Warning: This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 3.
Like in previous seasons, the ending of Stranger Things season 3 offers up a hard-fought battle between Hawkins’ finest and some really gross monsters. But before that all goes down, viewers get a really sweet rendition of “The NeverEnding Story” song from the classic 1984 movie of the same name from Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and his girlfriend Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo).
Naturally, the Camp Know Where couple duet is all in good fun and the show depicts it as such. But what if this memorable scene from episode eight, “The Battle of Starcourt,” was even more irresponsible than we thought? Did this magical journey to Fantasia broadcast over the radio waste vital time that could have been used to close the gate before it was too late for poor Hopper (David Harbour) and Billy (Dacre Montgomery)?
Let’s step back for a second. Throughout the eight-episode Netflix series, Suzie (or Suzie Pooh as Dustin calls her) seems like she might not be real.
A whip-smart girl that resembles Phoebe Cates sounds too good to be true, and Dustin never managed to get in touch with her. But in the finale, viewers learn she’s totally real. What’s more, she proves to be a valuable player at a pivotal moment when she answers Dustin’s radio call in her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah.
(Sidenote: Did you catch that she was reading A Wizard as Earthsea book and had a Wizard of Oz poster? This show as a wizard thing!)
That’s because she’s the only person who knows Planck’s Constant—a quantum mechanics-related mathematical figure introduced by German physicist Max Planck, which we know is the code to the vault that Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper need to access.
But there’s a catch. She won’t cough it up without a little ditty first.
“This is urgent,” Dustin insists when he finally reaches her over the radio. “Get the g-ddamn number already,” Erica (Priah Ferguson) says. Copy that.
Dustin and Suzie sing “The NeverEnding Story” song
Suzie makes it clear that it’s quite conditional. No number without the song. And whatever Suzie wants, Suzie gets.
As a result, they bust out the song originally performed by Limahl and Beth Anderson approximately 34 minutes into the finale episode. Fans reveled in the brief release from all that monstrous mall madness.
In fairness, for all of its exploding rats, this genre-hopscotching epic had to give us something sweet. And this is a show that wants everyone to believe that even the strangest, nerdiest, tortured, or grief-stricken among us can find happiness. So the song was fitting.
“You just saved the world,” Dustin tells Suzie when she finally coughs up the numbers that grant Joyce and Hopper access to the vault. Well, not the whole world.
By season’s end, we watch the monster claim Billy’s life, and the Hawkins Gazette reports that Hopper is also a goner.
As the glowing red final credits rolled in, online, people were having fun with the idea that the song could have cost us these two characters’ lives.
For those of us who, like Erica, wanted to keep this mission moving, how game-changing was this song? All together, Suzie’s stalling appears to have taken a grand total of three minutes, so it’s hard to say.
But think back to the moment: If Dustin and Suzie didn’t waste time on the song, could Joyce and Hopper have stopped the Mind Flayer before it killed Billy?
And if Joyce and Hopper closed the gate three minutes earlier, would Hopper have avoided that altercation with the Russian agent and ultimately escaped?
If so, would Hopper be splitting a bottle of wine with Joyce at Enzo’s right now?
Either way, consider this another reason to agonize over the loss of the fan favorites.
No matter what, it was a great song, Suzie.
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