Um, did David Harbour just spoil Hopper’s fate on Stranger Things?

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3.

There was so, so much to love about Stranger Things Season 3: Max and Eleven’s newfound BFF-ship, Jim Hopper’s Magnum P.I.-channeling Hawaiian shirts, Robin and Steve…and all of the children Steve is friends with. But there was one truly devastating moment in the season finale. Our beloved Chief Hopper sacrificed himself to close the gate and save not just the whole crew, but probably Hawkins and the world. But, because we never actually saw him die, we’re holding out hope he’s still around: in Hawkins, in the Upside Down, or sitting in the cold across the planet. (More on that later.)

Now, David Harbour, who plays Hopper, is hinting that his character, gasp, is really gone forever.

In an Instagram post, Harbour pulled a Taylor Swift and shouted out some Stranger Things Season 3 Easter eggs. He’s posing with Salma Hayek, but his caption says his heart is really back with Joyce Byers.

"Even as I move into this magical @marvelstudios world with colossal talents like @salmahayek...My heart still bleeds for them. And the life that could have been. Post a romantic Enzo’s eve," he captioned the post.

And if you get out your little magnifying glass, you’ll notice his pocket square has a small inscription: “Jopper.” (His heart still bleeds for Jopper!) The pair was supposed to have their romantic dinner at Enzo’s after Joyce stood him up the first time. (Understandably so. She was trying to save the world again.) This caption definitely seems like a goodbye to that Joyce-and-Hopper ship.

Still, we’re feeling a whole lot like Joyce from Stranger Things Season 1, still knowing that Will was alive, despite all evidence to the contrary. Consider us stringing up those Christmas lights and putting on our tinfoil hats, because we aren’t letting Harbour let us believe that Hopper is dead.

Here’s why: While some of us were too busy blubbering over Eleven reading her adoptive father’s letter of love, others read into some clues that may reveal he’s not gone forever. Perhaps just to a prison cell in Russia? If you remembered to stay on your couch post-credits, you would have seen a quick trip around the world to a snowy, desolate facility in Kamchatka, Russia. There, we get the return of the Demogorgon and maybe (?!) a major clue that Hopper is in one of the cells.

As Russian guards walk by doors to the cells, seemingly to choose a victim for the returned Demogorgon, they stop at one door and refer to the person inside as “The American.” They don’t select that prisoner.

Guys, the “American” is Hopper right? He snagged those important post-credit sequences from his time at Marvel, and brought them back to Hawkins to reveal himself. Okay, okay, it could be Dr. Martin Benner, but our hearts won’t believe it.

We have our eyes on you, David Harbour, because our Stranger Things conspiracy theory is that you’re just toying with us. Please, let that be true.

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