It wouldn’t be Stranger Things without a big dramatic ending, and Season 3 definitely doesn’t disappoint. After the latest season finale, nothing will never be the same in Hawkins, Indiana. What happens at the end of Stranger Things Season 3? And what does it mean for everyone’s favorite small town chief of police, Jim Hopper? Here’s everything you need to know, spoilers and all.
Final warning: Major spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3 are coming just below this GIF of dancing Jim Hopper.
When Stranger Things Season 3 begins, Hopper (David Harbour) is living his best dad life with his adopted daughter Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Eight episodes later, he’s in the fight for his life against a group of Soviet Russian military scientists determined to re-open the portal to the Upside Down. After breaking into their underground base — while the kids fight a revived Mind Flayer in the mall directly above — Hopper makes it to the lab and manages to close the portal with Joyce/Winona Ryder’s help.
The only catch? Hopper dies in an explosion caused by the Russian’s equipment as it shuts down.
Or does he?
Season 3 ends with Eleven joining Joyce and her kids (Will and Jonathan) as the new family moves out of Hawkins, Indiana. We get a tearful goodbye and a touching scene where Eleven reads an old letter written by Hopper (with a voiceover by Harbour, of course) before the credits roll. But it’s not over yet.
A post-credits scene transports us from Indiana to Kamchatka, where Russian soldiers seem to be feeding random prisoners to the Demogorgon (yes, that Demogorgon). As a pair of soldiers walk by a row of cells, they linger in front of a door before one of them says, “No, not the American.”
Wait! What American?!
The implication here seems to be that Jim Hopper is somehow still alive and imprisoned in Soviet Russia, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering all the Russians fled after the explosion. Then again, since when has Stranger Things been logical? The same thing happened to El after Season 1 when she sacrifice herself to kill the Demogorgon — who’s apparently also alive. So why not bring Hopper back to life too?
Of course, it could also literally be any other American. It might even be another one of Eleven’s “siblings” from her time at Hawkins National Laboratory, which could also explain how the U.S.S.R. found out about the Upside Down in the first place.
But come on, let’s be real. That’s totally Hopper. You know it. I know it. The Duffer Brothers know it. The only question is: How will Stranger Things figure out a way to get Officer Jim Hopper all the way back to Hawkins, Indiana for Season 4?
Stranger Things Season 3 is streaming now on Netflix.