Stranger Things Season 3 Ending Explained

After waiting for nearly a year and a half, Stranger Things has finally made its triumphant return to Netflix. The fan-favorite sci-fi series released its third season on the streaming service at 12 am PT Thursday morning, and plenty of people stayed up to binge it as quickly as possible. With that in mind, some folks are already finished the new season of the series, and understandably have a TON of questions about what happened at the end. No need to worry, though. We've got you covered. Let's break down those final few minutes of Stranger Things 3, shall we?

WARNING: This article contains MAJOR Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3! Continue reading at your own risk...

Most of the season pits the people of Hawkins against the Mind Flayer, a creature from the Upside Down that uses hive abilities to turn humans into part of its own mind. Eventually, all of the people turn to some sort of goo and are absorbed into one giant monster. That is, except for Billy, who remains as a human to help fight off the rest of the citizens. However, Eleven is able to get to Billy, reminding him of who he really is by using his memories. This makes him turn on the Mind Flayer and sacrifice himself while taking down the monster.

Meanwhile, Joyce and Hopper head down to the Russian facility under the mall to shut down the machine trying to open the gateway to the Upside Down. The eventually succeed, but it comes at the cost of Hopper's life, as he was still inside the room with the machine when it blew.

So the gateway remains shut, and the Mind Flayer seemingly defeated, but at the cost of Hopper's life. This loss reaffirms Joyce's decision to leave Hawkins for good, moving her family somewhere else. Three months after the explosion, we see the Byers family saying goodbye to their friends. Eleven, now without a father, has been taken in by Joyce and leaves with her. Before she does, though, she reads the letter that Hopper wrote when he planned on talking to her about her relationship with Mike at the very beginning of the season.

Joyce, Will, Jonathan, and Eleven are seen leaving Hawkins at the very end of the season, with the rest of the characters looking on as they drive away. But if you stick around for the post-credits scene, you get some more insight into how the show will continue.

A Russian prison is revealed to be holding a prisoner simply referred to as "The American." It's more than like that this is Hopper, somehow saved from the blast. Sadly, Eleven doesn't even know that her dad is probably still alive because her powers no longer work, so she can't seek him out.

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It's also revealed in this scene that the Russians are still dealing with the Upside Down, experimenting on Demogorgons and figuring out how they work. This leaves things wide open for the story in Season 4.

While Netflix hasn't officially renewed Stranger Things for a new season, it's hard to imagine the streaming service letting it go after this.