“Chapter Nine: The Piggyback”
Two and a half hours is longer than a lot of movies, but the final episode of Stranger Things in season four is better than a lot of movies. There were so many emotions and anxious moments in this finale that it really put a satisfying period on the best season of Stranger Things we have had. Some of the early episodes had a few storyline that dragged some, but every one of them was fire in this episode.
I was not a huge fan of the Russian arc for most of this season (with the exception of Hopper’s awesome escape) but it felt too dragged out and too separate from the story being told in the season. That changed with the use of the Demogorgon and we got a fantastic struggle with Hopper, Joyce, Murray in the gulag trying to help the kids by killing these monsters. Tying it back to the main story really brought a relevance that had been missing. Then the connection between Hopper and Joyce came through the screen.
Max offering herself up as bait was frightening and I was legitimately crying as she raised from the ground. Lucas was fighting with Jason and when Jason stepped on the Walkman and broke it, I audibly cried out. Jason deserved his fate when the “earthquake” came through the house. Even with Eleven there, I was scared for Max. I couldn’t believe that they would kill her after the drama of episode four, but they did it anyway. Thankfully, Eleven was able to save her, sort of. It seemed as if Max may be alive but is lost in her mind.
The death of Eddie was also painful as he went out a hero. Having Dustin there made the loss all the more painful. Eddie was a major player here, with his metal performance of Metallica and his efforts to give the party more time. His death by the bats was horrible and painful.
We learned that Vecna/Henry/1 was behind everything that was happening with the Upside Down. It is not the Mindflayer. Instead, Vecna survived the finale (according to Will, who said that he could feel him now that he was back in Hawkins). He was hurt, which sure seemed as he should be with the saw-off shotgun and the fire that was consuming him. I was pumping my fist when Eleven arrived and pulled Vecna away from Max the first time. That was an amazing arrival.
Mike’s words of love helped to inspire Eleven in her battle with Vecna. This was another thing I thought might come from Mike’s dying words, but I am grateful that my prediction was off.
The earthquake that ravaged Hawkins was horrific and frightening. It is still amazing that the town is so blinded by their denial. I did enjoy the falling action, catching up with the characters after the “victory” over Vecna. The California crew arriving back in Hawkins reuniting with their friends, Dustin with Eddie’s uncle, Hopper and Joyce making it back from Russia, and Hopper’s emotional reunion with Eleven were all great moments. Jonathan and Nancy’s reunion was awkward as could be as they both have clearly grown apart but are afraid to admit it. Then, the huge cliffhanger with the storm clouds which should lead us into season 5.
This was great. Emotional. Exciting. Painful.
Can’t wait for season 5.