‘Stranger Things’ Volume 2 ends with high hopes for last season

By Marilyn MacLaren, Staff Writer

On July 1, “Stranger Things” released its promised second volume of season four, concluding the season with its final two episodes. With this new season, the stakes were raised for uncovering the mysteries surrounding Hawkins, adding a new layer of terror that made this season stick out from those before.

This season introduced many new and memorable characters, such as Argyle, played by Eduardo Franco. His part as the goofy stoner and pizza delivery comic-relief character helped to balance the show’s darker themes and gore. 

This new cast also included what many consider the fan-favorite Eddie Munson, played by Joseph Quinn, the charismatic leader of the Hellfire Club. Although his character — spoiler alert — met an unfortunate end when he sacrificed himself in the Upside Down, the impact he had on not only the finale, but on the season as a whole, added to the dynamic of the recurring cast. 

Munson’s segment during the finale, in true metalhead fashion, was playing Metallica’s 1986 “Master of Puppets” on his guitar to bait the Demobats. Although the sequence does not hold the same grasp over the audience as Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” did during Max’s possession, Quinn gives it his all in a final stand that suits his character. 

This sacrifice also let Munson fulfill his character arc with a touching moment shown between him and Dustin concerning his decision not to run away from the fight. Seeing his growth within one season may leave fans feeling unsatisfied with the abrupt end to his character, hoping for the possibility of his return for the final season.

The mystery surrounding Vecna as the villain for the season was revealed at the end of Volume 1, with Eleven linking the supernatural entity to Henry Creel, played by Jamie Campbell Bower. 

His involvement as One in the lab massacre, as well as his defeat by Eleven — which sent him to the Upside Down — was shown in various flashbacks throughout Volume 1. This particular plot point was further elaborated in Volume 2, connecting Dr. Brenner, played by Matthew Modine, and his plan to free Creel from the Upside Down using Eleven. 

Volume 2 consists of the final episodes of season four, culminating in a plot against Dr. Brenner who plans to unleash Vecna from the Upside Down. Somewhat confusing at times, the final episodes are a flurry of multiple efforts among the main characters, each facing their own demons — quite literally — in a bid to contain the escaping horrors of the Upside Down. 

The pacing can seem chaotic, but it matches the intensity of the stakes each character is facing in their respective goals. Max faces off against Vecna once again, seeing her brother and relying on memories of the Snow Ball with Lucas from season two to break from the curse.

Ending on a cliffhanger surrounding the fate of Hawkins, season four of “Stranger Things” started off strong, with much darker turns than in prior seasons and new additions to the cast that complemented the original characters. 

Although Volume 2 was only two episodes, it doesn’t quite hold the same weight as the greater half of the season shown in Volume 1. Many questions were left unanswered, with fans left to anticipate what will be in the final season of the beloved series.

 

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