‘Stranger Things’: The Highest Rated Episode in Each Season

Stranger Things was an almost instant hit when it premiered on Netflix in 2016. With three seasons released as of now and Stranger Things Season 4, we thought it would be an excellent time to look back at the highest-rated episode of each season.

IMDb, rates every episode of every show on its site. Stranger Things has notoriously high ratings, with only one episode dipping below the 7.9 rating. (It was season 2, episode 7 titled ‘The Lost Sister.’ Audiences finally got to meet another of Dr. Brenner’s subjects, but the shift in tone and storytelling style really turned many people off.) Here is the single best episode from each season of Stranger Things.

Nancy Wheeler, played by Natalia Dyer, taking part in 'The Battle of Starcourt,' the highest rated episode of 'Stranger Things' Season 3
Nancy Wheeler at The Battle of Starcourt | Netflix

‘Stranger Things’ Season 1, Chapter 8, ‘The Upside Down’

The eighth episode of the premiere season sits at a 9.4 on the IMDb rankings. After seven tense episodes of watching Joyce (Winona Ryder) desperately search for her son Will (Noah Schnapp), audiences finally see them reunite. Granted, it’s in the Upside Down, and Will has a giant tentacle down his throat; it’s a relief nonetheless.

This episode also features Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) standoff with the Demogorgon. A tearful goodbye follows after she saves her new friends’ lives and then vanishes into thin air. At this point, Stranger Things had just blown everyone’s minds. It wasn’t expected and really paved the way for Netflix to begin creating their own original content. Without this show, we’re not sure binge-watching would even exist.

RELATED: 3 Burning Questions ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Has to Answer

‘Stranger Things’ Season 2, Chapter 9, ‘The Gate’

Stranger Things Season 2 premiered on Oct. 27, 2017. Fans had waited over a year for this season, and with the promise of Halloween themes due to the season 2 trailer, everyone was excited. The season picks up about a year after the events of Stranger Things Season 1, but all is not well in Hawkins. In season 2, we watch Will struggle with being possessed by the Mind Flayer while Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Joyce, Hopper (David Harbour), and the rest of the gang try to save him and the world.

Eleven spends most of season 2 separated from her friends due to Hopper trying to protect her, so audiences were thrilled when she rejoins the group in chapter 8, ‘The Mind Flayer.’ In the season finale, which is ranked at a 9.4, Hopper and Eleven return to the lab to close the gate to the Upside Down once and for all.

All seems to be well in the town of Hawkins as the kids attend the Snowball at Hawkins Middle School. However, as the camera pans out, fans get a glimpse of the Mind Flayer still hovering over the school, implying the Upside Down isn’t done with Hawkins yet.

RELATED: ‘Stranger Things’: David Harbour Recalls Filming This One Scene, ‘That Was a Really Messed Up Day’

‘Stranger Things’ Season 3, Chapter 8, ‘The Battle of Starcourt’

Stranger Things Season 3 started out with a bit of a lighter tone compared to the previous seasons. The kids were getting older, so the recently opened Starcourt Mall provided a fun setting for scenes. The season also gets really dark, really quickly in the finale, which is the highest-ranked episode at 9.3.

After being terrorized by the Mind Flayer and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), who was being used by the Mind Flayer, the group ends up in the mall for the final showdown. In a last-minute change of heart, Billy sacrifices himself to save Eleven, along with his sister Max (Sadie Sink) and the rest of their friends. 

This is also the episode where we lose Chief Hopper, or so we think. (He was later shown alive in a teaser for Stranger Things Season 4.) In a heartwrenching scene, Eleven reads the letter Hopper left her, and there was not a dry eye in the house. It’s touching with the perfect touch of Hopper’s sensibility. This is right before Eleven, along with the Byers, pack up and move out of Hawkins. Everyone is unsure of the future and where the next few years will take them.

Stranger Things Season 4 will return to our screens at some point in 2022. The first three seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.