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Explaining the first 3 episodes of 'Stranger Things' season 4 volume 1

Created by the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things season four premiered its first volume on May 27th, 2022. After a three-year-long wait, the season is gory, dark, scary and surprising. With a dangerous monster named Vecna haunting the town of Hawkins while the rest of the people are scattered in California and Kamchatka, the entire season is an absolute nightmarish ride.

The season stars Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, Robert Englund, Jamie Campbell Bower, Matthew Modine, Brett Gelman, Raphael Luce etc.

Read our review here.  

With episodes that are longer than an hour, the first volume had seven episodes which we have decided to break down into two volumes:

Explaining the first 3 episodes of ‘Stranger Things’ season 4 volume 1

The Hellfire Club

Stranger Things had a crazy fourth season premiere with its first episode. The episode begins with a flashback where a young Eleven is seen in the Rainbow Room with Dr Brenner and other children. Before the theme song plays and the opening credits roll in, a shocking eight-minute massacre horrifies the audience as all but Eleven and Dr Brenner are victims of a gory bloodbath. The first episode makes it seem as if Eleven has killed everyone as Dr Brenner looks at her disbelievingly, saying “What have you done?” 

Following the theme song, we see present-day Eleven in California with the Byers family, namely Joye, Jonathan and Will. She writes letters to Mike, talking about her life in California- Will is busy painting something for a special someone, Jonathan smokes away to glory and Joye is busy with her new job. While she presents a rosy picture to Mike, it is soon revealed that Eleven, now called Jane Hopper, is severely bullied at school. All she looks forward to is getting reunited with Mike during Spring Break. 

During the episode, Eleven tries to stand up to her bullies after they mock her for doing a project on her presumably dead father, Chief Jim Hopper. Although El tries to wield her powers against them, having lost her psychokinetic powers in the previous season, she becomes the butt of all ridicule. 

The episode also provides a deeper insight into what the Hawkins gang is up to. While Dustin is still dating Suzie and Robin and Steve are best of friends, Max has become a pariah, breaking up with Lucas and shutting out her friends, dealing with psychological struggles of her own. The Party is now broken up; with Will gone and Lucas trying to fit in with the popular basketball crowd, Mike and Dustin hang out with a Dungeons & Dragons group who call themselves the titular Hellfire Club. 

Meanwhile, Joyce receives a mysterious package comprising a Russian Doll which serves as a message. With the help of Murray, she smashes the doll (albeit with certain problems) before discovering that Hopper is alive. 

A new character named Chrissy is shown feeling troubled and unsettled. Haunted by visions of a grandfather clock, spiders and other eerie images, this cheerleading head seeks help from her friend Eddie. She enters Eddie’s uncle’s trailer where she is confronted by Vecna, the nightmare-inducing monster. She sees disturbing images of her father with his mouth and eyes stitched close. When Eddie attempts to snap her out of it, he watches a clearly bewitched Chrissy levitate. Her bones start breaking and bending and she dies a scary and gory death, marking the first-ever death in Hawkins since all the events of the previous season died down. 

Vecna’s Curse 

The second episode shows how Hopper miraculously survives the explosion at Starcourt Mall. In season three, it was presumed that Hopper has sacrificed his life to save the rest of Hawkins. However, the brave Hawkins Chief of Police jumps out of the way moments before everything blows up and lands on the ground. He is later seen being confronted by the Russians who tie him up, beat and torture him to extract information, before taking him back to Russia.

Mike is finally in California and Will and Mike share a pretty awkward vibe. Will feels miserable being the third wheel as Mike and El make up for their lost time; Eleven constantly lies to Mike about her allegedly super happening life in California and her friends. Later, when they go rollerskating, Will tries to confront Eleven who brushes off his concerns. Later, the trio encounter El’s bullies who brutally humiliate her on the rink. Enraged, El smacks her in the head with a skate, leading the latter to get a concussion. El is soon arrested to be sent to juvenile prison in the following episode.

Meanwhile, Murray and Joyce decode the letter. Although the sender does not want government intervention, they claim that Hopper is alive. To prove the same, they sign the letter as ‘Enzo’ which is the name of the restaurant where Joyce and Hopper almost went for a date. The letter also has a phone number where a man called Enzo answers. He asks Joyce to deliver $40,000 to Yuri in Alaska to save Hopper; the money will help Enzo “unstuck” Hopper.

Meanwhile, Nancy and her friend Fred decide to investigate the crime scene following Chrissy’s untimely demise. While Chrissy’s boyfriend, Jason and his crew begin suspecting Eddie after finding out about her death, Fred begins to have freaky hallucinations similar to that of Chrissy’s. Vecna begins to terrorise him as well. Fred apparently killed someone in a car accident and fled the scene. Vecna uses his guilt against him to terrorise him, luring him into a forest after which he goes missing. Soon, he is killed in a similar fashion.

The Monster and the Superhero 

In the third episode, the Army believes that Eleven is responsible for Chrissy’s murder and raids de Dr Owens’ house to find her.

Meanwhile, El is very ashamed of whatever happened at the rink. Over dinner, Joyce tells her family that she will be going to Alaska for a work trip, hiding the real reason for her travel. Hopper is getting ready to escape and undergoes severe pain as a fellow prisoner hits the shackles on his ankles.

Mike and El fight a lot in the morning before El gets questioned by the police and taken away for allegedly attempting to murder Eleven. However, while she is being transferred from one van to another, they are intercepted by a woman who takes her to meet Dr Owens. Owens talks to Eleven in a diner and informs her about the sinister evil haunting Hawkins. Although she has lost her powers, Owens believes that she is the cure and takes her to a deserted bunker.

While the basketball team is out on a manhunt to find Eddie, Lucas decides to distract them to protect his friend Justin. Nancy and Robin decide to learn more about Victor Creel who is perhaps involved in the murders.

Max finally pieces all the information together and finds out that Chrissy and Fred have had the same kind of hallucinations that she has had. Soon, she sees a grandfather clock before hearing Vecna call her name.