In this season’s most suspenseful, exciting, and spine-tingling episode so far, Kate Bush’s experimental and unconventional lyrics save the day.
This recap of Netflix’s Stranger Things season 4, episode 4, “Dear Billy,” contains spoilers.
Stranger Things season 4, episode 4 recap
“I have gone to become a superhero again. From, El.” That is the note Owen’s agents gave Mike. She is off to help the good people of Hawkins, and they have asked Mike, Will, and Jonathan to stand down. Why? Because there are factions in the government, who want to stop El and are actively searching for her now. Meanwhile, the other kids are going over Max’s revelation. She saw a grandfather clock. They were going over the school’s counselor’s notes. Chrissy died after a week. Fred died after six days. And Max? She is on day five. Our poor Max thinks she is dead and doesn’t have much time left. So, she writes letters to all her friends to read if anything happens.
Robin and Nancy forge some documents that allow them to get an interview with the director of the facility that holds Victor Creel. They are hoping that they can gain information to save Max. They visit the facility where they are denied access to Creel, but Robin “me-too’s” the director with a speech about how women are not taken seriously in psychiatry and a man would have access to the serial killer in seconds. As they play Nancy Drew, Steve is stuck in the Babysitter’s Club, watching over Dustin, Lucas, and Max. He drives the kids out of town because there is no way Max will spend her last hours in the town of Hawkins. She has Steve blast “Hard Feelings” by Al Kerbey on the radio, which suits her perfectly.
Of course, they have to stop at Max’s house first. She drops off some letters but sees her mom in the backyard. When Max gives her mom a long hug, the sky turns dark, the mother won’t let go of her bear hug grip, and Vecna is now hugging her. “Maxine, you think some letters are going to make things right? You’ve broken everything. Your time is almost at an end,” he says. When she comes to, her mother is gone. Max was in a trance.
Let’s move on to Hopper. He finally makes his escape. Hopper breaks the sledgehammer and approaches a guard for a new one at the shed. He ambushes him while his back is turned and begins to bend his ankles in unspeakable ways to remove the shackles. Then, another guard surprises him from behind. A fight ensues, and I’m glad the writers haven’t turned Hopper into some assassin trained in jujutsu. It’s a meat and potatoes brawl, down and dirty, with Hopper breaking the man’s neck.
However, Hopper then finds some dynamite because the soldier’s gun went off a minute ago. He lights some dynamite and escapes out of the rooftop. They see him fleeing in a snowmobile without shoes on. About twenty Russian soldiers manage to miss him from a reasonable distance, and they are all armed with AK-47s. So, it turned into a little bit of James Bond (at least more believable than Xander Cage). He manages to make it to the smuggler’s stash house, equipped with excellent Jiff product placement.
However, we find out why Joyce and Murray watched Yuri count the money for hours. It was a setup and double-crossed. He calls Dmitri and tells him that he has alerted the prison warden he helped plan the escape and called the KGB to come to pick up the Americans. Why? Because he now keeps the $40,000 and gets paid for the rest. Hopper is caught, Dmitri is taken into custody, and Yuri has drugged Joyce and Murray. He will fly them to Russia soon.
We have a big guest star because the actor playing Victor Creel is Freddy Kreuger himself, Robert Englund. When the girls convince the director to interview him by themselves (this seems unlikely unless a dark spell also possesses him), they are walked back by the guard. Nancy and Robin tell him that they know he didn’t kill his family. It was something else. He turns around, and we see his face; his eyes have been removed from his head years ago and are sewn shut. Just like in the hallucination Chrissy had of her father! Creel tells a story of how his family was killed by the demon and the memories Vecna used against him.
And the action is just heating up during the entire episode. The Byers’ house is invaded by the military. The first agent is killed, and another is a maestro with a pistol. He manages to take down about a dozen of America’s finest before taking a couple himself. Mike, Will, Jonathan, and the agent who saved them escape in Argyle’s van
This all leads to Max being saved by some Nancy Drew detective work by Nancy and Robin. When Max is at Billy’s grave, Vecna puts her in a trance. She is in the upside-down place and is levitating off the ground. The demon is using the memory of Billy to frighten her. Max manages to run away from him and Vecna when Max comes upon and enters a place that will remind viewers of Mordor. The dark wizard taunts her and has her in his grips, just like the others. Dustin contacts the girls, who tell him they can break her out of the spell by playing her favorite song that brings her back to reality – “Running up that Hill” by Kate Bush.
Max hears the music and sees herself and the boys in the distance through a closing portal window. She manages to rip one of Vecna’s vine-like hairs, and he drops her. She runs like a bat out of hell towards the portal door while Vecna throws everything he can at her while Ms. Bush’s experimental and unconventional lyrics play on. The last scene shows she has made it. She falls to the ground and cries as she lays in Lucas’s arms.
What did you think of Netflix’s Stranger Things season 4, episode 4? Let us know in the comments below!