‘Stranger Things’ returns with fourth season

Olivia Chiappelli, Arts Reporter

After nearly three years, Netflix phenomenon “Stranger Things” has finally returned with its fourth season.

Even just in terms of structure, this season is unprecedented compared to the last three — with this installment being released in two parts. The first seven episodes dropped on May 27th, and the final two will be released on July 1st. 

The production is also welcoming changes in terms of episode run time, with each episode being considered feature-length. The first seven episodes each run about an hour to an hour and forty minutes, with the final episode expected to be two hours and nineteen minutes long.

In typical “Stranger Things” fashion, there are multiple intense, separate storylines going on at once, with each group of characters unaware of what crazy thing has happened to another group. Because the final two episodes haven’t aired yet, we were left off without the iconic scene where all of the characters meet up and explain how all of their stories interrelate.

So before our favorite characters reunite, I want to break down some of the thoughts I had while watching these storylines unfold. You won’t get too much plot out of me, however, because I do not want to reveal too many spoilers — more importantly, I operate mostly on pop culture references. You have been forewarned. 

Let’s begin with the Byers family. Joyce, Will, Jonathan and Eleven have moved to California, and Eleven is not having a good time. Last season she lost her powers, and is now struggling with fitting in at this new school, being bullied for literally no good reason. Just let the girl wear her overalls and chill!

Jonathan is also a lowkey mess, with the only silver lining being him hanging out with my “Booksmart” fav Eduardo Franco. He’s honestly the exact same character in this series, so I’m thinking that that is just his personality — which I am totally here for.

Meanwhile, Mike comes to California to visit Eleven and drama ensues because he is an emotionally unavailable teenage boy.

Before long, Eleven is separated from the group, embarking on the storyline that is basically at the core of the whole season. This plotline introduces now fan favorite Jamie Campbell Bower of “Twilight” fame — though I immediately recognized him from “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.” It’s probable that none of you even know what that is, but my middle school self sure did.

90’s queen Winona Ryder also has her own journey to reunite with Hopper — which I was totally invested in, because I am obsessed with David Harbour and his little real life family with Lily Allen. 

By far the most stacked storyline cast-wise takes place right back in Hawkins with Dustin, Lucas, Max, Nancy, Robin, Steve and newcomer Eddie all going on their own whodunit quest. This cast also delivers the best scene of the season, in my opinion, with the perfect use of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and the perfect Sadie Sink.

But most importantly, with each new season of Stranger Things comes the inevitable Joe Keery renaissance, which I always welcome with open arms.

I personally cannot wait for the last two episodes to drop so I can finally see Winona Ryder find out that her kids are on the run after being under the impression that they were just at home sitting on the couch this whole time.

Go stream!