Review – Stranger Things 4

New season offers viewers longer, more complex episodes

 After almost three years, the long-awaited and record-breaking fourth season of “Stranger Things” aired on Netflix this summer, quickly taking the No. 1 spot on Netflix’s Top Ten. Even after almost four months, the season hasn’t budged from the Top Ten—and with good reason.

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One of the first things viewers might notice about season four is the season was released in two separate volumes. The first volume made its debut on May 27 with seven episodes while the second, with the last two episodes, was released on July 1. Personally, I think it was interesting to release the season at two different times because it kept people even more interested in the show than they already were, so everyone was on edge waiting for the ending of the season.

Another change is the longer length of the episodes in season four, with the shortest episode running at an hour and three minutes and the longest running at 2 hours and 30 minutes. The longest episode finished off the season, and, in my opinion, it was great to have such long episodes. It was nice to be able to sit down and binge a show without being done in a few hours. It took longer to watch, and each episode felt like a mini-movie, which I enjoyed.

Within the almost thirteen-hour season, the writers show the storyline of three different groups, all with characters from the previous three seasons. Each group has to tackle their own obstacles as a new villain is introduced, spinning the season’s complications into action.

Sending viewers to where it all started yet again, the main group takes on their troubles in Hawkins, Ind. As Max Mayfield is dealing with the trauma from her step-brother’s death in season three, a set of supernatural killings start to occur, which makes the season have a more horror aspect compared to the previous seasons. It was a different way to approach this season, but it contributed to the darkening side of the show.

While the murders continue, the group in Hawkins has to band together to try to solve the mystery of who might be haunting their town this time around. Their plan to find out what is going on soon makes them go their separate ways before coming back together and venturing to the Upside Down to try to defeat the new villain, Vecna. 

While Hawkins’ group has their own priorities, the show also features the Byers in California, where they moved at the end of season three. Throughout the season, Eleven’s past comes back to haunt her, and she gets taken away, making the rest of the California group work to find her and get her back. 

Branching off from the California group, the Russian group starts with Joyce Byers and Murray Bauman as they fly to Alaska to meet someone that can help them get back an old friend from a Russian prison. Their plan goes awry, leading the group into a search inside the prison, revealing secrets that are being hidden inside. 

Out of all three groups, I think the strongest acting was in the Hawkins’ group. I was amazed by the acting of Sadie Sink, who plays Max Mayfield; Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair; and Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson, above all the other cast members. They were all amazing in conveying the complexity of the characters and the emotions involved with the situation they were thrown into.

Overall, I was happy with the season as a whole. It brought Kate Bush and Metallica up on the music charts, and the costumes were interesting to see because we could see how different the styles were in the 80s and how different states were more up-to-date on fashion compared to others.  The writers did a great job with every idea they came up with and conveyed. Switching between groups was a good strategy because it was interesting to see how everything that was going on in each group lined up in the end.

 Of course, with every show or movie, there are things that I wish were done a little differently. The two-day time skip in the final episode was one of the things I wasn’t as fond of. After the destruction that happened at the end, the two-day skip lost us a lot of time. I wish we could’ve gotten to see the events of that time because it left a lot of loose ends that I hoped could have been tied.

Hopefully, the loose ends will be tied up in season five, but until then, if you haven’t watched season four, you definitely should. And if you have watched “Stranger Things,” it’s worth rewatching, especially while we wait for the next season.