Home CELEBS 'Stranger Things' Season 4 ends with death and destruction

‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 ends with death and destruction

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The fourth and penultimate season of “Stranger Things” has ended in a way that’s bloated – but ultimately satisfying and packed with destruction.

Note: Spoilers ahead.

The two supersized episodes that capped off Season 4 (now streaming on Netflix) should have been divided into shorter segments. There’s simply no reason for an episode of a TV series to be longer than a feature length film (two hours and thirty minutes) and these could have easily been trimmed down.

But the events that transpired wrapped up the season well enough and left “Stranger Things” with enough story for Season 5.

As fans know, the characters have been separated to far-flung corners of the earth. Now, in the final stretch, Hopper (David Harbor) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) finally leave their isolated storyline in Russia and make it back to their kids in Hawkins (while also cementing that their “will they or won’t they” relationship is a go).

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, meet up with the Hawkins crew which includes Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin). The Kate Bush song “Running Up that Hill” plays again for emotional impact.

Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Robin (Maya Hawke), Max (Sadie Sink) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), right.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) in a lab with a headpiece on and bloody hands.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).

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

Eddie (Joseph Quinn), the big-hearted nerd who was newly introduced this season, has been killed along the way, and Max is in a coma from which she might not wake up. (The show also killed off Matthew Modine’s “Papa” and played that as an emotional moment, but it’s hard to feel sad for a man who experimented on kids.)

On one hand, this turn of events is a relief to long-time viewers who would hate to lose a beloved character like Steve. It’s also nice that “Stranger Things” feels fairly unique among genre shows in that it has danger, horror and dire circumstances without offing its main characters. Post “Game of Thrones” shows seem to compete to have the most shocking deaths, and it feels novel that “Stranger Things” is able to fire on all cylinders without playing that game.

Eddie (Joseph Quinn) sits at a table in the woods.
Eddie (Joseph Quinn) dies in “Stranger Things” Season 4.
Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve (Joe Keery) and Eddie (Joseph Quinn) in "Stranger Things" glance at each other in an RV.
Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve (Joe Keery) and Eddie (Joseph Quinn) in “Stranger Things.”

But, on the other hand, it’s getting predictable and repetitive that the person who dies each season is a relatively new side character, such as Eddie, Billy (Dacre Montgomery) and poor Bob (Sean Astin) from past seasons. It’s hard to feel like this show has high stakes if it refuses to pick off its main cast.

Nevertheless, there was a lot to enjoy in these two super-sized episodes.

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

These episodes showcase that particularly well, whether it’s Hopper and Joyce sharing a kiss, Dustin and Mike sharing a joyful hug, or Hopper and Eleven finally reuniting as father and daughter and mocking 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 thrilling.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with Papa (Matthew Modine) stand in a lab.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with Papa (Matthew Modine).
Hawkins looks like Mordor in "Stranger Things."
Hawkins looks like Mordor in “Stranger Things.”

And there sure is a lot of chaos. Although most of the gang survives, Hawkins is in shambles and mostly destroyed from supernatural events that the news is calling an “earthquake.” A long line of cars flees the town and plumes of smoke can be seen while the sky rains ash.

It’s all looking very apocalyptic and a lot like Mordor from “Lord of the Rings.” Going into the fifth and final season, almost everyone might still be standing – but things are more dire than ever.

.

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