Stranger Things: 10 Best Episodes, According To Metacritic

Barb’s captureAfter a whopping three-year absence Stranger Things returns on May 27. Season 4 will look into the fallout from Jim Hopper’s disappearance and Eleven losing her powers, but fans have taken to binge-watching the first three seasons to catch up on all the finer points.

Those wanting to rewatch the show’s greatest hits need look no further than the episodes that critics like the most. Metacritic is a great indicator because it calculates the average score on what reviewers deemed as the best. Whether it’s a story centering around Mike and Eleven’s relationship or Will’s experience with the Upside Down, it’s best to check out the highly-rated episode before Stranger Things 4 premieres.

10 Season 2, Episode 8 "Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer" - 7.4

This episode saw Bob’s tragic death when he was devoured by the Demodogs. Prior to that, the characters had to navigate around the facility they were trapped in to escape, with Bob heroically volunteering until he was slain. The remainder of the episode was about destroying the remaining Demodogs.

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"The Mind Flayer" was well-received for the tension it provided, with viewers still considering Bob’s death devastating and the characters' escape one of the show's most intense moments. Some found the contrast between Bob’s sequence and the finale a bit jarring, but the episode was lauded as a whole.

9 Season 3, Episode 4 "Chapter Four: The Sauna Test" - 7.8

Season 3 really kicked into action with this episode, which saw the core friend group track the Mind Flayer’s actions by following Billy. It also revealed that Starcourt Mall was a front for the villain who intended to use it as a base of operations for their attempts at getting into the Upside Down.

There was criticism toward how the characters were all separated, but the horror elements received praise. Things like the Mind Flayer’s ability to shapeshift bodies made for freaky viewing and Stranger Things fans appreciated how the show managed to deliver the fear factor in new ways.

8 Season 2, Episode 9 "Chapter Nine: The Gate" - 7.8

Among the things fans want to see in Stranger Things season 4 is the characters banding together against the villain, which season 2’s finale delivers. Here, Eleven decided to use her powers against the Mind Flayer and was aided by her friends to get there.

Viewers mainly enjoyed the finale for finally bringing Eleven back with the group after she was separated from the others for the majority of the season. Moreover, Barbara finally got the justice she deserved when her death was acknowledged, bringing resolution to another storyline that fans had previously complained about.

7 Season 1, Episode 6 "Chapter Six: The Monster" - 8.3

This episode cemented Jonathan and Nancy's romance, as the former got into a fight with Steve defending Nancy’s honor. It also featured the younger characters becoming closer, with Eleven saving the boys from bullies and winning their trust.

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"The Monster" was the calm before the storm of the final two episodes and saw the leadup to the agents arriving at Mike’s house to ambush Eleven. Critics liked how the story focused on building the protagonists' characters so that viewers would truly care for them when the season reached its conclusion.

6 Season 1, Episode 2 "Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street" - 8.4

There’s little doubt that Stranger Things is a major franchise that Netflix launched and the appeal of the series’ horror element can be traced to the second episode. It was here when viewers got to see the variety of scares, with Barb’s capture and Joyce witnessing the Demogorgon in her house.

Stranger Things didn’t hold back on showing just how grisly Barb’s abduction was, which received praise for making clear how dangerous the Demogorgon was. It was this episode where Elevent first met the boys, with many comedic moments stemming from how clueless they were in talking to a girl with powers.

5 Season 3, Episode 8 "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt" - 8.5

Season 3 was criticized for splitting up the protagonists too much, but it did well in bringing them all together in the last episode. "The Battle of Starcourt" saw their final stand against the Mind Flayer, with casualties rising in the form of Billy and Hopper’s sacrifice to ensure the creature was vanquished.

In true Strange Things fashion, tearjerking moments were to be found, especially through Hopper’s letter to Eleven where she read about how much he loved her. The episode was a good setup for the fourth season, as fans were encouraged to speculate what happened to Hopper and how the remaining characters would cope with the losses they’d suffered.

4 Season 1, Episode 4, "Chapter Four: The Body" - 9.1

Stranger Things is largely considered the best supernatural show on TV right now and much credit goes toward how it incorporates other genre elements. "The Body" had a mystery-thriller feel to it, as the characters investigated the truth behind Will’s disappearance, refusing to believe the body they found was his.

One of the show's freakiest scenes finds Hopper slicing through “Will’s” body to learn that it’s indeed a fake, but there’s so much realism to the aesthetic that it gets the desired reaction of the audience’s shock. The different ways the characters uncover the conspiracy behind Will’s disappearance served as an additional hook to keep interest and intrigue at a high.

3 Season 1, Episode 7 "Chapter Seven: The Bathtub" - 9.1

Sesaon 1's penultimate episode brought all the main characters together for the first time. Here, they acknowledged Eleven’s powers and had her use them to locate Will and Barbara’s whereabouts — the resulting shot of Barb’s corpse remains one of the biggest jump scares in the show.

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Although it has a relatively sedate pace, the episode serves as a bridge to the finale where the stage is set for Will’s eventual rescue. Mike and Eleven shippers generally point to this episode for kickstarting their romance, as they have a cute interaction where Mike makes his feelings known.

2 Season 1, Episode 3 "Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly" - 9.2

Eleven wasn’t supposed to be the main character when Stranger Things started out but has become a secondary sci-fi character who stole the show to essentially become the lead. Here, flashbacks to her time as Dr. Brenner’s experiment revealed the trauma she went through.

Darker moments included the Demogorgon slaying Barb, who was mercilessly attacked and partially devoured. The episode had a fair balance between establishing where the story was headed while keeping enough mystery so as not to give away what the villains were planning.

1 Season 1, Episode 8 "Chapter Eight: The Upside Down" - 9.4

The season 1 finale brought the hunt to locate Will to a conclusion, as the characters were successful in finding him in the Upside Down. Steve achieved a huge redemption arc when he stepped up to save Jonathan and Nancy from the Demogorgon in a move that turned him into a fan favorite.

The ending presented cliffhangers that the show still hasn’t eclipsed, with the mystery of Eleven’s disappearance and Will being affected by the Upside Down in the human world. The story hooks left in "The Upside Down" made it nearly impossible for viewers not to continue with the show, and credit goes to this quality storytelling.

NEXT: 10 Fan-Favorite Characters In Stranger Things, According To Reddit

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