"Stranger Things 4" Talkback (Spoilers)

Fone Bone

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Stranger Things 4 "Chapter One: The Hellfire Club"

After the beginning, I don't think I like Eleven anymore.

Scary ending. For the record I really like Eddie. The D&D game was quite awesome. Lucas' sister Erica continues to be awesome.

Hopper is alive, surprising no-one.

Solid return (if a bit long). ****.

Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Two: Vecna's Curse"

Intriguing ending and villain.

Every time I feel the slightly bit of sympathy for El, she does something like that. I am not happy.

Joyce's stuff was fun. Although Hopper's torture was not easy to watch.

Will is still clearly in love with Mike. That isn't going to end well.

Interesting. ***1/2.

Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Three: The Monster And The Superhero"

I love Sam Owens. Always have. Good to see him back.

Very concerned for Max.

I'll tell you who really worries me. I think Lucas is in a far worse place than Eleven is. He's messed up.

The stuff with Steve and Dustin and Nancy and Robin is SO much fun.

I liked it. ****.

Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Four: Dear Billy"

The flashbacks at the end were extremely effective. Because that's something most TV shows do during the death of a major character. Once we got clips of all the good times, Max's fate is very much in question. I'm glad she survived. But the flashbacks were great because they suggested she wouldn't.

Her scene at Billy's grave was amazing.

I knew I recognized Creel's voice. It was Robert Englund.

The stuff is Russia was the one weak point. It feels like we are moving backwards rather than forwards there.

But this was still an extremely powerful episode. ****1/2.

Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Five: The Nina Project"

The episodes have been long this year, but this is the first episode that FELT long.

Whether Owens is on the side of angels or not (and he might be) I will never forgive him for bringing Eleven back to Brenner without warning her. Cutting off her hair seems especially cruel.

The stuff with Murray and the karate was funny.

Weakest episode so far this season. The runtime felt bloated. ***.

Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Six: The Dive"

Now THAT'S a cliffhanger.

The Murray and Joyce stuff was great.

Suzie's family is messed up. To put it mildly.

So El isn't a murderer. It might have been self-defense that got out of hand.

It amazes me what an effective public speaker Jason is. Just because the things he says sound super dumb to anyone paying attention. There's a real-world parallel here. I know it.

Cool episode. ****.

Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Seven: The Massacre At Hawkins Lab"

My early opinion: After seeing that, I predict Season 4 will wind up the best season so far. I know they aren't kids anymore so some of the charm is gone, but that really impressed me anyways. In the back of my head, I suspected the Friendly Orderly was both One and behind the massacre. I would never have guessed he was also Henry Creel AND Vecna. That specific revelation is audacious. As such, it cannot have been a retcon. This must have been in play for the entire four seasons, which speaks to a level of planning for the Duffer Brothers I could not have guessed. Very impressive story because I'm positive it will hold up in hindsight. It also felt very self-assured which is the best kind of storytelling turn.

Of course because Netflix split up the season, that was not a good place to leave things. But the episode itself was phenomenal, and suggests the show is far better than I ever gave it credit for. And I always liked the show a lot. I love the idea of revealing good shows were great shows the entire time and we just didn't realize it until late in the game. That is something I definitely try to do with Gilda And Meek, and I credit the Duffer Brothers a lot for putting so much thought and effort into a show that many people merely saw as a modern version of The Goonies. It's far larger than that. I am very impressed. *****.
 

wonderfly

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Just finished Season 4, part 1. It's still the best original series on Netflix (and I like "The Witcher"). I thought it being 3 years since the last season would suck a lot of momentum out of the show (especially since Season 3 was not as iconic as Seasons 1 and 2), but the creators seemed to know they'd have to step up, and they did.

Still, I'm surprised the show isn't discussed more here on the forums. Maybe the show isn't discussed because....no one here remembers the 80's? My oldest son (who is 17) loves what he's seen of the show, so....I'm not sure if there's a divide between that type of shows typically discuss on the Entertainment forum here, and what others may be into elsewhere.

I mean, I love the show, and it's hard to gauge how much of that is for the nostalgia. The 4 main boy characters portrayed in this show are around 5 years older than me - they start off as "12 or 13 years old" in 1983, I was around 7 years old that same year. The "older" teens are all supposed to be 16 or 17 at the start of the show in 1983. The show is much more of a depiction of the older "Gen X" (those born in the late 60's/early 70's), as opposed to those born in the late 70's like myself. I'm reminded of the difference between the "MTV" teenagers of the 80's versus the grunge teenagers of the 90's.

I mean, I'd never heard of "Kate Bush" before this season, but her song "Running up that Hill" (that was used in key scenes this season) is now in the Billboard Top 10 in the U.S.. In 1985/1986, I was too busy watching Transformers and GI Joe to be into the music of that year. But that "Running up that Hill" song....is just very beautiful.


And I'm just wondering if I was a 12 to 17 year old in 1986, would I have been more familiar with her? Probably not (the only music I had was a Michael Jackson cassette tape). I guess she was more of a British music icon, and the only British singer I was aware of in the late 80's was Phil Collins.

Of course because Netflix split up the season, that was not a good place to leave things. But the episode itself was phenomenal, and suggests the show is far better than I ever gave it credit for.

I agree, that's a heck of a place to put a break in the show (with the Russian prison subplot still not resolved, and with Nancy basically in Vecna's grasp). I'm glad they spread out the episodes (as I tend to prefer Disney Plus' way of releasing new episodes every week), but.....that was a heck of spot to take a break.
 
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Fone Bone

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The Orville is raved about elsewhere and I'm the only person who posts in that thread. Anime Superhero is an outlier about a LOT of popular genre stuff. Even the Star Trek threads are empty.
 

Fone Bone

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Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Eight: Papa"

A LOT of things happened in that episode, but instead of doing a super long deconstruction, I think there is only really one scene worth me obsessing over: Brenner's death. Before I discuss it further I want to say that Owen's actions in this episode redeemed him in my mind. Not entirely. But mostly.

Brenner's death scene is irresistible drama for me. It was like catnip for my soul. The thing I responded most to was him begging Eleven to tell him as he's dying that she understands that everything he did was for her... and she just can't bring herself to do it. Normally, that notion would be interesting enough on its own for me to rave about. But what made this awesome beyond all imagining is that it is not a certainty Eleven will deny him that as the moment is happening. Of course, she doesn't believe it. But she's a human being with compassion. Part of her aches to tell the dying man this pretty lie as he exits the world just because she ISN'T a monster, and that doesn't really seem out of bounds to do for a dying person who cares for you (even if you can't stand them). I'm not saying I agree with Eleven ultimately denying her supposed better angels. But I like to think that as she was grappling with whether or not to comfort this man who has tormented her her entire life, she came to the realization, that as far as common courtesies go, he didn't deserve those pretty lies. What interesting is that it's obvious when Brenner asks her to say it, he knows if she does, she'll be lying. The words themselves are the comfort, not the actual honesty behind them. And if that's so (and Eleven, no dummy her, is getting that vibe loud and clear) what possible real difference does it make that she declines to say them? All she'd be doing is kidding them both, and they both knew it in moment. So why bother?

Crap like that is why I watch television, and generally speaking, why I tend to prefer TV to movies. Unfortunately, most TV does not live up to that level of melodrama. When you find a show like Stranger Things that does, it's truly a special moment and a keeper. ****1/2.

Stranger Things 4 "Chapter Nine: The Piggyback"

That was a little long, and to be honest, considering Netflix's cancelation spree, a little overproduced. I don't think this show needed multimillion dollar episodes this season. I mean when Dustin tells Mr. Munsen that Eddie died saving the town who hated him, and that he wasn't just innocent, he was a hero, that's the best moment in the episode, and it cost next to nothing to produce. This show is very rich in characterization and drama. It doesn't need to break the bank with visual effects to matter. It puts Netflix in a terrible financial situation, when they are already making horrible money decisions right down the line. I'm not happy about that at all. Because the episode was pretty great. And would have remained so even with mediocre visual effects. I can't help but thinking this show looking so great cost us Bone, and resenting it a bit for that. Especially because it doesn't actually need to LOOK this great to actually BE great. That's not the deal-breaker it is for some other expensive shows.

I felt Dustin's pain over his death, but tell me if I was the only one thinking it's better he died. He was the season's loosest unresolved plot-thread. There was NO way in hell the gang could have POSSIBLY proved his innocence, so I figured the writers merely killed him off to simplify the matter. And the amazing scene between Dustin and Mr. Munsen sealed his fate. Eddie makes more narrative sense dead and out of the way, than alive and having to be explained to the town. And he has since the beginning of the season, whether we were willing to admit it or not. I like Eddie and liked him more and more as the season went on. But he doesn't belong standing with the heroes in the last cliffhanger shot of the episode. And he never did.

When Elle tells Max she was real and piggybacking in the tub of a pizza dough shop, she isn't giving Max the clarification there she thinks she is.

Am I bothered most of the cast spent the season apart? It seems cruel that the first Hooper and El scene happens at the very end of this episode. After that cliffhanger? I think it was the right move, narratively speaking. And maybe if people are pissed off about it (similar plots in other shows like Arrested Development have similarly turned off fans before) they aren't looking at what that cliffhanger was telling us.

If and when Stranger Things is renewed for a season five, THAT Season Four ending says Five is the last season. They spent the season apart because they had to go through their separate trials and struggles to find each other before they would be all ready to stand as one against the final threat. If this had been another season in the middle of the show's ten year run, people might not look back on it fondly. As the penultimate season? It's absolutely the right storytelling choice.

Wish we had gotten some wrap-up with Owens in the episode. It's not like the episode was wanting for time. I sure hope he's all right.

I appreciated Jonathan going to Will and telling him he can talk to him, because the thing in the show that makes me unhappiest is the fact that Will is gay, in love with Mike, and in the closet. Jonathan saying that when he did let Will know he knows the score and loves him anyways. I don't object to unrequited love stories. At all. The problem with this one is if Will discusses it openly with Mike, he'll be turning Mike into the bad guy who has to set a boundary limit he didn't expect to (or even wants to). The problem with Will being in love with Mike is that Mike cannot change his orientation for one person. Nobody can. And I not only don't think that's fair to Mike, it's not fair to Will, as the one gay male character on the show. I wish desperately Will can someday be as confident in his own skin about this as Robin is. But it's the 1980's. Even Robin is still in the closet, whether she knows what she wants or not. Unfortunate time period to explore these issues during.

I object to Lucas reading The Talisman to Max in the hospital. Yes, it was out when this episode took place, and now it's a widely beloved book. But back in the 1980's it was widely considered a HUGE misfire, considering the talent involved. It was promised to be a huge sci-fi / fantasy epic collaborated on by genre greats Stephen King and Peter Straub, and most people thought it was just okay and a huge let-down from the hype. Over the years it's grown a following, but I mean, I don't think Lucas would be a fan of it in this era. It was considered a huge mess. In fairness, I LIKE messes. My entire writing output is a mess. But believe it or not, it was actually considered too messy for the 1980's. Which makes it weird that it seems to hold up better in hindsight than most of the TV and films from that era.

The Stephen King book people geeked out most over during The 1980's was The Stand. That was universally the book King fans back then used to recognize one another over. If Lucas had read a passage from that it would have made more sense. Considering the heavy, yet weirdly optimistic themes, they could have easily found an appropriate one for the situation.

Man, Netflix, you could have delivered me that exact level of pathos and drama at a tenth of that budget, and I still woulda been happy. And we still would have probably gotten Bone too. The series looks MUCH greater than it even needs to look to be effective drama. ****1/2.
 

Rick Jones

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I wasn't anticipating this season at all. I did anticipate seasons 1, 2 and 3 though. I also ended each season personally satisfied to the point that I would have been okay with them ending things right there, and hopefully not lowering the quality by trying to stretch the show out more. After the end of Season 3, I was good and I just didn't see what more they could do so I went into this feeling apprehensive. They managed to hook me in again with episode 1, and keep me entertained and anxious with each following episode. I don't watch a ton of recent TV series but with the ones I do give my time to, I still end up a bit dissatisfied. I have to appreciate a show like this that manages to always deliver for me.

On another note, Master of Puppets was a song I already loved for years and now it's cool to have the image of Eddie's hellish concert paired with it in my head.
 

wonderfly

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Imagine my surprise when I clicked on Netflix to find that the "2nd half of Season 4" consists of a mere 2 episodes. I was like "Why did they hold 2 episodes back?"

Granted, that final episode was the length of 2 to 3 episodes (that was a feature film)!

Quick random thoughts:

How did Dr. Brenner survive that Demogorgon attack in the final episode of Season 1? I was expecting a flashback to that, but didn't get one.

So is the Mind Flayer NOT a separate character after all?

Was Metallica really that popular in 1986? The "Master of Puppets" album was released in March 1986 (which is when this season takes place), but....my recollection is of Metallica not really gaining popularity until the early 90's (when they transcended the glam rock hair bands of the 80's). It just feels like Eddie should've been jamming to AC/DC or Poison or Motley Crue.

I knew deaths were coming in the last episode, with the obvious choice being the society condemned Eddie, but I was surprised they following through on "killing" Max (granted, she's in a coma, but that was pretty harsh).

It made Max's triumph back in Episode 4 feel like a waste. She had chosen life, she wanted to live, and to see her fall at the hands of Vecna (even if it wasn't full fledge "melting her face" like the rest of Vecna's victim's), that just....didn't sit right with me.

I think it would've been better if Vecna was forced to jump over to claim Jason (the guy punching out Lucas in the final episode). Jason had grief over Chrissy's death, Vecna could've maybe pulled a quick "curse death" on him, making him the 4th gate opening.

It looks like the final season's going to be more "post-Apocalyptic", maybe taking cues from "The Stand" and "The Mist".
 
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Spideyzilla

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Sorry to bump the thread, trying to get caught up on a few things...
So is the Mind Flayer NOT a separate character after all?
My understanding is that he's not, he was just some energy in the Upside Down that Vecna channeled. It's a bit confusing but I think the point is that Vecna is the big boss who's been behind everything all along. He's been pulling the strings and is actually the one controlling the demogorgons and Mind Flayer. If they kill him, it all ends. Establishing him was basically the point of this season as we head towards the end.
Was Metallica really that popular in 1986? The "Master of Puppets" album was released in March 1986 (which is when this season takes place), but....my recollection is of Metallica not really gaining popularity until the early 90's (when they transcended the glam rock hair bands of the 80's). It just feels like Eddie should've been jamming to AC/DC or Poison or Motley Crue.
I don't know, but I think that's the point. Eddie is far removed from the mainstream but actually an awesome, likable guy beneath it all so it makes sense he would pick a non-mainstream (at the time) but still awesome song. It also just fit the scene. The song's popularity isn't really the issue. So long as Metallica existed, I buy Eddie knew about them.

As a sidenote I was at FanExpo in Toronto the other day, the lineup to meet Joseph Quinn was INSANE. Like two floors of a giant convention centre over the course of four days kind of insane.
It made Max's triumph back in Episode 4 feel like a waste. She had chosen life, she wanted to live, and to see her fall at the hands of Vecna (even if it wasn't full fledge "melting her face" like the rest of Vecna's victim's), that just....didn't sit right with me.
See, I don't see that as a waste, if anything it makes it more tragic. She wanted to live and yet Vecna still got her. The hurdle wasn't surmountable. It wasn't a waste, her making the choice to live is what was important to her character arc. She had to make that choice. Whether or she lived or not is irrelevant, the fact she wanted to live and realized she had things worth living for was what was important.

Was the scene where Eleven tries to enter her mind but finds nothing a sign that she's brain dead?
I think it would've been better if Vecna was forced to jump over to claim Jason (the guy punching out Lucas in the final episode). Jason had grief over Chrissy's death, Vecna could've maybe pulled a quick "curse death" on him, making him the 4th gate opening.
See, this would have just been a deus ex machina and overly convenient. Jason was an antagonist to the group, having Vecna kill him would have helped them enormously. There are no emotional stakes or consequences there outside of Eddie's death (which is obviously significant but not really personal for anyone besides Dustin and I guess Mike). Vecna would have just done them an enormous favour and that wouldn't have been very satisfying. I don't think simple grieving is enough. Max's pain was too much and had basically given up on life, hence why Vecna took interest in her.
 
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wonderfly

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I don't know, but I think that's the point. Eddie is far removed from the mainstream but actually an awesome, likable guy beneath it all so it makes sense he would pick a non-mainstream (at the time) but still awesome song. It also just fit the scene. The song's popularity isn't really the issue. So long as Metallica existed, I buy Eddie knew about them.

From numerous "behind the scenes" clips on Youtube, the Eddie guitar scene was adding at the last minute, and they settled on "Master of Puppets" as it fit the series.

It's an iconic moment from Season 4, it just....missed a chance to pay tribute to the "big hair" metal bands of the mid 80's (which I don't count Metallica a part of).
 

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Stranger Things 4 was fantastic. Eddie Munson is one of my favorite characters in the show. Kate Bush's Running on the Hill was amazing. 10/10
 

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