I don’t know about you guys, but when I watched the final episode of Stranger Things 3, I was devastated by how it had ended. Hopper (David Harbour) is one of my favorite characters, and I just couldn’t bear it if he died. After some clever horror fans listened to the very end of the last episode – at a Russian facility in Kamchatka, an officer drags a prisoner out of his cell and into a different cage, where he’s attacked (and presumably killed) by a demogorgon – and heard one of the Russians says, “No. Not the American,” we all started to speculate as to who that American really was. Could it be our beloved sheriff? We all had to sit on our hands and wait to see, as no one in Hawkins was talking.
Suddenly we got this 60 second teaser that answered that very question.
Hopper is alive! Although, he’s apparently in Russia somewhere and locked away in prison. The weepy, blubbery side of me is thrilled by this. But then, my rational brain started picking apart the pieces. How did this happen?
According to Screenrant:
The key to Hopper’s survival lies in the structure of the Gate Room itself. Stranger Things season 3 opened with a similar malfunction at the Russians’ Kamchatka Gate, with a number of key technicians vaporized in an energy surge. This appears to have led the Russian scientists to realize they could only open a Gate at Hawkins, where the barrier between the real world and the Upside Down had previously been torn apart by Eleven. But when the Russians constructed their Hawkins Gate, they learned important lessons from the previous disaster; several shots in episode 8 showed a ladder off the gantry Hopper was stood on, that would have taken him down to an area where he was outside the blast radius. No doubt this wasn’t added for humanitarian reasons; rather, Russia couldn’t afford to keep losing accomplished scientists in malfunctions.
Hopper had no way of knowing about the ladder, or about the shielded area. As a result, he didn’t make a run for it, but instead gave Joyce a nod as he resigned himself to death. However, the initial kinetic shockwave of the Gate’s malfunction would have tossed him away like a rag-doll – presumably throwing him over the edge of the gantry. He’d have fallen into the safe zone, potentially badly injured and certainly knocked unconscious, but still alive.
Okay, I’ll admit that that technically works. Hopper was wearing a Russian uniform when it all went down. Maybe he was unconscious, and those crafty comrades grabbed him on their way through the escape hatch, not realizing he was an American? Then, after they found out, they threw him in the gulags for safe keeping?
Of course, I’m thrilled to see him back for Stranger Things 4. But, I also feel a bit cheated by TPTB. This is the second time they’ve killed off a character that has returned the following season (Remember El (Millie Bobbie Brown) and her seemingly catastrophic end with the first demogorgon in the last episode from the first season?). Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… you know the drill. If they’re going to bring everyone back Supernatural-style every time a beloved character kicks the bucket, then it cheapens the effect. Why be sad if I know they’ll be back next season? I’m surprised Barb hasn’t come crawling out of the Upside Down, covered in slime but very much alive.
I’m also slightly bummed that they revealed it all in a pre-season teaser. Why not keep that info under wraps, and shock the shit out of everyone by showing him halfway through Stranger Things 4? Why did they waste the reveal on a teaser? Not to say that I’m not excited to see Stranger Things 4. I’m hella excited. But at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Duffer brothers will have everyone that moved away at the end of Stranger Things 3 back in Hawkins before the end of the second episode. Nothing like ripping our hearts out and then shoving them back in, hoping they still beat. Of course, there’s still a few veins and arteries that just don’t connect like they used to…
Are you excited for Stranger Things 4? Let us know in the comments!