"Hawkins will fall"- Four seasons and multiple episodes later, the world of Stranger Things is still grappling with the same threat. The first volume of the fourth season ended with a cliffhanger, and the second volume provides answers to most of our questions. The scale is much bigger, the storyline impressive at times, but we still wait with bated breath to see the results because we have grown up with these characters.
Each Character in ‘Stranger Things’ Contributes to the Climax
Multiple narratives come together in the final two episodes, each of which are the length of a movie. The storylines are ultimately married for the one big fight. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is set free, but not before she has paid a price. Jim Hopper's (David Harbour) freedom also comes at a cost. All the characters don't unite to take down the enemy, but the makers ensure that they are collectively fighting the same battle. There's a manic energy in the final episodes, and every character has been given a purpose.
Watching the noisy, chaotic climax might make one wonder as to why all the characters had to be involved when the tussle could easily have been between Eleven and Vecna, but Stranger Things always has a bigger purpose.
This isn't a simple battle of powers. It's much more than that. It's about confronting and accepting the demons within us, before trying to conquer them. And as we inch towards the end of the show, we realise all over again why we still hold on to Stranger Things - it's because the series is peppered with pop culture references that are too close to our hearts.
El Is No More the Only Hero
There's always a hero in a story like this, but the finale's greatest strength lies in the fact that it doesn't make Eleven the hero by putting her on a pedestal. There are multiple stars now. Steve (Joe Keery) has evolved from being the poster boy of toxic masculinity to accepting his flaws. He knows Nancy has moved on and is also aware that his feelings for her haven't changed, but he doesn't chase her down. Instead, he becomes the friend to Nancy and Robin (Maya Hawke) that we have always yearned to see.
Eddie, the 'misfit' in high school who is addicted to Dungeons and Dragons and who everyone hates, gets a memorable clap. Robin, too, has a great arc. She isn't there just for laughs. Robin starts out as the annoying but misunderstood Hawkins teenager, who ultimately finds love, compassion and trust in the most dire circumstances.
Old Methods With a Whole New Level of Madness
After a pathbreaking first season, Stranger Things struggled to hold on to the convoluted narrative. The larger plot-line was the same-- in the sleepy, shady town of Hawkins, the characters grew older, but they had to fight the same battle over and again.
The beasts might be different, but there was always a hackneyed method to the madness. But what has always appealed to us is the characters - their quirks, their wild theories, their eccentricities, their unflinching love for their near and dear ones and their steely will.
We so wish the Duffer Brothers gave us more of Will and Dustin in Season 4. Their stories are miserably sketched. What's even more jarring is that, not for once, is Will's sexuality openly celebrated.
Despite the shortcomings, we return as loyal fans to binge-watch the show because we root for Hawkins every time it stands up after being battered and bruised. Wrapped up in scale and spectacle, Stranger Things becomes the perfect penultimate season for the grand finale. Only the Duffer Brothers could have staged a full-blown rock concert in the Upside Down. We won't have it any other way.