Part 2 of Stranger Things 4 has reached the top on Netflix and it does not disappoint
he last part of Stranger Things 4 has finally dropped on Netflix. When it was revealed that the final part would only feature two episodes, one assumed that it would be a quick, rushed watch. The final product is anything but. Together, the two episodes span over a course of four hours with tons of exposition, drama in the Upside Down and character arcs. The second part continues to be ambitious with its storyline and characters, resulting in a pretty decent payoff.
The recent seasons of Stranger Things have had a branching narrative, with groups of characters embroiled in storylines that end up culminating into one single event. Season 4 has followed the same pattern, and Part 2 does a great job of setting up the finale while also laying the groundwork for a future season (which may be the last according to the directors). The first seven episodes ricocheted between California, Russia and Hawkins. Part 2 is no different as the respective groups in these three locations do their part to push back Vecna, the big bad, this time round. While Will, Mike, Jonathan and Argyle attempt to look for Eleven in a quintessentially ’80s pizza van amidst an onslaught of trained assassins, Max, Dustin,Steve, Robin, Eddie and Lucas are in Hawkins trying to draft up a plan to take down Vecna from inside the alternate universe. Joyce, Murray try to eliminate what is left of the dark matter inside the prison to give the kids a leg up.
Even though the story is fast paced with lots of action (especially when Eleven is involved), the second part manages to sneak in tender moments between the characters almost seamlessly, never deviating from the stakes at hand. Amongst Jonathan and Will sharing a brotherly moment in a pizza joint, Max and Lucas opening up to each other, Robin being heartbroken while buying guns and the respect that Nancy and Steve have developed for each other; Stranger Things does genre-bending things when it comes to character development. It manages to subvert preconceived notions about what a sci-fi series should look like and how the characters should act with the looming stakes, as well as the characters’ emotional investment in one another.
It manages to subvert preconceived notions about what a sci-fi series should look like and how the characters should act with the looming stakes, as well as the characters’ emotional investment in one another.
While Eleven is the only one with super powers out of the main gang, the other characters do not feel like glorified sidekicks. Everyone has their own part to play and they are all equally ready to dive headfirst into danger any time one of them is threatened. Although Dustin and Eddie were meant to be the red herring while Nancy, Steve and Robin sneak into Vecna’s lair to kill him, they ended up going above and beyond what was expected of them. Despite being in a horde of gigantic, mutated bats, neither one stepped down or left the other behind. Joyce, Hopper and Murray sneak back into a high security Russian prison that they took great pains to escape, just so they can eliminate the dark matter inside in order to give the kids a better fighting chance.
And then there’s Eleven and her character arc. She seems to be at her most powerful despite Papa telling her she isn’t ready to face Vecna. As soon as she realises that her friends are in danger, she throws caution to the wind and tries to help them. While her power seems almost unrivalled (considering the fact that she can toss a military helicopter with her mind like it weighs nothing), she still remains humanised and shows great attachment to her friends and her adoptive parents. Her evolution over several seasons has also been interesting to watch. It is obvious that she still does not know how much she is really capable of.
Sadie Sink’s portrayal of Max is a standout performance in Season 4. She brings an incredible amount of nuance, emotional depth and believability to Max’s character. She conveys Max’s trauma, the guilt that weighs heavy as she watched her brother die and did nothing, and her dissociation from reality, extremely well.
In traditional Stranger Things fashion, the season ends on a quasi-cliffhanger. While viewers have all the information they could need about the characters and storyline, the exposition now lies in how the gang and the town of Hawkins will recover from the final events of the series.
Stranger Things Season 4 Part 2 is the series at its most tense, tender and toiled. The whole season was a big gamble, hoping to pay off on its previous success, especially during a time when Netflix’s popularity is waning. But based on the storyline thus far, they gambled just right and knew what they had on their hands, especially when it comes to all of the actors’ commitment to their roles. After racking up over 1 billion hours watched worldwide, Stranger Things 4 is highly recommended to anyone looking for multi-dimensional characters, larger than life storyline and insane special effects.
The author is a staff member.