Stranger Things Season Four, Vol. 1 is WILD, y’all!
(This post will be utterly spoiler free up until I give you a bold warning, below!)
I didn’t meant to do it, but somehow I managed to binge all nine hours of Stranger Things Season Four within a single 24-hour period this weekend. Honestly, I just couldn’t turn it off, even if it meant almost completely sacrificing a day of sleep.
For a moment early in the season it seems like Season Four shared the same weakness as the past two seasons: The Duffers are convinced their breakout stars need their own storylines, which often feel like entirely separate shows within the show.
For a few episodes, it does feel like this story has become too big, too discursive. The core quartet of boys are fractured across multiple plots, and there are even more plotlines that don’t include them or Eleven.
Even as the plot feels bigger than ever before, Season 4 finally acknowledges that the show has never been about singular stars. It’s not a show about Eleven, Hopper, or even Hawkins. It’s about how your circle of friends grows and changes as you change how you define yourself. It’s about how things that used to be scary are now commonplace, and how the newest hurdle in your life always feels the highest.
Stranger Things could’ve become a horror anthology series returning to Hawkins again and again without our core cast of misfits. However, this time it really feels like a story about the misfits (like S1 did) as much as it is about the horror around them… and what caused it. The show’s ever-growing ensemble of actors makes it work the best it has since Season 1 (which I crushed on back in 2016).
Be warned: Stranger Things Season 4 is bloodier and scarier than any of the past volumes. There are fewer jump scares, but more outright gore and onscreen violence.
Also, the first few minutes of the first episode focus on the aftermath of graphic violence that might be triggering for some viewers – this week, especially. It received a special content warning in the states, but we didn’t get it here in New Zealand. If you’re sensitive to images of violence against children, you can safely skip from the big “knockout” blackout at the 7-minute mark to the end of the opening credits. You’ll see the same scene again in a less disturbing fashion later in the season.
(Continue reading if you want very minor spoilers about the characters and their arcs as of the beginning of the season.) [Read more…] about Review: Netflix’s Stranger Things – Season Four, Vol. 1