‘Stranger Things’ latest season brings new mysteries to light

By Marilyn MacLaren, Staff Writer

“Stranger Things” continues in the long-awaited season four premiere that debuted on May 27, consisting of nine episodes split between Volume 1 and Volume 2 that is expected to release on July 1. 

The season was officially announced in September 2019, but production was temporarily delayed due to the pandemic. With almost three years of anticipation building, fans can finally look forward to following the story of Eleven, Mike, Will, Dustin and the rest of the gang, now split between Hawkins and California after the events of the last season.

From the aftermath of the season three finale, the audience continues to follow each character as they unravel more mysteries surrounding Hawkins, including particular attention to the experiments on Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown. Season four explores more of the origins of her powers, the fate of the other test subjects and the possibility of finding her true father. This new chapter in Eleven’s story gives the audience more perspective on her character as she copes with the move from California away from her friends, her lack of powers and discovering the truth about herself, however dark it may be.

The series also returns with good news for Jim Hopper, the adoptive and loving father of Eleven, played by David Harbour. Fans will be happy to know that — spoiler alert — he is alive after surviving the explosion under the Starcourt Mall from the season three finale. Discovering his capture, Joyce Byers and Murray Bauman, played by Winona Ryder and Brett Gelman respectively, work together to rescue Hopper, who is being held in a prison camp in Kamchatka, Russia.

What helps to progress the story in the new season is the balance between the darker elements of the story and the emotional connections between each character. These continue to provide opportunities for growth, particularly in Max, played by Sadie Sink, as highlighted in episode four of Volume 1. During “Chapter 4: Dear Billy,” the episode is centered around Max as she struggles with her grief over her brother’s sacrifice and facing death herself, writing to her loved ones fearing she will be the next victim of the creature, Vecna. In their efforts to bring her back from the Upside Down after her capture, Steve, Dustin and Lucas discover that the only way to bring her back is to play her favorite song. 

As Max fights to break hold of the spell, she experiences flashbacks from past seasons of her friendships with Lucas, Eleven and Mike, as well as fun-filled memories of her life in a Hawkins unaffected by the horrors of the Upside Down. The sequence is set to the song “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush, seen being played on the cassette tape that draws Max back to reality. 

As she runs to the portal created from the music with debris crumbling down around her, Sink perfectly portrays the gripping desperation to escape as she sees her body floating above her friends. 

This scene is just one among many where the characters have to face both the monsters of Hawkins and within themselves. With many questions yet to be answered, this season is sure to bring the horror to new heights and go more in-depth with characters you know and love. Season four and the show’s previous seasons are available to stream on Netflix. 

 

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