Stranger Things 4: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab

Season 4. Episode 7.

With a cinematic budget comes cinematic expectations. Netflix’s general struggles have been publicised far and wide but this hasn’t translated to a dip in support for perhaps its most important flagship show. The Massacre at Hawkins Lab doesn’t just have a feature length running time, it feels like a feature length film also. Starting with…

Boy, was that opening scene great. There was never any suggestion that Steve Harrington was actually in mortal danger despite plunging into the icy depths and subsequently into the upside down, but it was still awesome to watch Steve, Nancy, Eddie and Robyn fight those flying face hugger things off. Truly joyous.

Elsewhere, Hopper’s incarceration reached a bloody conclusion with a visually stunning Demogorgon attack that provided one of Stranger Things‘ greatest action sequences. The reunion between Hopper and Joyce was handled delicately and competently also.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we finally find out the truth about Eleven, One and the titular massacre at Hawkins lab. Number One was responsible for the massacre. and it is as dark and horrific as anything this show has attempted before. It is also revealed that One is Victor Kreel’s son and it was he that was messing with Victor, not some demon from the underworld. Eleven kills One and thus creates Vecna and, as far as I understand it, the whole gateway to the upside down in the process. This was a fitting conclusion to this run of episodes, and there is no denying that there is a lot riding on the final two instalments of chapter four. Don’t do a Game of Thrones. Don’t do a Game of Thrones. Don’t do a Game of Thrones...

Stray Observations

  • Erica has no issue with calling out Lucas’ bullshit (‘the whole sofa is on fire’). More Erica please.
  • It’s too goddamn dark in the upside down. I couldn’t see a damn thing.
  • I enjoyed Dmitri describing Hopper as ‘the bald American’.
  • Speaking of Hopper, he has spent this whole season talking entirely in dramatic monologues. I approve.
  • So, time stands still in the upside down? Neat.
  • Murray does an absolutely outstanding Yuri impression.
  • Sorry to keep banging this drum, but the boiler room that El escapes from is very Elm Street.
  • The Demogorgon attack in the prison pit was straight out of a Resident Evil game.
    Beautifully executed (pun intended).
  • So, I guess the friendly orderly is real after all, but it turns out that he is the fabled 001. One himself. I knew there was something not right about that guy.
  • Holy Jesus. The return of Barb. Absolutely did not see that coming. Although she doesn’t look like she’ll be dancing a jig anytime soon, it was still exhilarating (and upsetting) to see her again.
  • One pretty much has his own version of Macbeth’s ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…’ speech and it is incredible.
  • Vecna is One! One is Vecna! Finkel is Einhorn! What a way to finish an episode.
  • Mike Wheeler and Will Byers anyone? Those guys are toast. Stranger Things has outgrown both of them. Off with their heads!