‘Stranger Things’ Season 4: Does Eleven Really Need New Powers?


Like many of you, I spent this weekend watching the final two episodes of Season 4 of Stranger Things. And I have to admit, when I got to the end, I was like, “What the hell just happened?”

Max (Sadie Sink) was caught in Vecna’s (Jamie Campbell Bower) clutches. Her bones cracked, her eyes went white, and she began to bleed. When Vecna was finally (if temporarily) defeated, Max was let go, but she was alive. She was talking to Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin). I thought that maybe she would be badly broken, maybe she would be blind, but she would be alive. But then she died. And I was sad. I love Max. But I kind of knew someone had to die in Stranger Things, and it couldn’t just be Eddie (Joseph Quinn).

Then Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) came in, and she decided she couldn’t let Max die. I don’t know what kind of voodoo she did, but somehow, Eleven managed to bring Max back to life. Even if the poor girl is still comatose, she isn’t dead. And I kind of wish they had just let Max die.

First off, it negates the need the show has to have someone die. The Duffer Brothers seem to have a bad habit of introducing characters at the beginning of a season only to kill them off by the end, while our core characters get to survive season after season. It takes some of the danger out of things, especially in a day and age when we are used to having characters die at any given moment. When you have characters facing this level of danger at every second of every episode, it seems a little disingenuous for no one to ever escape unharmed.

Second, it gives Eleven dangerous new abilities that are unnecessarily powerful. She can bring anyone back to life? That is such a lazy way to do things. In a supernatural show, you can keep any character around; just keep them “alive” in another dimension, or as a demon, or a ghost, or whatever. There are a million ways to do it. But to just magically bring them back to life takes zero imagination and zero work. Next season, is Max just going to wake from her coma feeling refreshed?

And what happens when the gang has their next encounter with Vecna/the Mindflayer/whatever spawns from the Upside Down? If Mike (Finn Wolfhard) is “killed” next, will Eleven just resurrect him? Will she keep practicing until she no longer has that pesky “coma” step and can just automatically bring them back to life?

Eleven is plenty powerful as it is. She can enter people’s minds. She has telekinesis. She is sassy (this isn’t a superpower; this is just a badass girl power). Does she need to add necromancy to her powers? It feels unnecessary.

Again, I have to repeat this: I love Max and I don’t want her to die. However, her near-death and Eleven’s new, unreasonable powers made this season feel anticlimactic.

Stranger Things Season 4 Vol II is now streaming on Netflix.

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