On Stranger Things 4

On Stranger Things 4

Kelsi Boone

Warning: Spoilers for all four seasons of Stranger Things


Every new season, Stranger Things becomes less The Goonies and more Stephen King. Going back and rewatching the first season, it feels almost glaringly different from the last one. 

To quickly recap this season: we are introduced to a new villain, Vecna, who has begun killing people in Hawkins. We are also introduced to new characters; Eddie, Argyle, Vicky, and Chrissy. Eddie was accused of killing one of his victims and was forced to go on the run. Joyce Byers, living in California with her sons and Eleven, receives a message in the mail from Hopper and promptly heads to Alaska, where she and Murray eventually find him. Eleven is taken back to the lab where she revives her powers. Max is seriously injured by Vecna and ends up blind, and in a coma. Eddie dies, and the rest of the characters are reunited.

Overall, I enjoyed this season. I liked how so much of the plot came full circle and explained more of Eleven’s origins prior to season one. I think they did a really good job with that. And, as always with Stranger Things, they did their research when it comes to being set in the 1980s. One of the references I found most interesting this season was “Satanic Panic” and the connection to the character Eddie. 

In the show, after Chrissy’s death, Eddie is blamed: the town seemingly using his Dungeons and Dragons club (The Hellfire Club) as proof. Hellfire is a Dungeons and Dragons club, but characters like Jason made it out to be a cult of some sort, implying he was involved in satanic worship.

The real Satanic Panic involved a moral panic around claims of ritualistic abuse and devil worship spanning over a decade. It may sound ridiculous now, but it was seemingly common for paranoid suburbanites to genuinely believe heavy metal and fantasy board games were evil. Rock bands and musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne and ACDC were even accused of contributing to satanic activity. 

Another thing I liked was the focus on Max. She’s a great character, and it made sense to see more of her following Billy’s death. To me, Max’s (possible) death was certainly the most shocking, and genuinely emotional moment of the series. It was well built up to, yet surprising enough to shock the viewer, but not so out of the blue it felt random. At the end of the season, it’s open-ended as to whether Max will survive or not. She remains in a coma, with Eleven unable to wake her.

As much as I like Stranger Things, there are a few things I would change. One thing would be the relationship between Eleven and Mike.

There was a moment towards the beginning of the series, where Eleven tearfully confronts a defensive Mike about the way he signs his letter: no “love”. Always “from”. Personally, I felt this scene accurately summed up their relationship: Immature. Sure, it was cute when the show started, but they aren’t eleven anymore. Yet their relationship remains as middle-school reminiscent as ever. In order to truly have character growth, they need to move on from their flighty attachment and inability to communicate with each other. They did somewhat improve this in season three with the development of Max and Eleven’s friendship, but they somewhat went back again in season four.

Additionally, in the finale, Eleven is very nearly killed by Vecna. The only thing that saves her is Mike telling her that he loves her. I think not only is this unrealistic, it’s poor writing. The show just keeps feeding into the whole true love narrative they have, and it’s just not working. Not only is their relationship fundamentally flawed, but it’s weird to imply Mike is the most important person to her. I think, realistically, Hopper would be the most important person to her. I know he wasn’t in this scene, that he was still in Russia, but I don’t think it would be too difficult to work in.

Although the Duffer Brothers have already announced the fifth season, something I look forward to, some fans think it would have been better to end it here. In many ways, this makes sense. The show did seem to come full circle this season, with the background about Eleven’s past, and One having been thrown into the Upside Down by her, to later become Vecna. And shows who try to create too much content often wear themselves out and lose the quality they once had. I’m still hopeful the next season will be good, although it’s unclear exactly what it will focus on.

That said, I do have a few predictions. 

First, I think Will is going to become a more central character. Having been controlled by the Mind Flayer before, and ‘touched’ by the Upside Down, I think he’s definitely going to play a larger role. Second, I’m guessing that at least one main character is going to die. The cast has grown every season, and at this point, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Lastly, I think, (or maybe just hope) we will get an epilogue. I love epilogues. Getting to see what happened to all the characters. The Duffer Brothers already said this would be the final season, so consider me optimistic. 

Overall, I enjoyed season four of Stranger Things. Although they’ll never recreate the magic and charm of the first season, I would still recommend watching it.