Stranger Things Season 4

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Season 4 of Stranger Things brings a new dimension of horror to the popular series. Photo Credit: Daily Research Plot

Sara Wasserman, Copy/Student Life Editor

Stranger Things saw a surge in popularity this summer after season four emerged full of new stories that fans were eager to watch. The ending of the season, however, left viewers on a shocking cliffhanger.

Covid-19 forced filming of season 4 to pause, resulting in an extended waiting period for the new season’s release. Rather than being structured like a normal season, season 4 was split into two volumes, which were released a little over a month apart.

The summertime release dates encouraged epic binging of the series, combined with anxious anticipation between the volumes.
I began watching Stranger Things this June and instantly knew that I had found the show I would watch all summer long. I quickly reached the new season in time to watch the second volume on the release date. After finishing the fourth season, my overall opinion was very positive. Though split into two volumes, Stranger Things 4 was one of the most engaging seasons yet, with multiple intricate plotlines that kept viewers eager for more.

While Stranger Things has always been a show of monsters and supernatural events, season 4 brought shocking new elements of horror that gave the show new dimensionality. Season 4’s main antagonist against the group is a creature named Vecna, who preys on people in vulnerable mental states. Vecna’s method of attacking his victims is psychological torment through increasing levels of possession, ending in a brutal and seemingly ritualistic death that is reminiscent of a scene straight from a horror movie.

Aside from the gorey death that Vecna inflicts on the victims of this season, our protagonists encounter adversity with their peers at home. After El moves to California alongside Will and his mom, Joyce, she experiences hardship in her new environment. Once a superhero, El now faces torment from bullies at her new school. Without her powers and longing for the home and people she has left behind in Hawkins, El has no idea how to navigate this situation. This arc from prevailing against deadly creatures to struggling with high school bullies shows a new side of El that viewers sympathize with.

Season 4 of Stranger Things also brought new characters to the series that drove its popularity even higher. Eddie Munson is introduced, a character who is blamed for the murder of Chrissy Cunningham, another new character who is Vecna’s first victim. In California, Argyle is introduced, a character who forms a friendship with Will’s older brother Jonathan, who ends up joining the group in the fight against Vecna. Overall, viewers seemed to really connect with these new characters, who brought more depth to the many storylines of the show.

Vecna targets Max in this season of Stranger Things, who struggles after the death of her brother in season 3. She finds that she can avoid Vecna’s attacks if she listens to her favorite song, Running Up That Hill, by Kate Bush, a song that was repopularized this summer during the rise in viewers of Stranger Things. The season ends with Vecna’s final attack on Max, who remains in a coma. The question remains- is Max alive? While we won’t find out for a while, I don’t think Max’s story is over just yet.

Season 5 of Stranger Things will be released around late 2023 to early 2024. Viewers will have to wait until the final season for the answers to all of the questions season 4 left.