“Stranger Things Four”: An Intense Addition to the Netflix Phenomenon 


Jane Harig, Staff Writer

It has arrived. It is here. Texts sent by the second. Phone calls and watch parties planned. Gasps and cries, tears of joy. It came. Season four of “Stranger Things.” Volume One. Seven episodes. The phenomenon people have been waiting for.  

In 2015, we received, on Netflix, a humble show called “Stranger Things,” starring the likes of 80s icon Winona Ryder, who was sharing the screen with a group of talented, young kids. Written by twin brothers, Matt and Ross Duffer, the show not only took the world by storm, but subsequently launched three more seasons.  

And here I am to talk about the fourth season of my all-time favorite show. For starters, no, season four was not my favorite, though I appreciate it and loved watching it nonetheless. I could go on and on about what I love about this show, but the focus right now is season four. 

Due to pandemic related restraints, the season took quite a while to film. To bounce back from a three-year gap (the third season being released summer of 2019), the show has been hyped up more than ever. And what they say is true – the show gets bigger and bigger each season. With much longer episodes, the season has been split into two parts. Seven episodes came out on May 27, with two more coming out July 1. 

A big piece of the “Stranger Things” story are the ‘80s references. The Duffer Brothers are brilliant in their writing, and whether they are referring to “The Goonies,” “E.T. The Extraterrestrial,” “Ghostbusters,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” or more (a lot more!), the show’s heart beats in ‘80s-like fashion.  

Season four, taking place in spring of ‘86, brings many a reference to Freddy Krueger (star/villain of said “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie), with Vecna, the villain in this season, killing people while they are in a trance, and therefore killing them in real life too. (Yes, it is scary.) Speaking on this season’s villain – not my favorite. Too human, in my opinion. I prefer the likes of the Demogorgon and Shadow Monster from previous seasons. (The kids assign Dungeons and Dragons characters as an analogy for whatever monsters they face from the Upside Down – the alternate dimension.) Though I think Vecna fit into this season really well, based on the change in tone from the other seasons, and the classic 80s horror movie references. (And his backstory we learn in episode seven is insane and ties immensely into this season’s plot line.) 

The characters are stronger than ever, though much more scattered this season. I loved the new addition of Eddie Munson, Dustin and Mike’s new Dungeons and Dragons buddy who is known as “the freak” all around Hawkins High. One thing I always find myself thinking while watching this show is how I wish the characters could get together sooner, and all share the information they have about whatever conflict they are facing. 

Part action-comedy, part Russian-prison-escape, part adventure-horror, and part intense coming-of-age, this season is packed with characters’ journeys. The characters’ dynamics have always been what I enjoy most about this show. The characters are truly what drives the story, and they prove to be fantastic again this season. The show is full of different situations they find themselves in, but it’s still the classic story of them getting together to piece together the clues, taking it one thrilling step at a time to crack the case. 

I would say I miss the simplicity and writing of seasons one and two, though I understand that the show has to get bigger, have higher stakes, and more intense storylines to continue being such a celebrated show. I still found all the scenes in this show great, especially picking up around episodes three and four, and only getting more exciting from there. Woven in between some dark ideas is a great story of friendship. The laughs do not lack this season, heart and reality are ever-present, and the characters’ journeys as high schoolers while navigating inter-dimensional drama never ceases to be intriguing.  

With two more episodes coming our way come July, the excitement does not end. And the promise of a fifth season, fans are ready for more and more. Crazy plotlines, dramatic moments of friendship and young love tested again and again, and the whisper of the saying that launched careers – friends don’t lie.