For those who still have Netflix, they’ve probably seen The Duffer Brothers’ latest offering somewhere on their trending charts. Although I didn’t have much faith when I began the fourth season, I found myself completely enthralled by it.
I’m pleased to report that Netflix and The Duffer Brothers managed something not many titles have ever been able to achieve. That’s going back to the core of what made them great. It’s an excellent mix of horror and coming-of age themes. The hero’s journeys are well thought out. There’s also a lot of 80s nostalgia.
The fact that so many people still wanted to watch the series shows how original and amazing it was. The second season ended in disaster, and the third season, while better than the first, was not up to par. Many people were ready to dismiss the show. Despite the fact that it had been three years since Season 3, many people decided to return to Hawkins in Indiana to see the children one more time.
Season 4 picks up from the previous season but, in a way it pushes the reset button for the series. Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown, now lives with the Bryers in California. Since the third season, she’s had to lose her powers and she’s now trying to learn how to be a student in high school without knowing anyone. This is an uphill task considering that she didn’t have a normal childhood. She is often picked upon and has no idea why.
The rest of the children are now back at Hawkins and going through high school. The boys now belong to “The Hellfire Club”, a D&D group led by Eddie Munsen (Joseph Quinn), who draws comparisons with Judd Nelson’s John Bender character from “The Breakfast Club .”
In the meantime, Joyce Byers (Winona Rider) is trying to find Jim Hopper (David Harbour), who vanished after the conclusion of season 3. Soon, it is revealed that Hopper is in Russian custody. Murray Bauman, aka Brett Gelman is recruited by Byers to assist him in conceiving a plan that will get Hopper out of prison with some unusual help.
The plot begins when Munsen sees a school cheerleader being brutally killed in front of him. It is done by an unknown, unidentified force in Munsen’s own house. The shocking murder shocked the entire town, particularly Jason Carver, Jason Dye, who is the head of his basketball team. Carver starts a manhunt to find Munsen, who then goes into hiding. Munsen is blamed by the community, but the children know that he’s innocent because they have seen similar horrors before.
The thrill ride that begins from here is filled with heart, character development and stunning horror, all accompanied by a solid mystery that may catch you completely off guard.
The show is not without its faults. The plotlines are a little too long, and they could be summarized better. This is why the show begins slowly and does not really pick up until about the third episode. You may have different mileage, but Eleven’s storyline seems a little too long. The season’s flaws aside, it is very well written and the Duffer brothers wrap up the story with a great finale.
But you might be wondering if they have injected politics into it. This could decide whether you will watch the show or not. You can answer that question yes or no.
Modern TV is just now starting to get rid of the wakefulness that has plagued it. This means that Stranger Things still has some clinging onto some of its characters. Although it is established that Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), is a lesbian in season three, they never make her the entire character as some writers do. You don’t feel forced to accept it in the story. This season, she’s one the most charming characters.
But that’s not what I can say for Will Byers, whose show constantly suggests that he is gay. A character might deliver a very good line of exposition and then suddenly speak or do something that reminds you that he is keeping a secret from his friends. This makes him exhausting, and brings down every scene in which he is the main focus. The show has enough plotlines that it isn’t too heavy.
Moreover, there are some unexpected things that I did not expect in modern entertainment. This season, Steve Harrison (Joe Keery), is a man who can be a hero. He reminds me in many ways of an 80s young action hero. Murray is more than a sidekick in the kitchen. He also gets to play a role as an evilass on various episodes. The only 100-pound girl you’ll see tossing around men three times their size is Eleven, and she does that with powers not possessed by the average person.
Dare I say… the men shine in this series. Munsen has an incredible hero arc.
This is not to suggest that women are in constant distress. These women are determined and focused on their goals for this season. Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), and Max Mayfield, (Sadie Sink), have the most memorable scenes in this season. The latter has the scene that I and others consider the highlight of the whole season.
The Duffer Brothers achieved something that you rarely see nowadays: allowing characters to express themselves without being controlled by an outside ideology. This season of “Stranger Things,” with only minor hiccups is probably a contender to be the greatest.
If it maintains this pace, Season 5 would be amazing.