Stranger Things is officially not a kid’s show anymore and if the first volume of the fourth season was not enough to make us understand that, comes the second volume shattering all the comfort and thrill we used to get from watching this show. The Duffer brothers did not hold back this season and brought out the best in their cast, along with a tear-jerker plot. The second volume picks up from where the first ended, with Vecna revealing that he is Number One. He shows Nancy the vision of his past and the plans for his future so that she can warn Eleven.
On the other hand, Eleven is still at the secret facility, and Hopper and the team are stuck in Russia. Will, Mike, Jonathan and Argyle are on their way to rescue Eleven from the facility. Back at Hawkins, the remaining group consisting of Steve, Nancy, Robin, Eddie, Dustin, Lucas, his sister, and Max plan to get to Vecna before he can make his fourth and final kill and shatter the gateway between his realm and our realm. This season, for the first time, does not bring the entire team together, but they are strategically placed precisely where they are needed to be.
Without Eleven, team Hawkins faces a major set back but our favourite nerds always know how to find out a way. They realise Vecna is at his weakest while making a kill and decide to rendevous at the Upside Down. While they are at it, Mike’s group manages to save Eleven but Dr Brenner aka El’s papa dies at the hand of the government agents. They realise they cannot get back to Hawkins in time so Eleven comes up with a plan to invade Max’s mind and help her from there. The plan works when Vecna, too, invades her memory and that brings him to Eleven.
Meanwhile, in Russia, Hopper and his group find the mind flayers trapped in the Russian prison and come to the conclusion that if they kill them, it will buy the kids sometime. Like this, they all contribute to defeating Vecna without actually being together.
The season is high on action, has a layered plot and has shredded even its last bit of innocence. But there are moments that are shattering, to say the least. First of all, we would like to talk about Will Byers and how the makers are adamant about making his life hard. The show started with him vanishing to the Upside Down and the subsequent season showed how he is still not free from that curse. The third season has him feeling out of place but the fourth and penultimate season of the series makes him struggle with his identity and question his sense of belonging.
Although Will did not come out as gay in this season, his monologue for Mike and his reaction to him and Eleven coming closer together was beautifully converted by the actor Noah. His brother Jonathan understands why Will can’t be vocal about his feelings so he assures him that nothing in this world can change his love for him. The comforting scene between the brothers also doubles up as a reassuring message for the ones still struggling that they are not alone.
This season’s fan favourite character Eddie too has his moments, like performing a Metallica song on top of his trailer in the Upside Down and fighting bravely in the face of adversity. But we did not like the fate our comfort character met. Another highlight of the season was the camaraderie and the chemistry between Max and Lucas. The latter delivers his most mature and intense performance.
Fighting Vecna, or the one who has been behind all the attacks from the previous season, comes with a huge price and the group had to pay it till the very end. The season ended with the group, now united, looking over an impending war.
As we said in our previous review that the makers have not played safe this season and have taken up risks that can either make or break the show. Good for them, things work out in their favour and we would say that the fourth season is nothing like we have seen before in this series.
Stranger Things season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix.