May 2022 has finally arrived, and with it, a new season of Stranger Things! Aptly titled “Stranger Things 4”, we pick up right where things left off last season.

It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, the kids are separated for the first time and adjusting to high school hasn’t been easy. While attempting to navigate their new surroundings, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces to wreak havoc in Hawkins. But if the kids can discover where this threat came from and why, they might be able to destroy the Upside Down for good.

STRANGER THINGS. Vecna Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

First impression of the new season? It’s dark… Really dark. The kids have definitely grown up and it seems like the horror, suspense, and blood adjusted as much. There’s still a bit of that ’80s nostalgia that everyone fell in love with but it’s overshadowed by “It”-level terror. The series is still rated TV-14, but for this season, take that rating with a grain of salt.

From here, I’ll do an overview of the series, discuss some new characters, and go over a few notes. You won’t have to worry about any types of spoilers here. Any character details will be strictly for introduction, not to ruin any plot points, surprises, etc.

Season 4 Details

The fourth season of the blockbuster series Stranger Things will be premiering on Netflix on May 27. The first seven episodes comprise “Volume One” and the last two episodes will be “Volume Two”. Unfortunately for you hardcore binge watchers, Volume Two won’t premiere until July 1.

Volume One holds seven mind-boggling episodes of excitement, laughs, and terror with each episode running no less than an hour. Like seasons past, the episodes are referred to as “Chapters”, and Chapter 7 has a runtime of 1hr and 38mins. If that wasn’t enough, the final two episodes coming in July will total almost four hours of runtime between them.

The Duffer Brothers confirm a fifth season

New Characters Have Entered The Chat

STRANGER THINGS. Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Alongside the new storylines and horror elements, there’s a whole host of new characters that fans will fall in love with.

With con season right around the corner, I have no doubt that conventions all over the globe will be inundated with Stranger Things cosplay (think Steve and Robin’s “Scoops Ahoy”). This season, fans will be introduced to the likes of Eddie, Argyle, and Jason.

As the kids split up and go into high school, some find their way easier than others. But people like Dustin stuck to their guns and went with what they knew: Dungeons & Dragons. A small group of D&D advocates at Hawkins High call themselves “The Hellfire Club”. The leader of said club? Eddie Munson. A contrarian to the max, Eddie relishes his social status and often mocks the “cool” kids.

STRANGER THINGS Eduardo Franco as Argyle in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Jonathan was always quiet and a bit socially awkward. After he moved across the country, he found friendship with a pizza delivery driver by the name of Argyle. With looks like a character straight out of Dazed and Confused, Argyle is a stoner with a heart of gold. With his long hair and beach jargon, he’s not afraid to tackle tough topics with Jonathan and offer high-quality (with emphasis on “high”) advice when needed.

Lastly, there’s Jason. Jason is the prototypical jock: captain of a sports team, wears a letterman jacket, and one of the more popular kids in school. Here, he’s the leader of the Hawkins High basketball team and has a reputation to deliver motivational speeches that may or may not be accurate in detail or appropriate. Quick to roll with assumptions over facts, when his girlfriend goes missing, he instinctively jumps into hero mode because that’s how he sees himself.

Things to Note

  1. This is how you start the summer. This is how a hit series should be taken in. Right on the cusp of summer, a blockbuster series with a cult following releases its most anticipated season yet, with each episode spanning over an hour. There’s not a dull moment this season and the writing team needs to be commended for how the narrative came full circle by Episode 407.
  2. One interesting thing to note is the rise and fall of Will. Once upon a time, Will was the focal point of the show and a main character. Since he peaked, he’s been a minor player and takes more of a backseat to the rest of the gang.
  3. It was refreshing to see more of Murray this season. Murray is a lighter character whose presence is more for comedic affect with bits of solid advice. His humor and quips are a welcomed distraction from the superfluous blood and mutliation.
  4. Joyce has come a long way from the niaive, small-town mom from the first season. You won’t see much from her compared to the others, but when you do, she’s very serious.
  5. We see a lot of growth from Robin this go-round. Finally coming into her own, our friendly chatterbox begins to open up about love interests, school, and making new friends.
  6. Stranger Things is a good example of balance. There are enough storylines and angles to keep things interesting but not so many that it’s hard to follow. Game of Thrones is a good example of how too many stories at once can overwhelm viewers and turn them away.
  7. I cannot stress this enough, but the ST team went really hard on the horror this season. If that’s your thing, then you’re in for a treat. If horror isn’t for you, you might find yourself struggling with a few episodes this season. But you can’t say I didn’t warn you!
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, and Joe Keery as Steve Harrington in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

I give Stranger Things 4 a 9 out of 10. The building of suspense from Episode 401 through 407 was fantastic. When you make it to the final episode of Volume One (episode seven), so many things will be connected that you might feel overwhelmed. A light bulb may come on. Lightning may strike. For me, it was an elongated jaw drop. It was one of those moments where I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The writing was absolutely brilliant.

Stranger Things 4 Volume One will debut on Netflix on Friday, May 27.

-Jon Jones

Photos: Courtesy of Netflix

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