The first part of Stranger Things Season 4 left us with quite the cliffhanger. The evil Vecna has revealed his dark past. Hopper and Joyce were still stapped in a Russian prison with a Demogorgon wreaking death and destruction. Eleven is still trapped in her nightmare of reliving her own history. Now it’s time for Stranger Things 4 Volume 2.

Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 Spoilers Below

Given the massive ratings, there’s a lot of anticipation to see how this season ends. The final two episodes of Stranger Things 4 certainly have a lot going on, with the season finale running nearly 2.5 hours long. That being said, their ending is perhaps far too elongated without a heavy enough payoff.

Another Dose of Eleven

Keeping with tradition, the Stranger Things series superhero of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) comes to save the day with her psychic powers. As such, we get a lot of neat moments with Eleven better asserting herself and taking charge. This leads to one of the most intense sequences of an escaping Eleven forcing a pursuing helicopter to smash into the ground.

There’s thankfully more closure for the rocky relationship between Eleven and her scientist father Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine). Given that he, you know, tortured his daughter/test subject, they’re not on good terms. Of course, this gives Brenner the perfect chance to do the right thing after a string of horrific choices.

Naturally, there’s a showdown between Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) and Eleven. There’s no doubt it’s an intense battle of mind and powers. However, it’s a battle that is far more exciting when there’s teamwork among her peers who brandish shotguns and Molotov cocktails to the tune of Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush.

Stranger Tension

The biggest strength of these two episodes in Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 is the nail-biting release of tension for the characters. Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) have had a developing relationship for quite some time. Finally reunited, they have a more romantic bonding amid killing monsters.

The satanic panic bubbling through the town hits its boiling point when the vengeful jocks become more determined in their violence. This leads to Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) finally fighting back against those he once associated with. The fight that ensues with guns and choking is surprisingly intense.

The drug-dealing and D&D dungeon master Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) finally gets a chance to prove himself. After fleeing from the danger of being falsely accused of murders, he now lunges straight into the chaos. And he does so while rocking out in the most badass way possible.

Dramatic Crescendos

It’s understandable why the running times are so long for these final episodes of Stranger Things 4. There’s so much going on that there barely feels like a moment to breathe. Thankfully, there are a few to expand a bit more on the relationships of our growing characters.

Will (Noah Schnapp) has a bittersweet reconnection with Mike (Finn Wolfhard), struggling to recapture their faltering friendship. Mike has some tender moments with Eleven, making their reunion all the sweeter. The playful spirit of Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) makes his connection with Eddie one of the most powerful friendships this season.

Death Comes Knocking

Stranger Things 4 Volume 1 and 2 has done a masterful job of showcasing just how serious the antagonist of Vecna can be. Few are spared from his wrath in the Upside Down and his powers grow all the more powerful with each victim. Most of that tension remains here, where not all the characters live and those that do may not be in the best of shape by the final episode’s conclusion.

While the death toll slows down from the previous episodes, the violence is plenty brutal. Watching Hopper slay with a sword and Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) wield a flamethrower to stop a Demogoron is quite fun. You can also feel the energy once Eleven takes charge of the situation and refuses to let conspiring forces threaten her friends.

A Long Yet Rushed Wrap

Despite having so much time to bring Stranger Things 4 to an end, the elongated times just make the film feel more like an extended epilogue. There are a few interlocking parts that make the finale flourish but they’re followed up on in a rather clinical manner. Some surprises are still had in terms of who lives and who dies but you can really see the wheels turning towards the fifth season.

This becomes most evident with the final episode ending on one of the most intense cliffhangers of the series. The revelation of the Upside Down now entering directly into our own realm is going to make for an amazing follow-up season. When we’ll see that season, however, remains to be seen considering the planned time-skip.

Conclusion: Stranger Things 4 Volume 2

Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 doesn’t end with a dud of a climax but certainly a thirst for more. It’s still a real treat to watch these enduring characters lead towards a victory in their own special way. At the same time, there’s a longing for a grander finale.

Perhaps it’s just because this penultimate season felt like it was building up to a final season that it’s a disappointment there’s no end to the Netflix series. At least we’ll get another season to enjoy these characters more. Whether or not it will end on a better note remains to be seen.

Did you seen Stranger Things on Netflix? How does this season compare to previous ones? Is this half of the season better than the first? Let us know in the comments below.

Stanger Things is currently playing on Netflix.

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