'Stranger Things' Season 3 Easter Egg Gave Away the Plot in Episode 3
It's a subtle clue in Starcourt Mall that you definitely missed.
Stranger Things Season 3 is packed full of ‘80s references, but there are two small Easter eggs in Episode 3 that you probably missed. Now, thanks to the official Behind the Scenes: Stranger Things podcast, we know about two tiny Easter eggs that the show’s creators snuck in, subtly revealing one of Season 3’s biggest plot twists way ahead of time.
The moment in question happens during Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 3 when Steve and Dustin are chasing what they think might be a Russian spy through Starcourt Mall. At this point, we suspect some sort of Russian plot, but we don’t know exactly what the Soviets are up to. However, a couple of carefully placed props give away those details way earlier than you probably realized.
While Steve and Dustin chase the “Russian” (who turns out to be a jazzercise teacher), they hide behind a beam while standing in front of a bookstore. Waldenbooks was a real chain that closed in 2011, so that’s pretty cool, but the big clue is the specific books on display in the shop window.
The first book, which some fans did notice, is Breaking with Moscow, a memoir written by the highest Soviet official to defect to the United States. It was published in 1985, when Stranger Things Season 3 takes place.
Even more interesting is a second book that you definitely missed: Tom Clancy’s first book, The Hunt For Red October. It’s almost impossible to see, but the official podcast confirms that Stranger Things’s production team put it in the shop window, and if you squint carefully you can see it here:
And here’s the book cover for comparison:
Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, it’s a way for Stranger Things’ creators to subtly hint at the importance of the Russian plot before it really picks up. Like we said, at this point in the movie it seems like Dustin might just be reading into things.
The fact that Breaking with Moscow deals with a Soviet defector suggests that Season 4 might go even deeper into this Cold War conflict. Maybe a high-ranking official in the U.S.S.R.’s Upside Down team with switch sides. Or maybe it’s a subtle reference to Alexei’s eventual decision to stay with Hopper rather than return to his comrades later in Season 3.
The Hunt for Red October similarly deals with a defecting Soviet submarine captain. Will Season 4 deal with submarines, or is this just another nod to Alexei? We’ll have to wait for Stranger Things 4 to find out.
Stranger Things Seasons 1-3 are streaming now on Netflix.