A Review of Stranger Things 4 Volume 1


Alyx Pawlawski, Editor

The first volume of Stranger Things season 4 released on Netflix on May 27 of this year, almost 3 years after the release of the previous season. 

Very broad spoiler-free summary: In Spring of 1986, nine months after the battle of Starcourt Mall, Joyce, Jonathan, Will and Eleven have moved from Hawkins to California, where Eleven struggles with the absence of her powers and school bullies. Meanwhile in Hawkins, mysterious events occur that begin to catch the attention of the rest of the kids.

Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield) was absolutely incredible this season. Her performance throughout all 7 episodes was great, but Episode 4 was where she really shone. Other performances that stood out to me were Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Joe Keery (Steve), and David Harbour (Hopper). All of the groups put together this season were perfect, but specifically the grouping of Joe Keery, Maya Hawke (Robin), Natalia Dyer (Nancy), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), and Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) was excellent. All the actors have great chemistry with each other, and the addition of newcomer Joseph Quinn (Eddie) made the group even more entertaining to watch. Likewise, the pairing of Winona Ryder (Joyce) and Brett Gelman (Murray) was hilarious, they played off of each other so well in every scene that they shared. One issue I did have however was I felt that Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Noah Schnapp (Will), and Charlie Heaton (Jonathan) were heavily sidelined. Their characters do not seem to have important roles in the story this season, and their lack of screen time made their performances look weaker compared to their co stars. 

The directing for most of the episodes this season was great. The episodes directed by the Duffer brothers and Shawn Levy specifically stood out the most to me. Since the Duffers are the creators of the show, it’s evident in their directed episodes the amount of care that they put into it. So far this season they have directed the first, second, and seventh episodes, and are set to direct the final two releasing on July 1st. Shawn Levy has been executive producer of the show since the beginning, and has directed the third and fourth episodes of every season. He also very clearly cares about the show, which is shown the episodes he is given to direct. All of the men know exactly what they want the final product to look like and know how to make it as beautiful as possible, which makes for a very enjoyable experience for the audience.

The plot so far has been incredibly interesting. I will not go into too much detail, but this season dives further into the Upside Down and raises even more questions about it. The different storylines this season are fairly easy to follow, and overall they are all engaging and entertaining (some more than others).

The second volume of season 4 will be released on July 1, and after that, the Duffer brothers have confirmed that season 5 will be the final season of the show. So far season 4 has been phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the final two episodes.