Stranger Things Turns World Upside Down with Season Four


Aanika Hirode

On July 1, Netflix released Volume II of Season Four of Stranger Things. This highly anticipated chapter was marked by stellar acting and unique storylines. Graphic by Aanika Hirode.

Eshaan Chopra, Marketing Chief

Hit me square in the face with a roller skate like Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) did to Angela (Elodie Grace Orkin), and I would still get back up to finish Season Four of Stranger Things. The penultimate season was split into two volumes, the first which came out on May 27 followed by the second two-part episode volume on July 1. The month-long gap between the two parts of this season was enough to build up anticipation, especially after the hit that the previous season was. Dropping the 80s theme and picking up the plot of the show, Season Four got the characters back on track with their mission to stop the evil that Hawkins encounters.

The Hawkins gang is split up. Each group is facing issues seen before: the government, the Upside Down, and the new Russian plotline found in Season Three. Somehow, the Duffer Brothers, the creators and executive producers of the show, made each storyline new and exciting. Whether it was Eleven finally getting the chance to explore public school or the revival of Stancy (Steve, portrayed by Joe Keery, and Nancy’s, portrayed by Natalia Dyer, relationship,) the viewers had something more engaging outside of the intense storyline. This Netflix original series always seems to find a balance between the harsh gravity of problems the gang faces and their romantic and platonic relationships, and Season Four was no exception. Will (Noah Schnapp) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) mended their previous issues for now, and Nancy and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) finally experienced real-life relationship turmoil from the stress of college decisions. The truly lovable and enviable relationships between characters are what makes the show so bingeable. 

One of the biggest accomplishments of this season has to be the performance of each lead actor. Rumors spread of Emmy nominations for the work of Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown from Volume I of Season Four, and while neither were awarded any nominations, both actresses are eligible for their work in Volume II for next year’s Emmys. The acting is what sold the insane plot of the show. Even though some characters, like Eleven, were superhuman, we still got to see the real side of them. In Eleven’s case, it was the side that wanted to just fit in in school but was faced with extreme bullying again. Similarly, the portrayal of Max Mayfield by Sadie Sink managed to make a character who was late to the show one of the most important people to watch this season. Her relationship with her brother and her problems were directly explored this season, and Sink managed to truly bring Max’s pain to the eyes of viewers. All of the company deserves to be rewarded for some of the best acting seen out of a Netflix Original, so we can hope to see a sweep from the show in awards following the next and final season of the show. 

Stranger Things is known for its appeal to young audiences with relatable characters, aesthetically immersive environments, and unique sci-fi storylines. While this season bypassed the 80s-inspired looks loved in Season Three by watchers, the plot was enhanced by the removal of costumes. Most characters sported the same look throughout the entire season, which helped aid the viewers in imagining the concise timeline that accompanied the million plot twists. Ultimately, the impact of this season was based on the storyline, delving into Eleven’s past and connecting all disconnected ends of the show. It is rumored that in the proposal for this show, the Duffer Brothers had to make a detailed narration of what the entire five-season show was going to look like. This season gets audiences excited for Season Five, which should explore new relationships between characters and also a hopeful final resolution to the power of Vecna and the Mind-Flayer. 

Overall this season differed from past works of this show in more ways than just the multiple volumes. Watching characters mature in the face of adversity with Eleven’s past conflicts overwhelmed the mood of daily life. Viewers are raving about what we can expect in the final season of one of the highest-grossing Netflix shows to date, and based on the manuscript of the show, the Duffer Brothers are not planning to disappoint. As we rewatch these four seasons multiple times, the anticipation is building for what could be one of the best sci-fi season finales seen on the television screen. Get excited, and don’t forget to beware of flashing Christmas lights.