If the latest Stranger Things trailer is any indication, season four is going to be all over the place.
After Stranger Things, season one, I was hooked. I thought this Netflix original series was the best thing on TV. I mean, it totally captured the angst and zeitgeist of being a Dungeons & Dragons nerd in the 1980s. (Full disclosure, I was a Dungeons & Dragons nerd in the ’80s.) I’ve written enough blog posts discussing how the series has drifted from its engaging roots. I haven’t given up yet on this series yet, but its latest season four trailer raises more concerns. Check it out:
Well, I was wondering what happened to Eleven and Will and Joyce Byers. It looks like they’ll be playing out…
The California Sub-Plot
At the end of season three, I wondered what would become of Joyce Byers, Will Byers, and Eleven. Well, it looks like they moved to California and are doing the whole fish-out-of-water thing. This seems to be hardest on Eleven, who struggles to fit in at her hip, suburban California school. Frankly, it reminds me of my struggles. Try being a “Midwestern bumpkin” trying to communicate with Stuart Sweet, the consummate California sophisticate. But I digress…
So, Eleven and Mike Byers are now in California, where it seems to be a struggle fitting in. It seems like the highlight of Eleven’s school year is her summer break. Clearly, she’s counting the days until spring break, when she can visit Mike Wheeler in Hawkins. If I’m reading it correctly, government agents snatch Eleven somewhere in the desert outside California. Papa, aka Dr. Martin Brenner, perhaps? My guess is that they won’t make it to Hawkins.
The Hawkins Sub-Plots
There seems to be a lot going on here, too. Sticking with the latest trailer, there’s a flashback to someone – government agents, perhaps? – shooting up a home. We get a brief flash of Mike Wheeler and maybe Jonathan Byers flinching as bullets rip through the walls. This leads me to believe that the series’ clueless yet evil governmental forces have caught up to the Hawkins kids. They know those little “meddling kids” know too much about “The Upside Down.” Clearly, a hit team is sent to tie up loose ends.
There’s another wrinkle in the Hawkins sub-plots. It’s the one featuring Victor Creel. He’s the guy who moved his family to Hawkins in the 1950s only to end up murdering them. Three decades later, our favorite kids from Hawkins are investigating Creel’s house. Their focus is on a mysterious grandfather clock in the attic. It seems to have a connection to The Upside Down and might have been the source of the house’s disturbances. Here’s the trailer to refresh your memory:
The Russia Sub-Plot
Do you remember that Chief Hopper is imprisoned in a Siberian gulag? It was one of the early season four trailers, and it came out a long time ago. We all know why this series has been delayed so there’s no sense discussing it. (We’re not that kind of blog, anyway.) So, yeah, when the action isn’t focused on Hawkins or California, we’ll be in Siberia. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Hopper’s struggles and what I hope will be some type of it’s-so-crazy-it-just-might-work escape plan. (Another ’80s trope.) Here is the trailer to refresh your memory:
So, with all this going on at once, I can’t help but wonder…
How Will the Stranger Things Cast All Come Together?
For the past three seasons, the show’s formula has worked off the same basic premise. The adults and children, in small groups, all discover a piece of what’s going on. This leads to a variety of misadventures until, in the end, they all come together to stave off The Upside Down and save Hawkins and the world. Sure, it could happen in season four, but how? My concern is that the script will have to be Stretch Armstrong to make it work. I’ve been streaming long enough to know that bad writing can kill a series as quickly as a network cancellation. Will that be the fate of Stranger Things after its fourth season?