Photo courtesy of Netflix.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
I honestly don’t even know where or how to start this. I’m still trying to process everything I watched. Stranger Things 4 was released on May 27, 2022 on Netflix. The series follows a group of kids and teenagers as they witness supernatural forces and secret government exploits in 1980s Indiana.
Season 4 is definitely a completely different beast compared to past seasons. It’s bigger, darker, and scarier. For someone who isn’t a horror fan, I didn’t mind the scary scenes but the gore became a little too much for me at times. There are much more important things to discuss though.
Where shall we start? Let’s start with the acting. The performances given by this impeccable cast always amaze me. I’m never disappointed. If I had to narrow down my favorite performances, they’d have to be Jamie Campbell Bower, Millie Bobby Brown, and Sadie Sink.
Let’s start with Sadie. Sadie’s performance this season is her best in the series so far. Max is going through the unimaginable, grieving the loss of Billy (Dacre Montgomery). Unfortunately, this leads her into a run-in with the Upside Down’s resident villain, Vecna. The scene where she’s running towards Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Steve (Joe Keery), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) with Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush playing in the background was such an adrenaline rush.
Next up, Miss Millie Bobby Brown. I feel like there’s never a season where Millie doesn’t blow me away with her talent. Eleven experiences severe bullying in the beginning of this season which is something I feel most of us can sadly relate to. To my predictability, she encounters Dr. Brenner who claims he can bring her powers back which brings back traumatic memories for El. Millie gives some much humanity to Eleven. It’s evident how much she cares about this character.
Last but not least, we have Mr. Jamie Campbell Bower. If you thought he looked familiar before he graced our small screens, you’re right. He portrayed Jace Wayland in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Caius in the Twilight film series, and young Grindelwald in the Harry Potter film series.
We first meet Jamie as Peter Ballard. He helps Eleven escape the lab and becomes an adversary. Our first reveal for peter is that he’s 001. Dr. Brenner kept telling the kids that 001 never existed but he lied. He was under their noses for a long time but 001’s powers were temporarily taken away by a tracking device which eleven removes for him. In episode 7, 001’s revealed to be Henry Creel. this isn’t the insane part though. If you made it this far, it means that you know what’s coming next. 001 aka Henry Creel is Vecna. This reveal absolutely blew my mind. I’m still trying process it. Jamie brings so much depth to the character. Vecna’s story is probably the most interesting backstory for a TV villain that I’ve seen.
I want briefly talk about Gaten and Caleb for a little bit. Their performances in volume 2 were absolutely bone-chilling. The scene with Dustin and Eddie (Joseph Quinn) was so emotional. Same goes for the Lumax scenes. Caleb deserves to have more scenes in the show. He’s so talented.
Let’s move on to the storytelling and the writing. The Duffer brothers have this incredible power to create out-of-body experiences for viewers. The writing in this show is always so on point. The storytelling this season is hands down the best so far.
I liked the different groups this season. I think my favorite storylines are the creel house and El’s. Out of all the new characters, Eddie is my favorite. I loved him from his very first scene. He’s such a great addition to the series. I’m incredibly disappointed in how his story was handled in volume 2. I can’t even talk about because I’m just devastated. The guitar scene will go down as one of the most iconic scenes in Stranger Things history.
Season 4 as a whole is definitely a rollercoaster ride with quite a few bumps.
First off, I wasn’t thrilled with how Will’s story was handled this season. There were lots of moments where I would say to myself, “Is he coming out?” Now don’t get me wrong. Coming out is a personal experience and should only be done if that person is ready to be their authentic self. Even though he didn’t say it out loud, I think Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) knows something is going on with his brother. I know many fans on stan Twitter are mad and upset. I hope that Will gets the story that he deserves in season 5. With the way that the final episode ended, I’m sure that season 5 will be Will’s season.
The scene where Mike and Will are talking in the van and Will turns away, sobbing. How did Mike not notice this? If this was season 2 Mike, he would’ve noticed in a second. The writers kind of ruined him for me in season 3.
I have a few questions. How did Steve, Nancy, Robin, and Dustin escape from the Upside Down? How did Joyce and Hopper make it back to Hawkins? What happened to Murray, Enzo, and Dr. Owens? There were a few holes that didn’t seem to filled.
I’m hoping for an Emmys sweep next awards season. That final episode felt like a blockbuster film. It had the length and elements of one.
I’m excited for season 5 and bummed at the same time since it’s the final season. I’m seriously going to miss this show. It’s been such a huge part of my life.
Stranger Things 4 is streaming exclusively on Netflix.
Creators: The Duffer Brothers
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Joe Keery, David Harbour, Sadie Sink, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Maya Hawke, Brett Gelman
Producers: The Duffer Brothers, Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen