Stranger Things- Cryptic Teaser Brings Back…Papa?!

This morning I woke up thinking back to the 4th of July Weekend 2019. The weather was outstanding. The type of summer day where you’re living in a pool or beach for as long as the sun is out. The drinks were flowing. I decided to dabble with Ryan Reynold’s gin and let me tell you, with some mint and cucumber those things were going down like water. I remember the weather at night being to foggy to see fireworks over the bay but we sure did hear them. The sounded like it was a good show. The company I kept that weekend was top notch and I recall us traveling to our favorite local watering hole after fogworks and eventually, I drunkenly jumped on the one and twos to do a little DJ set… and I killed it. It helps when your brother-in-law is the DJ, not like I just bogarted someone’s turntables.

You know what else I remember about 4th of July Weekend 2019? Stranger Things. How the Mrs. and I woke up early to get a couple of episodes in before our festivities and how we got a bunch of food and snacks and finished our binge the two days that followed. You know, to make it last. I remember crying with Hopper’s “leave the door open three inches” voiceover, if you recall we had only lost Tony Stark a few short months prior, and feeling that high that only the stories I’m most invested in give off. In fact, because this is a safe space, I started re-watching season three a day or two after initially finishing. Zero shame. I had waited so long to go back to Hawkins and I wasn’t ready to leave just yet. I was all in. The fictional town in Indiana has my heart, you guys.

And outside of a little visit with Hopper in Russia, we’ve been playing the waiting game. Sure, the pandemic screwed up all the filming schedules and it’s not like you can do episodes filmed at home for a show taking place during the ‘80s. I don’t care how strong Eleven is she’s not able to manifest advancements in technology. Although, I would love to see Dustin lose his face over things like Zoom or an iPhone. Maybe that can be the spinoff series? I’d watch.

Not going to lie, COVID and the pandemic made me a bit concerned about the future of Stranger Things. These kids are not getting any younger, even Marvel’s de-aging technology won’t help here when Caleb McLaughlin is basically six-foot, and while Netflix knows this is their biggest show, I had concerns that the Duffer Brothers weren’t going to be able to tell their story to its fullest extent. These lengthy god-awful delays and aging children were going to force them to end the show before they meant to, and that was the last thing I wanted. With all the time, emotions, and love I’ve poured into this series, I want to make sure it gets to end on its terms. Pandemic be damned.

With that being said, the lack of Stranger Things was ten pounds of suck in a five-pound bag. That’s a lot of suck. But my friends, the draught seems to be over. Maybe. Hopefully.

Yesterday we got that cryptic message about the HNL, Hawkins National Lab, and how they would be up and running today which all but promised some sort of season four announcement. And as sure as Eleven getting a nose bleed after using her powers Stranger Things delivered some new content for our eyeholes.

The larger question looming over this two-minute video like the Mind Flayer over the Upside Down version of Hawkins High School is… what the hell does this mean? As far as teasers go this is pretty cryptic and the ambiguity is obviously intentional. The purpose of this teaser wasn’t to give us a release date for season four. It wasn’t to give us episode titles. It was mostly here to remind us that Stranger Things still exists. That they haven’t forgotten us. This teaser is the promise of more stories ahead…

… and to hint at a possible direction for season four.

While this teaser may be vague on actual details it does point to something that I Am Geek has thought for some time, that Dr. Brenner could still be out there waiting. Yes, this teaser is constructed to look like a flashback and I’d put a nice bet on the fact that it is a flashback but we can’t discount Brenner being alive. It’s been hinted at before (*cough* season two *cough*). Yet, this does appear that we are going back to Eleven’s days learning under Papa with a bunch of other numbered children. Numbered children that we know are out in the world, I’m sure everyone fondly remembers Eight from season two, and could play into the future of the series. Eleven is incredible but she’s also currently powerless. Something tells me the Hawkins AV gang is going to need some powers in their party if they’re going to (a) rescue Hop in Russia and (b) destroy the Mind Flayer.

Which makes this teaser even more curious. Previous seasons have showed us that Eleven has the ability to sort of time travel and experience things in the past. Think of it like Bran touching a tree root in Game of Thrones and seeing history playout but with more nose bleeds. This teaser certainly gave the impression that Eleven was traveling to this exact moment on purpose implying that she has her powers back. Of course, this could be a dream sequence but that feels Cheap Johns. I think Eleven is traveling to this moment because there is something she needs to see here.

Obviously, there’s not enough substance to let us know what that is but what’s interesting is Brenner asking if Eleven is paying attention. That quote is constructed to seem like it’s part of the flashback buuuuuut what if it’s not. What if Eleven is traveling back to this moment and Brenner notices her! That would be an interesting little wrinkle, wouldn’t it? I believe we’ve only seen a Demogorgon notice Eleven as she slips through time. If Brenner is capable of that what could that mean for Eleven going forward?

One thing is for certain, unlike the return date of Stranger Things, is that this teaser wants us to think about good ole Papa again. Whether he’s still alive or haunting Eleven from the past, he certainly seems to be an important part of season four. And that in itself is pretty dangerous.

What did you think of this teaser Geeklings? Are you excited to have new Stranger Things content to dig into? What do you think this means? Is Brenner still alive? Be sure to sound off in the comments or throw me a line in Twitter @iamgeek32. While we try and break this all down, I think I’m going to try and convince the Mrs. that it’s time for a Stranger Things re-watch. It’s time to get back to Hawkins.

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