'Stranger Things' Season 3 Plot Includes Exploding Rats, Russians and Possessed Hawkins Citizens

Have you ever wondered if your local mall was a secret Russian base committed to ruining America? No? Neither did the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana, until Stranger Things Season 3.

The series has taken viewers through a whirlwind of slimy monsters, and incredible superpowers over the years, but the friends will be put to the test in Stranger Things 3, mostly because everything they're up against is out of their league.

Season 3 starts off in a cool, calm summer marked by pool days, bike rides, summer camp memories and even a town festival. But each day is haunted by the past and an inkling that their worst nightmare could return at any moment. From neck chills and goosebumps to visions of something terribly wrong, the gang figures out their past horrors are still very much alive.

Stranger Things Kids
Stranger Things Season 3 premiered on Netflix July 4. Netflix

Several initially disparate plot lines in Season 3 come to hold major importance in the end, including the exploding rats. Viewers are let in on the secret of the gross, gooey creatures long before the characters, and Nancy Wheeler is hot on the trail. Though she spends the summer being berated by misogynistic journalists, she trails an odd pattern of missing fertilizers and chemicals. From there, she and boyfriend Jonathan realize Hawkins citizens have become possessed by something in their food, proving the theory that something entirely non-human has consumed them.

This disgusting revelation began with rats, which explode into a moving, life-like goo. It's later revealed some Hawkins citizens have taken on the same characteristics, merging their bodies to create a huge, voracious monster.

The second storyline sees Nancy and Jonathan following their fertilizer leads. Steve Harrington, Robin, Dustin and eventually, Erica, Lucas' little sister, work to decode a Russian signal picked up on Dustin's walkie-talkie. Erica cracks the code, and the group finds a secret storage facility in the mall, watched by armed guards. They break into the storage unit through mall air vents—that's where Erica comes in, given her small size. Eventually, the four make their way into the secret room and find it leads to a wildly large Russian science base under the mall. They navigate the underground and map the facility.

Meanwhile, Hopper and Joyce spend their time discover a giant, battery-powered forcefield supporting the Upside Down. Along the way, they run from multiple hitmen and capture a Russian scientist named Alexi to help them get to the battery center to shut it down.

Like the seasons before it, Stranger Things Season 3 brings multiple storylines and pieces of a puzzle together in the final, action-packed scenes, in which all characters have seemingly made a difference with the knowledge they've acquired over the season.