In Review: Stranger Things: Season Four Volume 1

Synopsis: A year has passed since Stranger Things Season 3 and the town of Hawkins is still reeling from the events last year, the gang tries to move on...
Stranger Things

Synopsis: A year has passed since Stranger Things Season 3 and the town of Hawkins is still reeling from the events last year, the gang tries to move on with their lives. However, a threat is brewing both on Earth and the Upside Down.

 

The Story

It’s been a year since the gang defeated the Mind Flayer and the gang has been separated with Eleven and the Byers family now living in California. Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and the others are all trying to move on and get on with their lives. Dustin has joined a Dungeons and Dragons group called The Hellfire Club. While Lucas has joined the Hawkins Basketball team and is feeling somewhat torn between his new friends and the old gang. Meanwhile, in California Eleven who has changed her name to Jane Byers is struggling to fit in at school and is being severely bullied. But in her letters to Mike who is going to pay her a visit. She is making out that everything is good.

Things get going when a new monster, which Dustin names Vecna after the Dungeons and Dragons character has started to terrorize Hawkins. Unfortunately, Dustin’s friend and The Hellfire Clubs Dungeon Master Eddie Munson is a person of interest in the horrific crime.

Meanwhile, back in California events escalate with Eleven as she fights back and finds herself once again taken back to the top-secret lab where her story began. As Dr. Brenner believes he can reconnect El with her powers, which she needs if she is to defeat Vecna and save the lives of her friends.

Elsewhere Joyce Byers and her nerdy friend Murray Bauman head off on a mission to Russia via Alaska to rescue Jim Hopper.

 

The Acting

As always the acting in this series is brilliant. Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery continue to entertain with their fun odd couple dynamic as Dustin continues to hang out with Steve. Millie Bobby Brown is fantastic as Eleven as she gets to play some rather difficult and traumatic scenes. Eleven’s storyline in this season is brilliantly done in how it connects to this year’s story arc.

For me. The standout performance this year comes from Joseph Quinn who is brilliant as Eddie Munson who finds himself caught up in the police investigation into the murder that the supernatural monster Vecna has committed. Quinn gives us a very charismatic performance as Eddie who is the guitarist from the Towns rock band as well as the Dungeon Master and leader of The Hellfire Club. We also get a solid performance from Mason Dye as Jason Carver, Captain of Hawkins Basketball Team who is out to get Eddie Munford.

 

Overall

 

 

The fourth season of Stranger Things, at least the first seven episodes of it tell a fairly strong story and take advantage of the paranoia conjured by the media in regards to things like Dungeons and Dragons and Heavy Metal music from the 1980s. That particular story element put me in mind of a movie called Mazes and Monsters, which was an early starring role for a certain Tom Hanks. But the paranoia around D&D gaming is only part of this season’s story. As the monster, Vecna has a very interesting and layered story, which ties back to Eleven’s origins in the laboratory where she was kept. This monster is particularly nasty as it causes its victims to relive their deepest fears before killing them, which is clever writing as it allows the writers to touch on Max’s PTSD from losing her brother in her experience with the Mind Flayer. In fact, episode four, which is perhaps the strongest episode really explores this as the gang races to try and find a way to keep Vecna from taking Max.

Perhaps the weakest element of this season is the storyline concerning Joyce and Murray’s mission to rescue Hopper from the Siberian prison where he is being kept. Sure the story has some comedic moments, but most of the time it just seems to drag. 

Overall. Stranger Things is back and it’s bigger and badder than in previous years as the writers get to add a bit more gore and horror to the proceedings. Which makes the show a little more reminiscent of classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street. Vecna and how he stalks and kills his prey is particularly menacing. And the fact that we get to spend time in The Upside Down takes things up a level from the previous seasons.

The cliffhanger we get left with is fantastic and will likely keep viewers on the edge of their seats for the whole month. As the second lot of episodes, which comprises only two episodes will not drop until 1 July. We can’t wait!

9.4
Stranger Things: Season Four Volume 1
  • Story
    8.6
  • Acting
    10
  • CGI & Stunts
    10
  • Incidental Music
    9.0

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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