The Duffer Brothers have finally delivered with Stranger Things 4

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Promotional Material Courtesy of Netflix

Stranger Things Season 4 is Netflix’s long awaited watch that lives up to the hype and more.

Stranger Things 4 has been one of the most anxiously awaited television releases of 2022. Just five days after its premiere, Stranger Things 4 has already amassed a whopping 286.7 million hours viewed. If you were concerned that all of this publicity and anticipation would be a recipe for a letdown, worry no more. This season of Stranger Things was more shocking, exciting, and especially terrifying than ever before, a feat most wouldn’t think possible.

Stranger Things 4, Volume 1 follows the original cast of characters, plus a few new faces, as they do their best to grapple with everything the “cursed” town of Hawkins, Indiana throws their way.  For years, Hawkins has had problems with supernatural forces coming into the town from another dimension called the Upside Down. Not only do the Hawkins teens have their same old problems to deal with, a new villain whom they dub “Vecna” (named after the Dungeons & Dragons character) has also begun terrorizing the town.

Vecna is mysteriously killing teenagers all over Hawkins at seemingly random times and without Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and her superpowers, the crew has no idea how to stop him. This season, Eleven, Will (Noah Schnapp), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Joyce (Winona Ryder), have been relocated to the fictional Lenora Hills in California. The move poses a challenge for the inseparable Hawkins crew, as the distance makes everyone drift apart. However, this distance is even greater for Jim Hopper (David Harbor), who is perceived as dead in a lab explosion at the end of season 3 but actually is taken to be aprisoner in Russia. All of these plotlines and settings make for an extremely entertaining season. It is vital to watch seasons one, two, and three of Stranger Things before watching this season, otherwise the complex plot will be virtually impossible to follow. Devoted fans, however, should find all of the new settings, adventures, and dilemmas thrilling. 

The acting in Stranger Things 4 absolutely did not disappoint. Sadie Sink, who plays Max Mayfield, was given a very emotionally challenging role this season after the death of her half-brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery), and did an outstanding job. Viewers are sure to be enraptured during scenes of Max fighting off Vecna because of Sink’s emotional acting. Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke) also had a much more central and complex role this season since being introduced in season 3, and Hawke absolutely stepped up to the challenge. 

Robin’s character, along with being a reliable source of comic relief during otherwise intense scenes, offers a highly positive and realistic portrayal of an LGBTQ teenager navigating the world of high school dating. This is extremely important, as it is an excellent source of representation and may be relatable to teenage fans who identify as part of the LGBTQ community.

If you were concerned that all of this publicity and anticipation would be a recipe for a letdown, worry no more. This season of Stranger Things was more shocking, exciting, and especially terrifying than ever before, a feat most wouldn’t think possible.”

— Brynn Galaich

Acting from new characters also deserve honorable mentions. Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), who is new this season, immediately has a very central and complicated role in the plot upon his introduction. Quinn portrays Eddie’s complex character with skill, rendering Eddie a memorable and fascinating character. The addition of new characters contribute to a wider range of friendships, as well as new plotlines, while maintaining the lovable dynamic of the original cast.

Music this season was better than it has been in any other, with addictive songs that will be stuck in fans’ heads for weeks. Some of these songs include “California Dreamin’” by the Beach Boys, “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads, “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth, and “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush. “Running Up That Hill,” although it was released in 1985, is currently No. 1 on iTunes because of the scene of Max fleeing from Vecna in Stranger Things 4, episode 4.

The pacing in this season is perfect. It does not feel too fast or too slow, and everything unfolds exactly as it should. New and surprising facts are revealed in every episode, which is sure to keep fans on their toes. Although the last episode ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger, Stranger Things fans have been promised two more episodes on July 1. One of these episodes will be 1 hour and 25 minutes long, while the other will be two and a half hours in duration. Hopefully, these episodes will answer the burning questions that we all have about the fate of Hawkins.

All in all, Stranger Things 4 is spectacular. Although the season does have a little bit more of a horror movie feeling to it than the suspense and slight creepiness of previous seasons, it stays true to its roots with the characters, soundtrack and setting. Stranger Things 4 earns 5 out of 5 feathers. Go in with high expectations; you will not be let down.