it would be confusing. The scene featuring his disappearance didn’t seem to leave much time for his capture. At the same time, Hopper’s knowledge of the Upside-Down from a scientific perspective is limited, making it not logical for him to be special. Instead, it seems more likely that Hopper was transported to the Upside-Down similar to how Eleven was transported there at the end of Stranger Things: Season 1. More likely, if a character we’ve met before, “the American” is Dr. Brenner.
Known for being Eleven’s “father” before Hopper, Dr. Brenner went missing after Stranger Things: Season 1. The assumption was death at the hands of the Demogorgon but in Stranger Things: Season 2, doubts regarding his death were expressed. In fact, Ray Carroll claimed to not only know that Dr. Brenner was alive but also where he was located. It would be interesting to see Dr. Brenner secretly in the custody of Russians. He has scientific knowledge and personally has conducted research on both the Upside-Down but also psychic abilities within people. His involvement would make the upcoming season a more personal journey for Eleven while also being the key to returning her abilities. Likely with her abilities returned she’d be able to find Hopper and stop any threats from the Upside-Down for good.
Did you enjoy watching Stranger Things: Season 3? Let us know your thoughts and what you thought of the ending in the comments!