10 Best Episodes Of Stranger Things (So Far), According To IMDb

This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 4, volume 1.

Every season of Stranger Things so far has expanded the cast and lore of the sci-fi mystery series. The show first aired in 2016, and each season has explored new character dynamics, which range from sweet to antagonistic but are always compelling.

Stranger Things is a genre-bending adventure that uses elements of science-fiction, horror, drama, and the occasional instance of comedy to great effect, and the show's best episodes are often those that strike the greatest balance between them all. Voters at IMDb have had their say on the series' top installments, and whether these episodes feature action-heavy battles or quieter, character-driven moments, they continue to propel the show's larger narrative.

Updated on June 6, 2022 by Stacie Rook: The release of Volume 1, the first part of Stranger Things' fourth season, has given fans answers to some long-held questions about Hawkins, but it's also spawned plenty of new theories too. Until Volume 2 is released on July 1st, it's worth revisiting the very best episodes of the story so far, reliving the plot twists and now-iconic scenes that come together to make the show what it is.


10 The Sauna Test (Season 3, Episode 4) - 8.9

Hopper and Joyce make a great comedic duo in this season 3 episode as they try to figure out what Kline is doing with the Russians. The Scoops Troop is also in full effect, as they get trapped in the Russian base beneath the mall. Will's strange feelings, combined with Eleven and Max's observations about Billy, lead the gang to take a closer look at Max's brother in order to see whether the Mind Flayer really is back in Hawkins.

RELATED: 10 Burning Questions We Have For Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 2

This all results in one of the most exciting acting sequences of the show so far, with Dacre Montgomery (Billy) giving a phenomenal performance that alternates between frightening and heartbreaking.

9 The Body (Season 1, Episode 4) - 8.9

"The Body" follows the aftermath of the discovery of a body (supposedly Will's) in the quarry. Mike is devastated until El manages to provide him with proof via walkie-talkie that his friend is alive. The party gives El an impromptu makeover and sneaks her into their school so that she can use the HAM radio to channel Will, kickstarting an underrated Stranger Things relationship that needs more screentime.

Will continues to communicate with Joyce, who never gives up believing that her son is alive. Hopper takes matters into his own hands, making the chilling discovery that the body he found in the water is stuffed with cotton.

8 The Bathtub (Season 1, Episode 7) - 9.0

"The Bathtub" starts with an exciting chase scene that sees Eleven use her powers to flip a van. The party members make up, and Lucas and El finally become friends in a really sweet scene. Season 1's penultimate episode sees each group come together with their pieces of the puzzle to figure out what's going on.

El uses a homemade sensory deprivation tank to locate Barbara and Will in the Upside Down. The former is dead, but the latter is found hiding from the Demogorgon, showing Will's incredible bravery in such dire circumstances.

7 The Spy (Season 2, Episode 6) - 9.1

Stranger Things has many plot twists nobody saw coming, and this episode is no exception, as it shows that Will is now under the control of the Mind Flayer, and is a great danger to those around him.

Meanwhile, Dustin, Steve, Lucas, and Max attempt to lure Dart to the junkyard, and end up attracting multiple Demodogs. This offers a more lighthearted plot to balance the scariness of Will's predicament.

6 The Battle Of Starcourt (Season 3, Episode 8) - 9.2

A tense episode, "The Battle of Starcourt" kicks off with El and the gang trying to get a piece of the Mind Flayer out of her leg. Eleven uses her power to do it, and in a game-changing moment, the pain results in her losing her powers.

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With the Mind Flayer out to kill El, it's everyone else's turn to save her. Hopper, Joyce, and Murray make up the team that will close the gate while the Scoops Troop uses Dustin's radio to guide them. The rest of the gang tries to hide but are stopped from leaving by Billy and the Mind Flayer, who trap them at the mall, a move that has tragic results.

5 The Mind Flayer (Season 2, Episode 8) - 9.2

The first half of "The Mind Flayer" has a real horror movie feel, as Mike, Will, Joyce, Hopper, and Bob are trapped in Hawkins lab, which is swarming with Demodogs. Bob saves everyone by turning the power back on in the lab, but horrifically, he's attacked by the dogs and killed.

For a character fans only knew for a short time, Bob made a big impact. Back at Joyce's house, Mike, Jonathan, and Joyce try their best to bring Will out of the Mind Flayer's control to no avail. Just as he's figured out their location, though, El steps in and saves the day with a heroic reappearance.

4 The Upside Down (Season 1, Episode 8) - 9.3

The season 1 finale sees Hopper and Joyce convince Hawkins lab workers to let them into the Upside Down in order to find Will. In a truly emotional scene, they find and resuscitate him. Elsewhere, Nancy and Jonathan set a trap for the Demogorgon. When Steve comes over to apologize to Jonathan, he's roped into their scheme and redeems himself by saving Nancy, proving that he has the best Stranger Things character arc.

The lab workers arrive to take back El, who is saved by the appearance of the Demogorgon. When it begins to pursue her and her friends, she uses the last of her strength to destroy it, disappearing in the process. It's a bittersweet ending with a cliffhanger that perfectly set up season 2.

3 The Gate (Season 2, Episode 9) - 9.3

After waiting an entire season, fans finally got to see El reunite with her friends in the first few minutes of "The Gate." The group quickly forms a plan and splits up: Hopper and El will go to the lab, where she will close the gate, and Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy will take Will to Hopper's cabin to burn the Mind Flayer out of him.

RELATED: 10 Things Fans Love About Stranger Things, According To Reddit

Steve is on babysitting duty, which gets a lot more interesting when Billy shows up looking for a fight. The kids cause a distraction to clear a path for El to the gate, which she closes using the techniques she learned from Kali. This episode features possibly the most heartwarming ending, with El and Mike finally getting to have that dance at the Snow Ball.

2 Dear Billy (Season 4, Episode 4) - 9.6

While "Dear Billy" sees the progression of many narratives, perhaps the most important is the culmination of one of the best storylines in Stranger Things season 4, as Vecna's curse finally catches up with Max just as she's reading her heartfelt letter to Billy in the Hawkins cemetery.

Meanwhile, Nancy and Robin go undercover as psych students in order to interview Victor Creel, and learn that music is the key to breaking Vecna's hold on a person, information that they deliver just in time to Steve, Dustin, and Lucas, who use the knowledge to save Max with her favorite song, Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill."

1 The Massacre At Hawkins Lab (Season 4, Episode 7) - 9.7

The final episode of season 4's volume one, "The Massacre at Hawkins Lab" finally revealed the true identity of Vecna. Originally Victor Creel's son, Henry, he ended up in Dr. Brenner's care as subject 001  after he murdered his mother and younger sister. It's also revealed that Henry committed the Hawkins lab massacre, after which a young Eleven was able to send him to the Upside Down.

Elsewhere, Joyce and Murray reunite with Hopper in Russia, while Nancy, Robin, Steve, and Eddie journey through the Upside Down. While Robin and Eddie make it safely back to Hawkins, Nancy falls prey to Vecna's curse, and the episode ends with several of the show's protagonists trapped in their respective prisons.

NEXT: 10 Stranger Things Characters Most Likely To Die In Season 4, Volume 2

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