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"Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard" is the third episode of the third season of Stranger Things and the twentieth episode overall. It was directed by Shawn Levy and was released on July 4, 2019 along with the rest of the season.


With El and Max looking for Billy, Will declares a day without girls. Steve and Dustin go on a stakeout, and Joyce and Hopper return to Hawkins Lab.



Eleven and Max Mayfield hang out in Eleven's bedroom, where she expresses mild regret about breaking up with Mike Wheeler. Max assures her that Mike will come to her begging for forgiveness soon enough, and they decide to use Eleven's powers to spy on him. Eleven enters the void to see him and Lucas Sinclair discussing the situation with a bored Will Byers nearby. Lucas insists that he did nothing wrong, claiming women act on "emotion and not logic," and the two again reject Will's request to ignore the girls and play Dungeons & Dragons. Jim Hopper returns drunk, happy to learn that Mike is not there, and he no longer has to worry about keeping the door open. They decide from a list of names to spy on Billy Hargrove next, and she sees him taking Heather Holloway to the basement of the Brimborn Steel Works. Billy senses her presence and she snaps back to reality, terrified.


Mike and Lucas awaken to Will in his "Will the Wise" Dungeons & Dragons character declaring "a day of free of girls" for them to play a campaign. Hopper sobers up and finds a note from Eleven saying she and Max left early, and Joyce Byers turns up to tell him about her findings. He is more annoyed with being stood up and that she spent the night with Scott Clarke instead of him. He only stops when Joyce asks if it could be Hawkins National Laboratory starting up again and he agrees to go, if only to prove her wrong. As he gets dressed, Hopper claims she invented the magnet connection to get out of the date. Max and Eleven walk to her house where she awkwardly tries to explain why a girl would be screaming for a good reason (in reference to sex) before they arrive, finding Billy not there. They check his room and find his bath full of melted ice and a bloody lifeguard pouch and whistle in the bathroom trash.

S03-Ep2-Mike talks with Will

Mike Wheeler and Will Byers argue

Nancy Wheeler presents Jonathan Byers' pictures of the crazed rat to the journalists at The Hawkins Post, explaining that people all over Hawkins have reported rats eating their chemical products. They laugh her off. As Robin Buckley continues to translate the Russian code at work, Erica Sinclair interrupts her to get more free samples. Steve Harrington and Dustin Henderson stake out the mall for suspicious characters, and Dustin suggests Steve ask out Robin, which he is opposed to. Mike and Lucas unenthusiastically participate in the campaign until the phone rings, thinking it may be the girls. Fed up, Mike and Lucas kill themselves in the game, to Will's chagrin. Mike stops him in his garage, and Will claims he is ruining their group because of his obsession with Eleven. Mike tells him "It's not my fault you don't like girls" and asks him if he really thought they were never going to mature. Will bikes off in the rain.

S03E03 - El searching for Heather

Eleven searches for Heather Holloway

Eleven and Max visit the pool and has a pool worker identify the items they found as Heather's, who is off duty. Eleven steals a picture of Heather off the employee board and she and Max sneak into the showers, where she enters the void in an attempt to find her. She enters a house with a red door and finds Heather submerged in an ice bath. She rises up and begs Eleven to help her before falling through the floor, seemingly floating down through a body of water. Hopper and Joyce break into the long-abandoned lab. As Hopper looks around, Joyce stares forlornly at the spot where Bob Newby died. As they walk past a dead security camera, their presence seems to activate it.

S03E03 - Robin looking after the Lynx Transportation man

Robin Buckley cracks the Russian code

Steve and Dustin follow a suspicious man, but he turns out to just be a Jazzercise instructor. Robin completes the code with "a trip to China sounds nice if you tread lightly," unable to figure out what it means. A Starcourt Mall worker arrives to give her a shipment of ice cream, and she notices he works for Lynx Transportation, the logo of which features the silver lynx. She realizes "a trip to China" references a Chinese food restaurant in the mall, "if you tread lightly" refers to a shoe store, and "blue and yellow" are the blue and yellow hands of a massive clock in the mall, the hands "meeting in the west" at 9:45. She triumphantly tells Steve and Dustin that she cracked the code. As Bruce Lowe continues to taunt Nancy, she tells Jonathan they should catch the sick rat caught by Doris Driscoll for proof that the story is legitimate. Jonathan expresses concern over their jobs, but she convinces him to go regardless. Joyce and Hopper check the site of the gate, finding it sealed up. Joyce and Hopper both express continued feelings of paranoia from the events of the past two years, and Hopper promises that he is keeping a close eye on things, wanting her to feel safe in Hawkins, knowing she is trying to sell her house. Hopper empathizes, remembering how he moved away when his daughter died, but he assures her that she has people who understand and care for her. The moment is interrupted by a noise from somewhere in the lab, and Hopper goes to investigate.


Mike and Lucas look for Will at his house, who is out at Castle Byers. He looks through old photographs of the boys playing Dungeons & Dragons and dressing up as Ghostbusters for Halloween, tearfully declaring it "stupid" and tearing the fort apart. Jonathan and Nancy find Driscoll eating fertilizer in her basement. Dustin, Steve and Robin observe Lynx Transportation's loading dock at 9:45 from a rooftop and observe the Chinese restaurant and shoe store boxes are being loaded into a guarded room. A Russian-speaking guard hears them and sweeps the roof armed as they hurry away. Hopper is attacked and easily defeated by the man from Larry Kline's office. Joyce finds him dazed and watches the man drive away on a motorcycle.

ST3-El and Max goes to Heather's house

Eleven and Max Mayfield arrive at the Holloway house

Eleven and Max visit Heather's house (noticing it has a red door) only to find her, her parents, and Billy having a civilized dinner. Billy casually and politely introduces Max as his sister. When Max asks why Heather did not come to work, Billy explains she was feeling unwell. They leave as Billy watches, somehow recognizing Eleven as the one who closed the gate. The skin on the back of Will's neck flares up again as Mike and Lucas find him, and he tells them "he's back." Heather's mother passes out and her father collapses, Billy having drugged them. Heather promises her father "it will all be over soon" and subdues him with chloroform.


The official teleplay for "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard"



Also Starring[]




  • "Angel" by Madonna - Max karaokes as El reads teen magazines on her bed.
  • "Phone To Phone" by Life by Night - Hopper drunkenly storms into El’s room, mistaking Max for Mike.
  • "Lovergirl" by Teena Marie - Max and Eleven spin the bottle.
  • "The Pod Dance" by Trevor Jones - Will forces Mike and Lucas into playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
  • "The Electric Knights" by Head On - Max and Eleven investigate Billy’s room.
  • "All Your Reasons Why" by Smart Remarks - Nancy and Jonathan developing photos.
  • "The Girl I Left Behind Me" by Brian Peters - Erica asks for more ice cream samples.
  • "Things Can Only Get Better" by Howard Jones - Dustin and Steve are looking out for evil Russians.
  • "Blood Warning" by Kevin Kaska - Lucas and Mike try to get out of playing. Will gets upset.
  • "Place In My Heart" by Brian Page - Max and El speak to the lifeguards.
  • "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! - Steve and Dustin spy on a Jazzercise class in Starcourt Mall.
  • "It Is A Sin" by Al Hazan - Max and El show up at the Holloway house.
  • "American Pie" by Don McLean - Billy and Heather eat dinner with the latter's parents.

Original score[]

  • "Kids Two" - El and Max laugh after El spies on the boys.
  • "In The Void" - El spies on Billy.
  • "Happy Screams" - Eleven and Max walk to the Hargrove house.
  • "It's Just Ice" - El and Max find melted ice, Heather's fanny pack, and a whistle covered in blood in Billy's bathroom.
  • "Lamps" - Nancy’s story is dismissed by the board members.
  • "Not Kids Anymore" - Mike and Will argue in the Wheeler’s garage.
  • "Looking for a Way Out" - El takes Heather's picture from the lifeguard board; Max turns on the showers to allow El to find Heather through the void.
  • "Inside The Black Room" - El finds a red door in the void.
  • "Danger Danger" - Eleven is disturbed and startled by what she sees in the void. Repeats later when the Mind Flayer recognises Eleven (through Billy) as the one who closed the gate.
  • "Symptoms" - Joyce has a flashback of Bob’s death as she and Hopper enter the lab.
  • "The Silver Cat Feeds" - Robin starts pulling clues together.
  • "Feel Safe" - Hopper and Joyce share a heartfelt moment.
  • "Ruins" - Hopper and Joyce hear something in the lab; Mike and Lucas try to find Will and apologise.
  • "Destroying the Castle" - Will destroys Castle Byers.
  • "Breaking and Entering" - Dustin, Robin, and Steve leave the rooftop after a guard hears them; Hopper walks around Hawkins Lab armed searching for the source of the sound.
  • "Chicago" - Joyce witnesses Grigori making his exit as Max and Eleven bike to the house where Eleven saw Heather in the void.


View Gallery For this subject's gallery, see The Case of the Missing Lifeguard/Gallery.


  • On December 9, 2018, a teaser trailer for the third season was published across social media, listing the titles of the eight episodes, the third of which was "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard".
  • When El and Max make a board with names of people they know, the names of Nancy, Dustin, and Mr. Wheeler inconsistently swap places in between shots.
  • According to actor Noah Schnapp, the confrontation sequence where Mike states Will doesn't like girls may not directly address Will's sexuality.[1] Actor Finn Wolfhard also revealed that the confrontation scene had a lot of different versions.[2]
  • Will is the first character to say the word "fuck" - when he's destroying Castle Byers in a fit of rage, though the subtitles don't pick it up.
  • The track that plays when Erica asks for more ice cream samples has also been used in the Nickelodeon series, SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • Ralph Macchio, who plays Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid films and Cobra Kai, appears on one of the magazines El looks at.
  • This is the tenth episode to be named after a character. In this case, it's Heather Holloway.
  • This episode also has the longest title in the series with a total of six words.