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"Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt" is the eighth and final episode of the third season of Stranger Things and the twenty-fifth episode overall. It premiered on July 4, 2019, along with the rest of the season.

Synopsis

Terror reigns in the food court when the Mind Flayer comes to collect. But down below, in the dark, the future of the world is at stake.

Plot

The Mind Flayer's strange growth continues to pulsate from Eleven's left leg, making El scream in severe pain. While Mike and Dustin keep her still, Jonathan attempts to cut out her wound. As he cuts open the skin, Eleven intervenes and takes over, using her powers to fling out the creature. The creature attempts to escape but is crushed by Hopper who arrives at Starcourt with Joyce and Murray.

S03E08-Eleven and Hopper share one last hug

Eleven and Hopper hug each other before they head out.

The group discusses a way to stop and kill the monster. Hopper and Joyce plan to infiltrate the Russian base under the mall in order to destroy the key to open the Gate, while Dustin and Erica will offer navigational assistance using his radio transmitter from atop Weathertop. Eleven offers to help Hopper but he asserts that he needs her safe, since the Mind Flayer is after her. The two then share an embrace, before the group departs to take Eleven to Murray's warehouse.

Hopper, Joyce, and Murray descend into the Russian base while Steve and Robin take Dustin and Erica to the transmitter. Meanwhile, as the group was leaving with El, they find their car's ignition cable lost and Billy blocking the road with his car. The group resorts back to the mall. Mike attempts to raise Dustin via the radio transmitter but to no avail. When the group tries to take out the ignition cable from the car Eleven wrecked earlier, Eleven finds herself too weakened to evoke her powers. Moments later, Mike, Max and El witness the Mind Flayer looming atop the mall's roof. Mike warns Nancy before he and Max help El to hide. Just then, the Mind Flayer crashes through the mall's roof and searches for them.

After figuring out that the group is trapped, Steve and Robin hurry back. At the mall, Lucas uses his slingshot to distract the Mind Flayer from attacking El, Mike, and Max, long enough to get both the group out of the mall.

As Jonathan, Nancy, Will, and Lucas attempt to flee, Billy rushes to ram their vehicle only to be slammed by Steve's car. Billy chases Max, Mike, and El while the Mind Flayer pursues Steve and the group.

At the Russian base, Murray disables the power to the gateway machine, letting Hopper and Joyce in to open the lock to the disabling keys. However, the code which is derived from Planck's constant doesn't work. Dustin reaches out to Suzie in Utah using his transmitter and using the number she provided, Hopper and Joyce opens the lock and retrieves the key. The two then prepare to stop the machines but before they can, Grigori intervenes and begins fighting Hopper.

At the mall, despite Mike and Max's efforts, Billy knocks them out and seizes Eleven, taking her to the Mind Flayer. The Mind Flayer stops pursuing the group and return back to the mall. As it approaches El, Steve and the group arrive in time and throw firework explosives, preventing it from attacking her. Eleven recalls the memories she saw of Billy's childhood and reaches out to him which breaks him out of the Mind Flayer's control. Billy then confronts the Mind Flayer and sacrifices himself to stop it from taking Eleven.

At the same time, Joyce endeavors to turn both the keys herself as Hopper outmaneuvers Grigori and throws him into the machine, killing him but creating an electrical barrier to block his path. Finding no other alternative to escape, Hopper looks to Joyce and nods to trigger it.

S03E08-Hopper nods to Joyce to close the Gate

Hopper nods to Joyce to close the gate.

She activates the key which destroys the machine and closes the Gate to the Upside Down, unleashing a shock-wave which presumably disintegrates Hopper. It also results in the Mind Flayer's death. The group reunites together. Billy apologizes to Max before he succumbs to death. Joyce and Murray escape the facility while Dr. Owens arrives with several armed military soldiers at Starcourt to seize control of the Russian base. Regrouping outside the mall, Eleven learns of Hopper's death and becomes devastated.

Three months later, Hawkins becomes the focal point of several conspiracy theories due to recent events going viral. Mayor Kline is arrested following the disaster of the Starcourt Mall, while Steve and Robin apply for a job at the Family Video store.

S03E08-Farewell1

The kids bid a tearful farewell to Eleven and the Byers family.

Joyce, Will, and Jonathan prepare to move out of Hawkins with Eleven going with them. Nancy and Jonathan reconcile and share a kiss. Although El is still unable to use her powers, Mike is hopeful that they will come back. El recalls how Mike expressed his feelings for her at the cabin and kisses him, telling him she loves him too. Joyce finds Hopper's "heart to heart" speech which he wrote to say to Eleven and Mike. She gives it to Eleven to read. In the letter, Hopper admits how he felt delighted raising her. He also acknowledges his discomfort knowing that she was growing older and distant from him. He nevertheless encourages her to continue moving forward. Eleven, Will and Jonathan bid a tearful farewell to their friends Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Max and Nancy before they head out.

In a mid-credit scene, at a Russian base in Kamchatka, the prison guards feed a prisoner to a captive Demogorgon.

Cast

Music

Soundtrack

  • "Goldrush Two" by Yello - Steve, Robin, and Erica head out to the convertible.
  • "Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson - When Steve is driving and Dustin is arguing with Erica about the existence of Suzie.
  • "The Russian Nightingales" by The Red Army Choir - Hopper and Joyce sit in the Russian base and decide they make a good team.
  • "Never Ending Story" by Limahl - Dustin and Suzie sing together over the Cerebro as everyone listens in, completely shocked.
  • "Dirge" by S U R V I V E - Billy shields El from the monster, Joyce turns the switches.
  • "When You See Me" by Hurricane Express - Steve and Robin apply for jobs at the video store.
  • "Deep" by Peter Sandberg - El reads Hopper's letter for the "heart to heart" speech and gets emotional.
  • "Heroes" by Peter Gabriel - Eleven, Will, Joyce, and Jonathan finish packing up the Byers house with their friends and head their separate ways.

Original Score

  • "Happy Screams" - Mike, Max and Jonathan describe the Flayed Monster.
  • "Tammy" - Joyce requests Will to stay with Jonathan while Hopper tells Eleven she needs to be safe because the monster is after her.
  • "What Did You Do to Him?" - As Jonathan notices the ignition cable to Nancy's car is gone Billy revs his engine.
  • "Scoops Troop" - The scoops troop get stuck on their way to Cerebro as Mike tries to radio them.
  • "Blueprints" - Murray craws his way through the air ducts.
  • "Hopper Sneaks In" - Hopper and Joyce make their way to the vault.
  • "Planck's Constant" - Hopper enters the security code; Nancy, Jonathan, Lucas and Will attempt to flee from the Mind Flayer; Billy is in pursuit of Eleven, Mike, and Max.
  • "The Trees Are Moving" - Steve and Robin witness the Flayed Monster approaching after running their car into Billy’s; The monster returns to the mall after Billy takes Eleven.
  • "Heather’s" - Hopper and Joyce are about to turn the keys before Grigori surprise attacks Hopper.
  • "Seven Feet" - Eleven tries to snap Billy out of the Mind Flayer by reminding him of a memory of his mom.
  • "Earth Song" - Joyce sees the remnants of the exploded machine, the kids embrace, the military comes in.
  • "Aftermath" - Joyce hugs Will outside Starcourt Mall and El learns that Hopper is dead.
  • "You're a Fighter" - Jonathan and Nancy hug and kiss goodbye in his room.
  • "I Like Presents Too" - Mike and Eleven talk about their plans to visit each other.
  • "The First I love You" - Eleven tells Mike she loves him too and they share a kiss.
  • "Not Chinese Food'"' - Russian soldiers drag a prisoner from his cell.
  • "The Upside Down" - The Demogorgon emerges.

Gallery

Notes

General

  • On December 9, 2018, a teaser trailer for the third season was published across social media, listing the titles of the eight episodes, the final of which was "The Battle of Starcourt".
  • This episode is the only one of all episodes of the series to feature a mid-credits scene. It also has the longest run-time out of all the episodes.
  • Series composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein make cameo appearances in this episode as patrons at the Family Video store.
  • The soundtrack "Heroes" by Peter Gabriel is played at the end of the episode when Eleven reads Hopper's "heart to heart" speech. The same soundtrack was also played at the end of "Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly" of the first season.
  • In a social media post, it was revealed that a beach ball was used in set for filming the scenes of the Mind Flayer's proxy.[1]
  • According to visual effects supervisor Paul Graff, the Duffer brothers originally planned to have the Mind Flayer's invasion at the Fun Fair, rather than the Starcourt Mall. The sequence would have been inspired by films like Godzilla and Jurassic Park. However, considering the amount of work the VFX team had to do, they decided it was more logical to shift the sequence to the mall.[2]

Fate of Jim Hopper

  • The death of Jim Hopper in the episode became a huge point of discussion among fans[3], some of whom theorized that he could still be alive, claiming the "American" prisoner in the mid-credits scene to be a hint of his survival. While no confirmation has yet been made, the Duffer Brothers stated that the mid-credits scene was purposely intended to spark debate, mentioning it as a tease for the potential next season.[4]

References

  1. "Instagram post"
  2. "'Stranger Things': Inside the action sequence you never saw and other VFX secrets of Season 3"
  3. "'Stranger Things': What's Next After That Deadly Season 3 Cliff-Hanger"The Hollywood Reporter. July 5, 2019.
  4. "Is (SPOILER) really dead? Duffer Brothers answer burning questions about Stranger Things 3 ending "EW. July 8, 2019.
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