In classic Netflix fashion, the majority of stranger things season four was released all at once for perfect binge-worthy content. While the season got off to a semi-rocky start with the first chapter, it didn’t take long for this episode to jump right back into the weird, disturbing, and enjoyable story we all know and love. The majority of this episode definitely serves to lay the groundwork for the rest of the season. In the first chapter, Joyce receives a Russian doll with a telephone number. She and Murray soon discover that Hopper is still alive. As for other storylines, the tempo continues to pick up as well with Mike flying to California to visit El and Will, and the other characters working together to help Eddie after Chrissy’s death.
Overall, from a story and writing standpoint, fans were really incredibly happy to see Hopper alive as well as Murray back in the picture very early on in the series. This storyline picks up with Murray and Joyce, sparking a deal with Dmitri Antonov, a prison guard working with Hopper to help him escape. The only caveat is that they know they have to trade $40,000 in exchange for Hopper and fly to Alaska to make the trade. Conveniently separating Joyce from Will and El while Mike comes to visit.
Back in this story, fans were already going wild over Mike’s behavior in California towards Will. Although audiences eagerly awaited El and Mike’s reunion, attention was quickly diverted to the awkward tension between him and Will. The majority of this episode surrounds Mike seeing first hand how difficult El has been adjusting to her new school and how bullied she has been. Fans were also very upset in this episode when Mike didn’t seem to step in amid the craziness of the roller rink scene. However, the silver lining of this storyline was the new fan-favorite character named Argyle. A goofy, eccentric marijuana-loving sidekick to Jonathon, who also seems very absent from the majority of the episode thus far.
Back in Hawkins, Max, Dustin, and Lucas reconnect with Robin, Steve, and Nancy and confide in them about their new suspicions about Chrissy’s death. The group swear to protect Eddie and, after some D&D talk, assume that an upside-down entity they call “Vecna” is the one wreaking havoc. Amid all of this, too, audiences were thrilled to see Nancy tap into her detective roots by conducting her own investigation into Chrissy’s death. After a long talk with Eddie’s uncle, he tells Nancy that he believes the killer was Victor Creel, a former resident of Hawkins who now arrested was responsible for previous murders of a similar nature. The episode ends on a high as another secondary character named Fred who assists Nancy, is haunted by visions of his past and broken limbs everywhere.
All in all, the tempo of this season is definitely starting to pick up in this jam-packed episode. Surprisingly, at this point, fans continued to grow attached to the adorable supporting characters of Eddie and Argyle as opposed to the other characters, similar to Chrissy in the first episode. The following episodes definitely continue to follow this trend of fans usually getting angry at certain behaviors of characters like Mike, although this is only the beginning of the season. Needless to say, this episode set the tone for trends to follow throughout the season.