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'Stranger Things' S4 Vol 1 Review: Things Are Getting Murkier & Stranger Still
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'Stranger Things' S4 Vol 1 Review: Things Are Getting Murkier & Stranger Still

The cast is impeccable as always in the fourth season of 'Stranger Things'.

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Stranger Things Season 4

'Stranger Things' S4 Vol 1 Review: Things Are Getting Murkier & Stranger Still

Six years back, Matt and Ross Duffer whipped up a show, steeped in pop-culture references, that would end up becoming a phenomenon. Netflix's Stranger Things is much more than just another sci-fi horror show. The brilliantly-crafted alternate dimension, "the alternate dimension", reflects the bleakness of life - grief, pain, loneliness.

A still from Stranger Things season 4 volume 1.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Now six years later, the curtains are about to fall. On Friday, Netflix dropped seven episodes of the fourth season, which marks volume one. On 1 July, the last two episodes will be released, and one of our favourite shows will conclude with the fifth season.

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Season 4 picks up six months after the Starcourt Mall battle. The setting is 1986, and the season splits the characters who formed a community to fight the evil that engulfed Hawkins. Some of them, including Millie Bobbie Brown's Eleven, are sent off to California to rebuild their lives.

Back in Hawkins, Indiana, the town that sits over the Upside Down — the "home" of other-dimensional monsters - the remaining characters begin to detect the emergence of the latest creature. The creature's victims are teenagers, who die gruesome deaths once it attacks them.

A still from Stranger Things season 4 volume 1.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Things become even more complicated when a rescue mission is set up for Jim Hopper (David Harbour), the former police chief and Eleven’s adoptive father, who miraculously managed to survived Season 3’s cataclysmic finale.

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Season 4's win is that the makers have understood that their audience has grown up and so are the kids. That's why it doesn't shy away from venturing into darker and bloodier territories. The trauma that the kids, now adults, have faced season after season reflects in every episode. Nobody is the same.

Everyone has gone through loss and each Hawkins resident has built their walls so high that it's almost impossible to penetrate and offer some comfort.

The language of the horror here has also evolved - it's not on your face, rather it resides in the mind and tightens its grip in the most vulnerable moments. The psychological nature of the terror is even more frightening. Just when the tired community sees some light at the end of the tunnel comes another blow that sends them back a hundred steps.

A still from Stranger Things season 4 volume 1.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The Duffer Brothers are acutely aware of what the first season means for fans, so they have meticulously weaved in incidents from the previous season. One of the first season's most ingenious ideas, in which a 12-year-old trapped in the alternate dimension uses his family's Christmas lights to communicate, has been brought back. Secondly, a plotline set in the past is also integral to the latest season's happenings, taking us back on a nostalgic ride.

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The cast is impeccable, as usual. There are moments when they leave us in splits, and then there are moments when their fondness for each other tugs at your heartstrings.

It’s particularly heartbreaking to see Max and Eleven struggle to deal with their demons. Millie Brown is again the focus this season, and we learn new things about her past. Some new characters are introduced, but the best thing is seeing Robin (Maya Hawke) get a lot more screen time. She is this strong, super talkative woman who wins us with her clumsiness and outspokenness.

Each episode of Season 4 feels like a mini film. That’s not great, if you ask me as it feels too stretched at times. However, the Duffers make things bearable with the dialogues, characters and the story. It’s not everyday that you come across a show that has managed to strike a chord with viewers across the globe. The kids have made us us laugh, cry as well as shriek.

“We are the nerds and freaks”, Dustin says at the beginning of the show. You are right, Dustin. You have embraced all the ‘freaks’ out there, and that’s the beauty we will be cherishing forever.

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