A Review of Stranger Things S4, Part 2

After initial worry about the second half of season 4, Stranger Things returns with a strong conclusion to the season finale. With the cast on various journeys to stop Vecna, it gives a powerful and entertaining demonstration to each individual character and their own roles in stopping Henry/One/Vecna.

From the very beginning of the season, we see some development between Steve and Nancy as they show sparks of their old romantic feelings for one another. As Nancy and Jonathan drift further apart, as we find out in a moment of dramatic irony that Jonathan decided to attend a different college than Nancy, unbeknownst to her. Just as the viewer becomes resigned to any hope of rekindling the flames of Steve and Nancy, we can see a definite foreshadowing of Nancy and Jonathan coming to an end and the romantic feelings between Nancy and Steve grow stronger throughout the season and Nancy jumping in to save Steve from the Upside Down. Though nothing officially happens between them, Eddie points out to Steve how Nancy did not hesitate to jump in after him. Nancy’s courageous act shows her love for Steve as well as her undeniable character development from a meek girl to a strong, independent woman.

Robyn was of particular interest to the story with her brief foreshadowing of the outcome for Max. Usually the strong, independent, and sassy character, we see Robyn have a serious twist in personality when she mentions her fear that it “won’t end well” for Max going back to stop Vecna. This small yet vital observation into the unknown of the wellbeing of Max shows an important glimpse into what is about to happen. These subtle moments are shown throughout episodes 8 & 9.

Though not an official part of season 4, the probable foreshadowing of The Lord of the Rings is seen in several moments, starting with Dustin mentioning the similarities of their journey to destroy Vecna to Frodo’s journey to destroy Sauron. Eddie confirms this journey by affirming “Mordor, it is.”. This leaves the fans to see definite parallels between Stranger Things and LOTR in season 5. For those of us who are HUGE Lord of the Rings fans, this is exciting and welcomed as we head into the much-anticipated concluding season to the series.

The biggest moment of foreshadowing is shown when Eddie makes a simple comment about how he and Dustin are “no heroes”. It can be seen as the most epic and dramatic piece of foreshadowing in the entire show. Eddie Munson is a character who has been the lovable comic relief character throughout his brief time in the show. He’s been on the run since his horrible and morbid encounter with Chrissy. Seeing him as more of a fugitive, he has a breakthrough in maturity when he sacrifices himself to the bats in order to “buy time”. Eddie’s heroic yet devastating demise as he plays his now-famous and epic cover of Metallica’s Master of Puppets brings heart and soul to the show by reminding the viewers of the mortality of the characters.

The biggest concern of mine going into the second part of season 4 was the length of the episodes. With the episode 8 being over an hour and a half and episode 9 being a whopping 2 and a half hours long, the fear of a boring and oversized plot was a possibility. I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself being entertained each step of the way. There were several plots to follow, but each one was relevant to the story and outcome of the season. While Max’s fate remains unknown, we head into the 5th season with more questions than answers. The gates to the Upside Down are assembled with Max’s minute-long death and Will confirms his firm belief Vecna is still alive. This gives the viewer hope that the final season will be an entertaining one as well as have a satisfying conclusion.

My overall impression of season 4 is it was a huge success. My initial response to there being a season 5 was doubtful of its necessity and would only be a filler season in order to milk the success of the show. I now have hope that the 5th and final season will maintain its high standards for a satisfying conclusion to the beloved hit show.

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