Did you miss these characters as much as I did?
Stranger Things Season 3 Episode 1 threw us right into the deep end, with a mystery that extends to Russia, changes for our beloved characters, and a cliffhanger ending that set up the rest of Stranger Things Season 3 very well.
That doesn't mean there was much in the way of answers. Instead, I'm more intrigued than ever to move on to the next handful of episodes.
It shouldn't be a surprise that the Starcourt Mall is having an effect on the smaller businesses in Hawkins.
The story Joyce works in was once super busy, but now she's hard-pressed if she gets any customers.
That's what happens when these big building developments pop up, giving consumers everything they want under one roof.
There's a lot of mystery surrounding this seemingly picturesque shopping mall. How did it get dragged up from the ground so quickly? That's the biggest question that springs to mind.
It seems like the Starcourt, and its effect on local business will be one of the more prominent plots in the third season.
Speaking of Joyce, she's struggling to move on from the death of Bob. They may not have spent much time together, but him being part of her life made her happy.
Her lying to Hopper about having plans before returning home to have dinner alone and reminisce about the past confirmed this.
But the show seems to want to put Hopper and Joyce together. There's always been chemistry there, but Joyce isn't ready to re-enter the dating world.
On top of that, she has a good relationship with Hopper. If they take things to the next level, and it goes south, where does that leave them?
For now, we'll have to settle for the two of them asking each other for parenting advice.
The biggest surprise from the premiere was that Eleven and Mike were still going strong. It seemed inevitable that there would be some drama thrown in for them.
It's refreshing that they were still very much together, but they need to learn to respect boundaries.
Lucas: Is that a new zit?
Max: What is wrong with you?
Being together is still so new to them. They're inseparable, and they're not only starting to piss their friends off but their parents.
Hopper's attempt at the talk was both awkward and comical at the same time. It was made worse by the teenagers ridiculing him every step of the way.
Mike seemed invincible, probably because Eleven is not like the other girls. Eleven has superpowers, and that's intimidating to anyone.
Dustin: This is Gold Leader returning to base. Do you copy? Over. This is Gold Leader returning to base. Do you copy? Over. I repeat: This is Gold Leader returning to base. Do you copy? Over. I repeat: This is goddamm Gold Leader---
Dustin's Mom: Dusty!
Dustin: Relax! For goodness' sake!
Dustin: I'm in range. They should be answering.
Dustin's Mom: You've been away a whole month, honeybun. Maybe they just... forgot.
Hopper knew he had to do something or he was going to be pulling his hair out every time the pair tried to test his patience.
Telling Mike there was something wrong with his grandmother was cruel, but he kind of deserved it based on the way he was acting.
Hopper calling Eleven his daughter was a pivotal moment, and one that proved Hopper's concerns were coming from the heart.
But Mike is going to be facing an uphill battle if he ever wants things to get back to normal with Eleven.
It's a shame that not everyone was happy for Dustin to return.
The kid was ecstatic to meet his friends again, but beyond them giving him the fright of his life, they didn't seem to be too concerned about him.
Having Suzie in his life was something different that allowed everyone to be excited for him ... that's assuming Suzie even exists.
Her not responding on his high-tech radio was no surprise, but it allowed us to learn more information about what the heck was going on in Russia.
Mike: Oh, my god. That was priceless. Did you see his face?
Eleven: It was like a tomato.
Mike: Yeah, a fat tomato.
Eleven: Yeah, a fat tomato.
Mike: I know. Me too. But I'll see you tomorrow, all right? First thing.
It can't be a coincidence that a year has passed, magnets are falling down, and there are secret messages being sent over the radio, right?
Everything happens for a reason on this show. But it's just a shame that Dustin was all alone when that message came through.
If everyone thought Suzie was a figment of his imagination, then what are they going to think about the messages?
It's mind-boggling that the Soviet Union would be trying to gain entry into the Upside Down or worse, bring a creature through to the real world.
Man: Comrade-General, we are close. You can see. You can see our progress. We just need more ti--.
[COMRADE GENERAL walks over to Alexi as one of his men grabs the man.]
Comrade-General: You have one year.
Alexi: Yes, Comrade-General.
It certainly raises a lot of questions, and given how brutal Comrade-General and his men were about things, a lot of characters are probably in danger when this conspiracy gathers steam.
Which brings us to Billy. One minute, he was romancing Mrs. Wheeler, and the next, he was being dragged down to the basement of a creepy warehouse in the middle of nowhere by a dusty figure.
The trailers teased that Billy was a villain, so it's probably fair to assume there's going to be some sort of possession plot on the go.
Hey, Lard-ass. No running on my watch! I gotta warn you again, and you're banned for life. You wanna be banned for life, lard-ass?Billie
He's the perfect character for this type of plot because he's not been the nicest person since his arrival in Hawkins.
Hopefully, Nancy Drew can crack the warehouse case because there's undoubtedly going to be a big link to that warehouse from Mrs. Driscoll.
Nancy has mostly been saddled with some of the show's weakest storylines, but her internship at the Hawkins Post is sure to get people talking.
She's willing to do anything to flex those journalist muscles of hers, but the men in the office see her as nothing more than someone gets them tea and coffee.
It's ridiculous, especially when you consider how integral she and Jonathan were to unmasking some of the big events in the past. That's what happens when the truth is concealed, I guess.
Woman: Watch it.
Erica: Yeah, watch it, nerds.
Lucas: Isn't it past your bedtime?
Erica: Isn't it time you died?
Lucas: Mall Rat.
Erica: Fart Face!
All right, Stranger Things Fanatics!
What did you think of the premiere?
Hit the comments below.
All episodes are streaming now on Netflix.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.