Stranger Things giving Eleven her huge new power is the worst decision the show’s made yet
Say goodbye to any stakes, any peril or any actual danger
I will say it: The finale of Stranger Things 4 did not hit like it should. For an episode that’s longer than most films I’d ever bother pressing play on, you’d think after the excellence of volume one that we’d have got a better script full of braver choices. The MCU, Marvelification of Stranger Things is something I’m beginning to both fear and see materialise in front of my eyes. I don’t want fan service, I don’t want scripts that prioritise exposition over good writing. But I fear we’re in for both. And the worst decision yet? Stranger Things 4, out of nowhere, gave Eleven the power of resurrection. And it’s a mess.
A lazy writing plot contrivance
Stranger Things is afraid to kill off characters. Every few days at the moment, it feels like The Duffer Brothers are making a statement that they *nearly* killed off a character, but of course, they don’t do it. I guess because the cast are so famous and popular now, they love having this big ensemble even if it’s increasingly ridiculous that 15 powerless humans fighting against a dimension of monsters emerge unscathed.
At the end of Stranger Things 4, Max Mayfield is blinded and bones cracked by Vecna – Eleven then interrupts before he’s able to kill her. However, the damage is so bad that she then dies in Lucas’ arms. Eleven then uses happy memories of her and Max in the void to touch Max and bring her back to life – albeit still in a coma. This way, the writers get to kill Max and have Vecna have his four kills so that The Upside Down can bleed into Hawkins for season five without losing Sadie Sink.
But… What now?
So Max lives, and Eleven can now bring back people from the dead. Despite having an episode that ran at two hours and 45 minutes, Stranger Things failed to explain how Eleven and her suddenly appearing resurrection power actually worked. And maybe this will be explained in season five, but for now it feels lazy.
For a show that already takes out a lot of its peril because it refuses to kill off big characters, introducing Eleven getting a resurrection power makes the events of Stranger Things feel even less dangerous. Are there any limitations to it? Can she bring anyone back now? What about Eddie? A lot of questions, and I hope The Duffer Brothers have the capacity to explain them before the Marvelification takes a full hold.
Shows that introduce resurrection need to do it right
Either you go fully absurd with life and death, a la American Horror Story: Coven – where characters are popping back and forth from the afterlife like they’re nipping to the corner shop. Or you go Buffy the Vampire Slayer season six – where Willow’s decision to resurrect Buffy comes at a grave consequence for everyone. Buffy season six does a great job at hammering home the severity of playing with life and death, and how that people who have the power to do so should know better not too. It doesn’t work out well for anyone.
Is Stranger Things going to have the skills to tell stories with a resurrection power involved as successfully? We will have to wait and see what season five has in store for answers.
Stranger Things is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.
Related stories recommended by this writer: