If you thought deciphering a possessed Will Byers’s erratic scribbles was difficult, then try decoding these newly released episode titles for Stranger Things Season 3.
Netflix dropped the title teaser on Sunday (December 9), and while the titles themselves are vague, that’s not stopping fans like us from jumping to somewhat logical, albeit totally speculative conclusions. (Just like the Duffer Brothers and producer Shawn Levy want us to do.) But before we dive into specifics, let’s address the obvious: There are eight episode titles total, which is one fewer than last season but the same as Season 1. Since the second season featured an Eleven-centric bottle episode that received unfavorable reviews from critics and fans alike, it’s no surprise that Stranger Things would revert back to its winning, eight-episode formula for its third season.
We also know that the season, dropping in 2019, will take place during the summer of 1985 — the summer before Mike, Will, Caleb, Dustin, Max, and presumably Jane/Eleven enter high school. The season will introduce new characters and a significant new location: the Starcourt Mall, the latest attraction in Hawkins, Indiana, and the location of Steve Harrington’s sweet summer job.
With all of that information in mind, let’s start theorizing what these episode titles might mean for Mike, Jane, and the rest of the Party:
“Suzie, Do You Copy?”
Stranger Things has yet to introduce a Suzie, so the “Suzie” in this episode title is either referring to a new character who hasn’t been announced or a potential codename for an existing one. After all, “do you copy” is a reference to how Mike, Will, Caleb, and Dustin communicate over their radio channels — so whoever this “Suzie” is, she must have some ties to the group.
“The Mall Rats”
The Starcourt Mall is going to be a major setting this season. After all, where else would a group of teens hang out all summer than the shiny, new mall in town? They can escape the Hawkins heat and annoy Steve while he’s on the clock working at the local Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop. Season 3 will also introduce Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve’s sharp-tongued coworker. She’s been described as an alternative girl who just wants a little excitement in her mundane life — and she reportedly gets more than she bargained for when she finds herself wrapped up in the middle of a dark Hawkins secret. Whether she’s connected to the Mind Flayer and the experiments at the now-defunct Hawkins National Laboratory is anyone’s guess.
“The Case of the Missing Life Guard”
In addition to the mall, the town’s community pool will also be a significant location in Season 3 —and the site of a major incident. The “missing life guard” in this title is most likely referring to Heather (Francesca Reale), a popular lifeguard at the Hawkins pool. Presumably, Heather goes missing — not unlike Barb being snatched by the Demogorgon from Steve’s pool in Season 1 — and her disappearance has something to do with the creatures lurking in the Upside Down. (And it could also tie into Robin’s big mystery.)
Eleven may have closed the Gate to the Upside Down at the end of Season 2, but now that the Mind Flayer is aware of her powers, it’s only a matter of time before that Gate is breached.
“The Sauna Test”
There are two main characters who have undergone “tests” and observations due to their extended time in the Upside Down: Eleven and Will. In Season 1 of Stranger Things, Eleven is placed in a sensory deprivation tank in order to mentally teleport to the Upside Down. And in Season 2, Joyce and Jonathan essentially have to burn the Mind Flayer out of Will by turning the heat in Hopper’s cabin all the way up. Since we know the Mind Flayer likes it cold, could the “Sauna Test” be a way to ultimately defeat the otherworldly creature? As for who’s conducting said test, this could be the perfect opportunity for Dr. Sam Owens to revisit Hawkins.
An extremely vague title, “The Source” could mean absolutely anything — but if we had to guess then it seems most likely that this might be referring to the source of the Mind Flayer’s power. Or even the source of its existence. After all, the show has yet to establish where the Upside Down came from and, more importantly, how something as powerful as the Mind Flayer was created. Of course, since the Mind Flayer and Eleven are connected, the episode could dive into the source of her power.
Or it could be referring to extremist Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), the private investigator whose conspiracy theories were ultimately confirmed by his sources, Nancy and Jonathan.
Since Eleven has probably never experienced the joy of birthday cake before, Hooper will most likely want to give his adopted daughter a proper birthday party — and knowing Mike Wheeler, he’ll probably stress over what to buy her (at the mall, most likely). But since this is Hawkins, where a threat is always looming in another dimension, we wouldn’t be surprised if this birthday party ends in complete chaos.
The penultimate episode has to set up the stakes of the finale, so what happens when someone gets bit by a Demogorgon? We just might find out.
“The Battle of Starcourt”
“Starcourt” obviously refers to the town mall, so we feel pretty confident that the season closer will give us a showdown with the Mind Flayer and its minions at the mall. Why the Starcourt Mall? Perhaps it has something to do with the “source” — what if the Starcourt Mall was actually built where the Hawkins Lab used to be? That would mean that the Gate to the Upside Down would now be under the Starcourt, making the mall the logical location for the big battle. Or it’s the real-world site of another important location in the Upside Down, like an energy source. Either way, prepare for something sprawling and epic.