It’s a while since we’ve been back to Hawkins, Indiana. We haven’t been since 2019 (or 1985), and it’s quite clear that a lot has happened. So, where do we start? We’ve got new characters, so many subplots that it’s hard to keep track, more of Eleven’s history… still, the world of the Upside Down doesn’t seem as believable.
Is the bleakness of Hawkins and the Upside Down still as much of a good escape as it was? The short answer is yes. If you spend any time at all thinking about how the plot lines up, it’s a less resounding yes. It’s everything we love about Stranger Things, it’s campy, it’s familiar, it’s what we expect. Even if the Henry/001/Vecna storyline threw the entire Upside Down into question (why is he in purgatory? Where is the purgatory? Where does Hawkins in the Upside Down sit in relation to it? How did Henry find Hawkins after being in this purgatory?), it’s still quite pretty to look at. The Duffers know how to make a set look good, even if it is at the expense of the plot sometimes.
The 80s? Do you mean Freddy Krueger? Or Soviets? Stranger Things has them both!