My Feelings Journal Recap of Stranger Things 3×01

Dear Feelings Journal,

My therapist tells me I should keep you and talk to you about anything that drums up feelings in me. Today, I am starting Season 3 of Stranger Things. I expect a lot of feelings.

Shit. I started Chernobyl. Is this Chernobyl

So, we begin with some obvs Russian AF white dudes messing around with the Upside Down because white dudes love to mess with shit, don’t they? 

And they’re dead. They all died. Those of you who had Stargate-run-by-a-Tesseract-looking super weapon Doctor Manhattans a bunch of Russian dudes into jello salad win our first Stranger Things gore pool.

“Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?”

A Very 80s First Act

Coming in hot with some Corey Hart on a Sharp QT-50. I feel you, Stranger Things. You’re talking my love language.

Wait a minute. Feelings journal, Mike and Eleven are full on making out and I don’t think I should have this on my computer. We are all Hopper: Sheriff Dad in this moment, pulling away from our Magnum, P.I. program to tell our magic daughter to stop using her magic on the bedroom door.

We get our first full-on glimpse of the Starcourt Mall in all its glory. And I guess everyone has girlfriends now? And here come the favorite characters: Erica Sinclair is eating ice cream in the face of curfews and Steve Harrington is not just a regular Dad Steve. He’s a cool Dad Steve, sneaking the gang into the back of the Cinema Multiplex to see a zombie movie which can’t possibly have any significance whatsoever. Don’t worry, Feelings Journal. Everything’s fine.

Feelings Journal, this is like my childhood. And I don’t know what is happening in my heart right now. What I do know, though, is that when the power goes out all across Hawkins, IN, Erica and Steve became total moods.

Things Grow More Ominous and Amorous In Act Two

After the lights come back on, Will gets his Spidey Sense. Because, Jesus, Will. Can’t we just enjoy a movie or something for a minute.

Cut to Nancy and Jonathan waking up together because everybody has girlfriends now, I guess? Nancy sneaks out the window while Jonathan strolls through the kitchen with a lipstick print on his cheek straight out of a 1950s cartoon. Joyce Byers wipes it off with a smirk and returns to breakfast with Will, where she is giving off some real Dee Dee Blanchard energy. Feelings Journal, I’m starting to think Joyce Byers only loves one of her children.

Dustin “Mommy’s Little Dusty” Henderson (I only just now learned he had a last name, Feelings Journal) comes home from Nerd Sleep Away Camp. We get some nice little shout outs to Monkey Shines and *batteries not included as Eleven bloodies her nose to make Dustin’s toys come to life. And Dustin spraying Lucas in the eyes with Farah Fawcett hairspray is everything. 

Stranger Things Is Just Pulling From My Childhood At This Point

Feelings Journal, this community pool moment is more peek childhood.

Billy Hargrove, you son of a bitch. It’s a good thing Karen Wheeler has that can of New! Coke because girl is THIRSTY. The Hawkins Community Pool is ripe with moms hot for that son of a bitch Billy Hargrove. But, Feelings Journal, Billy Hargrove, son of a bitch, blowing his whistle at the Great Hambino for running by the pool was … kinda great? I don’t understand what’s happening, Feelings Journal. Am I starting to like Billy Hargrove, that son of a bitch?

Hopper: Sheriff Dad has turned to Joyce for parenting advice about his underage lovers. She tells him to talk to them. And we get another golden nugget of wisdom from Jim Hopper.

That goes up there with “coffee and contemplation.” Put it on a t-shirt.

Everyone Is Falling Into Position

Feelings Journal, I’m not sure where I fall on Nancy and Jonathan working for the local newspaper. Is that a little on the nose? But there is a Jake Busey boys club. And Old Ace Levy basically tells Nancy Wheeler she’s too pretty to think. Jake Busey is gonna be so easy to hate, you guys. 

Back with the gang. For you kids out there, inventing was a real thing in the 80s. Like, a big thing. So Dustin has invented a giant antenna to talk to his make believe girlfriend from Nerd Sleep Away Camp. Everybody’s got girlfriends now?

We flip back to a quick moment with Scoops Ahoy Steve trying to mack on girls. I haven’t used that phrase in so long, Feelings Journal. This show is bringing things back to me. I’m going to predict that for Steve … true love was right before him all along. I mean, right? It’s Maya Hawke, right? Gotta be. Mark it.

A little Hopper: Sheriff Dad community theater practice with Joyce, who has scripted his talk with Mike and Eleven. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. And we have our first Hopper and Joyce sexual tension moment. Anyone with hands touch at the pharmacy counter of Melvald’s General Store while going over lines wins the pool. Congratulations. Everybody’s got girlfriends now, I guess.

Things Get Even MORE Ominous and Amorous

And we’re back to Dustin taking the imaginary girlfriend from camp trope a little too far with his space antenna. Will has some moment on the hill because JESUS, WILL … JESUS. Let people have fun!

I think we may be getting a Secret of NIMH reference with all these rats. I hope so, because, Feelings Journal, that would be dope as … no … nope … the rats popped. That’s gross. Anyone with melting rats in a warehouse, come collect your winnings in the gore pool.

Billy Hargrove, you son of a bitch. Nancy Wheeler wants all of it. And apparently she’s going to meet Billy Hargrove, that son of a bitch, at a Motel 6? Nancy. You are a grown ass woman in a town that’s bound to at least have an f’ing LaQuinta. Come on.

Feelings Journal, Joyce Byers watching Cheers and eating a microwave meal while pining for Bob is giving me a real divorced dad energy.

I don’t want this.

Setting Up the Season

So these last ten minutes are packed with multiple threads. And, Feelings Journal, I think you and I are going to be exploring these threads together.

Apparently Nancy works the newspaper hotline now. A little on the nose, Feelings Journal. Am I being too critical? But she does get a tip on those gross ass rats. So there’s one thread.

Eleven and Mike are wearing out some love ballads. Hopper: Sheriff Dad forgot his damn lines, and Mike is an asshole now, I guess. I’m pretty sure Jim Hopper killed Mike off screen, Feelings Journal. I’m like, 90% sure.

Dustin is giving me real Red Dawn vibes right with his space antenna. Either his girlfriend is a Russian Mormon or … nope. We’ve got Russians again. So, Feelings Journal, we’re going all in this season with some 80s movie Russian villains. I have zero complaints. Good thread. 

And here we go. Billy Hargrove, you son of a bitch. Shit’s about to get real up in here. Feelings Journal, AM I STARTING TO LIKE BILLY HARGROVE?!? Son of a bitch.

Billy’s camaro! Nooooo!!! Wait. Is Billy dead? Did Billy Hargrove, that son of a bitch, die in the first f’ing episode?

Man, B names can’t catch a damn break on this show.

Until next time, Feelings Journal. Keep it between the mustard and the mayo.


Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman writes mysteries, comedies, and irreverent analyses of pop culture. He is the author of JUGGLING KITTENS and GRAFFITI CREEK, both of which have too many bad words for his mom's liking. You can find him at

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