Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 is the Series’ Best Yet

Stranger Things Season Four (Part 1) Review

Since its premiere in 2016 Stranger Things shocked and impressed audiences with its captivating world, engaging storytelling, and of course- 80s nostalgia. 

Now back for its fourth season, this (initially) small-budget indie Netflix show turned cultural phenomenon proves to be so much more than the show with scary flesh-eating monsters, and popular 80s songs. With the mixed perception of season 3, season 4 had a lot to deliver on as we are now seeing our characters dispersed throughout the United States and even in Soviet-era Russia. Many characters are still processing and questioning the devastating events of season 4, leading to new conflicts amongst our main group of friends. 

While Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) is on a quest to become one of the popular kids by joining the Hawkins High basketball team, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) are going on literal D&D quests with the long-haired dubbed freak of the school Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn)

Meanwhile, Max (Sadie Sink) is grieving quietly and slowly observing crucial details that will help the gang discover much-needed information about this season’s terrifying villain hailing from the Upside-Down Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower)

All the way across the country in California Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) now renamed Jane to protect her former superhero identity is struggling with mean girls and adjusting to a new school while Will (Noah Schnapp) is keeping a watchful eye on her. Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and his new friend Argyle (Eduardo Franco) are spending their remaining high school days stoned and worrying about Nancy (Natalia Dyer) who’s busy running the Hawkins High newspaper.

Finally, we have Hopper (David Harbour) who is (surprise!) alive but not doing so well in Russia, forced to rot in prison and perform grueling tasks for Soviet communists. After he bribes a prison guard and sends a message to Joyce (Winona Ryder), she enlists the help of Murray (Brett Gelman) to find Hopper and bring him home safely. 

With all these characters in different locations and fighting for different causes, it would be understandable to imagine that this season would feel disjointed at the very least, but the Duffer Brothers and their writer’s room prove once again they are agents of their craft. 

From some of the series’ most memorable and heart-wrenching moments to a twist that perfectly entwines the themes of the season while still remaining consistent with the story, sheds Stranger Things’ previous missteps and propels it back into the category of truly astonishing television. 

The show also ties in with numerous topics that have surprisingly and unfortunately only become more relevant in today’s society. From messages pertaining to grief and trauma to Russia’s timely influence and power, this season definitely came out at a necessary time. Many fans are excited to see how the show will perform come award season especially because Stranger Things has only been nominated for Emmys but has never won in any category. 

Fans and critics are calling for Sadie Sink to be nominated for an incredible and stand-out performance in episode 4, as well as David Harbour who delivers as always and who was also previously nominated for an Emmy. This is only volume one of the fourth season and a fifth season is still set to arrive on Netflix in a few years, with an even bigger budget and even higher stakes for our cast of heroes.

With part one ending with the revelation of Vecna’s true origins and his motive’s as well as some of our favorite characters trapped in the haunting world of the Upside-Down, our characters will have to band together like never before to face off against a grueling threat that could mean the end of Hawkins forever. 

If part 2 is anything like part 1 it’s going to be another whirlwind of emotional impact, beautiful performances, and a story so meticulously crafted that its end product is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Pop Culture Press