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The Darkest Easter Egg Everyone Missed In Stranger Things Season 3

If three pulse-pounding seasons of Netflix's breakout sci-fi series Stranger Things have taught us anything, it's that there's really no limit to how weird things can get in the town of Hawkins, Indiana. If that teaser for Stranger Things season 4 is any indication, they're about to get a whole lot weirder.

Just in case you haven't yet found your way into the wild world of Stranger Things, the series follows a group of small town teens enmeshed in an ongoing battle with nefarious creatures from an alternate dimension. To date, that battle has seen lives endangered, government conspiracies uncovered, and a monstrous trans-dimensional beast with eyes on enslaving humanity thwarted at every turn. The 1980s-set series has has also featured a near-ceaseless array of winks and nods towards the pop culture staples that inspired it. 

Over the first two seasons of Stranger Things, sci-fi and horror fans have spotted loving odes to the works of Steven Spielberg, Sam Raimi, George A. Romero and many, many more. Series creators The Duffer Brothers packed Stranger Things' thrilling third season with more nudging nods to outside influences than ever. Not surprisingly, those same fans have spent countless hours scouring the season for each and every one of them.

Along the way, some real doozies have turned up, though one in particular has proven a bit darker than the rest. The Easter egg in question came in episode 4, and found the poor Ms. Driscoll (Peggy Miley) infected by a mind-controlling parasite and en route to the hospital. As her speeding ambulance passes the abandoned warehouse playing home to the beast controlling the slug, she shrieks and reaches desperately towards the building. The moment is a clear call back to another invisible invasion thriller, 1978's iconic horror flick Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and chillingly portends the danger coming to Hawkins.

That Mrs. Driscoll moment is far from Stranger Things 3's only reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers

If you haven't seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the Cold War parable follows an alien invasion fueled by mysterious seeds that replicate humans and use the copies to take over the world. Throughout the film, whenever the "pod people" spot a human who has yet to be copied, they shriek and point dramatically in the direction of the outlier. While the context is different in Stranger Things, the moment is no less unnerving, and played to utterly eerie perfection by Miley.

Of course, that chilling reach is hardly the only nod to Invasion of the Body Snatchers in season 3 of Stranger Things. Truth be told, the season's overarching narrative — in which the Mind Flayer takes control of Hawkins's citizens with parasitic slugs – is basically a riff on Body Snatchers (itself inspired by a classic 1956 film, and a beloved novel by Jack Finney). As it happens, the name Driscoll is also a likely nod to the 1978 film, in which Brooke Adams starred as a character named Elizabeth Driscoll. 

One might even view the Mind Flayer-controlled Ms. Driscoll eating fertilizer as another winking nod toward Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as the invaders are essentially birthed from plant-based pods. That being said, one of the series' most clever odes to the the chilling 1978 film is actually hidden among the shop names in Starcourt Mall. 

As a reminder, it's discovered late in season 3 that the mall is a front for a massive underground Russian compound, and that the stores in the mall are being used to get materials safely into said compound. One of the stores mentioned is Kaufman Shoes, and if you wondering how exactly that ties to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you should know that 1978 classic was directed by the great Philip Kaufman. Here's hoping The Duffers keep the Easter egg hits coming in Stranger Things season 4.