The impact Stranger Things: Season 4 is going to have on our summer explained


The “Stranger Things: Season 4” poster from Netflix

This article has extreme spoilers for Stranger Things: Season 4. If you haven’t watched all seven of the new episodes, you should wait to read this until you’re done—happy reading.

It has been 2,142 days since Season 1; 1,673 days since Season 2; 1,058 days since Season 3, and here we are; staying up way too late on Thursday night waiting for the drop of Stranger Things: Season 4. One weekend passes by and we know more than we did just a few days prior, or maybe we’re a little more confused from where we started.

The summer of 2019 was heavily influenced by Season 3 because of the fashion, music, jargon, and overall vibe that this show exuded; Netflix is about to do it again. Releasing the newest set of episodes at the start of summer is one of the best marketing ideas for this show: get the younger audience involved and ready to have yet another “Stranger Things summer,” just three years later.

Now, to put it quite plainly, I’ve never been a fan of Jane “Eleven” Hopper, played by Millie Bobby Brown, simply because of her attitude. In the first season, she was overcoming her past and had interesting character development from the first episode all the way to the last, but she just never got any better. In Season 2, she was hardly present until the end when we found a sliver from her past. But, something about her personality really irks me. It’s like she can never make up her mind and is incredibly inconsistent in all areas of her life.

While I was a little more of a fan of Eleven in season 3, the supporting roles made her character as good as she was—I don’t think she would have been interesting without her relationship with Mike Wheeler, played by Finn Wolfhard. Because of all of these reasons, I didn’t have a lot of hope for Eleven in Season 4 so, of course, when the first episode was mainly about her new life in Lenora Hills, California, I was disappointed. 

Eleven’s sob story of moving to a new town with her stepbrothers wasn’t all that interesting, but I guess the Duffer brothers had to start somewhere and introduce the new setting. However, back in Hawkins, Indiana, things are a little more interesting. With some new characters such as Jason Carver—played by Mason Dye—or Eddie Munson—Joseph Quinn—I was relieved to see Eleven wasn’t exactly the star of the show.

At the end of the first episode, Jason’s girlfriend was supposedly murdered at Eddie’s house, which sets up the preface of the rest of the season. I enjoyed the introduction of new characters because it kept the plot fresh, whereas without them, I could see how Stranger Things could have become repetitive. And, let’s be honest, we all loved Eddie—his charm, quirky character, and ominous setup made him addicting to watch. I wish he wouldn’t have just been hiding through the middle episodes, and I wanted to see more action from him.

Eddie Munson from the first episode, wearing his “Hellfire Club” shirt.

However, in the third episode, we see more from Hopper—David Harbour—which was interesting, up until the gang in Hawkin’s storyline started to pick up more rapidly. The main idea behind this season was everyone’s stories coming together, so at first, I liked the snippets every couple of minutes from all characters’ points of view, but later in the season, I found myself not caring whatsoever about what happened to Hopper; it all felt so irrelevant. 

I could be biased, in the fact that I never was a huge fan of Hopper in the first two seasons, so I didn’t feel too upset about his supposed death in Season 3, just awful for Joyce—Winona Ryder—and Eleven. I was bored of Hopper’s plot in Season 4 because each scene felt repetitive and pointless, and it was like the director only put this in as a fourth element to the show. I could have done without Hopper this entire season, but maybe, he’ll have more importance in the next two episodes being released on July 1st.

Steve, Robin, Max, and Dustin around the computer at “Family Video.”

On the other hand, my absolute favorite episode of the season was episode 4: “Dear Billy.” It surrounded Sadie Sink’s Max suffering and feeling of guilt for her stepbrother’s death in Star Court Mall last season. To be honest, Stranger Things isn’t known for having an impeccable theme for real-life situations, so it was nice to see some sort of representation on the mental health side of issues. Max’s plot encompassed trauma and raw emotions that some of the other characters can’t relate to the same way. The ending of this episode was phenomenal and couldn’t have been done any better. 

With Max being cursed by our main villain, Vecna, we see her long-awaited heroine moment of overcoming her past with the help of her friends. The incorporation of music into her big scene was the element I think a lot of other big fights in prior seasons missed. “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush was perfectly chosen, and to be honest, I can’t stop listening to it either—I need it on a loop as well.

With no other scenes making me tear up in Season 4 so far, the last twenty minutes of episode 4 were called for. I can’t exactly relate to this exact struggle of losing immediate family, but I’ve always felt a soft spot for Max because our personalities are extremely similar. The way I sobbed during this episode was exactly why I love Stranger Things above any other show: it makes you think about elements in your own life.

“The Party” at the Season 4 premiere, May 27th, 2022.

Another plot I couldn’t really care less about was Mike being in California, chasing Eleven. After the government began to interfere with her life, making her leave with former doctor and friend, Owens, I just wish Mike would quit. Again, this plot felt pointless because the only scenes that ended up mattering the most were back in Hawkins, and in the underground lab.

With episode five surrounding Mike’s wild goose chase, I remember why I wasn’t fond of his character in the other seasons either: he doesn’t change how selfish he has always been. I did begin to have respect for Eleven’s new storyline where she’s trying to get her powers back from secrets in her memories. When I saw “Papa,” otherwise known as Dr. Brenner—Matthew Modine—at the beginning of this episode, I literally screamed.

I had completely thought he had been killed at the end of Season One, but I do remember a part of me during Season 3’s release in 2019 thinking the “American” referenced in the after-credit scene could have been either Hopper or Dr. Brenner. 

Who was your favorite character in Season 4?


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Again, with the majority of episode six surrounding either Mike or Hopper, I wasn’t as amused with the plot—it’s like every other episode is a hit and the next is a miss. However, the ending with Steve—the lovely Joe Keery—being sucked into “Watergate” was the little bit of action I was hoping this season would take after from the other three. 

The last episode of Season 4, episode seven, was definitely tied for best scenes with episode four. Hopper’s storyline and encounter with the Demogorgon was actually interesting and had me on edge as well as the fight in the Upside Down. However, the best “Stranger Things spin” was finding out who our main villain, Veca, really was. 

With Eleven’s past and the Hawkin’s gang’s present coming together, this was exactly what I wanted from Season 4. Everything came together perfectly for the two plots and I was blurting out predictions the entire time—I was so happy when I guessed that the man helping Eleven—Jamie Campell Bower, also a villain in Twilight and Harry Potter—was One, but I didn’t expect him to be Victor Creel’s son, nor the main antagonist.

With Season Four ending with Mike looking for Eleven, Hopper’s back with Joyce, the party safe in Hawkins, and Nancy stuck in Vecna’s curse, I was ready to watch “Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 Teaser.”

In this thirty-second trailer, we see the gang getting ready to fight Vecna in the Upside Down, Hopper seeing more Demogorgans and potential threats, things being lit on fire, and Eleven hopefully embracing her powers. It is safe to say someone is going to die to save the world, just like Billy—Dacre Montgomery—did in Season 3; my prediction: it’s going to be Eddie.

Argyle, Will, Mike, and Jonathan are in Suzie’s room looking for Eleven’s coordinates.

In episode seven, Eddie says, “Outside of [Dungeons and Dragons], I am no hero. I see danger and I just turn heel and run. Or at least that’s what I’ve learned about myself this week.” While he is having an internal struggle and comparing himself to his new friends, he thinks he isn’t worthy of saving anyone. However, in “Stranger Things 4 I Volume 1 Final Trailer I Netflix,” time stamp 1:00 and “Stranger Things 4 I Official Trailer I Netflix,” time tramp 2:42, Eddie is seen playing his guitar in the Upside Down.

Because of Max, we know Vecna’s curse can be temporarily lifted with music, I strongly believe that Eddie is going to either play Nancy’s favorite song to save her, be a distraction for the rest of them, or kill Vecna once and for all himself. But because of the strong, cinematic visuals of Eddie shredding his guitar alone on the top of his home, I think it’s going to be the more extreme option: Eddie will die to close all of the gates so everyone else can live. Especially because he’s a wanted man back home in Hawkins, he will most likely feel like he has nothing else to live for. 

Steve, Dustin, Robin, Max, Nancy, and Lucas in Vecna’s lair in Hawkins.

Another theory I have includes Eleven facing One again. She has already banished him to the Upside Down once in her childhood, so maybe, this is what she has been preparing her powers for. While I’m not entirely sure how this would play into Eddie’s storyline, I can see this being a big showdown, just like the end of Season 2 when Eleven supposedly shut the original gate inside the lab.

But before this happens, I think Mike is going to end up finding Eleven because he now has her coordinates. I can see how someone might think Mike is going to help Eleven escape Dr. Brenner, but at this point, it seems like he has given her a choice to stay with him or to leave. Especially because she has regained her powers, there’s nothing holding her back—I don’t think Mike is going to be much help for her unnecessary escape. However, I do think Mike is going to meet up with her and travel back to Hawkins together. 

But if Brenner decides to use her as a weapon as the government suggests, Eleven will easily kill him once and for all, then leave with Mike. If the government finds her first, I think it would go the same way: kill everyone and leave the lab to go back to Hawkins.

Lucas, Max, Dustin, and Erica in the final episode looking at Steve, Nancy, Eddie, and Robin in the Upside Down.

The main thing I’m wondering about these two is if they end up staying together. When they last talked in the second episode, they had gotten into a fight about Mike not being able to say he loves Eleven—something we’ve seen in the prior season. A part of me wants Eleven to dump Mike once and for all, but I don’t think that is going to happen. Volume 2 will end with every stone unturned except for a main cliffhanger, I don’t think their relationship will be the main concern, so maybe everything will end up okay for the both of them. 

On the other hand, I don’t think Jonathan and Nancy’s relationship will last. If Steve or Nancy survive the Upside Down, I think these original lovers will get back together, Nancy and Robin will be best friends, and Jonathan will move on with Argyle. But if Steve sacrifices his life for Nancy—because she has helped him so much recently, or the other way around—I wouldn’t be surprised either. Going into Season 4, I had originally predicted Steve or Nancy were to die next, and we’ll just have to see if I was right or not. But, I would say the vast majority of the audience is rooting for “Stancy.”

@chiaraherself posted, waiting for Volume 2 to be released.

One element that hasn’t been discussed is Will’s feelings. Not only did the second episode take place on his birthday, which was forgotten by everyone, he also has been shown to reject the girl that sits next to him in class. In the prior seasons, there have been hints to Will’s sexuality, but in interviews, David Harbour and Finn Wolfhard have hinted toward Will having feelings for someone else in the party: I think it’s Mike. In Volume 2, I think Will is going to confront Mike and tell him how he truly feels. The sign Will has been carrying around with him since the first episode is most definitely a welcome home sign for Mike with some clue to Will’s feelings. Maybe Vecna will prey on Will next; with all of the stress he’s been under with Mike, his mom being gone, and his past trauma, this might not end well for him.

With thirty or so days left until Volume 2, there will be a lot of predictions made. I have already been drowning in TikTok edits and YouTube explanations, but I can’t wait to see which of them are accurate, this article included. 

Not only are people making assumptions about Volume 2, but they’re also creating content surrounding Vecna’s curse. The funniest videos to come out of Season 4 are definitely the fifteen-second clips of people showing their walls, laughing about the supposed grandfather clock in front of them. The sinister music matched with the sarcastic clip is something that only viewers of the season would understand, there doesn’t even need to be a spoiler warning for these.

@duhitstcon posted about the grandfather clock in their hallway.

However, I think the best videos are the ones where people are sharing their music tastes. Obviously, in the fourth episode of Season 4, we find that the only way to escape Vecna’s curse is through your favorite song—the TikTok community took this opportunity to share theirs. Every other video on my “For You Page” has this form of content, and to be honest, I love it. People are always coming up with creative ways to share what makes them happy and this was just another way. While these videos might have more of a spoiler issue, most have a warning at the beginning. But, these videos have also got me thinking about what would save me from Vecna’s curse. I’m now convinced it would be “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears.

These TikToks are reminding me of summer ’19—everyone’s profile pictures were of Alexi, theories were on every corner of the internet, and everyone fell in love with Steve all over again—I’m glad it is all back and in full effect.

While Netflix and the Duffer Brothers might have little indirect effects on social media trends, the Stranger Things Instagram is fueling the fandom’s obsession. On May 26th, one day before Season 4’s release, the page released ten sets of coordinates for all over the world with the caption, “Something big is coming. Find your city, and that’s where we’ll be. Over and out.” With further research, each of these hints lead to monumental buildings such as the Empire State Building in New York, New York. All across the world, these structures were lit up to look like gates were opening to the Upside Down as a promotion for the new season.

The Empire State Building lit up for the release of the new season.

When looking at the pictures from the event, I got chills. The fact that this show has a hold on every corner of the world is amazing, but it also shows how one project can bring so many people together. Not only was the Stranger Things Instagram creating a fun scavenger hunt for local citizens of these big cities, but the production team made a big bang right to get everyone excited. Most shows would release a bunch of ads or even send out merchandise, Netflix just isn’t the same.

However, to keep no stone unturned, “Stranger Things: Season 4″ has been a vessel for merchandise production as well. Now selling at makeup corporation, Ulta Beauty, there is a powder blush, lipgloss, multiple brushes, and two different eye palettes inspired by Netflix’s spin on the ’80s.

“Hawkins Class of 1986” Eye Palette sold online at Ulta Beauty.

In the powder blush, coming in two different colors, the cute exterior will definitely make super fans fall in love with this product. For “Friends Don’t Lie (soft pink),” the case looks like a yearbook for Hawkins High, whereas “He Likes it Cold (vintage wash red),” has an image that referenced the Upside Down.

All six lipglosses are covered in Hawkins High/Upside Down-inspired detailing as well. I do think each of the names of the products is a little cringe, considering they’re named “Eerie El” or “Wild Wheeler,” the only one that I did like was “Skull Rock” because it had more meaning to the actual season.

Similarly, in the eye palette, “Hawkins Class of 1986,” the color names had slightly more meaning, but weirdly had more references to Season 3. Names like “Palace Arcade,” “Melvad’s General Store,” “Starcourt Mall,” or “U.S.S Butterscotch” were all main things from previous seasons, not Season 4. This palette should have done the same as “The Void” when matching its names strictly to this season.

I truly believe that Season 3 of Stranger Things shaped my 2019 summer, now I believe Season 4 will do the same. Between the genus put into the first seven episodes, suspense was building while waiting for Volume two, trends popping up on social media, and products being made, this summer is going to be all about what we’ve just watched. It is time to go buy your “Hellfire Club” shirts and get into the festivities because this only happens every couple of years.