The '80s setting of Stranger Things allows the series to incorporate a number of era-appropriate songs, inviting audiences to not only connect with their pre-established feelings with the song, but also inspiring new interpretations based on how the songs factor into the narrative. One of the most memorable songs featured in the series is The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go," which was heavily featured in the first season. With the third season of the series having debuted on Netflix, Peter Gabriel's cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" plays during a pivotal moment, with some fans forgetting that this isn't the song's first appearance and potentially teasing a character's fate.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Season Three of Stranger Things
In the third season finale, the song is played during a sequence in which all of the characters are coping with Hopper's death, with Eleven reading a speech he aimed to read to her while other characters say their goodbyes as they pack their truck to leave Hawkins, Indiana behind. With our heroes having triumphed over the Russians and the otherworldly beings from the Upside Down, the song is melancholy in tone while the repetition of the phrase "we could be heroes" feels far more triumphant. The use of this song is slightly confusing, as it wasn't released until 2010, though it isn't played within the world of the story, so we'll let that slide.
The song's first appearance, back in Season One, is much more somber. The first episode saw the disappearance of Will Byers, with subsequent episodes chronicling the town's search for the boy. In the third episode, Will's body is seemingly discovered, with the authorities dragging the corpse from water as "Heroes" plays over the scene.
While it's possible that the song is merely meant to create a throughline for the narrative, it's possible that the use of this song could confirm that Hopper isn't actually dead. In the episode following the discovery of Will's "body," we see Hopper confirm that it isn't actually Will, as he is still alive in the Upside Down. Hopper "died" when a Russian device that opened up a portal to the Upside Down was destroyed, seemingly killing everyone in the room with it, though without seeing his actual death, it's possible that Hopper was transported to either the Upside Down or any other location.
In this regard, it's possible that the Season Three use of the song replicates how it was used in Season One, potentially tipping off to audiences that characters haven't suffered as tragic of fates as it seemed. With a Season Three post-credits scene featuring Russians referring to a character as "the American" while not showing them, it's possible that this was another hint at Hopper's survival.
Season Three of Stranger Things is streaming now.
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