March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Stranger Things “Chapter Nine: The Piggyback”

Season Four Finale

I will admit I am not the best when it comes to avoiding spoilers, but I often don’t mind ’em too much.  If the movie or TV show is still good in execution, even if I know the ending, then what’s the problem?  I mean, if I go to see something based on a book I read, I can generally expect the story to turn out about the same, and I don’t get mad over that.

But I tried really hard to avoid spoilers for this most recent season of Stranger Things…only to have a fairly memorable moment spoiled by, of all things, a meme on my Facebook feed advertising a fanpage.  Boo!

Eh, I’ll live.

By the by, that moment was the death of Eddie, a satisfying way for the latest likable new character to join the crew to die.  You know, like Barb and Bob.  Theoretically Billy, but I never bought Billy’s redemption.  Plus, I never got the whole “Barb” thing since she died pretty early on in some kind of reverse where the virgin doesn’t survive the initial monster attack while Nancy is off gettin’ some with Steve.

But Bob?  He got done dirty.  Eddie at least found courage he didn’t know he had, got to rock out in the Upside Down, and then act as a decoy only to die over there, still thought of as a villain back in Hawkins after an “earthquake” hits the town because that dick Vecna got his fourth kill with Max.  Sure, she didn’t stay dead, but she didn’t wake up either.

By the by, Max (and Robin) are proof likable characters who join the cast don’t necessarily die.

However, this was a finale, a two and a half hour one (makes me wonder what the length of the series finale will be like when the fifth and final season drops), and it gave many of the characters a moment to shine.  Stranger Things has always operated on this weird logic that the characters will split into three groups (originally kids, teens, and adults) where each group will go off and have a separate adventure until they all come together to combine their skills and knowledge to save the day.  That’s what happens here.  True, the groups have shifted somewhat.  Steve often went with the kids, but because the kids are now teens themselves and about half of them were on the West Coast while the adults were in Soviet Russia, getting the group back together would seem to be geographically impossible.

So, really, they join forces while physically separated.  Nancy leads her group into the Upside Down to use weapons on Vecna while Max does her best to hold him off and Lucas keeps an eye on Max.  Erica shows why she shouldn’t be messed with in her own way.  The van team realize they won’t make it in time, but El realizes she can psychically assist Max from where they are if they can build another isolation pod.  Argyle of all people knows how to do that at another franchise location for the pizza shop he almost certainly got fired from, and Jonathan even knows how to negotiate a bit with a counter guy who could be Argyle’s long lost cousin before proving he can be a good big brother to Will in a way that reminds people Jonathan is actually a good character himself when he gets to actually do something.

Oh, and off in Russia, Hopper and Joyce realize they can help by killing the Upside Down denizens in that Soviet prison because they’re all a hive mind.

Possibly a hive mind under Henry Creel’s control since it seems he’s the one that shaped the Mindflayer in the first place.

So, as El tosses the psychic Vecna around, Nancy pumps the physical Vecna full of lead after Robin and Steve set it on fire, Lucas gives Jason the ever-loving beat down that guy probably deserved, Erica did the same to Jason’s last sidekick, and Hopper decapitated a partially burned Demogorgon, the day is saved…for now.  Max is in a coma, a thing that affected me far more than the death of Eddie, and everyone goes back to Hawkins for a lengthy but well-deserved epilogue…only for the Upside Down to come through anyway.

So yeah, this was awesome.  Plus, I think I want a woman to give me a look of girlish, giddy excitement like Winona Ryder gives David Harbour in a scene where the pair break off to change into clean clothes.  It’s little details like that that make the show for me.

So, now the long wait to final season begins.  Hopefully it sticks the landing.

As for Mondays, speaking of Netflix shows with final seasons, the last season of Locke & Key is out…or will be by the time this goes out.  I do type these out in advance.

This show did manage to get a bit past the source material, so I am curious what it does for a final season.