stranger things 4 vol 2: initial thoughts

Welcome to my post, today I want to share my initial thoughts on volume 2 of Stranger Things season 4. Please go watch the season first if you haven’t watched it yet, there will be full spoilers ahead! And just a disclaimer, it’s only been a few days since I watched it so I do have a lot of emotions, but no hate towards any of the actors or writers!

First off, I loved volume 1 so much and without some issues with volume 2 which I’ll get into, it would have been my favourite season so far. Waiting for volume 2 is the first time I can remember being so excited for a show in a long time, which ultimately could have been it’s downfall as there was so much hype around it from everyone, it was impossible not to have extremely high expectations and scrutinise the season a bit more than if it all came out at once. But let’s highlight the good first then move onto some criticisms I and other viewers have!

cry count: ∞


As with the rest of season 4, the show has massively upped its game in terms of the incredible visuals. Volume 2 had amazing backdrops, lighting and special effects, both physical and virtual. Of course, Vecna looked horrifyingly good, perhaps even more so knowing the human he was before and his journey through the Upside Down. The scenes with him, Max and Eleven were thrilling – Stranger Things definitely know how to pull off big and memorable scenes. I thought it couldn’t get better than Max’s Kate Bush scene, but Eddie’s Metallica concert was everything to me, especially as it connected the 3 groups. And they always pick the music so well!

Now we’re on the subject, let’s talk about Eddie, the love of my life who I’m still mourning the death of (longer than any of the characters apparently). Joseph Quinn did an amazing job making the most loveable, fun and sympathetic character we’ve had – and we all know what happens to the new loveable characters. His arc and end was very predictable from the heavy foreshadowing, though I think it was done well, but I was still not prepared for his death. It was heart-breaking, both his actual death scene and Dustin talking to his uncle later (yes I did cry both times, didn’t you?). However, we didn’t see any other main character react to his death afterwards, which made it feel hollow and ultimately useless. Like, what was the point in him dying to be a hero and save the others if no one even acknowledged that he helped them or were upset by his death? That brings me onto the main criticism I have, which is this:

two days later…


My main gripe with the finale was this ending. Obviously it’s helpful to skip forward, see everyone reunite then set up the next season (which by the way, the upside down filtering into Hawkins?? I’m excited to see what happens). But it did feel a bit lazy and I wished we saw more from that day, like Steve, Nancy and Robin leaving the Upside Down, maybe pulling Dustin off Eddie and forcing him to leave him behind. But them not even acknowledging his death? Not even telling Mike what happened?! I also wanted to see Murray, Dmitri and Yuri at some point, even just getting out and saying their goodbyes to Joyce and Hopper, because they were a big part of the season too. Without any kind of struggle or closure, the ending felt underwhelming and too easily resolved or forgotten. There wasn’t the same despair and hopelessness that follows from losing, and instead of focusing on the possibilities of the next season, I and other viewers got stuck on the rushed ending. It would have been more effective to split the last episode up and given just a little more time to make it feel more finished.

I would say the same about Max’s ‘death’ too, although I really think it depends on her role next season. Lucas’ reaction was devastating – Caleb was amazing in that scene, and her surviving could taken away from that. However, if they do something interesting with her in season 5 I’m totally fine with that. The writers clearly don’t want to kill of their main characters though and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But they promised a bloodbath and 5 deaths and that’s not what we got (technically 5 did die but not main characters). When you’re raising the stakes this much, it does make sense for more deaths, instead of sacrificing the new characters every single time. This brings me to another key part of the show and the last thing I want to talk about: the ships and their circular nature.



I’m not opposed to any ship as long as they’re appropriate (unlike Billy and Karen because ew), and I think if it was portrayed well I would be happy with any romance between the characters. Saying that, the romance did annoy me this season – apart from Lumax, they were everything and now my favourites. Stancy felt very forced and Steve’s fantasy about them having 6 kids and an RV made me feel kind of gross. I’m over this love triangle with Steve and Jonathan, either address it or stop both please, I’m tired of the lack of communication and drawn out romance, and at this point I’m not sure if season 5 can redeem itself. Can Nancy ever exist without a storyline revolving them? Her growing friendship with Robin was refreshing though and I would love to see more of that. Mileven was also a little weird this season. Mike’s speech to her in the salt bath was very cute but I wish Will’s sexuality wasn’t used to secure their relationship (I’m planning to write a separate post about the treatment of queer characters so look out for that if you’re interested!). It feels like the writers just aren’t letting the characters have space to grow, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next season, which by the way is scheduled for 2024. I don’t think I can handle the wait!

Okay, rant over. I’m glad I got it all off my chest even if it was a little rambly. Hopefully I didn’t come off as too negative because I still loved the season overall and Stranger Things has my heart. Thank you if you read this far and I’d love to hear your thoughts too!


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