Oh boy, here we go. It has been a few months since the battle at the Starcourt Mall and fans have been foaming at the mouths like rabid dogs to get the newest season of Stranger Things into their eyeballs. I would know, I was one of them. Before we go any further into this review, this review will not contain a single spoiler of any of the plot points or details pertaining to Season 4 Part One of Stranger Things, with that being said things are going to be purposely vague, and there’s not going to be a lot of discussion as to what happens because to ruin anything that is brought forward in this season would be such a disservice to the work the Duffers have done, and by doing that a death by Demogorgon would only be appropriate.
When we left Season Three, The Byers consisting of Joyce, Jonathan, Will and a powerless Eleven have moved away to California, Hooper is captured somewhere in a Russian prison, and the rest of the Hawkins crew are still dealing with everything going on in Indiana and The Upside Down. While this is a welcomed return to form to the shows true origins, we finally get an inside look behind the curtain at Eleven’s past in flashbacks, including Doctor Brenner played by Matthew Modine still, and a much more sinister and terrifying villain than we’ve ever seen before in the form of Vecna.
Now, the worlds been losing their minds over the running times of the episodes of season 4 and how the Duffer’s called this their Game of Thrones season. However, this is not Season 8 of GoT, and the run times are absolutely needed. There is so much to unpack and discover throughout these first seven episodes that run approximately 10 hours, and sure there could have been a few things cut here and there but much more would’ve been a disservice to the fanbase and the show itself. There is so much going on, and so much being explored with almost three separate plotlines running simultaneously, the running time of Part 1 per episode is more than warranted and definitely pays off in the long run of things.
Stranger Things Season Four Part One delivers absolutely everything that one could come to hope for this show to divulge into and explore. They turn over every leaf, leave us with some of the espionage that we saw in Season Three, the sci-fi elements we loved throughout the first three seasons, and new dynamics to the Hawkins crew that truly elevates their relationships and characters. The entire cast are delivering their absolute all, no question about that, but the standouts this season have to be Winona Ryder, David Harbour and Millie Bobbie Brown. The three of them have fully fleshed out their characters to the absolute tees and have dived head first into their characters that bring them to new levels of importance and performances. Millie Bobbie Brown, specifically though, as we learn new things about Eleven from her past and gives us a further understanding into her character and the issues she has faced. Her performance truly shines through and brings a new level of realism and life to the character.
To put it simply, Stranger Things Season Four Part One is the best (half) season of Stranger Things the Duffers have put out yet. This is their big payoff, we already know the show is coming to an end during Season Five, and this is setting up everything and anything to happen and expect from that. There is no denying that they’ve made the right call with Season Five being the end, as Season Three certainly could’ve been a tight, satisfying ending, with some minor changes to that ending. However, with the way Season Three ended it definitely earned its fourth season, and any expectations one has gone in with for this season are absolutely blown out of the water. In short, Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 is seemingly perfect, this is the show we wanted it to become, the development from some strange disappearances and some kids playing Dungeons and Dragons to one of the most well-constructed horror-esque science fiction shows to grace the small screen. Thank you Netflix and The Duffers for not making audiences wait 10 years over 50 hours of context to get us the big picture we’ve all been waiting for.