Stranger Things season 4 ends in death and destruction

The fourth and penultimate season of Stranger Things ended on a grand scale — but ultimately satisfying and full of destruction.

Note: spoilers ahead.

The two oversized episodes that closed Season 4 (streaming now on Netflix) should have been broken into shorter segments. There is simply no reason why an episode of a television series should be longer than a feature film (two hours and thirty minutes), and these could easily have been shortened.

But the events that transpired closed the season well enough, leaving Stranger Things with enough story for Season 5.

As fans know, the characters have been separated into far corners of the world. Now, in the final segment, Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) finally leave their isolated history in Russia and make it back to their children in Hawkins (while cementing their will-or-not relationship) .

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) reunites with the rest of the California gang – Will (Noah Schnapp), Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), who is still the most useless character. They in turn reunite with the Hawkins crew, which includes Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Max (Sadie Sink), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin). Kate Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill” is played again for emotional impact.

Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), Dustin (Gate Matarazzo), Robin (Maya Hawke), Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) all line up.
Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), Dustin (Gate Matarazzo), Robin (Maya Hawke), Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), right.
Tina Rowden/Netflix
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) in a lab with a hat and bloody hands.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).
Tina Rowden/Netflix

But it’s hardly sunshine and rainbows, despite all the reunions.

Eddie (Joseph Quinn), the big-hearted nerd reintroduced this season, was killed along the way, and Max is in a coma from which she may never wake. (The show also killed Matthew Modine’s “dad” and played that as an emotional moment, but it’s hard to be sad for a man who’s experimented with children.)

On the one hand, this turn of events is a relief to longtime viewers who would hate to lose a beloved character like Steve. It’s also nice that Stranger Things feels quite unique among genre shows, in that there’s danger, horror, and dire circumstances without upsetting its main characters. Post-Game of Thrones shows seem to be competing for the most shocking deaths, and it feels new that Stranger Things is able to fire on all cylinders without playing that game.

Eddie (Joseph Quinn) is sitting at a table in the woods.
Eddie (Joseph Quinn) dies in Season 4 of Stranger Things.
Courtesy of Netflix
Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve (Joe Keery) and Eddie (Joseph Quinn) will be there "stranger things" look at each other in an RV.
Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve (Joe Keery) and Eddie (Joseph Quinn) in Stranger Things.
Courtesy of Netflix

But on the other hand, it becomes predictable and repetitive that the person who dies each season is a relatively new supporting character, like Eddie, Billy (Dacre Montgomery), and poor Bob (Sean Astin) from past seasons. It’s hard to believe that this show has a lot at stake by refusing to single out its main cast.

Still, there was a lot to enjoy in these two super big episodes.

“Stranger Things” has always been good at building a well-deserved emotional moment like a hug between friends who haven’t seen each other in a while (and suffered harrowing circumstances while they were apart).

These episodes show that particularly well, whether it’s Hopper and Joyce kissing, Dustin and Mike happily hugging, or Hopper and Eleven finally reuniting as father and daughter and poking fun at each other’s buzz cuts. “Stranger Things” also finds time for a moment where Steve smiles supportively while Robin flirts with a girl. The show doesn’t lose sight of small gestures between these characters amidst the chaos, and the human element makes the action all the more exciting.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Papa (Matthew Modine) are in a lab.
Elf (Millie Bobby Brown) with Dad (Matthew Modine).
Courtesy of Netflix
Hawkins looks like Mordor in it "stranger things."
Hawkins looks like Mordor in Stranger Things.
Courtesy of Netflix

And there sure is a lot of chaos. Though most of the gang survives, Hawkins lies in ruins, mostly destroyed by supernatural events the news has dubbed the “earthquake.” A long line of cars flee the city and plumes of smoke can be seen as the sky rains ash.

It all looks very apocalyptic and strongly reminiscent of Mordor from “Lord of the Rings”. At the beginning of the fifth and final season, everyone may still be standing – but things are worse than ever.

https://nypost.com/2022/07/01/stranger-things-season-4-ends-with-death-and-destruction/ Stranger Things season 4 ends in death and destruction

Emma Bowman

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