Netflix launched the first seven episodes for the fourth season’s flagship series Stranger Things a month ago. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. The Duffer Brothers and their team of directors were able achieve something that is not possible for many TV shows even in the Golden Age of Streaming. It was to deliver a cinema-quality television experience. The production was exceptional in every aspect. The Volume 2 episodes bring more of it.
The season’s end isn’t what we expected. It’s not a bad ending, far from it. But it raises the stakes higher than ever before. It was difficult to imagine how Stranger Things would surpass or surpass themselves in the fifth and final season of Season 4. They have managed to do it with two episodes that conclude the season in an incredible fashion. We wouldn’t have it any other way. The two episodes total four hours of epicness.
Episodes 8 and 9, titled “Papa” or “The Piggyback”, respectively, are all that Stranger Things fans have hoped for in a season finale. Episode 7 of Volume 1’s revelations basically explode in the faces of our heroes. Although the consequences are hard to comprehend, they can be felt in the emotions. These episodes are a great example of how tension can be created. You’ll laugh, cry, and most importantly, you’ll bite your nails for the whole four hours.
Both episodes are directed and written by the Duffer Brothers. The filmmakers want you to feel something when you see the characters you love and who risk their lives for the sake of saving their town and their friends. This is how material heroes are created, and viewers will be reminded of this film’s heroism long after the credits roll.
It’s an impressive cast. As in previous episodes, Millie Bobby Brown & Sadie Sink continue to steal the show. The resolution of their stories clashes is meaningful and powerful. It was the right ending for these characters. While some people might argue that it was, the two actresses know exactly how to press the right buttons to cause anxiety and pain in the throat.
These episodes will reward those characters who felt a little behind in the first seven episodes. Caleb McLaughlin plays Lucas. In the first episodes, his character was a sideliner. But here, it shines brightly. It can actually be proved that Max, the character closest to Sadie Sink, shines even more in these last episodes.
Technically, the second volume is as impressive as the original. The series has really raised the bar for TV shows in terms of visual quality. The sets and visual effects are amazing. Episode 9’s final sequence is one of the best TV shows of the last decade. They are among the most respected directors in the business. The offers will pour in once the show is over.
There is one thing that I have to say about volume 2 and the entire season, and it is that Hopper’s storyline was not as consistent with the other characters’. Although it is a solid storyline and serves a purpose it feels like it was an unnecessary detour to fix something that should have occurred at the end. Although the writers are able to combine the two stories into one, this one feels too disconnected, even though they try to link it with the others.
Yes, there are some characters who die. But others are left in a situation that could change their lives forever. This ending is very apocalyptic and if done right could make the next season one of the most important in streaming history. It is our hope that The Duffer Brothers, their team, and their crew can make it to the landing. However, so far, there is little doubt about that.
Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon are the show’s composers. Music has been an integral part of the show since its inception. The music helps to set the story at a specific time. Season 4 was a season where the music was used for more than just that. It is this reason that the season feels so big. It is epic and bombastic and knows when to play the strings to make the audience cheer and cry. It’s amazing.
Stranger Things season 4 ended with a bang. This opens up a lot of possibilities for season 5. It is still unknown how the season will end and what it will look like. If Netflix gives the Duffer Brothers the same amount, they will be able to realize their vision. This will make for a truly amazing end to a show which has changed how we view television.
Season 4 of “Stranger Things” finally gives us a villain, not just a monster
The battle between good and bad has been a constant theme in Stranger Things. The Netflix series draws inspiration from many references and allusions such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Marvel Comics. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is a superhero who fights the evil creatures of the Upside Down that seek to invade our world and take over. While Dr. Michael Brenner ( MichaelModine), his laboratory and a covert team of Russian scientists have trained Eleven to become super-powered, psychic assassins as part a secret government program, it is Eleven’s new friends and family that keep her on the right side.
Eleven is surrounded by friends such as Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin(Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas, Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will [Noah Schnapp], and Max (Sadie Sink), along with her adoptive father Jim Hopper and mother Joyce Byers. Eleven has never found an equal on this dark side before — until now. Stranger things Season 4 gives Eleven the chance to be a true supervillain. Not in some faceless monster of the Upside Down but in Jamie Campbell Bower’s Vecna, Dr. Brenner’s first child experiment, and a dark reflection on what Eleven could have become.
In previous seasons of Stranger Things the main antagonists were faceless monsters who tried to make their way from the Upside Down to Hawkins. The Demogorgon was present in Season 1. It wreaked havoc upon the town and took the lives of innocent citizens like Barbara Holland ( Shannon Purser). His corpse is still found in the Upside Down swimming pool. Season 4 Volume 1 would see the Demogorgon make a brief return when Hopper and his Russian friend Enzo ( Tom Wlaschiha ) are forced to confront it in a prison using fire, which is its weakness. The Demogorgon has been identified as one of the lesser creatures in the Upside Down since Season 1.
The Demogorgon is revealed to have originated as a slug in Season 2. Dustin learned this from Dart, his pet Dart. Before becoming fully-fledged Demogorgons, the slugs would evolve into “Demodogs”. All of the creatures from the Upside Down have a connection to the Mind Flayer, the “hive mind”. It towers above the Upside Down, and uses its psychic connections with other creatures to use people as parasites in this world. Max’s brother Max Hargrove ( Dacre Mont) is eventually killed by one of these parasites to save Eleven and her crew in order to keep the Mind Flayer alive in the Upside Down.
The monsters of the Upside Down, from the Mind Flayer to the Demogorgon, have played their part as threats to Hawkins’ and its citizens. These monsters, however, have never been able to stake such personal claims in their quest for dominance over the world. Although Billy raises the emotional and personal stakes of the series, Max’s death in Season 4 will affect Max, the Mind Flayer is still an imposing, missing figure in the Upside Down. Stranger Things had to do more than just alien-like monsters to raise the stakes this season.Image via Netflix
Vecna is a humanoid creature that hails from the Upside Down and uses his psychic abilities to torture the minds of Hawkins teenagers. This is a tribute to A Nightmare on Elm Street, whose Freddy Krueger, Robert Englund, actually appears in a cameo. Vecna targets his victims through past traumas. Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien), Fred Benson (Logan Riley Bruner), suffers from bulimia because of her mother’s criticisms, Patrick McKinney, Myles Truitt) has an abusive dad, and Fred Benson (Logan Riley Bruner). Max is later one of Vecna’s victims. However, Max is saved by her friends and Kate Bush. Vecna also has his own traumas. He is not just another Mind Flayer creature, but a person with a history.
Vecna, the supervillain, is Eleven, the hero of Stranger Things. In classic comic book fashion, their origins and explorations are intertwined by Season 1, Volume 1. It’s reminiscent of Dr. Manhattan’s origins in Watchmen. Philip Glass” “Pruit Igoe,” plays as Vecna recounts his traumatizing childhood under Victor Creel. His family referred to Vecna as Henry Creel because he was different and difficult. He was an isolated, lonely child who found solace in spiders. He was a skilled hunter and used his powers to kill animals in the yard. Henry was the one to blame for his parents’ belief in the curse of Hawkins. Henry, fed up, killed his family, but Victor was spared, and he would be sent to prison for the murder of his Creel family. Dr. Brenner takes Henry in as a subject for his experiments. He is One, the first super-powered child that “Papa” raised. But as Henry grows older, Dr. Brenner adds Eleven to his program. This causes him to take on a more mundane role as a worker.Image via Netflix
From his first scene, Bower gives us the creepy but human portrayal of Eleven’s lab worker, who only befriends her to betray. He convinces Eleven to use her trauma and anger memories to fuel her powers and then manipulates her into his final plan to kill the Hawkins Lab children. Henry is sent through a portal to the Upside Down by Eleven, after she discovers that Eleven has been tricked. His body is transformed into the horrifying Vecna. This is the villain backstory Bower was not allowed to explore in his early years as a Gellert Grindelwald and Fantastic Beasts films, where he only appeared in short scenes.
Stranger Things presents a new villain. Bower’s Vecna explores a more complex villain than any of the other monsters. Vecna, from his traumatizing childhood as Henry Creel through the horrific experiments he endured as One and then to his position as the Mind Flayer’s top general is the perfect villain for Eleven to face. While the Demogorgon in all its forms is still terrifying, Vecna can be a nightmare fuel. It’s the perfect song to get you up.
Review of Season 4 Volume 2: The End is the Beginning
It was difficult to predict how the Duffer Brothers would resolve the most pressing questions when Stranger Things Season 4 dropped its last two episodes on Netflix on May 27th. The conclusion of Chapter Seven: The Massacre At Hawkins Lab provided the context Eleven ( Millie Bobby Brown), and the truth about this season’s Big Bad, known as Vecna ( Jamie Campbell Bower). Although it seemed impossible to tie the main villain to every piece of the story, especially since our main cast of characters was split between three locations this season, the end result ties Eleven and Hawkins almost inextricably. With “Chapter Eight, Papa” and “Chapter 9: The Piggyback” ending, another question arises: Will Eleven save this once-quiet Indiana village or be part of its demise?
Even though Vecna and his backstory are known to most characters by Episode 8, that doesn’t mean the creature or the threat he poses Hawkins or the rest the world — if he is able to execute his plan — are less frightening. This is in large part due to the realization that it is Bower performing under the amazing visual effects makeup by Barrie and his team. The end result is a character whose mind has been twisted by the Upside Down lifestyle, as well as the person he blames. Vecna adds a human element to the Upside Down’s creatures, and a dark parallel for Eleven and her abilities.
He’s well aware of who he could be, but for the friendships and family he made with Chief Hopper ( David Harbour). There are more truths about Vecna than that. They unravel over Season 4’s final episodes. These revelations cast a new light on the events of the previous three seasons. These reveals are enough to convince me that the Duffers had planned for these larger story arcs. Eleven’s adventure seems to be connected in a way that speaks volumes about careful plot planning.
All of this is possible without moving all the chess pieces around on the board. And with only two episodes to guide our main cast, now that they are scattered to all four winds, those super-long runs start to make sense. Although I am not certain Episode 9 could have been split into two episodes as it is almost two-and a half hours of television, it was difficult to find a spot that would have served to sustain momentum. Vecna’s threat must be addressed before any grand reunion can happen. Eleven decides that she will take the match between the two to another plane. This solves the distance problem and creates some great visual elements as Eleven and her Hawkins friends plot to get at Vecna.Image via Netflix
The two-part finale shows that even the best-laid plans can go wrong when a group of misfit high school students are involved with supernatural threats from the Upside Down. Although there are losses, they are predictable and not as terrible as some have suggested online. This is because they are more a result of character development than an attempt to shock the viewer. None of the deaths you see in Season 4 will surprise anyone who has been paying attention. This brings me to a thought that I had while watching these long episodes. It is that Stranger Things‘ next episode (release date TBD), will have to increase its stakes. It will also be the finale of the show. Certain characters only have so many chances to escape death before it becomes a plot contrivance and not a decision that makes the most sense in terms of narrative resolution.
It is a testament to the show’s strengths and the cast that Season 4 can still offer moments of hope and poignancy despite the greater circumstances that could very well signal the end. These final episodes showcase some amazing performances. Noah Schnapp delivers particularly well in two scenes that show how far he has come as an actor. Their presence at the finale makes it seem like Will would have preferred these interactions to occur sooner. However, the scene where Will’s story ends by teases Season 5 will allow his character to complete his adventure, not only with his closest friends but also with the supernatural happenings in his hometown.
Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin guide Max and Lucas through their interactions with quiet maturity and relatable anxiety about where their relationship stands. Joseph Quinn, Gaten Mattarazzo lend their episodes a lot of emotional weight, as Eddie and Dustin strengthen their friendship. The adult side of things in Russia is the long-awaited reunion of Hopper and Joyce ( Winona Kyder). This may have audiences either squealing in frustration or fist pumping in joy, depending on their hopes and dreams for that story’s natural resolution.
When Stranger Things first aired in 2016, no one could have foreseen the magnitude to which it would be a huge success in pop culture. Six years later, it is nearly over, and it is bittersweet. Season 4’s conclusion suggests that Season 5 will be even more successful than the previous seasons. This will not only mean a higher price for Netflix but it also means that Season 5 could be an epic finale for a show which has been growing in popularity and dominating the public consciousness each year. Although the wait for Stranger Things‘ final season may be long and exhausting, it will give fans an opportunity to rewatch the series with all the context available — story details that show how interconnected everything has been from the beginning.