Stranger Things 4: What Do PHS Students Think?


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Julia Welsh, PaperClip Staff/Writer

On May 27, 2022, Stranger Things 4 was released to an eagerly awaiting audience. After nearly three years of waiting for a continuation of the saga, this new season had high expectations. Already, fans around the world and all over social media have been analyzing, commenting on, critiquing, and theorizing about the new season. 


This new season came with multiple new characters – Enzo, a Soviet guard who befriends Hopper; Eddie Munson, a Dungeons-and-Dragons-loving high schooler who gets swept up in the murders plaguing Hawkins; and Argyle, Jonathan’s new friend who works for a pizza shop. And, of course, the show’s newest monster from the Upside Down: Vecna. 

“It felt a lot darker than the other seasons,” says PHS senior Will Gum. Within the first episode, viewers see high school cheerleader Chrissy get possessed and murdered by Vecna. As in, all of her bones were snapped. Nonetheless, Gum was “impressed” with the seven new episodes and gives the season an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Unlike Gum, Delaney Lyons (Junior) and Gianna O’Brien (Senior) were left disappointed with the new season. Lyons gave the season a 2 out of 5 and O’Brien gave it a 3.5 out of 5. “I feel like they changed the show’s vibe and I wasn’t expecting that,” says O’Brien. 

During the first few episodes, it remains unclear who/what Vecna is and what they are doing in Hawkins. As more victims experience Vecna’s curse, encountering symptoms like hallucinations and headaches, a recurring large grandfather clock always appears in their visions. The clock does not make sense until later on in the season.

Senior Mya Catino has not yet finished the new season and is already questioning it: “After watching two episodes, I immediately realized that the writers had ditched the sci-fi aspect of the show and were heading more towards the paranormal, and I don’t think that resonates with me as much.” Could this shift divide fans and define this season from the others? Either way, Catino says she will finish the season.

Throughout the seven episodes, there are three main storylines/groups of characters: the Soviet Union (Hopper, Enzo, and eventually Joyce and Murray), California (Eleven, Will, Jonathan, Argyle, and Mike), and everyone else in Hawkins. Although it was stressful at times to have many characters separated and disconnected, the reunion (hopefully in the next Stranger Things edition) will be even sweeter. 

Dustin and Steve remain the best duo, while Jonathan and Nancy struggle with their long-distance relationship. There would be no complaints if Steve and Nancy got back together. Sorry, Jonathan. The tension was undeniable, something maybe Volume 2 (the final two episodes of season 4) will address?

Will Byers, who once was the main character, was sidelined this season. He barely had any screen time, and when he did, it was nothing much of substance. In fact, he was so irrelevant this season that none of the characters remembered his birthday. Maybe he’ll be more relevant when he is back in Hawkins?

Overall, the acting was quite good. The adults all know what they’re doing, but some of the younger actors (I won’t name names) were not as impressive. However, Sadie Sink, who plays Max, did a phenomenal job and was certainly one of the screen-time-dominating characters this season. 

While it was difficult to understand Vecna’s relevance to the storyline in the beginning couple of episodes, the seventh episode helped explain Vecna’s origins. The writers did a fantastic job of continuing this bizarre story that has captured the world while leaving the plot very open-ended and unsolved. 

Volume 2 of Stranger Things 4 will be released on July 1, 2022, in which fans can expect two episodes concluding season 4, with one of those episodes stretching over two hours. It is hopeful that the beloved characters will reunite and come together to battle Vecna, ridding the world of all evilness in the Upside Down.

In the meantime, the world is waiting…