Stranger Things 4 Review: The fourth season of Stranger Things has already surpassed the show’s previous achievements. The production values were higher, the cast was more prominent, and the motivations of the various villains, heroes, and side characters were more apparent. The conclusion, which Netflix withheld for a month to build up anticipation, is even more significant than the previous episodes combined. It’s almost four hours long, crazily and luxuriously sprawling, and delivers everything fans want. You have to wonder where Stranger Things can go from here if it hasn’t already exhausted itself.
Just where were we? In 1986’s Hawkins, Indiana, Vecna, the demon, roams a dank dimension beneath the town and waits for a group of brave teenagers to mount a final assault. Supernaturally perceptive Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has uncovered memories from her childhood in a secure facility for children with unusual powers. Those memories reveal that she opened the interdimensional portal when she confronted One, a murderous fellow inmate, transforming him into the vengeful Vecna. Meanwhile, a group of adults we can root for are locked in a filthy Soviet Union jail, fighting a monster from an earlier season.
There will be a confrontation soon, but there’s no need to panic because we have four hours. As a result, the penultimate episodes of Season 4 are unusually dialogue-heavy, providing almost every character with a touching, defining conversation with their significant other.
The show’s barely discernible hints about Will (Noah Schnapp) being gay become something more overt during his moving speech about learning to live with being “different,” as lost love is lamented and halting young love gets closer to expressing itself appropriately.
The Duffer brothers aren’t just superficial pasticheurs, even though Stranger Things is an indulgent homage to a wide variety of 1980s genre films, including horror, cold war thrillers, hacker movies, fantasy, and films like The Goonies and Stand By Me in which a group of unsupervised kids tries to save the day.
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They have a firm grasp of the fundamentals upon which their frame of reference rests, and in particular, they comprehend the mechanics of the “neighborhood apocalypse” subgenre. The protagonists of these tales learn that it’s OK to be themselves, even if that means being awkward and angry, a D&D nerd, a closet homosexual, or a heavy metal fan. After all, you never know which small town will turn out to be the most significant in the history of the world.
The Duffer brothers understand that their story is a metaphor for maturation, so they pepper the final act with lessons for everyone about facing your demons and conquering them. At some point, you need to disconnect from Kate Bush on your Walkman, remove your headphones, and interact with the world around you.
Someday you’ll have to stop being the class clown and admit you have values and care about people. You will eventually muster the guts to look your father in the eye and tell him, “Dad, my values are not aligned with yours, so I’m leaving your underground telekinesis laboratory, and I’m not coming back.”
Image Source: telegraph
There are no significant surprises once the emotional foundation has been laid (many characters are on the verge of defeat in a life-or-death struggle before visions of what truly matters to them give them the strength to rally at the last second), but there are many excellent assessments. There is a perfect balance between who lives and who dies and when and how characters intervene.
Issues with the story being set in three locations (Indiana, Nevada, and Kamchatka) are resolved without too much friction. Both Metallica and Journey, whose classic hits have been reworked with skill, can anticipate a surge in popularity on Spotify. If they make it through the fire and the vampire bats stop flapping, they’re safe and secure in their skins again.
It might even be the perfect ending to the show, except when it’s over and you tap the bar at the bottom of the screen, you realize there’s still half an hour to go.
Netflix has ordered a fifth and final season. Since none of the main characters are young adults any longer, there will have to be some changes made to the plot, and it seems likely that this will involve a global disaster rather than a conspiracy known only to a small group of nerds. However, we feel like we’ve told the best kind of Stranger Things story—one that is grounded in the small-town setting that the show thrives in. In any case, we’re no longer at our house.
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