The long-awaited return of the ‘Stranger Things’ series to Netflix is, above all, a confirmation of the platform’s commitment to its star brand, which means that horror and fantasy films occupy a preeminent position within its production , cast it only makes it confirmed in its darkest and creepiest seasonin which the Duffer brothers have tipped the balance of science fiction towards its most surreal and dreamlike extremes.
So the other side is now a hellish territory where there are not only demogorgons, anatomically incorrect, but diabolical figures that alter consciousness, entering another field different from the creature feature that has been deployed so far. Right from the start, season 4 surprises with its tone, which goes right into high school horror, mixing satanic panic and heavy metal with some body horror scenes that could be part of a sequel to ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1986) or ‘IT’ (2017-2019).
A partir de ahora SPOILERS de la temporada en el texto
But its dark tone not only extends to its desire to enter fully into the genre, but it is one of the pillars to face Eleven’s past and everything that happened in the Hawkins laboratorybuilding chapter by chapter a crescendo that has its reward in a masterful ending, a great work of itinerary that turns the season into a direct answer, finally, to the questions generated by the beginning of the series in 2016. What does what to do Eleven with the other side, what relationship do the experiments have with the evil that plagues Hawkins?
The first episode sets the tone, and its 75-minute runtime makes it an introductory mini-movie. Already the opening scene is brutal and changes everything for Eleven, testing herself at the end a cold opening justified and key to understanding not only the season, but the mechanics of the series. As the characters deal with the tragedy of season 3, the different plotlines take a trail in various directions which, as has been discussed elsewhere, increases the scale of the narrative.
An absolutely sensational season
And so far we can go pointing out that everything that is said about this season is true. It is more ambitious it shows that it has 30 million dollars per chapter and for the most part it works as an exploration in the mythology of the series ignored in the previous two seasons. The new characters, such as Argyle and Eddie Munson — a heavy roler named after an Iron Maiden character from ‘Deathgasm’ (2015) — are great, the former forms with Johnathan an original version of the protagonists of ‘Wayne’s World ‘(1999 ) either ‘zero in conduct‘ (Detroit Rock City, 1999) and the second is the metal freak we’ve all met in class once.
Max has a major development and is the main contact with the nemesis this season and Robin continues to demonstrate the great discovery of Maya Hawke. However, despite the spatial expansion and the rupture of certain schemes inherited from other seasons, this time it is there is an attempt to return to the origins represented by the conflict of Elevenwho must deal with the loss of his powers by going back to the most traumatic stages of his education, forgotten in memory, reconnecting the mystique of the series with ‘Beyond the Dark Rainbow‘ (2010).
It also changes the main dynamic of the series and turns into a mystery in which the Hawkins gang resembles the junior investigators from the new Nancy Drewwith moments that are replicating greatest hits of the cinema called by the very success of the series, such as the visit to a psychiatric hospital and spiders as in ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, 2019) and many visual clues cousins of the double ‘ITEM‘ (2017-2019), such as visiting Mrs. Kersh, Max levitating abductee, and that Freddy Krueger and Pennywise figure that is Vecmawhose modus operandi has an explanation in the outcome.
back to the rainbow room
In the first episode there is a tendency to overstretch some redundant moments, but the rest of the season overlaps and save for the constant use of unnecessary flashbacks – it sounds like someone from production at Netflix wants to make sure people can get hooked starting from the 4th—, the duration of each chapter does not drag the rhythm and all the subplots come together harmoniously in a monumental final episode in which his 100 minutes almost fell short.
As all the plot lines build to a climax, episode 7 focuses on Eleven and goes back to the beginning, exploring the root of the evil plaguing Hawkins, with the girl forced to relive painful memories in order to recover his powers, while floating in the water tank his mind travels to the past and it is revealed that Brenner’s assistant is actually his first patient, number 001, a very careful development that shows us the claustrophobic sessions in the rainbow room and how he cheats on her.
A script game that allows us to see Brenner’s atrocities and the rivalries between the different students as a distraction, so that in the end the revelation has a tremendously shocking effect. The retaliation to the assistant and the memories of the massacre go from making Eleven a suspect, then her opponent, to convincing her that she must flee from her, getting him to remove the tracking device implanted in her neck, which it is when the assistant’s true identity is revealed as patient 001 and we know that the chip was not such, but a power suppressor.
The origin of a hulking villain
The script does later a triple somersault and joins the story of 001 with the one told by Victor Creel, played by Robert Englund, it turns out that his son Henry Creel is Hawkins’ first patient. Henry was the one who caused her to seem haunted—that whole flashback is reminiscent of Amityville—and when he became aware of his psychic power, he haunted his family with visions before finally killing them to leave most of them to himself, leaving his father to be framed for the murders and locked up in a mental hospital as a deranged serial killer.
Henry then finds himself in the care of Brenner, who kicks off the entire show that Eleven enters. The Duffers’ script goes carefully piecing together all of the boy’s motivations and obsessions to explain the season’s great villain, neighbor. Everything fits and the appearance of the spiders in Max’s dreams, the jars that Nancy finds, and the victims that appear placed in “cocoons” in Vecma’s mental space, respond to his fascination with the logic of black widows and their predatory mentality of the weak.
This also explains his position reigning on the other side as if it were a spider’s web where he can get his prey by breaking their dimensional perception, also achieving that the psychic contact and his death open small gaps in the real world, which which explains his relationship with the great villain of the upside down world. But before reaching that point, Henry only seeks to kill in 1979, because he considers the rest, except Eleven, to be weak, he considers her the only one on his level, which makes him have a rather murky implication, considering the age.
Thus Eleven faces using a happy memory, instead of a sad one, adding a nuance of positive or negative force, along ‘Star Wars’ according to the source of your powers and dominate it. There is a magnificent duel that is more than ever reminiscent of ‘Scanners’ (1981) by David Cronenberg and when he kills Creel he opens a portal to the upside down world and locks him in the dimension.
Two great elements of the series come together
We see how Henry becomes the monster that now terrorizes Hawkins in the present as Vecna, possessed and mutated into a monster in a plot very reminiscent of Dr. Channard’s cenobite in ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’ (1988), included even in the design, being in the same way humans locked in an infernal dimension at the service of the lord of evil, even the infernal space of that one has points in common. At the same time that this is revealed to us, we connect with what we knew in the first season, that the hole in the lab had been opened by Eleven.
This relationship between the evils and terrors that appear through the gap finally unites the two plots of ‘Stranger Things’ that seemed to have no relationship with each other, the boys with powers and the world upside down,now we know that there is an “anti-Eleven” that directs everything from the other side and that his birth has to do with the experiments, humans with powers and their ability to alter the border of both dimensions. Vecna’s search for victims, on the other hand, has a similar point to Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ mythology, and may have more implications than explained.
There are two episodes left with almost four hours left to finish the season on July 2 and many situations still need to be resolved, especially how Eleven’s recovery of powers will affect her confrontation with Hawkins’ demons, now that she is “supervised” by a faction of the government that believes in it, the scale has become a giant thing and it remains to be seen how it comes together in a final season. With 4 to finish, it can be said that it is the best since the first, much more mature, well written and without ever losing its essence.