Chrissy, Hawkins High School’s most popular girl, went with Eddie “The Freak” inside his trailer. She wanted drugs (the stronger ones). To numb the anxiety from those hallucinations she was having.
Soon after, she was lifted in the air as if flying and struck the ceiling of the trailer. Her body started to get twisted. Hands, legs, and mouth. We can hear the crackling of bones. Her eyes popped in. And her body got thrown after like a broken doll.
Police found her twisted body in the morning, a crack in the ceiling but there was no sign of Eddie. Did Eddie kill her? or someone else? Soon serial killer buzz started to go around the town. But whoever or whatever killed her, can’t be human. Not in a metaphorical sense. And from here the killing spree began, in Hawkins.
This seems like the plot of some horror movie but it isn’t. Netflix’s beloved science fiction show Stranger Things has rebooted for season 4. Let’s see what good or bad lies in Vol 1. of it.
Hawkins is Cursed
Duffer brothers have incorporated something more real about the 80s America this time. To see something other than the pop culture references is refreshing. “Hawkins is a cursed city”, finally got its true meaning in this season.
This phenomenon of Satanic Panic reached its peak in the 80s. It was media-fueled mass hysteria. People started believing that followers of Satan, through some satanic rituals, were committing abuse.
Serial killers of the 60s and 70s like Charles Manson and Son of Sam made this threat more real. Though the claims are not true, yet created paranoia around the masses. Innocent lives were destroyed like in the case of the West Memphis Murder.
We see all these elements in the show like the legend of Satan Worshipper serial killer Victor Creel. Newspapers and magazines are filled with news about how fantasy games like D&D are making teenagers evil and the witch-hunting of Eddie.
Post Mind Flayer Blues
It’s been 6 months since the events of season 3. The relationship dynamics have changed between the group.
Will, El, and Jonathan left the city because of supernatural problems, only to get caught up in human problems. Loneliness, self-doubt, and bullying. After Hopper’s death, El got into self-denial mode. Jonathan finds solace in drugs and Will gets quiet.
Lucas doesn’t want to be a nerd anymore. So he started playing basketball with popular guys. Billy’s death affected Max. She isolated herself from the group. Nancy, like Jonathan, is confused about their future and coping by staying busy with work.
All the characters are distant and vulnerable. They all are in their own rescue operation, in different parts of the world. Hopefully, their eventual meeting in Vol. 2 will give the audience again the feel of a coming-of-age-feel-good vibe.
The “One” with Vecna
Victor Creel’s legend was half true. And that half part was Henry, his son. Henry was an isolated kid with a troubled mind. He has twisted notions about justice. He hated weakness. So he started removing it. His first victim became his family.
Evil met Genius Dr. Brenner found him and trained him to be “One”. Played by Jamie Campbell, One dresses all-white (pants and shirt) and keeps a straight face. Both his attire and violent tendencies remind us of Alex from Clockwork Orange. , but only without the signature hat.
After getting stuck in Upside Down he became Vecna. He started killing teenagers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He first shows them visions. Makes them hallucinate about their fears. He tortures them with their guilt. Show them a Grandfather clock. And in the end, twist their bones.
It seems like all these years in Upside Down he was trying to hijack Upside down’s Hive Mind in some way. When he became successful he started his attacks. He hasn’t fought with any physical weapons yet. El has defeated him once, but Vecna’s abilities now supersede her. So their fight will be interesting to see.
The Plot Holes
Later in the episode, they found one gate to Upside Down in the lake. Dustin theorizes that wherever a person got attacked by Vecna, it opens a new gate to Upside Down. Then what about the opening in the middle of the road where Fred got killed? Nobody can seem to find an opening there.
Dustin’s girlfriend tracked El’s location and gave Mike and the team the name of the place, Nevada. They all got excited and left to find her. How exactly are they gonna find a secluded lab in the middle of a desert without Google Maps? Nobody knows.
Why was Hopper alive? If he would have jumped into Upside Down to save himself, that plot line seems more convincing. But he got captured by the Russians and they spared his life. Why? Hopper then contacted Joyce and asked her to rescue him. But how did he know that she relocated to a new place?
Hopper’s escape from Russia was almost laughable. Brett Gelman’s performance as Murray was fun but the rest of the characters were flat. The hype of KGB never seemed to attract attention. There seems to be no sense of panic and urgency during the escape. Even the final confrontation with the creature from Upside Down was not convincing enough.
In Upside Down the gang seems too relaxed at the moment. They are being nostalgic and making plans to escape. While they were doing this, what were the creatures there doing? Vecna could have been alerted earlier. To escape they found bikes, lying there in perfect condition in Wheeler’s garage. One for each. So convenient.
The show is a work of fiction and peanut butter is the thread that has united America and Russia. You can give the creators the benefit of doubt and move on.
Anticipation for Vol. 2
Hopper was not the only one who was not dead, Dr. Brenner was too. He and Owens help El to get back her powers. He gives the reason that he wanted to save Hawkins, but is it? He must have an ulterior motive which is gonna make the series more interesting.
Vecna captured Nancy. Steve is wounded. Everyone else is separated. How are they gonna save them? Are they gonna kill Vecna because closing the upside door can’t seem to work this time?
How are things gonna unfold? Are there going to be more scary scenes? What more do we get to see, more bone cracking or more fear-numbing music? We have to wait for Vol. 2