Media Review Monday: Stranger Things 4

The eighties is revived in this sci-fi horror TV series.

*Spoilers ahead*

The long awaited fourth season of Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things arrived with a new villain and a nostalgic eighties soundtrack. Fans waited three years to revisit the Hawkins’ gang and their adventures with the Upside Down, an alternate dimension that bleeds into reality.

The return of Stranger Things reignited the beloved retro music of the eighties. Songs such as Kate Bush’s emotional ballad Running Up That Hill and Musical Youth’s upbeat Pass the Dutchie are rising on today’s charts and bringing back the ambiance of the time.

The show’s aesthetic contributes to its success and upholds the popularity of the series.

The newest season utilizes the show’s image to deliver a fast-paced and heartfelt season that takes the show’s viewers for a long-ride, considering each episode is over an hour long.

Season four takes place about six months after the events of the prior season; beloved character Jim Hopper is M.I.A., Joyce and her children relocate to California and the rest of the Hawkins’ characters are left to deal with the ghosts of season three’s past.

Through the bright colors and big hair galore, Stranger Things takes the audience into the depths of trauma and grief as the characters’ fight off both internal and external forces.

This season sets up four main storylines; Hopper’s rescue mission, El’s training day, the California crew’s mission to warn El and the Hawkins murder mystery.

Much like every season of the sci-fi series, every character is connected through the existence of the Upside Down.

The building plot of this season focuses on Vecna, a former child of the Hawkins National Laboratory with a murderous past and grudge against El who banished him to the Upside Down. Vecna uses telekinetic powers, similar to El’s, to violently feed his bloodthirsty cravings.

During the season, El works on regaining her telekinetic powers she lost at the end of season three. El is reunited with Dr. Brenner and hesitantly revisits her blurry past to become a superhero again. With her absence in Hawkins, Vecna goes on a killing rampage, grabbing the attention of the characters there.

The original crew; Dustin, Lucas, Max, Nancy and Steve team up with newcomers Robin and fugitive Eddie to take down Vecna and prove to Hawkins the true murderer of the town. Finding gates to the Upside Down, the gang faces the monsters there.

While miles away in the sunny state of California; Mike, Will, Jonathan and stoner Argyle fight off government officials targeting El and her tribe of loved ones. Traveling to find El after she is taken by Dr. Owens in hopes of gaining her powers back, the California crew are faced with the consequences of her existence.

Another developing storyline takes place far from the United States and the show finds Jim Hopper in a Russian prison. In a ploy to be smuggled out, Hopper and prison guard Enzo are betrayed and forced to face an all too similar enemy, a Demogoron.

In the midst of battle, Joyce and Murray disguise themselves as a prisoner and smuggler, respectively, to rescue Hopper.

The short reunion between Joyce and Hopper brings a sweet moment to the show that is outweighed by the repercussion of their actions brought by the evil Russian enemies.

Throughout the show, the writers emphasize the grief the characters are battling.

Fiery redhead Max struggles with her guilt following the death of her step-brother Billy, which leaves her a vulnerable victim to Vecna. Through a heartfelt letter to Billy and the help of her friends, Max is able to come to terms with her trauma.

Being forced to face her past head-on, El revisits her time in the Hawkins National Laboratory in hopes of finding her strength to become the savior of Hawkins, once again. Seeing the truth to the Laboratory’s massacre, El realizes her enemy as Vecna and the show foreshadows their reunion.

The multiple storylines of the show are becoming interconnected and the last two episodes of season four, coming out in July, gives viewers the chance to see the story become one in this upcoming season finale.

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