Volume 1 of the latest Stranger Things season dropped with a vengeance, and the Archive Sunday team is obsessed. It's hard to believe it's been six (omg SIX😭) years since the first season aired and the show became a pop culture phenomenon that you could say re-vamped the horror genre. Enjoyed by older audiences for the entertaining nods to classic horror moments in cinema and by younger audiences for a unique approach to combining humor, horror, and science fiction, Stranger Things has no doubt become a television staple for years to come.
I pretty much binged volume 1 of season four in two days and immediately had a list of what I believe to be ICONIC moments, but if you’re looking for a spoiler-free review, please immediately stop reading this post because we’re gonna talk about everyyyythinggg today! Shut down your laptop or phone and im👏me👏di👏at👏ely👏 turn Netflix on and catch up because I promise, this season is living up to the hype.
- JUSTICE FOR WILL
Where was Will this season?? Once the heart of the Upside Down mystery, Will has faded into the background and is little more than a supporting character at this point, even despite being hunted by the Mind Flayer in season 3. This is disappointing, considering he brings a mature, contemplative, artistic energy to our fav gang (though I’ve always felt like Mike, Lucas, and Dustin grossly underappreciate what a good friend Will is to them)! However, I think his step out of the spotlight is intentional. My theory? Volume 2 will reveal that Will is just as connected to the Upside Down as El is. I don’t think he was the only one to survive being stuck in the alternate universe for so long without a reason! Vecna might have a role for Will to play in his grand plan, especially since I think he might see a bit of himself in Hawkins native - a quiet, shy boy with a huge imagination and capacity for emotion. Will the gang band together around Will? Will he play a role as large as El’s in finally conquering the Upside Down? Will we ever get to see what his drawing is?? Time will tell!
- Dungeons and Dragons has made a comeback, baby
You guys already know this - here at Archive Sunday, WE STAN NERDS. We love to see the DnD representation coming back this season!! The way the game has experienced not only more popularity but “cool factor” is a testament to how influential the sci-fi horror show has been since its debut. Season 1 did a brilliant job of incorporating DnD story building and characters into the mysterious Hawkins plot, and season 4 has brought back that flavor in a way that has season 1 fans dying for more. Plus, those Hellfire shirts? An immediate “add to cart”.
- El’s trauma recovery
Let’s take a moment to talk about El’s powers. At her strongest, El is a force to be reckoned with- an irreplaceable, incredible being whose power and strength knows no bounds. But the show takes a deep dive into her psychological journey and explores various ways even an all- powerful person can lose their strength and feel completely helpless and lost after going through horrible, spirit-breaking experiences. Stranger Things does a great job of demonstrating the way someone’s healing can be bolstered by loving friends and found family, and El is the ultimate symbol of self-empowerment.
- Why is Dr. Brenner still a thing
The caption says it all. If this dude gets a redemption arch, I will FIGHT.
- What happened to Eight?
Kali, or “Eight” managed to escape the Hawkins National Lab and is currently sidequesting in Chicago. However, her ability to create realistic illusions in the minds of others seems like it could be powerful against Vecna and his plans for Hawkins. Will she come back to team up with El for volume 2? Personally, I would love another scene or two between Kali and El where Kali re-teaches El to trust herself and embrace all aspects of her power - especially after only recently (and unhealthily) reconnecting to it. No one could ever truly understand El the way Kali could, and this connection could empower El to see herself as more than a mere weapon or pawn.
- Hopper and Joyce - ultimate couple goals
Sure, romantic texts and fun dates are cute and all, but would your S.O. cross the ocean into a hostile country to impersonate a black market dealer and break you out of a sadistic, inhuman prison?? #importantquestions
- Will we ever get “Running Up That Hill” out of our heads?
Probably not. But the entire series has introduced 80s classics to a new generation and sparked a variety of TikTok trends that won’t seem to stop showing up on our FYP. Plus, the song’s enormous success decades after its initial release proves that you should pursue creating art you believe in, no matter how underappreciated it might be in the beginning. Kate Bush may not have had a global hit when she first released “Running Up That Hill” in 1985, but today the popular song has topped charts with mind blowing records and she is raking in the (well-deserved) cash.
Moral of the story: don’t let anyone stop you from believing in yourselves, kids!
- We’re all kind of (okay totally) obsessed with Eddie.
Who isn’t a sucker for a person who rages against the norm machine? Eddie has become a fun addition to the Stranger Things cast and must be protected at all costs. Plus, who wasn’t rooting for him to win over Chrissy the Cheerleader?? Hopefully Eddie does not become another casualty of the Upside Down, because I for one could use more Hellfire in my life. Also, that shag? Low-key #hairgoals.
- More screen time for Erika, plz
Who doesn’t love the spitball that is Erika Sinclair?? She is confident, sassy, and whip-smart. I think I speak for most everyone when I say that she needs more time with the main gang! Hopefully she ends up playing a bigger role in Part 2 of the fourth season and in the seasons to come. 🤞🏻
- The TRUE epic conflict- Nancy and Steve, or Nancy and Jonathan?? OR- Nancy and Robin??
Man, this one’s a tough one. The Stranger Things show writers have done an incredible job of building a meaningful, intellectual relationship between Nancy and Jonathan, but they’ve also outdone themselves in their work to reveal Steve to be more than an arrogant, selfish jock (our fav babysitter for LIFE, amiright). Volume 1 completely backed away from the foundation of Nancy and Jonathan’s relationship that we’ve been rooting for over the last two seasons but… I’m not upset about it?? She and Steve just have this insane chemistry, and since the show loves exploring the themes of cycles, I feel like them getting back together would add a nice element of “full circle” to their storylines. However, Jonathan encouraged Nancy to explore her own intellectual curiosity and self-determination in a way that no other character has challenged her to do, and I’d hate to see such a great team break up. UGH. #torn Personally though, the Archive team would 34739/10 root for Nancy and Robin!! Fans have been shipping them together HARD this season and we are all for it. They would have an incredible dynamic and we always want to see more representation!