So Volume 2 to the epic extravaganza of season 4 has been out for over a week. Everyone has had time to watch it so we can finally talk about it with spoilers.
Four hours of sci-fi adventure brilliance
What was most fulfilling and enjoyable was that it really felt like teenagers. The attitude to each part of the quest felt genuine, scary and fun all at the same time. Something Stranger Things has always managed and continues to do so is keeping the spirit of its younger characters alive and authentic.
Everyone attacking Vecna in unison with a dramatic operatic version of ‘Running up that Hill’ playing was a truly iconic piece of television. The best part of course being … with a flamethrower in Russia.
You also don’t get much more epic than a performance of Metallica’s Master of Puppets’ on the electric guitar to lure away demon bats. A truly legendary scene once again showing Stranger Things’ flawless use of music.
Vecna / Henry / One is also the perfect villain. His beginnings aren’t based on trauma but just evil which is incredibly satisfying to not have to feel that sorry for him. The moments while inside Max’s head are true macabre horror and the suspense as Max’s happy memory began to slowly turn sour was spine-tingling.
There were also some magnificent performances across the cast. Sadie Sink had upped her game this entire season really putting her on a one-to-watch list. Together it was her’s and Caleb Mclaughlin’s final scene which was superb with those two stealing the show.
Eddie’s death scene was also truly heartbreaking if predictable. I only say this because multiple times they’ve killed off the lovable funny side character they introduce at the beginning of the season.
It gets old and shows the Duffer brothers may be too scared to kill a main character. Millie Bobby Brown has previously commented on this wanting a more ‘Game of Thrones’ attitude towards Stranger Things which although extreme has got some weight to it.
Nonetheless the line ‘It’s my year Henderson’ became a universal tearjerker and completed his arc despite being devastatingly short.
A more underrated moment in Volume 2 was Jonathon and Will’s conversation at the Pizza place. Will has increasingly become isolated this season as well as every season for varying reasons. Implications of his sexuality have slipped in throughout as he struggles with his friendship with Mike. The heartfelt moment of reassurance between the brothers really brought back the core of the show.
Considering the sidelining of the brothers and Mike in favour of other characters and storylines it was nice to see them get some proper screen time in the final episodes of the season.
I also want to touch on how frustrating the love triangle between Steve, Nancy and Jonathon is. They have done amazing jobs with all three characters developing them out beyond the triangle but yet it still exists? Amidst what essentially is the apocalypse where she has just shot a murderous demon through the heart with a home-altered shotgun, why is Nancy’s main conundrum still which boy she wants to date?
It didn’t add anything to the season and the Nancy/Steve flirting just felt weird considering she is currently dating Jonathon. I’m personally hoping that next season it’s just Nancy and her guns.
2 days later
This was the point where Volume 2 fell off. Considering how detailed and emotional the rest of the storytelling was, the time jump although minor honestly just felt lazy.
It was as if they were unable to figure out how to finish off the four-part quest. Now granted that linking all the parts was relatively complex but after over 14 hours of build-up you’d have thought they’d have figured out how to finish it.
Max coming back to life, the others seeing Eddie’s body and getting out of the upside-down. Eleven’s reaction to Mike saying I love you, the Russian team getting back to America. Nancy didn’t even react to Steve’s speech to her.
We didn’t even get a proper reunion of the boys together. This really exposed the show moving away from the foundations of the earlier seasons of Stranger Things. Hopper and El’s reunion nearly was nothing flashy or big but was inherently Hopper and El.
These moments did not have to take an enormous amount of time but fading to black just made it unpolished.
It was a frustrating end to an epic extravaganza. That being said, it perfectly set up the fifth and final season. It really can be taken in any direction and despite the slightly disappointing ending Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 has certainly left fans wanting more.
Featured Image Credit: Netflix