The long-awaited second half of Stranger Things’s fourth season aired on July 1, 2022 (two days before my birthday!). Yes, I realize this review is late as all hell. And yes, I realize that I’m usually late with these reviews (I have some other “late as hell” reviews I need to post here), but for some reason, I had some trouble writing this particular one. The writer’s block has been real this year. However, I wrote a review for the first half of season four, so it only makes sense to write a review for the second half, despite watching it over a month ago. Let’s do this.
****WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SEASON FOUR, PART TWO OF STRANGER THINGS. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SECOND HALF OF THE FOURTH SEASON YET (BUT YOU PROBABLY HAVE BY THIS POINT), PLEASE REFRAIN FROM READING THE REST OF THIS POST AND GET YOUR BUTT OUT AND WATCH IT! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.****
Part two picks up right where we left off: Mike’s crew search for Eleven, Joyce and her crew try to free Hopper, and Max’s crew scrambles to free her from Vecna’s curse and kill the demon in the process. Mike’s and Joyce’s respective teams soon learn that there’s no way to get to Hawkins in time to fight Vecna head on, so they have to devise a plan from their current locations. Once Hopper is freed, he breaks back into prison to fight the demogorgons and demo-dogs to weaken Vecna’s hive mind, and Eleven taps into Max’s mind via her sensory deprivation chamber to take on Vecna. In the meantime, Steve, Nancy, and Robin decide to physically kill Vecna in the Upside Down, while Dustin and Eddie distract Vecna’s killer bats and Max baits Vecna into coming after her again (since Vecna has to “sleep” to enter the minds of his victims, Max baits him so Steve and the others can kill him while he’s not physically active). As all this is going on, Jason Carver and his varsity cronies are becoming more and more unhinged, hunting for the Hellfire club, and threatening to ruin our protagonists’ plans to save Max and Hawkins.
Although Jason ultimately fails and our heroes manage to overtake Vecna, the main villain still wins and literally unleashes the pits of hell in Hawkins.
I enjoyed part two of season four just as must as part one. The episodes were the length of feature films, but I didn’t even notice the runtime (both episodes totaled 3 hrs. and 55 min.). I was glued to the screen and refused to move for two days.
I’ll start on Vecna’s ugly ass first. This go around, it seemed like Vecna was less of an epitome of anxiety and depression and more of a vessel of pure evil. We learn that he’s the one that unleashed the demogorgons and The Mind Flayer in Hawkins with the sole intention of opening up a portal to destroy the town. Lord…
Not only does he manage to carry out his plan to open his portal and eventually turn Hawkins into another version of the Upside Down, but he also gets ahold of Max. Thankfully, he doesn’t end up killing her…but he comes damn close. El stops him before he can finish the job, but that fool caused enough damage by the time El is able to overpower him. Max ends up paralyzed, blind, and although her heart stopped, El is able to bring her back. Sadly, the season ends with Max in a coma, completely unresponsive. That pissed me off, because Max is my girl. I’m hoping she can come out of her coma as her old self in the next season.
Onto Ms. Eleven. She gets her powers back (yay!), but “Papa’s” messy ass hasn’t changed a bit and tries to keep her in the facility for his own selfish reasons (boo!).
His dastardly deeds don’t do him much good, though. Mike’s crew ends up finding her—as does the military—and before El takes the military guys out, they manage to gun Dr. Brenner down, killing him for real (or at least, I figure they killed him for real). In all honesty, I felt no ways.
Let’s talk for a moment about El’s real dad, Hopper (I realize that he’s not her biological father, but he’s the only man that was a real father in her life, aside from Dr. Owens and Benny, the poor hamburger guy from the first season). He was doing the damn thing over there in Mother Russia! Not only does he break out of a highly secure maximum prison out there, but he breaks back in and kicks some serious demogorgon ass! On top of that, I loved his reunion with El at the end of the episode. It was so sweet.
By the way, how ’bout Hopper trading in his dad bod for his new buff bod? Dude is cut now, and I’m lovin’ it! ❤️❤️
Hopper didn’t just get a new body this season…he got his woman, too. Joyce and Hopper reunite and during the brief moment of alone time they have together, they share a cute moment discussing their future date, followed by a super sexy kiss. I just hope they make it through this ordeal and wind up together for good.
Everyone’s love life wasn’t as fiery and full of passion, however. Jonathan and Nancy finally reunited as well, but the tension between them is palpable. Jonathan even asks Nancy if they’re okay, and she answers yes, but we all know that’s a boldfaced lie. Plus, Jonathan still didn’t fess up to Nancy that he wants to attend a different college than her. We can’t maintain a relationship based on lies, children! I HATE that they destroyed Jonathan’s character just to possibly bring Nancy and Steve back together. I can’t stress this enough: I love Steve (and they better not kill him off the next season!), but that doesn’t mean I want him and Nancy to get back together again. Unfortunately, it’s starting to look more and more like the writers are going that route, because not only does Nancy take up for Steve when Jonathan hints that he’s too immature to be in charge (little did he realize Steve killed it), but Steve admits to Nancy that he always imagined himself having a family with her. One more time for the folks in the back…let Steve find love with a different girl and allow Nancy and Jonathan to be happy together.
Jonthan isn’t the only Byers family member wrestling with his feelings. The second half of season four confirms what most of us already knew…Will is definitely gay and he has a crush on Mike. I know, in the previous post I brought up the possibility of Will being a late bloomer, but in all fairness, I never ruled out Will being gay. In case there’s anyone else out there that still thinks it’s likely that Will just might be awkward around the opposite sex like I was in high school, Noah Schnapp (the actor who plays Will) let the cat out of the bag during an interview with Variety. While trying to find El, Will all but admits it to Mike, and unbeknownst to him, Jonathan. Mike doesn’t catch on, but Jonathan knows his little brother. Unfortunately for Will though, Mike is madly in love with El and later gathers the courage to profess his true feelings for her. We also learn that Will’s painting is one of Mike, Dustin, and Lucas fighting a three-headed dragon, with Mike leading the charge (Will uses this opportunity to let Mike know he’s not only the leader of the group, but he’s the heart as well).
I was happy to see Jonathan reach out to Will and let him know that he’d be there for him, and he’d always be his big brother. That scene really warmed my heart, especially given that Will is a gay young man living in a time period where an alternative lifestyle was frowned upon and extremely dangerous to have (keep in mind that the current year is 1986; Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in 1998). This just proves that Jonathan is so much more than a smoked out slacker.
Now onto the new characters, the great ones as well as the wack ones. Let’s start with the wack character first…Jason doggone Carver. Remember when I mentioned that I didn’t exactly dislike Jason in my last Stranger Things post? Yeah…that changed during the second part of the season.
I REALLY hated that one of Jason’s minions put hands on Erica—an 11-year-old child—and after Jason nearly kills Lucas (and subsequently, Max), I was too through.
In all honesty, when Vecna’s portal opened up and split Jason’s ass in half, I felt no ways, and apparently, neither did a few other fans.
However, there’s fans of the show that take up for this fool, believe it or not. On YouTube, there’s a video compiled of Jason’s scenes that has a TON of sympathetic folks in the comments section. I get Jason wants justice for his girlfriend and best friend, but he’s so far gone he nearly murders a 14 yr. old kid that had nothing to do with what happened. In hindsight, Chrissy probably didn’t come to Jason about her problems because Jason only chose to saw her as the beautiful, perfect, squeaky-clean cheerleader that was perfectly paired with the handsome captain of the basketball team. In other words, Jason loved the idea of Chrissy, but he didn’t really love Chrissy. She knew he couldn’t handle her flaws. On the flip side, Eddie liked Chrissy for who she was, and was more than willing to help her through her rough patch. I don’t see Jason doing that. Good riddance.
That brings me to the two new characters I absolutely loved: Eddie and Argyle. I’ll start with Argyle first, because I feel like Eddie may have taken just a tad bit of Argyle’s shine, and as a result, the pizza makin’ stoner doesn’t get the flowers he deserves. Argyle was the comic relief we desperately needed this season, and he never failed to have me on my side laughing. But let’s not forget, Argyle is also the one with the brilliant idea to utilize a kitchen in a Surfer Boy pizza restaurant to set up Eleven’s sensory deprivation chamber.
I can’t front, though. It’s obvious why Eddie took all the shine away from Argyle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Argyle, but Eddie is the man! When I was first introduced to him, I wasn’t sure I’d like him, but as the series went on, I loved him. I loved him even more once the second part of season four ended. He has so many memorable scenes, from taking his neighbors’ RV to that killer guitar solo he plays to draw Vecna’s carnivorous bats toward him.
And of course, there’s the scene where Eddie sacrifices himself to save Dustin, as well as the town. I was really hoping that Eddie would’ve survived the ordeal like Steve did, but unfortunately, those damn demon bats get the best of him.
A lot of folks said that if Eddie’s death scene didn’t make you cry, you weren’t human. I have to say, as sad as Eddie’s final scene was, it didn’t make me as misty eyed as the scene where Eddie and Dustin are play fighting before they take Vecna on. For some reason, when Eddie tells Dustin, “Don’t ever change, Dustin Henderson. Promise me?” I tear up.
Dustin was right about one thing. If the people of Hawkins really got to know who Eddie was, instead of just blindly believing Jason’s half-cocked conclusions, they would’ve really liked him. He ends up dying for a community that despised him. I really wish he and Chrissy could’ve lived on to graduate. ’86 would’ve been his year.
Aside from the Jonathan/Nancy/Steve bullshit, losing Eddie, and nearly losing Max, my only other miniscule gripe with the second half of season four is the fact that there was a second half to begin with. This season really didn’t have to be split. From a marketing standpoint, I get it. According to various news sources, Netflix is losing subscribers, and they’ve even had to lay off several employees. Splitting the season of the streaming service’s most popular series makes good business sense because it brings viewers back, and it keeps the subscribers paying their hard-earned money for another month. Plus, the split gave the audience an extra added bonus of binge watching the episodes during the Fourth of July weekend aka my birthday weekend. However, from a viewer’s standpoint, it’s a bit excessive, especially given the second half only had two episodes. True, the final episodes had the same runtime as your average sci-fi film, but it was still just two installments. The fourth season could’ve been aired in its entirety with the last two episodes serving as a kickass finale. However, as I said earlier, I understand the reasoning from a business perspective. Plus, watching the wrap-up to season four was a wonderful early birthday present, as well as a great way to kick off my birthday/summer vacay.
Y’all, this last season as a whole was boss, and I can’t wait to see season five! Will Max wake up again? Will Hawkins become the next Upside Down? Will Nancy choose Jonathan, Steve, or herself? Is Will going to be open about his sexuality as well as his feelings for Mike? Is the town still against The Hellfire Club? Will Eleven be able to stop Vecna once and for all? And where is Vecna’s ugly ass? We’ll all just have to wait and see.
—Written by Nadiya
Did you like Stranger Things’s second half of season four (say that five times fast)? Do you believe the season had to be split into two parts? Do you want Jonathan and Nancy together, or do you prefer Nancy and Steve? Do you think Eleven can beat Vecna once and for all? Do you think Max will ever awaken from her coma? Did you like Argyle? Were you an Eddie fan? Did you have any sympathy for Jason, or did you see him as an annoying douchbag? Do you think Will will come clean about his feelings for Mike? Are you lovin’ Hopper’s new bod? Let me know in the comments section!