Season 4 of Stranger Things has been making waves all around social media since its release in May. We’ve seen the memes and all the criticism- we’ve seen it all. But is it as good as they say it is? Today, we get on the hype train and give our unfiltered take on Season 4 of Stranger Things.
Stranger Things, Season 4
The long-awaited Season 4 of the 80’s sci-fi horror pastiche breezed in almost three years after the third season due to production delays amidst the pandemic, and it’s without a doubt that the Season 4 of Stranger Things was the show at its finest. It was more expansive – in terms of cast, runtime and providing a more certain reasoning of the creatures that we’ve seen since the beginning of the show. It had a clear theme running throughout- dealing with past traumas and not just metaphorical ghosts. The fourth season has been split up into two parts: seven episodes released on May 27th and two more released on July 1st as the anticipated final episodes.
Progression of Season 4
Season 4 kicks off with the main Stranger Things crew in different parts of the globe. The Byers family (Joyce, Will, Jonathan and El) have moved to California, where El tries to get used to the absence of Mike and the others. She has a hard time fending off the bullies in her new school, since she lost her supernatural abilities as we had seen towards the end of the previous season.
Meanwhile, Hopper, who we thought to have lost in the last season trying to save Hawkins, is being held captive by the Russians in the soviet gulag and it is up to Joyce and Murray to rescue him.
Back in Hawkins, Indiana, a new series of terror arises related to the Creels, a Hawkins-based family murdered in their house in the 1950s. In plenty of satisfying ways, there are many connections between the eerie mansion of the Creels and the main villain of the program. The danger’s unidentified source provides intrigue, which is a welcome change from the Stranger Things villains. Vecna, a new resident of the Upside Down who is more akin to Freddy Krueger than Voldemort (although the missing nose part matches for both), serves as the season’s nemesis. Furthermore, the villain’s gruesome and eye-gouging method of killing after preying on the dread and anxiety of disturbed teenagers is insane and by far the worst manner we’ve seen humans perish in the show.
On the other hand, the US government is in pursuit of El for they believe she is the cause for the tribulation in Hawkins. Amidst this,Owens and Brenner (who is alive as well, by the way) has taken her to the lab so she can regain her superpowers and fight off Vecna for good. At the lab, she finally comes to unlock the memory which she has been seeing as a flashback, disclosing that the inter-dimesnional portal was opened by El herself while going against One, a destructive member of Brenner’s secure facility, thus transforming him into the spiteful, powerful Vecna.
Even though the show volleys among Hawkins, Russia, California and Eleven’s laboratory days, the Duffer Brothers manages to portray everything in wonderful sync. The bold Nancy Drew’s mystery solving skills, the iconic Steve and Dustin friendship that still happens to be our favorite, the witty yet hilarious Robin, Murray and Joyce’s encounters when trying to execute Hopper’s prison escape, Jonathan’s pizza-delivering stoner buddy Argyle, who’s yet another contribution to the light-hearted moments in the show- everything adds up perfectly.
Moments after the significant revelation that Vecna, Henry Creel and One are the same, Volume 2 picks up. The others are frantically attempting to release Nancy while she is held captive in the Upside Down, imprisoned in a nightmare of painful recollections. While she is not the only one in peril: Will, Mike, Jonathan and Argyle are desperately trying to find out where Eleven has been taken, while Eleven is staggered from learning the truth about how she assisted in the creation of Vecna, and Hopper, Murray and Joyce are trapped in Russia with a Demogorgon.
The Duffer Brothers skillfully interwine these narratives as the final two episodes go on, and before long, everyone is moving in the same direction. There are also a lot of tender, heartfelt scenes of characters who have won our undying love.
The last gate would open once Vecna accomplished his fourth kill, effectively ending the game. The Hawkins group comes up with a four-step strategy that they believe would save them as a result. In the desert, just as the government troops, as well as Mike and Co., arrive at the facility, Brenner interferes before Owens could approve Eleven’s request to return to Hawkins to defend her companions. When the smoke clears, Papa has already been shot to death… Or so as it really seems this time. Finally, Team Hopper breaks out of the Russian jail in the hopes that they could fly back to America.
Later on in the 9th episode, Team Hopper returns to the Russian prison and dispatches the Demogorgons that had escaped from the lab in order to provide distant assistance to their loved ones in Hawkins. Eleven attempts to help by mind-traveling into Max’s head, but she is powerless to stop Vecna from murdering her companion. Although fortunately, she is able to revive Max. Lucas fights Jason, and Eddie dies a hero’s death.Steve, Robin, and Nancy appears to have hurt Vecna but his final gate, however, opens with Max’s passing, tearing Hawkins to pieces (with Jason along). After that, Hopper meets El again, Joyce meets her family, and Jonathan meets Nancy. She reassures him that they are alright, but, are they really? Well, that’s a question up to Season 5 to answer.
Already done with the latest season of Stranger Things and want to watch something else? Check out some of the top movies releasing this month!
To me, Season 4 was tapping into its full potential of what Stranger Things as a show can be. Upside Down, the regular world, Hopper in Russia, the prison escape, everything worked together for me seamlessly and tonally. Sure there are many characters and all the characters have compelling individual stories happening, but that as a group, collective of a story all works together in beautiful harmony. The length of the last two episodes also seemed completely appropriate for the various things they tried to accomplish in those two final episodes. None of the elements of the show undermine one another and the director has diligently portrayed the action-romantic beats and various questions about the show’s backstory. If you still haven’t watched it yet, buckle up for the Upside Down mayhem and give it a watch, for there are all the thrills that you could ever want!
Well, there you have it!