On July 1, “Stranger Things” broke the internet once again when it released the second volume of its fourth season. Fans swarmed to Netflix as soon as the two episodes, “Chapter Eight: Papa” and “Chapter Nine: The Piggyback,” dropped at 12 a.m. PST. In many ways, the final two episodes of Season 4 delivered. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) finally regained her powers, Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour) got their long-overdue romantic screen-time together and Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) performed his highly-anticipated electric guitar solo to Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” in the Upside Down. Fans are also praising Brown, Sadie Sink and Caleb McLaughlin for their amazing acting, going so far as to say that they “carried this season on their backs.” However, “Stranger Things” fans were still left feeling dissatisfied for many reasons, accusing the Duffer Brothers of giving the main characters too much plot armor and rushing the finale.
Too Much Plot Armor
Despite how jam-packed the last two episodes of Season 4 were, many fans were left wanting more. After the release of Season 4, Volume 1, rumors went around on social media that five main characters would die in Volume 2, leading many fans to wonder whether one of their favorite characters would be killed off in the season finale.
However, after a month of anxiously waiting to find out who would be killed off, fans were disappointed to see that the only main characters who died in Volume 2 were Papa (Matthew Modine) and Eddie. Technically, Max died too, but fans aren’t counting her death since Eleven brought her back to life. Papa’s death, on the other hand, wasn’t as significant since he was disliked by characters and viewers alike. Eddie’s death was certainly upsetting, but for the wrong reason. “Stranger Things” has become known for killing off new and likable characters just as quickly as they are introduced. Bob Newby (Sean Astin) from Season 2 and Dr. Alexei (Alec Utgoff) from Season 3 are prime examples of new fan favorites who were killed off in the same season they were introduced.
Fans also believe that killing off Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien), who was introduced at the beginning of Season 4, Volume 1, was a mistake. Eddie was the obvious sacrifice for Season 4, Volume 2, which is why his death was so upsetting. If there’s anything that fans have been trying to tell the Duffer Brothers for the past four seasons, it’s that killing off newly introduced characters — no matter how quickly you can make viewers fall in love with them — simply isn’t as impactful as killing off a main character who has been there since the beginning.
Rushed and Unrealistic
Another issue that many fans had with this season was the rushed ending. One of the main complaints from fans has been that the only person who acknowledged Eddie’s death was Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). If there had been more than two episodes in Volume 2, more time could have been spent showing the other characters mourning Eddie’s death. The fact that no one else even mentioned his death only made it less impactful, further proving that the Duffer Brothers had killed him off for no reason.
Fans are also displeased with the big reunion at the end of Volume 2. It can’t be denied that the reunion was anticlimactic. Considering that this was the first time they were reunited as a whole after being split into three groups for the whole season, you’d think that it would have been more emotional. Yet, there was barely any talking between anyone, as if it had only been a day or two since they’d last seen each other.
The most disappointing reunion of all, however, was Eleven and Hopper’s. After fans discovered that Hopper was still alive, they started to eagerly anticipate the reunion between the two. At the beginning of Season 4, Volume 1, Eleven emphasized how much she missed her dad multiple times, which is why fans were confused as to why their reunion was emotionless, to say the least. Also questionable was Eleven’s new power to bring people back to life. Of course, “Stranger Things” fans would have been upset if Max had actually been killed off, yet it seemed cheesy to kill her and then conveniently bring her back from the dead.
Fans were also disappointed that they didn’t get to see any more of Murray (Brett Gelman), Dmitri (Tom Wlaschiha) and Yuri (Nikola Djuricko), who had played such important roles in Volume 1. Many fans have concluded that Volume 2 would have lived up to their expectations if it had contained more episodes or if the time in each episode had just been managed better.
Looking Forward to “Stranger Things” Season 5
However, despite its mediocre finale, “Stranger Things” Season 4, Volume 2 still did a great job of kicking off the beginning of the end. Fans are already coming up with their own theories on how the series will end in its fifth and final season, which will likely be released in mid-2024. No matter when it releases, we know that fans will wait as long as they have to for what will surely be an epic finale to this iconic sci-fi horror drama.