Warning: Minor spoilers for “Stranger Things 3” below.
SALT LAKE CITY — “Stranger Things 3” included a reference to Utah in the show’s first episode, titled “Suzie, Do You Copy?”
In the first episode in the third “Stranger Things” season, Dustin returns home from summer camp to find many of his friends have, well, moved onto other things, like dating, relationships and hanging out the mall.
But Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), in his own quirky way, admits to the group that he has a new girlfriend named Suzie and she apparently lives in Utah.
Dustin says he’s going to use his new radio tower — something he built while away at summer camp — to communicate with Suzie, who, he says, lives in Utah and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He says her parents wouldn’t let her speak to him over the phone so he needs to use his radio to talk to her.
Dustin and friends Will, Lucas and Max hike up to a wide-open valley spot to use the radio. Though Dustin attempts to communicate with Suzie from the spot, he never makes contact with her in the episode. Rather, he hears random communication from what appears to be researchers from the Soviet Union, who are apparently working on breaking through into an alternate dimension.
In the final episode of the season, Dustin finally makes contact with Suzie over the radio. A title screen appears declaring that the scene takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah. We see a brief glimpse of the mountains. Suzie shares the formula for Planck’s constant, which was needed for the group to unlock a safe that would, well, save the world.
Who plays Suzie?: Gabriella Pizzolo, who starred in "Matilda the Musical," stars at Suzie in "Stranger Things 3."
Utah: This isn’t the only Utah connection. Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, teamed up with Utah nurse practitioner Kelly Wosnik to help folks with the bird defect cleidocranial dysplasia, or CCD — a bone disorder that leaves those born with it without collarbones or struggling with bone development, particularly with teeth, according to the Deseret News. Both of them were born with CCD.
Flashback: “Stranger Things” referenced the church in season two, as well. As I wrote about for the Deseret News in October 2017, the second season’s episode “Chapter Six: The Spy” showed new character Maxine (Sadie Sink) leaving her house to speak with Lucas Sinclair. She tells her overprotective brothers that there are “Mormons” at the door.