SPOILER-FREE REVIEW: Stranger Things’ thrilling season four

As long as you’ve seen the first volume of season four of “Stranger Things,” there will not be any spoilers in this article. If you have not yet finished the first part of season four, come back to this article after you’ve done so!

Now that season four of “Stranger Things” is over and we have to wait two more years before the next season, I can officially share my thoughts – in a spoiler-free zone – how the season played out.

Below are some of the great points about the season and don’t worry, there’s no spoilers.

References to mental health and LGBT.

Vecna tends to go after victims with a bit of baggage. Chrissy Cunningham with the pressures of her body image from her mom, Fred Benson with the trauma from a car accident that killed another student, Patrick McKinney with an implied abusive parent and Max with watching her brother die from a previous “Stranger Things” monster.

The way that Vecna’s curse plays out has strong ties to the symptoms of depression. The hallucinations seem quite similar to that of reliving trauma and having anxiety, but having music and the good memories is what gets you through those hard times. (At least for escaping Vecna.)

Women in power (even taking on man-dominated careers at the time, like journalism)

I love the fact that in this season (and previous seasons) women take charge to help save the day. In the last two seasons specifically, we were introduced to Nancy Wheeler taking on a journalism role, something that was more of a man-dominated field at the time. In the first episode of season 4, Wheeler is covering a basketball game, meaning she was taking on sports journalism, an extremely man-dominated field. (Let’s go Wheeler!!!) In other seasons, she’s been at the forefront of kicking the monsters off the face of this dimension. Having women actually be BOSSES throughout the “Stranger Things” franchise is so important, and frankly, fun to watch.

The whole aesthetic

Something fun and popular about “Stranger Things” is the 80s aesthetic, something that you do see a lot of this season. There’s something about introducing the 80s vibes to a whole new generation that seems both inviting and nostalgic to the previous generations. (I say as I’m being introduced to the 80s through “Stranger Things.”)

If you like season 1, you’d like season 4

There’s a lot of the same themes and references to season 1 in season 4. Not only that, but we see the “before” storyline involving Eleven. Honestly, besides the fact that the characters really delivered, it was great to see so many references and similarities to season 1.

The lovable characters

Speaking of characters, we were introduced to a handful of awesome characters in season 4. Chrissy Cunningham, Eddie Munson, VH1, the Creels, and even Jason Carver. Each of the high school characters gave something special to the season. It kind of brought a new light to the stereotypes. The preppy cheerleader was actually struggling inside, the punk is actually a quirky, fun guy and the jock is actually not the hero. I loved each of these characters this season, and the veteran cast delivered strong performances.

Sadie Sink? *Chills*

One of those characters who delivered a beautiful performance this season was Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield. Coming off of a traumatic season 3, Max is still grieving the loss of her brother, Billy. That transitions well into being snatched up by Vecna for an outstanding performance in episode 4, leading to the breakout hit of the year (possibly again) “Running Up that Hill” by Kate Bush.

Season 4 of “Stranger Things” is probably the second best season of the entire franchise (below, of course, season 1). The final season will be on Netflix in 2024.

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