Eduardo Franco, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard and Charlie Heaton in Stranger Things 4.

The battle for Hawkins comes to a satisfying conclusion in the last two episodes of Stranger Things 4.

This is a solid achievement by creators/directors the Duffer Brothers, because the setup to the concluding shows featured A LOT of plot threads. It didn’t seem like everything was heading toward a unified conclusion—but it was.

The finale takes place in two episodes that, combined, are nearly four hours long. Some of the material that was a bit baffling in the first seven episodes is cleared up as Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Hopper (David Harbour) and the rest of the ST crew fight to save the world on different parts of the planet. This could’ve been a tedious mess, but the Duffers present it all in a way that makes sense—and, more importantly, in a way that is very entertaining, especially for horror fans.

The Duffers and those editing this together deserve a lot of credit for making the last two shows a tight, epic exercise in big-event TV making. The charming goofiness of the first season of Stranger Things has now given way to big-budget, epic filmmaking that rivals some of the greater big-screen epics like Lord of the Rings. The show has really evolved into something special.

For me, the greatest single aspect of all of this is Brett Gelman becoming an action star, brandishing a flame thrower like MacReady in The Thing. Hopefully his turn in this show will open doors to high-profile projects.

Thankfully, the show is not over: There will be a fifth and final season involving the current cast, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they found a way to spin things off and keep the universe going beyond that. That’s the way they roll on the streaming services these days.

Stranger Things 4: Vol. 2 is now streaming on Netflix.

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