Running Up That Hill with Stranger Things Season 4

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, and Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, and Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

After a long and tedious wait, Stranger Things season 4 is out and we are talking about what happened in Hawkins and our thoughts on the season itself.

It has been literally years since Stranger Things season 3 ended. The gang was separated, El’s powers were gone and the fate of our favorite dad bod, Hopper, was in the air. We knew he was alive by the teasers but that was about it. With El, Jon, Joyce and Will away from Hawkins, what will the newest season bring? Warning SPOILERS ARE AHEAD for Stranger Things season 4. I will not discuss the last two episodes but I will be talking spoilers on episodes one through five. If you do not want spoilers, DO NOT READ.

This is your last chance to back out. Hit the killswitch while you still can. 

Okay, for those of you that have stuck around, let’s dig into what we’re looking at going on in Hawkins this go around during Stranger Things season 4. It hasn’t even been a year since Billy died, the gang defeated the Mind Flayer and Dr. Owens whisked El and her family to a secret location in California. El and Mike write to each other all the time, and Mike is coming to visit for Spring Break. Back in Hawkins, Dustin and Mike are in the Hellfire Club, a DnD group led by senior Eddie. Lucas has been shirking his Hellfire Club duties in favor of the basketball team. After Billy’s death, Max has become withdrawn and she and Lucas have broken up. Everything in Hawkins seems normal…except for head cheerleader Chrissy, who begins to see horrific things and a ticking clock.

Chrissy asks Eddie for some drugs to help her cope with some of the things going on and while in his trailer, Chrissy decides to float around, have all her bones broken and her eyes sucked out. Poor Eddie is framed for her death by another baddie from the Upside Down called Vecna and Vecna has his eyes on Max. Nancy works for the local paper and with the help of Steve, his BFF Robin and what’s left of the gang in Hawkins, they try and figure out what’s going on. Lest we not forget, there is also a witch hunt going on in the town, led by Chrissy’s boyfriend and some jock goons to hunt down Eddie and the Hellfire Club, which they blame for her death.

MEANWHILE, the government finds out some freaky deaky stuff is going down in the most cursed town in America and they think it’s Eleven’s fault, even though she has no powers anymore and she’s away in California getting bullied by some blonde who wears a bandana (don’t worry, she gets a roller skate to the face). Dr. Owens gets the tip off and rushes to get El because he knows a way to get her powers back. She is taken to a secret location, leaving Mike, Jon and Jon’s new hilarious pothead friend Argyle wondering where she is. The secret place she is taken to is run by…dun dun dun….Papa, and they are going to dig into her painful memories to bring her powers back.

MEANWHILE, Hopper is in a Russian prison. He’s alive and gorgeous as ever with a plan to get out. He bribes a guard, who bribes his buddy, who sends a box with ransom information to Joyce, which she shares with Murray. At the worst possible moment, she and Murray head to Alaska to pay the ransom and get Hop back. Unfortunately, the middle man likes money more than honor and betrays all of them. Hop and the guard are arrested and taken to a facility where they send prisoners to be Demogorgon play toys, and Joyce and Murray are being flown to Russia to give to the KGB. HOLY CRAP. And that’s not even the last two episodes and I left out a LOT.

Netflix Stranger Things season 4
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Eduardo Franco as Argyle, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan, Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, and Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 /

At first I was worried about  the vibe of Stranger Things season 4. The whole point of the show has been this group of underdogs coming together to defeat the monsters. With them separated into three groups, the whole dynamic is thrown off. That fear only lasted one episode. While the old dynamic isn’t the same, the addition of Eddie to the Hawkins group, Argyle to the California group and Murray to the Russian rescue mission group makes it all feel GOOD. And Vecna is one scary villain to deal with. Stranger Things season 4 feels a lot more horror-centric than previous seasons and I think that has to do with Vecna and his torture-kill process.

There’s this moment where Max is dealing with Vecna and her favorite song is playing and the song swells and the action is intense and it’s just perfect. If you have never been a fan of Kate Bush, you probably will be after this season ends. Running Up That Hill will be the soundtrack of the season, much like Neverending Story was for season three.

Something that struck a chord in this season is the behavior of Chrissy’s boyfriend and the frenzy he whips the town into. Satanic Panic is in full swing and everyone thinks that Dungeons and Dragons is the gateway to the devil. The herd mentality that people just fall into seems so reminiscent of the attitudes of certain people today, blindly falling into fear without taking logic into account.

Episode seven of Stranger Things season 4 is being compared to a summer blockbuster and I can see why, although we won’t be discussing it, because it’s something viewers need to experience on their own. Everything I talked about in the synopsis doesn’t even chip away at everything that has been crammed into seven episodes and it’s done really, really well. If you find yourself slightly bored in the first episode, fear not. Once the ball starts rolling down the hill, it doesn’t stop until the end and just keeps on going. Season five will be the end of the series officially and I am so excited to see what happens.

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What did you think of Stranger Things season 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!