Stranger Things fans have not had a whole lot to celebrate ever since Hop heartbreakingly reminded us to keep the door open three inches over two years ago now. Season three crushed the Fourth of July Weekend of 2019 and it was glorious. I drank gin, I did a guest DJ spot at our local bar, I attempted to watch fireworks in foggy weather, and I binged the hell out of Stranger Things. In fact, I finished the season and immediately re-watched because I needed more. If you want a perfect summer recipe, look no further. I loved it, put it directly into my veins. The more of Hawkins the better in my opinion and I was already setting my sights on season four most likely in the fall of 2020 the way the show seemed to base its releases on what season the story was taking place during.
I had all the important questions ready too. Who was the American? What did it mean for Eleven and Will to be moving away? Could Eleven regain her powers? How long will I have to live with the pain of Alexei’s death? Season four of Stranger Things felt like it was really going to kick the door open of this universe with a story that could no longer be contained by just Hawkins, Indiana. We had Russia to look forward to. California. And the ever-looming, Upside Down.
#pandemic and you know what happened next. No Stranger Things season four…
During, what can only be described as a long wait, we’ve only gotten some small glimpses of this upcoming season. There has been the imagery of the clock in the Upside Down that we learned on Netflix Day might belong to the Creel House, an Amityville Horror style house where animals randomly die on the front lawn, parents eat creepily or maybe even murder their family, and that our gang of heroes (led by Dustin and Steve) will find themselves breaking into. What is this house? Does it serve some deeper connection to the Upside Down? Or maybe is there something else afoot here…
Because some of the other season four teases we got have to do with the return of Papa! You know, the one who was kidnapping children and running freaky deeky experiments on them. The one who asked too much of Eleven and caused the breach between our world and the Upside Down. Whether or not Papa is actually dead is yet to be seen, season two would want us to believe that maaaaaaybe he’s still alive. Then again, maybe not but what if this Amityville-style house was once… Papa’s childhood home? Maybe this is how he was introduced to the Upside Down and led to a lifetime of obsession and pursuit to break down that wall. Maybe this house is a gateway into Papa and the experiments he conducted.
Or maybe it’s just a creepy house with some other connection.
Perhaps the house is a conduit to Russia, where our other Stranger Things teaser has taken place. We now know that Hop is the American and is a part of a Russian chain gang. How will the Hawkins AV team make it to Russia to save him? Especially now that Eleven doesn’t have powers? Accessing the Upside Down sounds like the most likely avenue and perhaps this households some kind of bridge? Maybe? I don’t know if this season will be the pursuit of Hopper, they all think he’s dead thanks to that crushing voiceover letter, but I can’t imagine going a full season without the gang finding out he’s alive. We need that Joyce and Hopper date! It’s got to happen.
Outside of all that, the well has been kind of dry on Stranger Things which is why Stranger Things Day, celebrated on the day Will Byers was kidnapped by the Demogorgon, this weekend was such a welcome escape from a world with a serious lack of Hawkins. A day packed with a bunch of season four goodies including a new teaser.
So, now that Stranger Things Day 2021 is in the books. What did we learn?
It appears that story-wise, we are six months removed from the events of the Fourth of July, and real life-wise, these kids can all probably drive now. Will and Eleven are now living in California and we know that Eleven isn’t really telling the truth in her letter to Mike regarding her time at school. Things aren’t going great and I think it has less to do with the style of haircuts that are allowed in the Byer’s house, woof, and more to do with Eleven feeling like an outsider. Probably even more so with a lack of powers, something she’s most likely used to define herself for quite some time.
Jonathan appears to have tapped into that Cali weed scene which could explain the arrival of Surfer Boy Pizza, a t-shirt I already can’t wait to own, cause what stoner isn’t going to make friends with the pizza guy?
But wipe those spitballs off your face because a reunion is on the horizon. Spring Break is right around the corner and according to Eleven, it’s going to be the best one ever. Which means things are going to get terribly weird and gloomy. You know, the type of antics we expect from our Stranger Things viewings.
What’s Everyone Else Up To?
This teaser focused mostly on Eleven as she adapted to her new powerless life out in California but it did end with a flurry of images of our supporting cast and things look bonkers. Joyce mysteriously receives a Russian Doll in the mail, which has to be a hint that Hopper is still alive, and if we know anything about Joyce, she will jump on any possibility that a loved one is still alive. Jonathan looks to shake out of his stoned haze a little bit as the Byer’s house gets shot up for reasons we don’t know yet but I’m sure it’ll have to do with the appearance of Murray, everyone’s favorite conspiracy theorist. Underground tunnels, much like the ones we saw in season three, seem to play a part of the story again but not sure where these tunnels are coming from? Perhaps that shack in the desert. And speaking of the desert, what is exploding, and is that Will standing in front of said explosion? It didn’t look like Eleven. So, what’s up with that?!
The teaser wasn’t the only nugget we got sprinkled throughout the day. We also were given the episode titles for the upcoming fourth season which is always one of my favorite Stranger Things reveals. Nothing like diving deeeeeeep into what’s to come based solely on the episode titles. Leads to some fantastic discussion and theories and boy does season four have some doozies.
· The Hellfire Club
· Vecna’s Curse
· The Monster and the Superhero
· Dear Billy
· The Nina Project
· The Dive
· The Massacre at Hawkins Lab
· The Piggyback
A few episodes grab my attention immediately outside of the X-Men reference in “The Hellfire Club”. For starters, “Dear Billy” certainly seems like an episode where Max is going to get to shine. We know from season three that Billy, Billy didn’t make it so what could be going on here? Could Max be coming to terms with her grief? Could they be trying to contact a part of Billy that’s trapped in the Upside Down? Is this a love letter written by Mrs. Wheeler? I’m not entirely sure but I’m happy to see that Billy will still have an impact on this story and these characters.
After that my immediate focus went to “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” and “Papa” as the two have to be related. What is this hinting at? We saw that Hawkins Lab was closed, thanks to Jonathan and Nancy, but we know that just forced them to get their shady-on DL style. Could we have another situation where everyone in the lab dies because of a breach in the Upside Down? Is Papa actually alive and still conducting experiments in the shutdown lab or will his episode be more of a flashback to explore Eleven’s powers and history? These episodes also come late in the season so it looks like while the scope of this fourth season will be larger, that at the end of the day, we’re still going to be spending a good amount of time in Hawkins. Like we should.
No, we did not get a release date for this season. It would seem that all the talk of Spring Break would hint that we were in for a spring release but the gods are cruel, Geeklings. Season four of Stranger Things won’t be released until the summer of 2022. The. Summer. Of. 2022. Talk about a kick to the groin.
All that means is the wait to return to Hawkins will be even longer but there is an end in sight. Hawkins looms and one has to believe with how late the release of the season is that the Duffer Brothers will want to start production of season five as soon as possible before these kids head off to college. One would have to think that there’s only one season left of Stranger Things and if the wait for season four has shown me anything, it’s that I’m unwilling to wait another two years for season five.