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This article or section reveals details from the third season. Read at your own discretion...


"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 premiered on July 4, 2019.

Synopsis

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.

Plot

Max and El eavesdrop on Mike Wheeler and Lucas Sinclair using El’s powers, discovering them belching and passing gas, before Hopper arrives drunk. Pleasantly surprised to see Max instead of Mike, Hopper leaves to watch TV while Max and El play "spin the bottle" to figure out who to spy on. They land on Max’s step-brother Billy Hargrove. Spying on him, El notices him talking to Heather, just before the monster attacks her. As she screams however, Billy notices El spying on him, and turns to face her before she vanishes.

While El is distraught by what she’s seen, Will Byers however is in a much more festive mood at the Wheeler house, declaring a "day without girls" to just play Dungeons & Dragons. Meanwhile Hopper sobers up in the shower until Joyce Byers shows up trying to explain what is happening with electromagnetic fields, and for the third time in the series Hopper initially disbelieves her. Angry because Joyce didn’t go out with him, he continuously rants until he discovers that Joyce has left and intends to head there on her own, and although he tries to stop her he has no choice but to follow.

Concerned about Billy, El and Max head to Billy’s house to check out his room. There they discover that his tub is filled with ice to keep cold, just as Will Byers wanted to keep cold when he was possessed by the Mind Flayer. They also find a bloody lifeguard’s whistle in his bathroom.

S03E03 - Steve spying with Dustin

Steve searching the Starcourt Mall for "evil Russians" with Dustin

At the Starcourt Mall, Robin is still translating the Russian message, rejecting Erica Sinclair’s request for more "samples". Her coworker Steve is not on duty, instead sneaking around the mall with Dustin using a pair of binoculars. Steve gets distracted by mall passersby, so Dustin takes the binoculars and searches himself, but they get distracted again over Robin as a potential girlfriend for Steve.

S03-Ep2-Mike talks with Will

Mike and Will in the Wheeler house driveway

Back at the Wheeler house, Will is still playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons with Mike and Lucas, although the latter two aren’t nearly so enthused about the game as Will. They quickly take the opportunity to escape the game when the phone rings, and get to talking about El, but although Will insists upon returning to the game, Mike dryly acts out the rest of the game so that they can be finished early, which angers Will. Although Mike and Lucas try to calm him down with assurances that they’ll finish properly, Will tells them to just forget about it and angrily walks out of the room, heading toward home. Mike stops Will in the driveway, saying that he just wasn’t in the mood, and Will accuses Mike of never being in the mood and destroying the Party, not caring about Dustin or where he is, only girls. Mike asks if Will just expected to stay home and play games indefinitely rather than growing up, and Will says that yes, he did, before biking out into the rain.

S03E03 - El searching for Heather

El searching for Heather in the Void, Max standing by

El and Max go to the pool to look for who owns the lifeguard’s whistle and kit they found in Billy’s room, but although the lifeguard on duty says it belongs to Heather, Heather has not been in. El takes an image of Heather and uses the Void to locate her in a tub of ice. Heather emerges, asking El to help, before being drawn back down into the Void and lost to El’s sight.

At the Hawkins National Laboratory, Joyce and Hopper have now arrived. Entering the building, Joyce has flashbacks from where Bob Newby died, but they eventually move on and are spotted by a camera. Concurrently in the Starcourt Mall, Dustin finally spots what appears to be an "Evil Russian",

Screen Shot 2019-07-06 at 9.35.31 PM

but after following him they realize that he’s just a Jazzercise instructor.

S03E03 - Robin looking after the Lynx Transportation man

Robin begins to unravel the Russian message

Still in the mall, Robin translates more of the Russian message; "The week is long, the silver cat feeds, when blue meets yellow in the West. A trip to China sounds nice, if you tread lightly." She is interrupted however by a delivery man, wearing a "LYNX Transportation" outfit with a symbol of a silver cat on it. Robin then begins to unpuzzle the encoded message, realizing that the message is referring to stores in the mall; a Chinese restaurant standing for "a trip to China" and a shoe store standing for "if you tread lightly". She notices a clock with blue and yellow arms to the West of her, "when blue meets yellow in the West", finally figuring out the message.
S03E03 - Bruce mocking Nancy

Bruce, a Hawkins Post journalist, mocking Nancy

After being pranked by her superiors at The Hawkins Post, Nancy sets out with Jonathan to find the rat from Mrs. Driscoll’s basement. Joyce and Hopper also continue through the Hawkins Lab, with Joyce reminiscing about taking her son Will out of the Upside Down in 1983, and exorcizing the Mind Flayer from him in 1984. Hopper relates how he is often afraid that one of the denizens of the Upside Down is coming after him, that he is constantly on the lookout so that people can feel safe, feel like Hawkins can be Joyce’s home, and reveals that he knows Joyce is planning to sell her house and leave Hawkins. However, they are interrupted by a noise in another part of the lab.

Mike and Lucas bike over to the Byers house to find Will, but he isn’t there, instead out at Castle Byers. Will reads comic books and remembers old times playing Dungeons & Dragons with the Party, dressing up as Ghostbusters, and generally having fun with his old friends. He begins to cry, saying "stupid", ripping up his photos, and eventually attacking Castle Byers with a baseball bat, before collapsing and sobbing in the downpour. Around this time, Nancy and Jonathan also arrive at Mrs. Driscoll’s house only to see her rapidly eating the fertilizer in the basement, stunning everyone present.

Once more at the Starcourt Mall, Robin, Steve, and Dustin watch the Lynx Transportation company for Chinese food and shoe packages when the two hands of the clock are overlaid on top of each other. They notice a whistling man in a yellow suit with these items who the other men seem to be following, several men sporting military-grade weaponry. The loading doors open up to reveal numerous boxes, but when Steve tries to take the binoculars to take a look himself, Dustin resists and ends up banging the side of the building they were spying from, drawing the attention of the guards. While they duck down, Robin instinctually grabs hold of Steve’s hand, but then they quickly evacuate the roof as the Russian-speaking guards search it for them.

ST3-El and Max goes to Heather's house

El and Max arrive at Heather’s house

In the Hawkins Lab, Hopper is still searching for the noise he heard, gun at the ready. However, he is attacked from behind and knocked out by Grigori, a Russian hitman, who then makes good his escape on a motorcycle. Meanwhile, El and Max arrive at Heather’s house only to discover that Billy is there with her parents, Tom and Janet Holloway, talking genially with them. Billy introduces Max, far more friendly than he normally is, but El demands to know where Heather is. Billy acts confused until Heather walks in, seemingly in perfect health despite her ordeal. Billy smoothly covers it up by saying that she merely wasn’t feeling good the other day, and that all is now well. As the two girls leave, Billy recognizes El as the girl who closed the Gate in 1984, through the Mind Flayer’s memories.

In the woods by Castle Byers, Will once again senses that the Mind Flayer has returned, and when Lucas and Mike finally catch up to him, Will tells them so. In Heather’s house, Heather’s mother Janet collapses and passes out, and Heather herself clubs her father on the head when he goes to help Janet. Writhing on the ground, Janet begins to suffocate him, repeating Billy’s words that "it’ll all be over soon".

Cast

Music

Soundtrack

  • "Angel" by Madonna - Max dances as El reads teen magazines on her bed
  • "The Pod Dance" by Trevor Jones - Will tries to invite Mike and Lucas to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
  • "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham - Steve and Dustin spy on Jazzercise class in Starcourt Mall.
  • "American Pie" by Don McLean - Billy and Heather eat dinner with her parents.

Original score

Notes

  • 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".
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