After leaving the viewers with a cliffhanger and many questions, the popular Netflix series, Stranger Things, has returned with its most awaited fourth season this year.
The first volume of the season takes us six months after the gruesome battle with the Mind Flayer at Starcourt Mall. In the finale of the previous season, Eleven or Jane Hopper (Millie Bobby Brown), loses her powers and moves to California with the Byer family. She pretends that all is well while she is frequently bullied at her new school. Will is helpless when it comes to protecting El from her tormentors. Jim Hopper (David Habour) was revealed to be alive but is stuck somewhere in Russia. Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), and others are still in Hawkins.
Lucas plays for the school’s basketball team and is a part of the popular, cool, jock gang. Mike and Dustin join ‘Hellfire Club’, a group of designated freaks who bond over Dungeons and Dragons. The so-called club manages to rope in Erica (Priah Ferguson) as well. Max (Sadie Sink) is devastated, almost haunted by the loss of her step-brother Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). The new season shows how the kids- who are well on their way to being adults- navigate their personal struggles and something much bigger than themselves.
The show’s latest additions are the ones that kick-start the elements of spook and horror this new season. Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien) is haunted by visions of her dead family and a grandfather clock and a new monstrous creature only she seems to see. The story begins when poor, innocent Chrissy meets her end when she visits Hellfire club member, Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn). When people and police together blame and suspect Eddie of her death, he scrams. Soon, more deaths pop up and it’s up to Dustin, Steve, Robin, and Max to prove Eddie’s innocence and the hand of something more sinister at play.
To make things more interesting, Joyce (Winona Rider) receives a Russian doll in the mail with a clue enclosed in it, revealing that Hopper is alive. Joyce enlists the help of Murray (Brett Gelman) and the chaotic pair sets off on a hunt to bring Hopper back home safely from the grip of the Russians. The third season had already revealed the existence of a Demogorgon held captive by the Soviet Union.
This begs the question, How is the Demogorgon alive after El closed the gate and the Mind Flayer is supposed to be dead? Is the new monster from Upside Down? Is this the Mind Flayer? The events that are depicted make us question everything we know. This holds true when we see Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine), Eleven’s “Papa” at the beginning of the season. Is he still alive? Or is it just a flashback?
Unlike its previous seasons, Stranger Things has become spine-chilling. The old-timey nature and the tribute to the movies of the era are truly thrilling. The interaction and the growing, changing relationships between the characters are plotted realistically, showing all the elements of the innocence of age. Each character has their own personal hurdle to deal with and the show depicts it quite sensitively.
Compared to the other seasons, the episodes are long and might feel almost painfully long. Long but never boring. The fourth season proves itself to be worth the wait with more supernatural shocks, compelling character moments, and sinister twists than ever before. Stranger Things 4 might be frustrating to watch but it does not disappoint with charming Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) and his perfect hair and the new quirky Eddie Munson to compete with.