Since its debut in 2016 (almost six years ago!), “Stranger Things” has always been able to count on the almost immeasurable cuteness of its heroes. Season 4 of the series, which premieres “Volume One” on Friday (27), agrees that the childhood of the main cast is a thing of the past and embraces adolescence forever, with all the advantages and pains that come with it.
The seven episodes that make up this first part — the final one that debuted only on Netflix on July 1 — are unstable, choppy, and suffer from scattered focus, especially in the beginning.
‘Stranger Things’: Watch the Season 4 Trailer
But over time, it takes shape and emerges as chaos has a purpose, bolstered primarily by a more mature and complex narrative and with a much greater trepidation than previous seasons.
There is blood, fear and the best villain in the series so far. There are also, finally, some answers to the mysteries that have haunted the story since the beginning.
Things get even worse in the fourth season of “Stranger Things.”
More and more evil things
The series’ creative brothers, Matt and Ross Dover, actually called this “Game of Thrones” in their seasons—a reference to the various narrative plot lines (and not, if all goes well, the questionable quality of the series’ finale).
The film’s protagonists have never been more separated than they were at the start of this fourth year, and they’re even more split throughout the episodes. As part of the gang struggling to adapt after moving to California, those left behind in Hawkins must uncover a series of horrific murders.
Farther away is Hopper (David Harbor). An ex-cop, held and tortured in a Soviet prison, is looking for a way to escape – although there may be a small piece of the Upside Down closer than he thinks.
David Harbor, Tom and Lachiha in a scene from “Stranger Things” Season 4 – Photo: Disclosure
It looks like a lot and it really is. In all seven episodes, it’s hard to remember exactly where and what to do.
This division boosts the pace of the season. In the beginning, while the characters are still positioning themselves and remembering situations from the previous plot, the story continues.
With new puzzles piling up and some answers finally emerging, the pace seems to be faster than ever.
Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Joe Kerry, and Gaten Matarazzo in a scene from Stranger Things Season 4 – Image: Disclosure
It is hard to deny, however, that the work deserves to be better distributed between chapters, to avoid straining the audience in the face of some cliché and other, more monotonous moments.
But in Netflix’s marathon strategy, it makes sense. More than a seven-episode series, this is a movie divided into long segments.
And “Stranger Things” never came back. Each chapter is twice as long as the previous chapters, which is annoying at first but becomes an asset as the plot quality grows.
Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp and Finn Wolfhard in a scene from Stranger Things Season 4 – Image: Disclosure
In the end, Volume 1 triumphs in its main objective and leaves audiences at the same time:
- We’re excited to finally get some answers to the series’ central puzzles from its inception;
- And totally hallucinating in the last two episodes of this penultimate season.
So, a piece of advice. It’s worth savoring this first bit little by little – risking one of the longest months coming next June.
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