Let’s Take a Trip Back to Hawkins: Stranger Things Season 4 Summary and Review


Kenzie Herrick, Contributing Writer

Plug in your Walkman’s and say hello to 1986 because Stranger Things returns this year for a record-breaking Season four.

To put it simply, this season was massive. We’re talking a $270 million budget massive. The Duffer Brothers pushed both production value and character development in 13 hours of CGI and upside-down madness. Within the first two weeks, season four managed to break Netflix’s viewership record with a jaw-dropping 781 million hours streamed across the platform.

In total, four key story arcs were followed. Let’s go through them.

Our first arc follows a now powerless Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) as she’s captured and brought back to Hawkins National Laboratory by none other than Dr. Brenner. Yep, “Papa” is back, and the collective groans can be heard through the screen. While this plot did drag on, it was beautiful watching Eleven face her abusive past and new antagonist “One” (aka Vecna), while proving to Dr. Brenner that she’s grown stronger.

Now for some comedic relief. Joyce and Murray, played by the iconic Winona Ryder and Brett Gelman, join forces as a comedic duo on a mission to rescue Hopper (David Harbour) from a secret Russian base, and Demogorgon fight club. From epic karate skills to arguing with Soviet spies (and a deadly game of dress-up), this was by far one of the most beloved plots, that brings Hopper home, in season 4.

Now moving halfway across the world, audiences find themselves in California. This crew consists of Will, Jonathan, Mike, and Jonathan’s BFF- Argyle (played by Eduardo Franco). Put simply, this is an emotion-fueled arc, and as Argyle says, “You got me stressed out, [and] it’s not even my girlfriend”.

Viewers follow this team on a mission to locate Eleven all while escaping secret agents and dealing with relationship drama (all in typical teenage fashion). While the California arc was interesting, fans are left wanting more as this group was virtually left in the dust in comparison to other key plot points.

Despite the slow pace, most of the action this season comes from our Hawkins team. Max, Steve, Robin, Nancy, Dustin, Lucas, and metalhead Eddie Munson, battle old forces as Vecna infects their hometown-

especially Max. Following Billy’s brutal death in season three’s Starcourt Mall, we see Max struggle with grief and survivor’s guilt. This makes her Vecna’s prime target as the secret ingredient for the Upside-down’s hunger in this installment is preying on the mentally vulnerable.

In the final episode titled “Piggyback”, viewers finally piece together the master plan as El is reunited with the California group and utilizes her psychic powers to target Vecna from inside Max’s mind. Our group in Russia closes off a vital Demogorgon hive, and the Hawkins crew heads to the Upside-down with plans of killing Vecna’s physical body.

What ensues is a wild goose chase. The Upside-down plan fails, ending in an awesome Metallica cover… and a slew of heart-breaking character deaths.

Although switching between perspectives was often dizzying, the Duffer Brothers did a phenomenal job of building a rich season that resonated with every type of viewer.

While fans may never look at a grandfather clock or Kate Bush the same way again, if you’re chomping at the bit for season five, follow the countdown here!