Friday, June 10, 2022

What I’m Watching: Stranger Things (Season Premiere)

Stranger Things: Season 4, Episode 1 “Chapter One: The Hellfire Club” (B+)

It took me a while to get through season three of this show after I (somewhat) hastily caught up on seasons one and two when the second one was released, and I had planned to try to watch these episodes in quick succession. But a combination of being very behind on other shows, preparing to cover a film festival, and the insane runtime of these episodes means that I’m going to spread this one out again over the course of a number of weeks, which will definitely take me through the release of the final two episodes of the season that are apparently even longer than any of these. I see that as a positive since this show is really so immersive and feels like such a trip each extended hour. The opening scene was indeed tough to watch given the recent elementary school shooting, and it didn’t feel germane to the rest of the episode, though I’m sure it will all connect soon. Eleven’s adjustment to life in LA sounded solid at the start, but she’s now falling victim to general teenage cruelty, and trying to use her powers only to have them not work isn’t helping her popularity at all. Jonathan and Nancy are both struggling to keep up their relationship, while Steve seems to be very encouraging of Robin going for a romance that she’s not sure will work. Max is angry and not into spending time with anyone, while Mike and Dustin have new problems that aren’t quite otherworldly but are taking up a lot of their time and energy. Eddie and Chrissy are interesting new characters, though after what Chrissy endured in this episode, I’m not sure we’re going to be seeing much more of her. I’m not so into the possession aspect of this series, but I know it will still manage to be an immersive and intense season.

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