Warning: This blog contains spoilers from volume one of the fourth season of Stranger Things
Fans have long awaited the return of the Netflix show Stranger Things since season three ended back in 2019. However, because of the pandemic and other reasons surrounding production, the release date for the fourth season was moved to May of this year.
Luckily, May has since passed and we’re already in the first few weeks of June, so viewers (like myself) can happily binge-watch volume one of the fourth season. And let me tell you, it’s one hell of a ride!
This fourth season introduces viewers to the stronger, more powerful supernatural being called Vecna. This creature can inhabit the minds of people with trauma and cause them to hallucinate and eventually die. And with the deaths piling up in Hawkins, the gang must find a way to defeat Vecna and stop him from ever reopening new portals in their small town.
With the characters divided into different groups including Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) who is still figuring out a way to restore her powers, only time will tell if they can succeed and save their home town from yet another attack from the Upside Down.
Overall, it was a solid half of a season… but I did have some thoughts about it while watching. Here’s what came to mind while streaming the series:
It had a slow start but picked up by episode three
The first two episodes, in my opinion, were a bit slow. Although I understand the showrunners needed to establish what the characters have been doing––especially since some of them did already leave Hawkins––there were scenes where it felt slow and could’ve picked up the pace a bit.
However, when episode three came, the flow of the story felt gradual and the build-up to episode four was great.
I appreciated the parallels with ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’
Vecna’s method of killing is very similar to that of Freddy Krueger on Nightmare on Elm Street, wherein Krueger would trap his victims in their dreams and then kill them there. Vecna acts similarly by invading his victims’ mind and then slowly killing them in their possessed state.
Additionally, I liked the idea that the producers cast Robert Englund, the actor who plays Krueger in the horror film franchise, as Victor Creel in the Netflix show. It’s a good nod to fans of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and an interesting easter egg for Stranger Things viewers.
Max was the star of this season
This season’s plot gave Sadie Sink’s Max a story arc that allowed her to showcase her acting prowess. From portraying a sister traumatized by her brother Billy’s death to becoming a young lady that finds new hope in her friends, Sink’s ability to express emotions on screen is admirable and it’s what keeps you on the edge of your seat while watching the first half of this season.
I’m not a fan of the whole Steve and Nancy rekindling their relationship
Personally, I think the ship has sailed for a Nancy-Steve relationship. Fans, like myself, have seen Nancy (Natalia Dyer) choose Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) over Steve (Joe Keery) in the past seasons; so the fact that the showrunners are starting up this whole Nancy-Steve-Jonathan love triangle again is just repetitive and (sorry to say this) just plain boring.
And I’m not the only one who thinks this. In an article written by Therese Lacson for the Collider, Lacson describes the idea of putting Nancy back in a relationship with either Jonathan or Steve as “unnecessary.”
“She’s (Nancy) a strong enough character to stand on her own, something we clearly saw in the most recent season. The series should focus on cultivating her platonic relationships and framing her as the lead detective of the group,” she explains in the post.
Moreover, I think the show creators and writers should just keep the Nancy-Jonathan pairing and give Steve a love interest that can complement his character’s growth and give him a happy ending in the series––and let’s be honest, Steve, of all the characters, deserves it!
Steve better NOT die in volume two of the fourth season
Speaking of Steve, the writers better not do us dirty and kill him off in the second half of the season.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because we saw Steve get attacked by those bat-like creatures in the first half of the fourth season. This left him with a massive wound on his abdomen area, which Nancy bandaged to stop from further bleeding––a potential sign that he might not make it to the end of the show.
This theory is supported by this Pop Buzz article, which explains that it can be a likely scenario because Steve has been a little “too heroic” in this new season. And as fans of the show have come to find, characters who become a little too selfless end up dying––like Bob Newby (Sean Astin) and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery).
The Duffer Brothers have also since chimed in on this rumor, saying that fans should be “concerned” about the characters in the second half of this fourth season.
“It feels wrong to say ‘excited,’ but I’m excited that people are concerned. And they should be concerned going into the final two episodes [of Season 4] — for everybody,” Ross Duffer tells TV Line in an interview about Steve’s fate in the show.
Like the multitudes of Stranger Things fans, I’m not sure I’ll forgive Netflix or the showrunners if they kill off Steve in the next half of this season.
We need more scenes with Amybeth McNulty
As an Anne with an E fan (or kindred spirits, as we fans call ourselves), I know just how amazing and diverse an actress Amybeth McNulty is. So, when it was announced that she was cast in the fourth season of Stranger Things, I was excited for more people to see just how talented McNulty is.
Unfortunately, McNulty only had one scene in the first half of the fourth season, wherein she was introduced as Robin’s (Maya Hawke) love interest. That’s why I’m definitely hoping she’ll have more screen time in the second half of the fourth season and perhaps, even more scenes in season five!
The series has been exciting throughout its seven episode run, and I am hopeful that volume two will just be as explosive as this first half. Here’s to hoping Netflix won’t disappoint us this coming July 1, 2022!