Stranger Things season 3 predictions: Decoding the episode titles

Bits and pieces of what we can expect to see when Stranger Things season 3 premieres in summer 2019 have been trickling out for a while now, but the latest update on the much-anticipated series’ return might reveal a lot with just a few words.

A brief teaser video for the series released by Netflix on December 9 identifies the titles for each of the season’s eight episodes. The titles include: “Suzie, Do You Copy?” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Life Guard,” “The Sauna Test,” “The Source,” “The Birthday,” “The Bite,” and “The Battle of Starcourt.”

There’s something substantial to glean from a few of the titles, with several referencing Starcourt Mall, the new shopping mall coming to Hawkins, Indiana, that was revealed in the first official teaser for the season in July 2018. The mall was expected to be a key new setting for the events of the season, and the titles suggest that it could also provide the location for a climactic final battle with whatever it is that threatens Will, Dustin, Eleven, and the rest of the Hawkins kids this time around.

“The Case of the Missing Life Guard” also appears to reference — either directly or indirectly — one of the new additions to the cast in the third season. Haters Back Off! actress Francesca Reale joined the series in April, and her character was initially described as “a popular lifeguard at the Hawkins community pool.” Whether she’s the one who goes missing, or her connection to the pool’s lifeguards is what brings the Hawkins kids into another mystery remains to be seen.

One title that could be a throwback to the second season is “The Sauna Test,” which might reference the ordeal that Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) was put through in order to separate him from the malicious entity that was revealed to be inhabiting him in season 2. After it was determined that the entity despised heat, Will’s family and friends exposed him to high temperatures in order to purge the extradimensional creature from his body.

Could someone else in Hawkins be a host –reluctant or otherwise — to an entity from the place known as “The Upside Down”? Here’s hoping it’s not Will again, as he’s one character who’s been through enough.

The exact premiere date for Stranger Things season 3 is unknown at this point, but the series is expected to return at some point in summer 2019.

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