Trouble in Hawkins

Stranger Things Season 4, Episode 1 review


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Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 1 came out on May 27, 2022. This much-awaited season drops us right back into the chaos in Hawkins, Indiana as a new villain is revealed.

Zoe Watts, Editor in Chief

Spoilers below for Stranger Things season 3 and season 4 episode 1

Stranger Things season 3 ended back in 2019, leaving audiences with 4 questions: Where is Hopper? Will El get her powers back? How are Will and El doing in California? And most importantly, who is Vecna? 

Three years later, we’re getting answers. Stranger Things season 4, set 5 months after the end of season 3, reveals that the horrors of Hawkins, Indiana aren’t even close to ending. 

The first episode opens with a gruesome flashback of Eleven in the Hawkins Lab. We first see Dr. Brenner, “Papa”, running tests on Number 10 who announces that Number 6 and Dr. Ellis are dead. The flashback concludes with El covered in blood, making her the suspect in the murder of all of the other kids, to which Brenner asks, “What did you do?”

As the opening credits begin to roll, it becomes clear that the hit Netflix series is returning with longer, scarier, and much more twisted episodes than before. Back in the present, Eleven, Mike, Will, Dustin and Lucas are in their freshman year of high school. While Eleven is getting bullied in California, she lies to Mike and tells him everything is going great. Joyce now has a new job and Jonathon has a new friend, Argyle (Eduardo Franco), who is quickly becoming a fan favorite. 

Back in Hawkins, Dustin, Mike and Lucas face conflict when forced to choose between a Dungeons & Dragons campaign or supporting Lucas at his basketball game. Personally, I think they should’ve gone to the game to support their friend, however, they chose to go to the campaign with the “Hellfire Club” led by the new character, Eddie (Joseph Quinn). 

Max is back, but she has seemed to retreat from the party after the death of her brother in the last season. This aided in her breakup with Lucas as well, seeing as she seems to isolate herself from both her family and friends. 

The Dynamic Duo from last season, Robin and Steve, make their return, where Robin mentions she has a crush on Vickie (Amybeth McNulty). I really hope we get to see more of Robin and Vickie’s relationship throughout the rest of the season.

We are also introduced to the new character Chrissy (Grace Van Dien). While she is the most popular cheerleader at the school, she is seen throwing up in a bathroom and being terrorized by her mother via Vecna’s manipulation, which becomes more important later on. 

Back in California, Joyce receives a mysterious package from Russia with a message inside a doll saying that Hopper lives. We saw in the season 4 trailer that Hopper did in fact live, however, we still had some questions that are yet to be answered. 

The episode ends with more horror than expected. Chrissy meets with Eddie to buy drugs from him but is frightened by a grandfather clock that appears before her. Their connection was really sweet, though Chrissy wanted something stronger than weed. Later in the episode, Eddie takes Chrissy to his house to get “Special K,” where Chrissy becomes possessed by Vecna.

In a horrifying sequence of events, she starts levitating, her eyes get blown out of her sockets and her bones become disfigured as she falls back to the ground. Eddie tried helping her, but after this series of events, I believe he will join Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Robin and Steve in trying to figure out what is happening in Hawkins. 

Strange things are afoot in Hawkins, Indiana and there’s no doubt that this season will only leave us wanting more. While we are left with the last two episodes coming out in July, I hope that the rest of this volume of the season will give us a reunion with Hopper and Joyce, and even a reunion with Hopper and El. I also hope Nancy and Jonathan get to see each other later this season as well. 

The first episode was the most terrifying Stranger Things episode we have seen in a while, setting up this season to be the scariest yet as long as Vecna is around. While we’ve gotten some answers, the question still remains: Who is Vecna?

Looks like we may have to wait until Volume 2 to find out.