They’re Really Back!
We’ve had a three-year wait for the modern-day Goonies to return, but they’re finally back. Joyce, Jim, Mike, Eleven, Dustin, Lucas, Max, Nancy, Steve, and Jonathan are all back for the biggest, boldest and bloodiest season yet. Stranger Things season 4, volume one, hurtles us back to Hawkins. The whole gang return with some new recruits to take on a new threat, Vecna!
Bigger, Bolder, and Bloodier!
Each episode is akin to a feature film. What the Duffer Brothers have put together is a remarkable feat. Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 is full of nostalgia, with roller discos and 80s haircuts aplenty. The sets are brilliantly 80s and deserve a review of their own! The budget for season four has increased for the Duffer Brothers! We have more locations (Lenora Hills and Russia) and more characters. Instead of having all the gang saving the world in Hawkins, we have the whole group split up and scattered throughout the various locations.
The Duffer Brothers have upped the ante with the action sequences. They are bloodier and more shocking than in previous seasons. Limbs snapping and eyes gouged out are a regular occurrence this season with Vecna on the loose! These scenes are far from the cute thriller season one gave us. The monsters are no longer camera shy and concentrate on flicking lights. They are bloodthirsty monsters intent on death and destruction!
Season 4, volume 1 quickly shows that Hawkins did not recover from the end of season 3 when several people died in the explosion. Unfortunately for the residents, Vecna has now arrived! Vecna is a monster that preys on individuals’ worst nightmares.
While preying on its victims for days, it then kills its victims in the most brutal way possible by snapping their bones and gouging their eyes out. Vecna with no nose, claws for hands, and a house in the dark realm of Hawkins set the season in full horror mode from its first appearance. Can the gang figure out how to defeat Vecna?
The gang is back together, but all is not well between Mike and Eleven. Their long-distance relationship has proven challenging. Eleven has been bullied at school, and you get a real sense she longs for her powers to deal with the chief bully Angela.
However, Eleven seeks revenge on Angela, which leads to a lot of blood and tears! Eleven has to confront a lot of past trauma in these first seven episodes, involving memories of papa and her mother.
Dustin and Steve are a brilliant double act in season four, their friendship has developed over previous seasons, and it’s clear they both have a soft spot for each other. Their quarrels offer a much-needed comedic distraction, especially when the gang appears in a dire situation, which seems to be quite often!
While Vecna wreaks havoc on the residents of Hawkins, the powers that be realize they need Eleven and her powers to save the planet! Eleven is taken away for testing to help her rekindle her telekinetic strengths. Her time in the facility is fascinating as she faces up to past trauma, which brings her closer to Vecna than she could ever have imagined!
Eddie Munson, the head of Hellfire Club, is a brilliant addition to the gang. He soon strikes up on-screen chemistry with Dustin! He plays the school outcast brilliantly, not interested in fitting in, but is happy with his circle in Hellfire club.
There’s a scene involving Max trying to escape from the claws of Vecna. It’s a brilliantly tense scene as she runs for her life, with Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill“ as the music choice, which is honestly a genius moment and one of the best moments from any Stranger Things season!
Hopper, Joyce, and Murray
Unless you’ve been living on a deserted island, you will know Hopper survived season three’s explosion. A mysterious package arrives from Russia at the Byer’s home in California. The parcel indicates Hopper is being held captive in Russia! Joyce recruits Murray, and they fly to Russia to help Hopper escape.
They run into some turbulence along the way, thanks to an oddball called Yuri. The Russian prison where Hopper is is a terrible place. The guards are bullies. Hopper begins to lose hope. But, Joyce and Murray soon arrive and trick their way into the prison. However, can they save Hopper?
What’s To Come?
Stranger Things season 4, volume 1 is a bold project by the Duffer Brothers, but their ambitious project pays off brilliantly. Each episode is like a feature film. Reports suggest that the final two episodes out on July 1 will total 4 hours. The end to volume one is brilliant! It’s a testament to the superb cast and the fantastic job done by the Duffer Brothers. Will Hopper, Joyce, and Murray escape the Russians? Will all the gang reunite to takedown Vecna? The wait for the final two episodes of season four has begun! Bring it on!
Check out our review of the Better Call Saul mid-season finale.
Featured Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images