strange things 4had a lot to offer in the first seven episodes, but the last two were a huge disappointment.
In my review of the massive Stranger Things 4 Volume 2, four hours long,I laid out a lot of what I found dissatisfying, frustrating, and just plain bad about Volume 2.
One thing I didn't focus on enough was how clean and organized the final clash with Vecna was despite the poor pace and low results.
Yes, not everyone made it out alive - Eddie's death will go down in history as one of the biggest mistakes the Duffer Brothers ever made in this series, and Max isn't doing very well - but overall it was still pretty low risk. Along with Eddie, Brenner and Jason died. The latter had become little more than a cartoon villain by the end, and we all knew Brenner was toast.
Anyway, the ending was both a total mess and very neat and tidy, which I know sounds like a contradiction in terms. Honestly, it all boils down to bad writing, as these things often do.
let me explain.
Basically, we have three different groups throughout the season.
Group 1consists of the Hawkins crew - Dustin, Lucas, Max, Nancy, Steve, Robin and Eddie - who slowly unravel the mystery of Vecna, culminating in Nancy discovering that Vecna was actually Harry Creel, son of Victor Creel. Nancy and this group also discover that Harry has been kidnapped by Brenner and turned into Vecna - that he has basically the same powers as Eleven.
MORE OFFORBES CONSULTANT
Group #2it's the California crew - Eleven, Will, Mike, Jonathan and Argyle - who are nearly killed by government officials before Eleven is captured by Dr. Owens is kidnapped, who tells her that Hawkins is in danger and that he has a way to restore her powers. Eleven is separated from the group for some time, where she learns about One and how she essentially threw him into the Upside Down. She regains her powers and is rescued by the boys.
Group No. 3it's the Russian team - Joyce, Hopper, Murray, Enzo and Yuri - who are part of Hopper's rescue and the Russian prison disaster.
None of these groups haveanyContact someone from the other groups after the first or second episode. Mike is in Hawkins with his friends, but when he goes to California for spring break, he loses all contact with them. Joyce and Murray start with Group No. 2 but quickly become Group No. 3 when they leave for Alaska. No further contact will be made between these three groups until the final end of the final.
The only exception to this is Eleven spying on her friends in Hawkins through a vision as they make plans to confront Vecna. She doesn't understand the whole conversation, but probably enough to point out the whole Vecna thing to her (before this she wouldn't have realized that Um had become Vecna or that she was terrorizing her friends and killing people in Hawkins). She wants to leave immediately and Owens is willing to let her, but Brenner betrays the two and stops them from leaving, trapping Owens in the process.
This is where the useful plotting devices start to fall down. Elf is prevented from leaving and restrained with an energy stop collar. Then the army appears and Colonel Sullivan's troops invade Brenner's secret base. This is useful because it allows Eleven to escape just in time. Just as she manages to escape - somehow so hard that the collar can't even stop her from taking down an army helicopter - Mike and the boys show up and save her. Conveniently, the army is unable to track down a lone pizza truck in the desert.
I have to assume at this point that Eleven is letting the boys know about Vecna off-screen because later on, when she's in the pizzeria's handy dough freezer (good thing it wasn't a freezer!), Will says, "Your Vecna fight!" though Will had never heard of Vecna or One or anything like that. They manage to get El into the sensory corruption bath just in time, and she is able to help Max, although - as I discussed in my review - she is incredibly unable to hold her own against him after his initial onslaught and needs a boost. she mentions Mike before she starts fighting, giving Vecna enough time to "kill" Max.
We'll file that last part as "confusing" because it makes absolutely no sense for Eleven to get her powers back, get all that motivation to save her friends, like a boss showing up tossing Vecna like a ragdoll - and then it just freezes until your boyfriend gives you the courage to keep fighting the villain through the Power Of Love™.
This all seems like an excuse to slow Eleven down enough for Vecna to defeat Max (and give him time to monologize more - though the entire episode 9 rant with Nancy could have taken place in episode 7, which is where it is at made a lot more sense. ).
In Group 3, however, things get pretty silly.
In Russia, Yuri is hesitant about repairs to his helicopter. Hopper manages to contact the woman associated with Dr. Owens is working with her, and she conveniently fills him in on what's going on, but only in very vague terms. Eleven and Owens are off the grid. There is an "evil" in Hawkins that they want to fight. Joyce has seen "Particles" from the Upside Down in the Russian prison, which she thinks means there's a gate open in Hawkins, and even better, they don't even have to go back to Hawkins to help, they can just destroy the particles. again in prison, and it will hurt the "hive mind" enough to help the kids. Alive!
This is, I must say, totally unlike Joyce, a person who will stop at nothing to get to them as quickly as possible when their children are in danger.no matter what. The sequence that follows, where they return to the prison with guns, a flamethrower and Conan's sword, is one of the most ridiculous in the entire series. The action is fun. Murray with a flamethrower and Hopper with a barbarian sword are fun.
The problem is that it doesn't make any sense. You have no idea what's going on in Hawkins. You have no idea if Eleven got her powers back. Little do they know that fighting a Demogorgon in Russia, Jack diddd will crouch down to help the kids or even if the kids are alive. They don't know this and haven't had contact with the kids for days, but everyone agrees it's a good plan.because of. And then Enzo manages to convince Yuri that her cause is a just one, and he shows up in a helicopter to take her back to America. They all survive without a scratch, but the monsters manage to kill everyone else in the base.
That's some pretty good plot armor that you're wearing.
And hey, it happens inat exactly the same momentthat all attack Vecna. How convenient!
Other Clean and Tidy Things:
- The vines strangling Nancy, Steve and Robin for about 40 minutes somehow doesn't kill them.
- Able to beat up a grown man who is also an athlete, Erica pins Erica to the ground.
- Apparently, Eddie drives in circles instead of straight, making it super easy for a lame Dustin to catch up with him before he dies.
- Elf gains the ability to bring someone back from the dead.at the nas estrelas warbecause constantly adding powers at the most opportune times makes for great storytelling.
- Everyone forgets Eddie existed except Dustin and I think he turns his body upside down. Jason is also killed, so literally nothing needs to be resolved between them, Eddie will never clear his name, and Jason has no chance of redemption.
Other confusing things:
- Hopper and Joyce show up in Hawkins, and while it's a really touching moment when Eleven sees Hopper, it also feels weirdly disappointing. I'm still intrigued. It felt like a much less impactful meeting than I'd expected.
- Also, why didn't she seek him out with her mind after she regained her powers? I know she thought he was dead, but if I had her powers and I never saw the body the moment I retrieved it, I would be looking for it. This could have led to an interesting conflict for Eleven, knowing Max and Hopper were in terrible danger.
- Two separate time jumps at the end.Because?The first one, when El enters Max's mind to save her, was extremely disturbing.
- The gates open, close and open again. What was this? I still can't make heads or tails of it. Another anticlimactic moment since we've seen them open in a very dramatic way and then weirdly close again with no explanation and then reappear. huh?
- Do the Duffer Brothers really think it's so easy to listen to the same song over and over again on a cassette player - not an iPod or Spotify? Max would have to rewind the song every time. She would use up all the batteries. And she would get so tired of it that I think the music would probably stop working as a mental shield.
- Hopper broke his ankle a few days ago if I understand the timeline correctly, but when he's playing Conan with the Demogorgon he's like rain, jumping and running without a limp. Magic! Perhaps the armor of the plot also has holy healing properties. Or maybe it was the peanut butter.
For me, these last two episodes ran about twice as long as they needed to, were bogged down by really terrible pacing, ended without resolving anything significant, and fell short of every expectation I had after enjoying Volume 1.
The three groups came together very easily after miscommunication throughout the season. The main actors once again escaped without major casualties, while major newcomers were slaughtered like cannon fodder. Somehow it all came together very easily wrapped up in a bow and at the same time looking like a total mess.
Hopefully season 5 will be shorter and more to the point. Honestly, this could easily have been the last season with a truly satisfying ending for The Big Bad, and it certainly looks like Netflix and the show's creators are dragging their feet at this point and revamping a show that I'm not convinced it requires more. than a single, excellent season. (Despite many good episodes since the first, the story itself feels very tense, and while Season 4 helped move the story forward, it could have easily wrapped things up as well.)