Stranger Things. Season 4. Volume 2. Running Up That Endgame Hill. (FULL SPOILERS)

Spoiler warning. Given a large amount of this piece relates to the ending and set-up for the final season this should go without saying The best course of action if readers have not seen the final two episodes to turn away now. Otherwise, you could fall under Vecnas curse.
Let’s get this over with. Having already written over 1000 words on the first seven episodes of the season this fan of the show was super excited to dive into the finale when it was released over the weekend. How was it?
Mostly very satisfying. Two episodes totalling 3 ½ hours without credits is something of a daunting prospect. The developments here don’t fix the problems this season has been faced with thanks to its share scope. Joyce and Hopper in Russia do gain some much-needed momentum in the aftermath of the Demagorgen breakout. Even with the Entirely unnecessary hail-mary of the characters realizing, they need to re-infiltrate the prison having already escaped. Argyle is still around and develops a plot function in the finale. There’s no real explanation for what Brenner has been doing between his first demise and re-introduction or why he’s even back in the first place. The show seems entirely hesitant to kill major characters at this point. All of these can be argued as some level of nit-pick to a major problem. However, that doesn’t matter. When the character moments are this effective and the creative team have enhanced their ability to deliver the best blockbuster entertainment possible from the comfort of viewers’ sofa. The 50-minute second act within the daunting 2-hour 13-minute finale should be held up as a gold standard in terms of how to pay off emotional investments in journeys effectively Breathlessly packed with more impactful crescendoes that you can shake several Demadogs at This is mainstream entertainment at its absolute best. An immense amount of payoff to what has been building throughout the seasons made since season one blew up and changed the standards of what we think of as cinematic TV forever. Any true fan who has developed an affinity for the show’s characters and world-building throughout its run should leave the finale with a certain level of satisfaction.
The bleaker tone of the epilogue and the sense there might be something even darker on the horizon works in terms of providing an appropriately effective end to a much darker season. This viewer would be lying if after a 13-hour journey to get here the soft cliffhanger feels like a prologue to the main show’s endgame. This was in the season’s marketing from day one but This watcher can’t help but think that setting up and ending in that relies so heavily on next season after a 778-minute runtime to get to this point feels like a potentially dicey choice. There’s no reason to suspect The Duffer Brothers won’t stick the landing. Especially with Vecna being this series’ best villain yet and the earthquake bringing The Upside Down into the real world. We will just have to wait and see.
The finale of Stranger Things 4 was a mostly very effective end to a strong season for a show that has always been so much more than what it appears on the surface. Elements of the series formula are present and correct but when they are executed this well it’s hard to complain. A terrifically executed culmination of what has been building throughout the follow-up seasons released since the initial and instant cultural impact first entry. The ending also sets the table nicely for a final season where the show’s best antagonist will eventually come back to a Hawkins that feels post-apocalyptic. This doesn’t make for as of an effectively rounded-off ending as the previous seasons when taking Season 4 in isolation. Especially after the 13-hour journey to reach its conclusion. It’s all over to The Duffer Brothers now. Also, myriad Netflix executives will be desperate to green light all manner of sequels and spinoffs.
8.5/10.

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