You know that annoying houseguest who overstays their welcome and just won’t leave? It looks like the interdimensional monster known as the Mind Flayer, from Stranger Things, may be one of those guests. That’s the big takeaway from the latest trailer for season 3 of the popular Netflix series.
(Some spoilers for the first two seasons below.)
Stranger Things was an instant hit when it debuted on Netflix the summer of 2016. Set in the town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the early 1980s, it was a refreshing love letter to a bygone era, when kid-centric films like The Goonies, Ghostbusters, and E.T. led the box office. But all was not normal in this sleepy little town: an accident at a secret government lab opened an inter-dimensional portal and unleashed a supernatural threat from a different dimension.
A young girl with psychokinetic powers, known only as Eleven (Milly Bobby Brown), was befriended by a group of preteens whose friend Will (Noah Schnapp) mysteriously disappeared into an alternate dimension dubbed the Upside Down. They teamed up to find Will and defeat the monster that took him. In season 2, we learned that monster was just the tip of the iceberg, and an even more powerful entity, dubbed The Mind Flayer, threatened the town. Eleven managed to close the portal, but the final scene showed the Mind Flayer still lurking ominously in the Upside Down.
The first full trailer for season 3 dropped in March, mostly focusing on interpersonal relationships and an unnamed new threat to the town. The gang is still together: Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink), and Eleven. Mike’s sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is still dating Will’s older brother Jonathon (Charlie Heaton). David Harbour is back as Chief Jim Hopper after his Hellboy excursion, while Will’s mother, Joyce (Wynona Ryder) is struggling to cope with the great personal loss she suffered last season
Unlike prior seasons, which took place in the fall, this third installment is set in the summer against the backdrop of the opening of a new supermall, courtesy of new Hawkins Mayor Kline (Cary Elwes). Subsequent teasers focused on lighter moments, like the growing bond between Dustin and Nancy’s ex, Steve (Joe Keery), and a rather unsettling poolside clip, showing the collective moms of Hawkins shamelessly ogling lifeguard Billy (Dacre Montgomery), Max’s bad boy older brother.
Now, we have yet another trailer seemingly giving us our first peek at the Big Bad for the upcoming season as well as a new synopsis of the narrative arc:
It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer’s heating up. School’s out, there’s a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town’s threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now they’ll have to band together to survive, and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.
In the new trailer, we learn that the Mind Flayer was never trapped in the Upside Down when Eleven heroically closed the portal at the end of season 2. It’s been lurking in Hawkins this entire time, which means it’s found a new host. Could it be… Billy? Maybe. There’d be some poetic justice in that, and we learned that a lifeguard mysteriously disappears from the first trailer.
But Stranger Things is famous for its deliberate misdirection. Sure, we get a shot of Billy and a closeup of someone’s possessed eye. But the Mind Flayer could just as easily be lurking within the smarmy new mayor, or the creepy police officer who seems to be tracking Hopper—or maybe even Hopper himself. The creepy voiceover of the Mind Flayer does have something of Hopper’s cadence. That would be quite the twist. It could also be more than one host. But it’s probably Billy, right? Right?
“You let us in. And now you are going to have to let us stay,” the creepy voiceover intones. “And now it’s time. We are going to end you. We are going to end your friends. Then we are going to end everyone.” Well, unless Eleven and the gang figure out how to end you first, Mind Flayer.
Season 3 of Stranger Things drops on Netflix July 4, 2019.
Listing image by YouTube/Netflix