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Stranger Things Season 4: Every Ending Has a Beginning

Volume 1 of Stranger Things Season 4 premiered on Netflix on 27 May with nine episodes ranging from 65-150 minutes in length individually, with the remaining two episodes contained in Volume 2 and set to air on 1 July. If Stranger Things Season 3 added elements of retro drama and abuse to the overly facetious imagining of the US-Soviet Cold War, Season 4, which has just started, does attempt to expand this line in a more complex and profound way.


 


The setting for the story is no longer limited to the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, in this new season. Following a small team of three generations of Hawkins, viewers travel to California, Nevada, Alaska and even Kamchatka to figure out the true identity of the season's new villain, Vecna, in parallel, and in doing so, wrap up the issue of the Hawkins Lab prequel.


 


This season's writers' additional portrayal of two men in prison - Jim Hopper, living a hard day as a Soviet prisoner, and Victor Creel in a psychiatric dungeon - seems to give us a glimpse of the huge Cold War shadow hanging over this show.


 


The infamous battles of Cold War history and otherworldly archives and superhuman experiments are encapsulated in such a superbly paced children's science fiction drama. But the cleverest thing the writers have done is not to pick up ready-made nuclear race, space race or alien conspiracy theory material straight from the historical sources but to create a Dungeons & Dragons world of synchronicity in the manner of Jumanji. This part of the overhead becomes a permeable zone, fantastically projecting the audience's multiple thoughts on the Cold War into one reality.


Just as American director David Keith Lynch showed in his film Twin Peaks the reference to nuclear testing in New Mexico, when El is taken to an underground laboratory deep in the Nevada desert in Stranger Things, I do not think we can help but think of the nearby Area 51 and S4 bases.


Stranger Things Season 4 Screenshot 1


For example, like the most famous Area 51, which can now be seen on Google Maps, its mystery has either been deflected by the barricades or consumed long ago. But when the Cold War First began, it was the ceiling of human imagination in every sense of the conspiracy against the class enemy.


Since 1945, when the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Second World War seemed to press the pause button. But immediately afterwards, the increasingly long and horrific Cold War began. This war, built on the lies of justice and peace, is tied to a doomsday clock that measures nuclear war and said to have been stopped at 11.55 o'clock in a nervous swing.


In the 1960s, the US army used Agent Orange on a large scale in Vietnam to destroy the tropical jungle vegetation. But this synthetic chemical had long-lasting toxic effects on the soil and the human body, which Hopper uses in the play to explain the early death of his daughter.


Hopper faces the same traumas of the Vietnam War as Victor did when he returned from World War II, and their children are no different. Children in this play demonstrate the longevity of war and the cycle of cause and effect with an inevitable and unbreakable destiny. If the audience can look beyond ideology, it will be easier to see the self-inflicted truth of an unjust war.


Victor's wounds are reflected in his blackened super-powered son Henry, this season's villain Vecna, who, unlike Demogorgon or Mind Flayer in previous seasons, is a being from an otherworldly dimension. From the current update to episode 7, we know that Vecna's previous life was human, the son of Victor, the subject of experiment #1 in Hawkins' lab.


Stranger Things Season 4 Screenshot 2


In this episode, two distant female threads come together to complete the narrative; Nancy witnesses Henry's early experiences as she falls deeper into the Upside-Down world, while El recalls Henry's #1 identity as she recovers her traumatic memories during the Nina Project. El then creates a gap between the two worlds while knocking Henry into the Upside-Down world, which nicely explains the dimensional gap at Hawkins Lab.


In Season 3, Nancy and her team concocted a half-truth to cover up the fact that Hawkins Lab had secretly leaked a toxic substance, when in fact this fabricated 'fact' is true in history.


In the 1990s, declassified documents about the Cold War were revealed. A major leak had indeed occurred at the reactor at the US Atomic Energy Commission-controlled Hanford Atomic Research Centre in Washington State, without the local population knowing about it. And doctors working for the federal government at the time had been permitted to carry out cruel human experiments on prisoners and children.


Stranger Things Season 4 Screenshot 2


Season 4 is set in 1986, and the Reagan-Bush tagline appears several times in the episode. Since 1980, the relationship between Reagan and Gorbachev has heralded a de-escalation between the US and the Soviet Union.


There has been a running joke on the Internet said to have come from Reagan's then-Secretary of State: during a meeting walk in 1985, Reagan asked Gorbachev: "What would you do if the United States was suddenly attacked from outer space? Would you help us?" Gorbachev said yes, and Reagan said he would do the same, that if aliens attacked the Soviet Union, the US would certainly help the Soviet Union too.


It seems that only a larger threat to the species can slightly dissolve the barriers between the great powers. Some adults with great power in their hands may have the minds of mere children at play, while real children may have more responsibility and power than they do.


If we change our position of observation, we will find that the imaginary enemy does not actually exist, but we have already paid for it with too many innocent lives. In film and television, the evolution of the devil is often driven by the demons of the human mind, and the birth of Vecna is the result of how humans alienate themselves in a cycle of stupidity.


Stranger Things Season 4 Screenshot 4


And in this race to manipulate in every way possible, an innocent but fearful girl inadvertently opens the door to another dimension. There are still the last two episodes of the season to wait until July 1, but the best scene should be there: Max running towards her partners and listening to her favourite 1985 song Running up that hill. At that moment, she becomes a hero with her sword drawn rather than a princess waiting to be rescued by others, her subjectivity awakened at that moment by love.


She does not have superpowers, all she has is a heart.


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Tags: #Netflix #The Cold War #Stranger Things



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