Grounded: Why Season 4 of Stranger Things is Maybe a Bad Thing (NO SPOILERS)
Like 40 million odd households, I too, have partaken in the latest season of Stranger Things. And Reader, let me tell you, I cried a lot. The season was cathartic for me in many ways, and I can’t quite go into them without spoiling things, so we won’t discuss that here. Needless to say, that by episode 4, I was truly hooked.
The ending of the season left me a ruined husk and a crying mess. The penultimate scene of the battle with the Mind Flayer and the sacrifices made by various cast members tore my emotions apart, threw them in the trash, and then lit the trash on fire.
It was a very good season, despite the slow and awkward beginnings.
Now, if you’ve seen the season, you will know exactly how it ended. How the final scenes of the show played a cover of Bowie’s HEROES and utterly wrecked my shit. How stunningly poignant and timely the use of that particular song was in relation to the way the Battle with the Mind Flayer ended and how the party would be made to suffer the consequences of their actions.
It was a perfect ending to the series. It was heartbreaking and painful and spoke a lot about growing up and moving on after a horrific and life-changing experience.
How the mid-credits scene played out and set up a whole new conspiracy for us to salivate and speculate about.
The ending to season 3 set up a world where the good guys won, but at a terrible cost to themselves and the town they live in. Hawkins was fundamentally changed, as were the kids who were caught up in the Mind Flayer’s plans. The Byers, especially, were fundamentally and permanently changed by the upside-down. There’s no denying that.
Without spoiling anything, the mid-credits scene at the end of the season undid so much of the poignancy and heartbreak of the series that it actually made me shout ‘no, f#ck you!’ at the television. That is how damaging and pointless to the story the scene was. It continues the story, in a way that feels forced, rather than natural. It doesn’t let the story end, but forces a shift in the world. It is an ending that ruined the satisfaction of the actual ending for me.
Season 4 of Stranger Things is an idea that doesn’t make me as happy as it could. The ending signals a shift in perspective, and forces us to look at the events that happened in Hawkins on a bigger, potentially global, scale. The suggested start for season 4 as made in the post-credits scene, and the actual ending of season 3, means that the kids who were the heart of the show might not be able to be a part in the ongoing story. A global scale story now moves the focus away from the characters who drove the show and made us fall in love with the world of Hawkins, Indiana. While I am already craving more of the story, I don’t feel that continuing the series beyond what was established is a good idea on the story-telling front. I don’t think that moving the story onto a more global scale is ideal for continuing this adventure. I think that they will have to bring the story back to the beginning, back to the characters who have been established, or else completely spin the series off to encapsulate the newer direction.
Either way, I’m more upset by the prospect of a season 4 and 5 than I am about the series ending the way it did before the post-credits scene.