This week on You Love To See It, we decided to ditch all the “traditional” business plans and scams and end “Nice Try July” by looking at Vecna’s business plan. That’s right, we spelunked into Stranger Things Season 4 with a deep, deep dive into Lover’s Lake (and the hell pit below it)? No, into the explosive, metal, obscenely long season finale finale! Spoilers abound in our episode, but believe us, it’s worth it.
As always, you can listen to the show in the embed, or find it on your podcatcher of choice here. I’m including our show notes here, which contain some creative capitalization and spoilers, but should give a good sense of our research and thoughts moving into recording day. You can also read the full transcription (once that arrives via our incredible transcriber) below our show notes, if you prefer your podcast in this format!
Here’s our Stranger Things Season 4 finale synopsis:
This will be a discussion of the TWO AND A HALF HOUR HOLY JESUS final episode of Stranger Things season 4. To keep it spoiler-free, we can say that the stakes are high, some nerdy teens are in trouble, some things have gone down in Russia, and the sleepy town of Hawkins is seriously fucked up! In the time it takes to… watch a bloated marvel movie, many of the showdowns are… shown down, many climaxes (lol) are reached, and many monsters are… monstrous.
And our must-discuss items, which contain spoilers for Season 4 and the finale:
Fernanda’s must-discuss items:
- I don’t know what it says about me as a person that the first note on my notes app is “Hopper is hot.” HORNY POLICE COME GET ME. LOCK ME UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEYS. IF I’M NOT PUT AWAY FOR GOOD I AM SURE TO REOFFEND.
- (Lmao, Fernanda, there is no judgment in my heart, he does look pretty good, and I low key kinda feel like Winona Ryder can absolutely get it too, even though her role in 79% of this season is “make weird faces”)
- I’m not gonna lie: I started off as a Stranger Things hater. I watched the first season feeling very much pressured to do so and, as the absolute asshole that I am, I obviously *had* to make sure everyone knew how unimpressed I was by it. It wasn’t just an act, though; I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I should have — which may or may not have something to do with my predisposition to dislike everything involving kids. But I kept watching, mostly out of FOMO, and this season really got its hold on me. I don’t even remember what happened in season 2, other than Emo Eleven, and liked Season 3 mostly for the aesthetic value, but this one I found myself genuinely enjoying. I mean, it obviously made for the *she said, bristling ever-so-slightly* youths and it doesn’t necessarily contain life-altering, mind-bending existential reflections, but it’s just so good at what it sets out to do. It’s easy to scoff at ridiculously popular things as cheap entertainment, but I do think it takes *something* for a product to be so widely consumed. In this case, to be so avidly consumed, by people in totally different age groups and tastes, all over the world, at a time when we really have such an enormous buffet of options of content to consume. The show really does a great job at creating characters that viewers will respond to (Eddie! Argyle! Erika! Steve!) and balancing the sort of underlying goofiness with a just heavy-enough touch. Which, I believe, was even more on point this season. I once heard on a podcast that literally every horror product today is about trauma, and honestly it’s true, but I do think that Stranger Things (kind of like the IT movie did) does a really job of framing trauma within the realities of the age group without getting too sappy or try-hard, and I think they nailed the balance in this sense, particularly with Max and Vecna’s M.O. this season. Yes, and we’ll get into it in a bit, some of the storylines were overdrawn or just downright unnecessary, but all in all I really do think they managed to pack a lot in while making it all mostly interesting!
- Since we’re talking about the Finale specifically, though… It was my least favorite episode of the entire season. I understand its narrative purpose, especially in the context of the last episode of the penultimate season of a show, and I already expected it to be more about the action than the previous ones. But I guess I got a little spoiled by the quirkier, more character-driven episodes, and found myself kind of just getting through this one knowing that it would set me up for the next season. Whereas the previous episodes really did feel like little movies that I was almost able to enjoy as separate little pieces of entertainment, this one felt more like… A means to an end, if that makes any sense? Again, I get why, but I do feel like maybe there could have been a little more balance between setting the scene for the next season and actually giving us something meaty to chew on while we wait. Especially considering it’s two and a half hours long! Like, a full fucking movie! Maybe they could have wrapped up the Russia plotline earlier, so the last episode didn’t need to tackle so many different conclusions?
- On that note, I am totally with you when it comes to the Russia and Basketball team storylines. As much as I enjoyed Yuri and possibly developed a crush on the guard-turned-ally because, again, I AM A HORNY LIABILITY, it really didn’t need to drag on as much as it did. I really thought they were gonna break Hopper out of there within three episodes or something so we could get on with our lives, but nope. They had to beat that one into the goddamn ground. And then the jocks thing… Well, they did succeed in creating a character more unlikeable than Vecna, so props to them, but I agree that it wasn’t successful. It honestly looked a little jammed in there… If only they had given Jordan an actual arc, but he was just there as this teenage villain who did nothing but annoy. I do appreciate that they touched on the whole “Dungeons and Dragons is for devil worshippers” thing, because D&D really was a part of the satanic panic (good read on it at Dicebreaker!) of the 80s, and I think they did a good job of portraying the sort of social outcast aspect of it with the Hellfire Club. But, again, the way it developed felt kind of tacked on to an already busy storyline soup and it just never really came together.
- FYI: I will never forgive you for making me witness Eddie’s death for a second time. I *knew* this was coming from episode 1. It was clear that they wouldn’t just create the world’s most beautiful character and let us keep him. I’d been preparing for this unspeakable heartbreak the minute I laid eyes on that beautiful 80s mane. Still… I ache.
- In fact… I still don’t quite see the point of Eddie’s death? Like, it’s supposed to be heroic, but what did he do there, exactly? Did he actually save Dustin? I’m guessing the bats could have followed them to the real world if the portal remained open, so he went back in to keep them from going there? I NEED A GOOD REASON. I read a review in which the writer expressed that Eddie’s death felt somewhat formulaic, because he kind of served the same purpose as Bob and Alexei, and I agree. The more unexpected thing would have actually been to keep him! Also, the scene where Dustin talks to his uncle is beautiful, let’s not get that twisted. However… He starts talking about Eddie saving the city and everything, and how he was a hero and died fighting… The uncle doesn’t know what’s up, does he? I’m guessing he only knows there was an Earthquake? So he thinks Eddie was fighting what? The tectonic plates? Like, he really isn’t gonna ask follow-up questions to this random kid who just said he saw his nephew die? Sus.
- The parenting on this show is truly outstanding. I love that these kids are running wild during this incredibly sketchy time, fighting everyone from demons to covert government branches, with no contact whatsoever, and everyone reacts very casually to reuniting with their offspring. Like, “Oh, you’re still alive? Well that’s good! Let’s hug, then!”
- Poll: Are we still fucking with “Running up that Hill” or should we take some time off?
- On that note, and at the risk of sounding like an aging millennial influencer trying to get engagement on Instagram, this remains a relevant question: What would be your Vecna song?
- It’s funny cause writing it all down I can kind of see the flaws of the season much more clearly. But I also think it might be a testament to its emotional strength that I wasn’t bothered by them as I saw them happen. Perhaps the reason why I enjoyed it so much was precisely because I wasn’t that big of a fan of the previous seasons and wasn’t expecting all that much? Maybe I was just blinded by the power of Eddie? I just know that I was able to put my phone down and actually looked forward to the next episode, which is something I didn’t really feel in any of the previous seasons.
- Also, that girl deserved that skate to the face.
- OMG YES SHE DID
Danielle’s must-discuss items:
- I have complex feelings about stranger things as a whole! It’s something I do enjoy (and have enjoyed since the beginning), or at least, I’ve always enjoyed THINGS about it. It frustrates me to no end, though, how much better it could be with a few relatively minor tweaks – there’s a really lovable show in here, but some grating elements (I’ve always hated stupid Mike, why on EARTH did they waste screen time on the horrible townsfolk/high school drama scenes this season, etc) really wear on me. So it’s something I’ll basically always watch, and get genuine enjoyment out of, and get frustrated with in equal measure.
- The music! I love the music in this show, even the title synths. I enjoy the props and fashion, the overall 80s texture, but it’s very, very much the music for me that keeps me kind of going when I get annoyed. This season, that was a pretty obvious thing – and huge plot point – and I genuinely can’t get Running Up That Hill out of my head. I am a baby of the 80s (84!) And 80s music fan in general, so this worked for me!
- I loved the core mystery elements mid-season, moving into the Vecna hellscape stuff (red skies and clocks, baby! It’s like a touch of Hellraiser on acid!), but the big retcon super sucked. It’s just very boring to do the “the big bad this season is even bigger and badder because he was behind all the big bands before him!” Come on.
- Otherwise, the horror stuff really worked for me. It’s creepy and builds to this fun final battle fever pitch with the Hawkins teens (at least, the not-horrible, not shockingly short short basketball-playing teens) going for it, eleven getting her salt tub battle skills on, etc. I even really, really felt for Max and Lucas (and Eleven) in the emotional moments. They got me, they actually did.
- I do need to talk about this: I hated every single FRAME of the basketball player storyline (and general dumbass townsfolk/high school satanic panic shit). First of all, NO BASKETBALL TEAM ON EARTH EXCLUSIVELY HAS PLAYERS WHO ARE 5’7” ON A TALL DAY. Second, every bit of drama with this was so tortured and manufactured and awful that I honestly had to start fast forwarding any time I saw a hint of a letterman jacket. It’s putrid, it adds nothing, and it takes away from the fun horror and mystery elements (and characters who have personalities). I don’t think most of the Russia plot line was especially compelling television (its bargain bin day in the life of Ivan denisovich at best, and that’s a great book, but lord this plot dragged on) – but at least it wasn’t offensively bad. I was hoping for much more The Thing vibes here in the Russia scenes in the last episode, with monsters getting out and the particles invading, etc. We got some ok action, and Winona Ryder even doing some stunts, so that was cool, but yeah, this was fairly extraneous. In a two and a half hour “episode” there was way too much, and oh so many places to cut.
- MAX. Max and eleven are the emotional cores of the season, maybe the whole series, and they both had incredible moments here – even some incredible moments together. Max is honestly so fucking brave and such a tiny badass for having the courage to go all in both with her incredible honesty about billy and the more tangible factor of putting her life on the line. And eleven proves her superhero worth again as well, and has real vulnerability. Showrunners, just make the series about the girls already, ok?
- Ok so, it’s clear that I have FEELINGS about this show. I just feel like it could be so much better, so much richer and yes, weirder, and more in tune with its characters, and all of this can happen at the writing level. It feels like a thing that is decent or good when it honestly could be AWESOME, hence my frustration overall. I’ll never stop thinking about how much fun the show would be, if they actually went in the direction of the soft pilot from season two where eleven runs off with the super powered misfits…
- My Vecna song! It might be “the trick is to keep breathing” by garbage. Also, someone on Reddit is making a playlist with hundreds of folks’ Vecna songs and that makes me happy.
- This is a general season note, and very tertiary, but JUSTICE FOR BARB! They finally fucking acknowledged poor Barb (Nancy’s friend who got GOT early in season one, as she was getting it on with Steve). It’s not really Nancy’s fault she died, honestly, get it, girl, but Barb did deserve better.
- I have thoughts and feelings about Will being gay, but some of it is drowned out by how stupid it was of the show not to make more time pass, because my man looks about about 32 now, playing a 15-year-old, and also, he looks so much like Charles Leclerc. I can’t un-see it, (and side note, I should do a stupid “separated at birth” meme with both of their pictures to promo this episode) — I do care about this character on some level though, and genuinely did appreciate the scene between him and his brother, that was sweet and genuine.
- FP: Funny enough, Noah Schnapp is like the youngest of them! He’s actually 17. He just outgrew his teen awkwardness faster than his peers, I guess?
- Likewise, Eddie was great, Dustin was wonderful, and Dustin’s tiny moment with Eddie’s uncle made me feel things. Sad things.
- Finally, the queer ladies making peanut butter sandwiches at the end was also good. This show is good when it’s goofy and genuine and cute, and also good when it’s scary.
FP: Yes but also… Don’t you know it’s a little creepy that Robin and peanut butter jelly girl look and sound so much alike? It’s like one is the Upside Down version of the other.
Here’s our Stranger Things Season 4 finale full transcript:
Fernanda: Oh, hi there, and welcome to You Love to See It, Fanbyte’s movie review podcast. Every month we pick a theme, every week we watch a movie, and then we decide where its VHS tape belongs in our delightful neighborhood video store. We’ll judge whether it’s bitchin’ enough to earn a spot in the staff picks shelf, whether it’s running up that hill but doesn’t quite get there and therefore earns a spot in our totally fine middle aisle, or whether it’s just a straight up demoturden [Danielle laughs] and therefore destined to be sent straight into our dreaded dumpster, where everything is covered in sentient vines that are always trying to get you to join their essential oil MLMs. Working the counter today, we have yours truly, Fernanda “Peanut Butter Smuggler” Prates and my fellow Upside Down critter, Danielle “Running Up That Hill” Riendeau. Hi, Danielle, how are you doing?
Danielle: I am so good, because we’re gonna talk about something I have so many feelings about.
Fernanda: You’re still running up that road?
Danielle: Oh, all the time.
Fernanda: Running up that house, running up that building?
Danielle: You know, somebody– I was actually referred to as this exactly, once upon a time, way before the song was cool again.
Fernanda: Oh, yeah?
Danielle: On the Vice softball team, [Fernanda laughs] I was referred to as Danielle “Running Up That Hill” Riendeau, so.
Fernanda: That’s amazing.
Danielle: It’s apropes. You know what I’m saying? It’s apropes today.
Fernanda: It is. You were a Kate Bush reference before Kate Bush was mainstream cool. ‘Cause let’s face it, Kate Bush–
Danielle: Like cool again, right?
Danielle: ‘Cause she was cool, you know? So yeah.
Fernanda: She’s always been cool.
Danielle: Never not cool.
Fernanda: As a reminder to our dear listeners, this month, we are twisting the habitually positive narrative around human endeavor and entrepreneurial spirit and diving into what happens to people who went big when maybe they should have just gone home. So join us on this celebration of people who truly had the audacity, as we travel through fleeting fads, failed efforts, fallen businesses, and flat out fakes. This is Nice Try July, because success is cool and all, but failure is objectively funnier.
This week, we’re looking at an especially audacious business plan. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but get superpowers, master the mind palace, get involved with a little ritual murder, and…profit? [Danielle laughs] It’s the ultimate Nice Try July, when you take on the patented Vecna method as seen on Stranger Things season four. Yes, this week we will be looking at the season four finale of Netflix’s Stranger Things for the hottest business tips around. So hot they’ll flay your mind. Basically, we really wanted to do Stranger Things and made one hell of a stretch to try to fit it within our theme. [both laugh] Nice try, us, I guess.
Fernanda: So, we are about to fly into our very first segment of the show, Setting the Scene, where we introduce the movie at hand and have a little spoiler-free chat about our personal history with it. In this case, obviously not a movie but a TV show, but first, to those unfamiliar with the story of Stranger Things…uh, first of all, where are you? [Danielle laughs] Have you been living under a rock inside the ocean? I am both appalled and impressed. [both laugh] But yes, if that’s you, here’s a brief summary written by my amazing co-host Danielle.
This will be a discussion of the two and a half hour—holy Jesus—final episode of Stranger Things season four. To keep it spoiler free, we can say that the stakes are high, some nerdy teens are in trouble, some things have gone down in Russia, and the sleepy town of Hawkins is seriously fucked up. In the time it takes to watch a bloated Marvel movie, many of the showdowns are shown down, many climaxes are reached, and many monsters are monstrous.
But we’ll get into all of that in due time. First, we shall move on with our Setting the Scene segment, and I ask: first of all, Danielle, what is your history with not just the finale, obviously, but the Stranger Things franchise? Where do you fall on the Stranger Things opinion spectrum? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you love to hate it? Do you hate that you love it? [Danielle laughs] Tell me. Tell me all about it.
Danielle: Yeah, so I’ve been watching since the beginning. You know, I feel like I watched the first season pretty soon once it went up, you know? I think we’re talking about 2016. I mean, what is time? I don’t know, but I’ve always–
Fernanda: What is time?
Danielle: I’ve always had a pretty similar feeling about it kind of throughout, which is I really, really like a lot of things about it, [Fernanda: “Yeah”] and I really hate a lot of things about it, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] and I really wish it was a little bit better, because it feels to me like a show that gets certain things so right and is so much fun and is like really hitting on a lot of notes that I love. I am a horror mega fan. I’m an eighties baby.
Danielle: Like, the nostalgia works for me. You know, a lot of the things– I like a lot of the characters, you know, for example.
Danielle: I love the music. So there are things that really work for me, and so I enjoy it and I watch it, but I get very frustrated at certain elements. So this is like a…I guess I’m in like a weird place, where I’m like, I would call myself a fan. Like, I definitely enjoy it. But my God, it just feels like it’s like two inches from being a hundred times better, and that makes me angry. [laughs] So that’s my history with it. And I felt that way about this whole season, as well. Like it really, if anything, it actually became more extreme for me. Like, the parts that I liked feel like they got even better, and the parts that I hate got even worse. It was one of those. So, yeah.
Fernanda: I would argue that’s real love, though. Like passion, you only see the good things, you’re so enamored, but passion is fleeting.
Fernanda: Love means being able to spot the flaws and, you know–
Danielle: Really pissed about them. [laughs]
Fernanda: Get past them and see all the ways in which it could be better.
Fernanda: So arguably, your feeling towards Stranger Things is the purest of ‘em all.
Danielle: Might be.
Fernanda: So, my personal history with Stranger Things. We’ve been through a journey, Stranger Things and I. [Danielle laughs] I was one of those people…we’ve established that I can be kind of an asshole with, uh, everything basically, [Danielle laughs] but mostly popular things. And I watched the first season kind of like feeling very pressured to do it, by no one, because literally no one cared. Like, nobody cares what I do in my spare time, but in my mind, I’m like, “No, society is making me watch this, so I must.” [Danielle laughs] Begrudgingly watched it and didn’t love it. I kind of like, I get…I get it, but it’s kind of not my thing. And, you know, just made sure I told everyone how much I was not the biggest fan of Stranger Things, like a true, real profound asshole. [Danielle laughs] And I just… [laughs] I kept watching, but I gotta say, like, I never really fell that much into it. Like, I watched season– I don’t remember anything from season two, apart from emo Eleven. [Danielle laughs] And then season three I started enjoying a little bit more, and it could be just because they got a little older.
Danielle: Sure, yeah.
Fernanda: ‘Caues I don’t like children. Sorry, children, if you’re listening.
Danielle: No, that’s fair.
Fernanda: Nothing personal. I was one of you once. There’s nothing that a child can add to my universe, at this point in my life. [both laugh] But maybe as they got a little older, and I thought the aesthetics of season three were really cool.
Fernanda: But again, like, I wasn’t jumping at it, like I wasn’t one of those people like really waiting for season four to begin. Like it really wasn’t…I kind of waited a little, and then season four, for some reason, really, really got me.
Fernanda: Really did. And we’ll obviously discuss this in more detail as we move into our discussion of obviously the finale specifically, but there’s really no discussing it without getting into the rest of the season, but it really, yeah, season four I think is when I became a fan, and before I was just a watcher of it, I guess. And I’m like, God dammit, you got me, Stranger Things. I blame Eddie, personally, for… [laughs quietly]
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah, I get it. I get it with Eddie. I do get it. [laughs]
Fernanda: Yeah. He’s the sentient vine that like grabbed my foot and just dragged me into this universe. [Danielle laughs] But again, we’ll get into all of it in due time, because we are just about to move into our second segment of the show. As usual, a brief warning before we move into it, before we ask for the help of a sketchy international smuggler to break into the Russian prison of our minds. [both laugh] We are about to enter a spoiler filled section of the show, the in depth part of it, which we call Stripping It Down.
Stripping It Down
Fernanda: Stripping It Down, again, is the part of the episode where we discuss specific details of the film, plot, characters, things otherwise known as spoilers. So beware, weary traveler, before entering this specific section. Danielle, you touched on it, and I kind of want you to lead with it, like sort of your complex feelings on this show, but specifically the fourth season. You pointed out here in the notes some of the good elements, some of the more grating elements, including stupid Mike, [Danielle: “Ugh”] who really is fucking stupid. What a just a lame character. What is Mike even doing [Danielle: “Ugh”] in this whole thing? You had some criticism of some storylines.
Fernanda: So I guess, let’s start with this. Like, what are the things that really grind your gears when it comes to season four [laughs] that you didn’t really like?
Danielle: Yeah. So, here’s my overall view.
Danielle: There are three like larger kind of storylines going on here, and obviously there are more sub stories. There’s a few things kind of going on, but I’m just gonna like oversimplify. One of these storylines involves the sort of mystery and horror plot of Vecna, who is an evil monster man that you find out– there’s a big retcon about who he is and what’s going on, and that was a little crappy. But in general, there’s like a really fun sort of core monster horror, teens against the evil, which has been, you know, the core of the series for a long time, right?
Danielle: And that one really worked for me. I loved it! I loved the way things looked. I thought it was effective.
Danielle: I thought it was really cool. It was very emotional, especially the way Vecna targets Max, who is a great character [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] and really gets to shine here, so that’s great. And there’s a sort of middling storyline that just goes on way too long, and it’s not that it’s useless. It has some interesting features. Again, you had a crush on the guard, which I totally get. He was pretty hot. He could kind of get it, I’m just gonna say. [Fernanda laughs] But that’s the Russia storyline, where Hopper, for some fucking reason–
Fernanda: Who, also pretty hot, just clarifying.
Danielle: Also, yes. He’s looking good. My man is looking good this season.
Danielle: So there’s this whole fucking plot that just– again, I didn’t think it was like bad and horrible, it just didn’t move along fast enough. And that was he goes to a Russian prison camp, and it’s really like bargain bin Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, like, you know, the famous book that everyone reads in ninth grade or whatever. Maybe not everyone, but I did.
Fernanda: I didn’t read it.
Danielle: Which I liked. It’s a good book. But like, this is like fucking bargain bargain bargain bin that. [laughs] And again, there’s some interesting scenes here, but it’s really not doing much.
Danielle: And then there is the storyline I actively had to fast forward, because it made me so angry and so upset, and I never would’ve gotten through to the good stuff if I didn’t fast forward through parts of this, but the like dumbfuck townspeople horrible basketball players– which by the way, I could not get over.
Fernanda: [laughs] Oh, sure.
Danielle: I could not get over a men’s basketball team where no one is taller than 5’8”. That doesn’t exist. That’s not real. That’s not a real thing. And I’m not a Cinema Sins person. I don’t care. There’s a million things that are like a little thing that’s wrong, but this was just so actively weird to me. Like, it’s Indiana. People fucking love basketball in the Midwest. This is a thing that I know about the world, you know? And it’s just like, it just speaks to how fucking careless this storyline was that they didn’t even cast like anybody who looks like they could have ever played basketball once in their lives.
Like it was just such a shitty, horribly written, boring, and actively offensive and actively awful storyline that I truly had to fast forward through. Like, by a certain point, I was like, I’m never gonna– I’m gonna turn this off forever if I can’t just get through it. It’s just like painful. It is painful to watch. That and like basically anything that happens in the high school in the first couple of episodes, I couldn’t. I like, I sat there. I was on my phone complaining on Twitter. And part of this is me, I’m gonna be honest. I truly hate anything that’s high school media that isn’t like Daria.
Fernanda: Oh, okay.
Danielle: Like, I hate it. I had a bad time.
Fernanda: Well, that explains a lot, though.
Danielle: I had a bad time in high school. It was a bad time. It was horrible. I think it’s horrible for most people, so I will never understand why some people like really enjoy high school media, ’cause I’m like, you want to revisit this? And I get it. I love horror. It’s cathartic for me to look at horrible things and be like, oh, thank God, my OCD brain, like, I’m not crazy. Like, yes, we’re all gonna die.
Danielle: It’s very comforting for me. So I do get it. I’m just saying like, from my point of view, this is painful for me. And I genuinely think, other than just my personal feelings on it, I think it’s very poorly done in general.
Danielle: Like, it’s not good filmmaking, [laughs] the way that the horror stuff and the mystery stuff is really fun and really engaging [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] and much better done. So that’s my overall take on this. And this season is unbelievably bloated, and this episode.
Danielle: This is an episode of television that is two and a half earth hours long.
Fernanda: Yes. Like, it’s a long movie. It’s long.
Danielle: It’s a long movie, and it’s very, very, very bloated.
Danielle: And when you have obvious, you know, differentials in quality, like massive, obvious things that you could cut. You could cut the entire storyline with the shitty townsfolk and this asshole basketball player. [Fernanda laughs] Like, nothing would be lost, it would be less painful, and you would’ve cut down on complete bullshit. Like, it just feels to me like, you know, at the writing point– this wasn’t like a, you know, this wasn’t like a problem with the filmmaking. This was a problem from the writing stage that this was bullshit that we didn’t need to have. So, that’s my feeling, Fernanda.
Fernanda: Some strong feelings.
Danielle: I’m sorry. I know I’ve been talking a lot. [laughs]
Fernanda: No, I– we’ve established [Danielle: “Yeah”] I love it when there’s anger flowing through you.
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.
Fernanda: You channel it in a very interesting way. No, I–
Danielle: Yeah. [laughs]
Fernanda: It’s funny. I also, obviously– obviously, in case you couldn’t tell by my entire personality, had a terrible time in high school. But I–
Danielle: [laughs] Sure. Yeah.
Fernanda: [laughs] In case you couldn’t tell by literally everything about me.
Danielle: In case you couldn’t tell. [laughs] Yeah.
Fernanda: I like high school media, American high school media.
Danielle: Sure, sure, sure.
Fernanda: I feel like because I can put a dist– like, there’s a distancing [Danielle: “Yeah, yeah”] between my experience and that. So I can understand why you wouldn’t be…why it would hit you in all the wrong spots and not me. But I do agree, like for instance, the Russian storyline. I kid, but I am very horny for Hopper. I have always been, okay? I liked husky Hopper just as well. [Danielle laughs] It’s not just because he’s buff now. It’s not just because he’s a badass [Danielle: “Yeah”] who like got out of a Russian prison being a badass.
Danielle: [laughs] Right.
Fernanda: Okay, that’s part of it, that helps, but I’ve always been on the horny for Hopper bandwagon. [Danielle laughs] But I really did think it was gonna resolve itself within like three episodes.
Fernanda: I was like, okay, it makes sense that we start here, because we know something happened to Hopper and we don’t know quite what it is. So I was like, in my mind, they’re gonna figure this out. They’re gonna go back. So like you said, it’s a fun storyline, actually. Yuri is funny.
Fernanda: The guard, I don’t remember. He’s hot, so whatever, he doesn’t need to be funny.
Danielle: Is it Alexei? Did I make that up?
Fernanda: No, Alexei is the guy from the previous season, right, who died?
Danielle: Oh, yes!
Fernanda: Or am I…
Danielle: That’s Alexei. I’m so sorry.
Fernanda: I think so. The Eddie of the previous season.
Fernanda: The person they put in there just so we could [Danielle: “Yes”] fall in love with him and break our hearts.
Danielle: Yep. Yep, yep, yep.
Fernanda: But the reason why I feel like this really factors into the finale is that, like you said, it was– they crammed a lot in this season. And I do think, for the most part, it was successful. Like, I felt like I was enjoying myself even in storylines that– the Russian storyline or everything else.
Fernanda: I felt like they were all enjoyable in their own kind of little ways, which is a success when you’re dealing with so– when you’re packing in so much.
Fernanda: But I think it did make for a super bloated finale that really didn’t give us much.
Fernanda: Right? It was two hours and a half of something that is clearly just meant as a setup for the next season. And, you know, I get it rationally. That makes sense, because we’re going into the final season, and this is really when you want to build up suspense so you can come in like guns blazing in the next one.
Fernanda: But as somebody who really enjoyed the other episodes as sort of like mini films…
Fernanda: Like, I really savored them. This really felt like something I had to get through to like get through to the end.
Fernanda: So I…of course there are moments. Everybody loves the scene with Eddie playing guitar and the bats, because of course they do.
Danielle: Oh, yeah.
Fernanda: It’s amazing. But other than that, like, eh. And I think that had to do with the fact that they stretched out all the storylines so they could all get solved together.
Fernanda: And I really don’t see why. You could have just gotten the Russia thing done with a couple of episodes earlier and moved on, I think. And the townsfolk thing, I agree with you. I think they didn’t– they did succeed in creating a character that’s more unlikable than Vecna. [laughs]
Danielle: That’s for fucking sure! [laughs]
Fernanda: It’s like, Jordan, Jordan, I get that you’ve been through trauma. Your girlfriend died very horrifically, and you’re just like obviously a traumatized child looking for revenge. You fucking suck. You’re a terrible, terrible, terrible character.
Danielle: Ugh. Oh, yeah, not you, Jordan.
Fernanda: Not you, Jordan, our producer. [both laugh] Other– no, you’re good Jordan. We’re talking about bad Jordan.
Danielle: Bad Jordan, the 5’7” basketball player who’s somehow the captain of the basketball team, [Fernanda laughs] an Indiana basketball team at 18 years old.
Fernanda: I do like that you’re picking on this, because last episode we were talking about the WeWork thing, and I was so angry at Jared Leto [Danielle: “Yes”] being cast as freaking Adam Neumann, who is a very tall guy.
Danielle: He’s like 5’8”, right? He’s not a tall man, yeah.
Fernanda: If he says he’s 5’8”, he’s probably like my height. He’s probably like 5’7”.
Fernanda: But yeah.
Danielle: [laughs] Yeah, for sure.
Fernanda: I think he’s officially 5’8”, yeah.
Danielle: Yeah. [laughs]
Fernanda: And then you have him playing this notoriously tall man, do.
Danielle: Like 6’5”, yeah.
Fernanda: Exactly. Like, I’m against tall person erasure, okay? [laughs] But so, I liked some aspects of it, because I like the way that they touched on the Dungeons and Dragons satanic panic involvement. Like, I think it was a whole book about a kid who played Dungeons and Dragons, and–
Fernanda: Right? It’s a tragic story, and Tom Hanks played him in a movie.
Fernanda: I have some knowledge of this.
Danielle: It’s a very real thing.
Fernanda: It’s a very real thing.
Danielle: Like, it’s a very, very real thing, and I appreciate that they acknowledged it.
Danielle: That could have just been a thing that was like a line at the start and then the thing [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] with Eddie’s uncle at the end that like hints at that, and it gets that through and then like can be tragic, but it didn’t have to be multiple scenes of just the worst, most tortured acting and writing I’ve ever seen in my life. [both laugh]
Fernanda: Yeah. I don’t hate it as much as you do. I don’t think that’s even possible. [Danielle laughs] But I agree with you that it was– I kind of liked some of it in the beginning, because obviously set up the whole story for Eddie, and you made us angry that Eddie who is [Danielle: “Yeah”] clearly the coolest person in the entire show is being like…
Fernanda: You know, set aside in the– it’s believable, right? Like that this kid who [Danielle: “Yes”] looks a little funny, like Paradise Lost documentary, anyone? The Memphis Three, anyone? Like, it really does make sense that this grungy kid who is just a little, you know, on the weirder side and liked to play Dungeons and Dragons would be taken as a scapegoat for all the city’s troubles.
Fernanda: Like, that’s interesting in itself.
Danielle: America sucks, and this would happen, and that’s true.
Danielle: Yeah, yes.
Fernanda: Absolutely. But then, yeah, the way they led it. And then in the end, again, in the finale, since we are talking about the finale, it converged to create a more cluttered situation.
Danielle: I agree.
Fernanda: It gave Lucas a chance to shine, because he fought…I’m pretty sure it’s Jordan, but I could be wrong. A jock kid.
Danielle: I think I just called him shithead, like in my head.
Fernanda: Shithead, it could be.
Danielle: Like, it’s just shithead. He’s just shithead.
Fernanda: Short basketball player child, who shouldn’t have purchased a gun but did nonetheless, but that’s a subject for another time. [both laugh]
Fernanda: But yeah, he did give like Lucas his little time, but like I was thinking maybe this kid is gonna show up in the next season, have an arc. He dies, from what I understood, so it’s like, I don’t…yeah, it got completely lost.
Fernanda: So I’m with you there, but on a more pleasant note, the things we loved about it, and I see here in your notes, the music, for example, which…
Fernanda: It’s always been a big part, but I feel like in this season was really one of the main characters, no?
Danielle: Oh, a hundred percent. I mean, it’s a plotline. Like, the way that you get, the way that you can survive Vecna– he goes into your mind and he preys upon your traumas, like your past traumas. And the way to escape at all is to hear a song that you really love, and it’s like kind of like a pump up song or just like a song that makes you happy, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] and that can create like an escape for you. So it’s like a very major part of the story and so is “Running Up That Hill”, which is a song I loved, again, a long time ago, and it’s [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] still in my head forever and yes, it’s gonna be really overplayed and it is already really overplayed.
Danielle: So I’m, I get that, but God, yeah, it just– the show has always created so much texture that is so [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] pleasant and so much fun. And like, I’m a baby of the eighties. It’s not like I was a kid at the time. I mean, I kind of actually do remember some stuff in the very late eighties. I was born in ‘84, so like I have strong, clear memories of like ‘89 or so, so I do remember actually like hearing things on the radio as a little kid and things like that.
Danielle: But it’s just such a…ah, it’s such a good– the show does such a good job of like creating the texture of it by using music.
Danielle: And yes, props, but I’m not like as obsessed with the props as I know some people are like obsessed with like, “Look at the Lite-Brite!” and it’s like, eh, it’s cool that there’s a Lite-Brite, but it’s more that they’ve created this sort of gauzy lighting and the really fun outfits and like just some of this weird kind of feeling of the eighties of like [Fernanda: “Yeah”] some things that were trendy at the time, you know? Like, that’s fun for me, and that is really fun. I actually also love– I never skip over the little title sequence, ’cause I love that warm like synth.
Fernanda: Mm-hmm. Yes.
Danielle: That kind of feeling and with the glowing letters, like, I love it. I have a “strangle things” rash guard that I think is great. It’s like Stranger Things looking, you know, the whole idea is strangle things, ’cause you know, jiu-jitsu. Anyway. [Fernanda laughs] And I get it, and I like it. Like, this part of it is really fun and really works for me, and I even like, I’m not like a metal fan, but I even appreciated like the Eddie metal bits, just ’cause Eddie is so great.
Danielle: You know, like he’s playing “Master of Puppets” and all the crazy shit is going down. I was like getting into it, even though it’s not, again, it’s like not my genre. I have no disrespect for it; it’s just not my thing. But I was like, “Yeah, this is great!” Like, it was real fun. It was real fun, and I liked the sort of puzzle element as well of the music, of like the way they found out kind of the puzzle, the way that Nancy and…ah, what is her…? Erica? Is Erica the gay–
Danielle: Robin. Sorry, I don’t know why I keep forgetting everyone’s name. There’s so many names. But the lovely queer young lady, Robin, and Nancy who dress up as psychology students, [Fernanda laughs] which is like the stupidest thing.
Fernanda: I totally forgot about this scene.
Danielle: But it’s funny!
Fernanda: And it’s so good.
Fernanda: They go interview Freddy fucking Krueger.
Danielle: I know! It’s so good. It’s…
Fernanda: It’s amazing.
Danielle: It’s like, things like this are why this show can shine.
Danielle: And like, what a fun scene. It’s a creepy-ass fucking scene. It’s a creepy-ass storyline, but it’s also really fun and goofy in a way, and it’s mixing like this delicious soup of fun and goofy and creepy and sweet, and it’s like this fun like mystery puzzle. Like, they figured out a puzzle element, and then they could radio back and say, “Oh my God, okay, what’s her favorite song? We need to protect Max,” and they’re figuring shit out, and that’s really satisfying and really fun. So the music played like a really, really big part in not just the texture, but actually, you know, the sort of the meat of the plot as well, which I thought was great! I thought that was really cool.
Fernanda: Yeah. “Running Up That Hill” is amazing, okay? The Placebo cover is also really–
Danielle: Oh my God!
Fernanda: It’s what I’ve been listening to, because…
Danielle: Yes, Placebo! Ugh!
Fernanda: Like just, here’s my appeal.
Danielle: Yes, please.
Fernanda: My request, okay? To everybody listening. If you’re going to do a Reel, an Instagram story, a TikTok, whatever it is that you’re up to, don’t put “Running Up That Hill” as the song for it.
Fernanda: Just do not, because…I know, it sounds unbelievable, but there are other songs in the world [Danielle: “Yeah, yeah”] that not everybody is using simultaneously. So, you know, live your life. Who am I to tell you what to do? But consider it, consider not using it.
Fernanda: But you mentioned the synth, and I– it occurred to me, something I had not put in my notes. Did you watch it with closed captions, by any chance?
Danielle: Oh, yes. I always do. Like, I pretty much do by default, ’cause I miss things, you know?
Danielle: Especially if I’m…sometimes I’m like grading or doing other stuff, so like, if I can glance up and if I missed a word or two, it’s really helpful.
Danielle: And I fucking genuinely love– I am like, not kidding.
Danielle: I love the sound effect captions that like give you a sense of what’s going on.
Fernanda: They’re so good!
Danielle: The eldritch…oh my God. The amount of like “eldritch thrumming” or like “eldritch screaming,” like it’s so fucking good. It’s so fucking good.
Fernanda: Dude, I was obsessed with it.
Danielle: Whoever does those captions, thank you. Like, thank you. It was so great.
Fernanda: And everything was like wet squelching…
Danielle: Yeah, wet squelching!
Fernanda: Ominous wet squelching.
Fernanda: And there were some words that I literally never heard of in my life, but they made sense, and like, “ominous but peppy synth theme.”
Danielle: Right! [laughs]
Fernanda: And I’m like, I get it. A thing can be ominous and peppy.
Fernanda: You nailed it, closed captions person.
Fernanda: And the entire season I was talking, like, there needs to be an award for closed captions somewhere.
Danielle: I agree. Oh my God. Yes.
Fernanda: And if there isn’t, please know, closed captions person– or people, we don’t know, could be multiple of you.
Danielle: Sure, sure. Team. [laughs]
Fernanda: Congratulations. You got the award. It wasn’t even a competition. We don’t have anybody else in the category. You just ran away with it.
Danielle: Yeah. You just won. Here, take the statue. You genuinely deserve it. Oh my God, we should think of like a cool noise sound effect caption for them, you know, getting the award.
Fernanda: Oh my God, yes.
Danielle: Excited squelching claps? I don’t know. [both laugh]
Fernanda: And it also was like, whenever a thing squelched, you knew a bad thing was about to happen.
Danielle: Yes. Oh, yeah.
Fernanda: Whenever things happened wetly, you knew a thing was about to happen. [Danielle laughs] Like, amazing. Amazing. Nailed it. I am in awe. And one thing that you also put in your notes, that to me, obviously, it’s– the bread and butter is the horror, but like, [Danielle: “Yeah”] I always felt like the horror was a little childish in the previous– one thing you mentioned too, like the [Danielle: “Oh yeah”] sort of eighties feel of this season. I felt like it was much more organic and [Danielle: “Mm-hmm”] less over the top than last season. Again, I love the aesthetics of season three, because I like over the top and…
Fernanda: But it was very heavy handed. Like, it was… [laughs]
Fernanda: They laid it on thick!
Danielle: Yeah. [laughs]
Fernanda: And then this one, I felt like it just really, uh…I was born in ‘89, so I can’t say I lived through the eighties, but.
Danielle: Sure. You’re still a baby of the eighties. You’re still in there.
Fernanda: I consider myself a baby– I feel like I can claim the eighties baby tag.
Danielle: Yeah. [laughs]
Fernanda: And I do feel like this one just looked more effortless and less…
Fernanda: And also the batteries that Max was using in the Walkman, congratulations on the manufacturers.
Danielle: Yeah, good job.
Fernanda: On whatever that technology was, ’cause… [both laugh]
Fernanda: But I really loved, and I think that’s what really sold me on episode one, ’cause like I said, I started watching it kind of like I have to, it’s Stranger Things.
Fernanda: Like, I need to be part of the– I need to be able to converse with the universe around me, okay, people?
Fernanda: But the end scene where they just have the cheerleader, like, Chrissy I guess was her name, crunching and falling.
Danielle: Oh, yes.
Fernanda: I was like, okay, I’m…you got me. I’m sold.
Fernanda: I am invested in whatever happens next, because they really managed to go like very scary and very gory, but in a very still like, non…it was like still uncanny enough that you can understand its fiction.
Fernanda: It’s not like Suspiria shit, but like, at the same time… [both laugh]
Fernanda: It’s such a good balance I feel like they have, always have. To me, that’s the main richness of it, that it’s like, we’re gonna do the humor and the sort of goofiness and like keep in mind that this is for the youths, but…
Danielle: Right. [laughs]
Fernanda: I also feel like they don’t shy away as much as they could from like the actual horror and gory elements, and to me, that’s just like really where the show wins me over at least, like just being able to balance [Danielle: “Yeah”] those things with the more, the heavier sort of emotional elements. And that’s something I wanted to talk to you about too, ’cause you mentioned Max, and I feel like she really became the emotional center of the show.
Fernanda: I feel like she really matured from…she’s a character that has really, I think, developed organically throughout the seasons, which I really like. And this one, I feel like the storyline with her was really, really cool, and I wanted to ask your opinion on that. Like, how do you feel about the way they weaved in Max and also like Vecna’s sort of MO of praying on people’s emotional and mental like weaknesses, [Danielle: “Yeah”] in a very Freddy Krueger-ish way, like how did you…I don’t know, how do you respond to that particular storyline?
Danielle: I loved it. It worked so, so, so well for me. Max is like a character who was always kind of like, well, they needed another girl! [Fernanda laughs] They put Max in! She likes skateboards! And again, I know like a lot of the character writing is like not always great on this show. Sometimes it is.
Danielle: Sometimes it is like pretty inspired, and there were some scenes this season that I think actually were very inspired. But Max throughout the season showed such maturity and such growth and such like just absolute courage, and especially in this episode. Like, for me, yes, the like obvious courage thing in a horror action show is that she puts her life on the line for everyone, not just for her friends, but for everyone.
Danielle: She puts herself up as bait for this fucking monster who goes into your head and makes you relive trauma. And also like, just shoutouts to the clock sound effect. I love it. Oh my God.
Fernanda: Oh, so good.
Danielle: Oh my God, it’s so good. But anyway, sorry, to be back on topic. [laughs] The courage she showed to like open up her fucking heart and say what she felt about her brother who died, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] who bullied the shit out of her, and he was such an asshole.
Fernanda: He was.
Danielle: And the fact that she was able to– I know, and again, I know this is obvious. This is not like subtle writing, but I felt so much for her in that scene where she opens up and she lets it out, because she is clearly a character who’s dealing with horrible trauma.
Danielle: She’s the kind of person who hates feelings and hates going to therapy and hates all these things, ’cause she’d rather just be on a skateboard. You know, the whole thing, right? [laughs] And she’s dealing with a lot of awful shit that she doesn’t know how to deal with, ’cause she’s 15. That’s the other thing. These kids are like really young still.
Danielle: And I do have an issue with the fact that they didn’t let enough time pass to be obvious with like the ages of the actors and everything, but again, that’s neither here nor there. This actress did a phenomenal job, I think, of showing like real terror and real growth and real courage.
Fernanda: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Danielle: I really, really, really felt for her. I felt for her in the way she tried to like escape and the way she tried to like make her own little mind palace, even though she doesn’t have superpowers, she doesn’t have an answer for this fucking monster, you know?
Danielle: But she’s gonna do it anyway, and she knows she’s toast, and she’s gonna do it anyway.
Danielle: That, to me, was like, what a fucking badass. I also love Eleven, and her storyline this season was very strange for me [Fernanda: “Yeah”] and really on the nose in a lot of ways. And all the bullying stuff was like, again, it was painful to watch, and yeah, that girl fucking deserved that skate to the face. I agree. [Fernanda laughs] I know you put that in the notes, and I had to put like in all caps, like, oh my God, of course.
Fernanda: She deserved it.
Danielle: She fucking deserved. She was evil.
Fernanda: Sorry, I don’t care she’s a kid, whatever, she was…
Danielle: She was evil.
Fernanda: That’s an evil person on the–
Fernanda: I believe that 99% of people can be reformed. [laughs]
Fernanda: And we shouldn’t judge teenagers, [Danielle: “Yes”] ’cause their brains are like mush or whatever, [Danielle: “Right”] and they’re gonna develop better, hopefully. That girl, she needed– that’s crucial character development for that girl.
Danielle: [laughs] I hope she gets better.
Fernanda: She’s gonna thank Eleven. [laughs]
Danielle: Yeah. I hope she gets better, you know? I really do. [laughs]
Fernanda: Like, having a bit of a crooked nose is really gonna do wonders for her character in the future.
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah.
Fernanda: She deserves it.
Danielle: Like, I’m sorry, but she…listen. Listen, I don’t condone [Fernanda: “Violence?”] non-consensual violence.
Danielle: But this…
Fernanda: [laughs] But in this case.
Danielle: The show made the case for Eleven here, is what I’m gonna say. [both laugh] The show made the case! It made the case! But yes.
Fernanda: Everybody horrified looking at it, and I’m like, guys, you should all be hugging her and being like, “Badass!”
Danielle: Honestly, like…
Fernanda: Please stick up for yourself. [both laugh] I’m watching a prison thing, Black Bird, I think?
Fernanda: It’s a show with Taron Egerton on Apple TV, and it’s terrible writing.
Danielle: Sure. [laughs]
Fernanda: I was really excited about it. It’s got Ray Liotta. It’s got like Greg Kinnear, whom I irrationally love, but that’s…
Fernanda: Set up for another time. The whole thing is that there’s a point where Taron Egerton picks a fight in the parking lot and beats someone up, and the guy– a guy comes up to him like, “Oh, a temper, huh?” And it says like, beat one asshole early on, so you don’t– fight one asshole early on, so you don’t have to fight a bunch of them later. I feel like that was Eleven’s… [both laugh]
Danielle: Honestly, that was real. That was really real.
Fernanda: Fuck this one up bad enough that none of you come for me ever again, and honestly, Eleven, go get it. But I actually did like the bullying storyline, because I was listening to a podcast and they mentioned like, “Oh, everything now is about trauma.”
Danielle: Oh, sure. Sure, sure.
Fernanda: Like, don’t even ask. The underlying theme of every horror movie in the world is trauma, [Danielle: “Yes”] and this is no exception, right? Like, it really is. But I do like that the way that they dealt with it, like in a very typically adolescent way, right? Like…
Fernanda: You would think in a show, Eleven has been through a lot, she’s without her dad, things are awful. Like, give her a break. But no, this was very believable. She’s completely lost. She really doesn’t know who she is beyond the fact that she has all these powers and now she doesn’t have them anymore, and she’s completely, you know, she has– obviously she’s gonna have trouble fitting in. Like, she grew up in a freaking lab [Danielle: “Yeah”] with a weird old dude she called Papa [Danielle: “Yeah”] with a bunch of other bald children. By the way, computer Eleven is terrifying. It’s very uncanny.
Danielle: Oh my lord, yeah! That was a lot.
Fernanda: I do not support that. [laughs]
Danielle: It was a lot.
Fernanda: I do not support… [both laugh] But I did like that they did that, and I liked the Max storyline very much. Like you were saying, I feel like she was very much the token sort of tomboy girl character, and they really did give her like a lot of meat this season. And I know this isn’t new, right? Like we were talking about Freddy Krueger, the actual Freddy Krueger was on the show, Vecna, but there’s a reason why this trope works. It’s fucking horrifying.
Danielle: It is!
Fernanda: There’s nothing more– like, a guy chasing you down the street, like yeah, that’s terrifying. He has a chainsaw. Like, that’s not great. Chainsaws will kill you.
Fernanda: But a fucking villain inside your brain? No!
Danielle: Yeah. Yep.
Fernanda: That’s the worst! That’s the literal worst!
Danielle: With your worst fears. Your worst fears.
Danielle: I have OCD. My worst fears are everywhere I go all the time.
Danielle: To think that anybody else could like be in there fucking around with that, I’m like, no! No! Nooo!
Fernanda: No, leave it alone. Leave it alone! [both laugh] Even I don’t go in that room, and it’s inside my brain.
Danielle: [laughs] Yep.
Fernanda: Like, I’m not giving you public access to this situation.
Fernanda: So, to me, that was like a really cool like little thing, and the fact that he preyed on the vulnerable children, like he went to the people who needed counseling. What a jackass.
Fernanda: What a horrible jackass.
Fernanda: And you need to kill four of these very vulnerable children to like take over the world, Vecna? What a fucking coward you are. Like, pick on people your…
Danielle: Piece of shit! [Fernanda laughs] Pick on people your own size! Honestly, pick on the fucking shithole townsfolk who are– they’re evil. Like, they suck.
Fernanda: Dude, use your energy to grow a nose. Like, whatever.
Danielle: Right? Right?
Fernanda: Like, why not have a nose? You’re very powerful. You can have a nose if you want to. Like, choose to have a nose. I don’t understand not having a nose. [laughs]
Danielle: Like, can we talk about this? I actually really want to talk about this.
Fernanda: About the nose? [laughs]
Danielle: First of all, all the faces that were CG? Ooh boy.
Fernanda: Yeah, the…
Danielle: Maybe just don’t. Like, I loved a lot of the compositions. I loved the hellscape stuff. Honestly, I thought it was fantastic looking, like the clocks floating around and the red, you know, kind of light, like, that looked awesome! In like the rotting house? Incredible, incredible stuff. But the face when Vecna becomes Vecna? Oh my God! Like, most video games at this point look more realistic than that. That was a little rough. And the computer Eleven? Little rough. And it’s like, y’all, I know you used like 15 special effects houses for this, and like, maybe just don’t. Maybe just don’t do faces and CG, ’cause that’s what’s rough. Like you can make beautiful compositions, like genuinely incredible looking compositions. Just maybe don’t do the faces. But also, why the fuck–
Fernanda: But I think his face was…wasn’t it makeup, his face?
Danielle: It was, I’m sorry. I mean in the scene where he’s specifically like turning into Vecna.
Fernanda: Oh, yeah.
Danielle: He’s going from being One to Vecna.
Fernanda: Mm, yes.
Danielle: He like looks at the camera, and it’s like a very CG face that’s like turning a little bit.
Danielle: And it looks real rough. And again, I don’t want to like shit on any visual effects artist. It’s just more like, maybe just don’t do faces. [Fernanda laughs] Do other stuff than faces with CG, ’cause like other things look amazing.
Fernanda: Leave it implied. We can understand that he’s transforming. [laughs]
Danielle: Like, I don’t care. Like, don’t look at the face. It’s the other side of the head. But also, why did he transform? No one else transforms when they go to the Upside Down.
Danielle: I don’t know. It’s a little weird.
Fernanda: I think it was like maybe the particles eating at him, or him like…?
Danielle: Okay. That makes sense, I guess.
Fernanda: I don’t know, maybe?
Danielle: No, I guess that makes sense. I’ll take it, you know?
Fernanda: ‘Cause maybe that’s how he learned to like become one with the Upside Down, like that he absorbed–
Danielle: The dust. Yeah, the dust monster.
Fernanda: I think I read it somewhere that he absorbed particles or something. So like, it could be something like he– kind of like a version of radiation, and that’s why…
Danielle: Sure. Okay. Okay. You know what? I’ll take it.
Fernanda: But he’s just so powerful. You could still have a nose, is what I’m saying. Like, just–
Danielle: I mean, honestly, again, I’m not a Cinema Sins person. I like, just give me something and I’m happy. It doesn’t have to really make that much sense, like just give me a little logic and I’m happy. It’s one of those.
Danielle: You know what I mean? Like, I’m good. I’m good. If you tell me fucking Star Trek magic transporter kind of shit, I’m like, “Okay, cool. That’s cool.” Just give me something to hang onto, so I’m not itching at that part of my brain where I’m like, why did his face change? What was the need for his face to change? [Danielle laughs] You gave it to me, and now I’m happy, and so we’re good.
Fernanda: There were a bunch of things in–
Danielle: It was the particles! It was the particles! It’s fine.
Fernanda: It was the particles. Okay, I’m glad I was able to…
Danielle: You helped me today, Fernanda.
Fernanda: To do that with my theory that is based on the thing that I read somewhere once.
Danielle: For sure. [laughs]
Fernanda: But I think it makes sense. But there are a lot of moments that– and I was, I even put this on the notes. Like, writing it down, I see the flaws a lot more than I did watching it, which in a way is a testament to the show, because like, it wasn’t–
Danielle: Sure. Sure.
Fernanda: I was emotionally invested enough that I didn’t really care, but like there were a lot of things that I felt like were very poorly explained or…and again, that’s bound to happen if you’re packing that much stuff, [Danielle: “Yeah”] like there will be loose ends. There’s really no way to tie them, and even if you do it in the next season, like you could have tied some shit up. [somber tone] But all of this to bring me to a thing that needs to be discussed, unfortunately, Danielle.
Danielle: Yes, please. Yes.
Fernanda: It pains me to even bring it up. [dog whining in background]
Fernanda: A very sensitive moment for me, even my dog is crying right now.
Danielle: Oh, your dog is sad! Yeah.
Fernanda: Legitimately, maybe she’s sensing my pain. But a moment that I still need– I will need the constellation out. I will need the proper explanation.
Fernanda: Did Eddie—our beautiful, wonderful, perfect Eddie—did Eddie need to die?
Danielle: Ugh. No!
Fernanda: Did he?
Danielle: Why did he die?!
Fernanda: I don’t–
Danielle: Why did he die? Just to have drama? You have enough drama! The whole thing is about trauma. I know that rhymed. I wasn’t trying to make it rhyme. But like, you have enough! Eddie, like, he’s like, “I’m buying time,” and it’s like, did you though?
Danielle: Did you buy any time? I don’t even think he bought time! [Fernanda laughs] Like, I don’t think he did anything! I get that it was like, he didn’t want to run. He wanted to fight. I understand that on some like very meathead level [Fernanda: “Yeah”] of like, he kept running from things. And it’s like, my guy, you know, when someone is lifted into the air, like a person you’re just kind of hanging out with [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] is lifted into the air and all their bones break and their eyes get sucked into their head and they’re dead and it rips a hole into hell, I don’t blame you for running.
Fernanda: [laughs] Right?
Danielle: I don’t think you’re a bad person for running. Like, that’s a very natural instinct to like a truly horrifying thing happening.
Danielle: Like, what’s the alternative? I guess you could stay there and say, “I didn’t kill her, dear police.”
Fernanda: Yeah. Yeah, they’re very likely to be–
Danielle: But like…
Fernanda: And again, look at the Memphis Three, okay? Okay?
Danielle: Right. Right? Like, he would’ve just gone to jail, and that’s it. Like, it’s not…he’s not a coward for running from that. I just want to, like, I want to, you know, put my arm around Eddie and be like, “Dude, this didn’t make you a bad person. You didn’t kill her. You didn’t do any harm. Like, you’re not a bad person, buddy.” Like, running was not bad, so you don’t have to now sacrifice yourself to the bats with no eyes to like redeem yourself?
Fernanda: Yeah. Children out there, it’s okay to run sometimes.
Danielle: There’s nothing to redeem. There’s nothing to redeem. You didn’t fuck up, my dude. Like, you’re okay, you know? [laughs] Poor Eddie. Justice for Eddie!
Fernanda: Justice for Eddie.
Danielle: Just like I said justice for Barb, justice for Eddie, okay? Justice for Eddie.
Fernanda: That’s the thing.
Danielle: I’m sad too.
Fernanda: Did he need– like you’re saying like, “Oh, I bought us more time.” Was he afraid of the bats going into the portal? Did he think that if he didn’t distract them more, they would go– like, weren’t the people already in the h– like, I was lost in that whole timeline.
Fernanda: I’m like, why are you doing this, Eddie?
Danielle: You did what you could, my dude!
Fernanda: Like, you already had your moment and you shredded on the guitar. And it’s like…
Fernanda: I was reading a review, and I agree with it. Like, it is very– it showed themselves as very formulaic by killing Eddie.
Danielle: Yes. Oh yeah.
Fernanda: I think all of us were fully expecting Eddie to die from the minute he appeared on the show, because they did it with Alexei, they did it with Bob. Like, they have this likable character that’s gonna die kind of being a hero. We know that’s gonna happen, and it was really like painted as Eddie for that to happen. And I get that you want to have a shocking death to make it like add gravity to it, I guess? And you don’t want to kill anybody from the fixed cast, but like, it was more– it would’ve been more surprising if he had lived than him dying in that way.
Fernanda: And like we’re saying, like, why? And then you have the very emotional scene with Dustin and his uncle, which very pretty, very nice.
Fernanda: But then he’s like, “I saw him, and he died fighting, and he was a hero.” And does the uncle know he was fighting bats from hell?
Danielle: No, he doesn’t.
Fernanda: No, he doesn’t!
Danielle: Like, that’s the thing! [laughs]
Fernanda: Was he fighting like tectonic plates to stop the earthquake?
Fernanda: Like, are you not gonna ask follow up questions to this child who said he was there to watch your nephew die? Such as, “Where is the body?” [Danielle sighs] Like, I don’t…
Fernanda: I think they were so confident that it was gonna be a nice scene with Dustin crying and all—and Dustin is a treasure [Danielle: “He is”]—that they were like, “Whatever, we don’t need to…” [laughs]
Danielle: Yeah. Yeah, and it’s like…
Fernanda: “We don’t need to explore this.”
Danielle: I can’t get over that part where it’s like, “He died a hero,” and it’s like, when someone dies in a natural disaster, it’s not their fault. Like, it’s not like you’ve run in front of a…sorry, I’m gonna put a trigger warning here just in case. But like, it’s not like you ran in front of a speeding car or a bullet or something, the way you can die a hero. That is a thing that can happen, right, in life.
Fernanda: Yeah, exactly.
Danielle: Like, that is a concept that is, you know, a real concept. That is a thing. It’s not like he, you know? Like, he didn’t run into a burning building. I guess maybe that’s the only one you could think of is he ran into a burning building and got someone else out, but then he died.
Danielle: Like, that’s the only way I can imagine. ‘Cause you know, obviously there’s like secondary things that happen in an earthquake, like there are fires and things, and like yes, firefighters can die, obviously, from that kind of thing. So like, maybe?
Danielle: I guess? I guess they were thinking that you would do what I’m doing, these mental gymnastics of like [Fernanda: “Exactly”] “Well, people do die heroes in natural disasters.” Usually it has to do with like a fire or like something falls on them, but they tried to save someone else. I don’t know. [laughs] Yeah. Mental gymnastics.
Fernanda: But it really was just like, I don’t…yeah, exactly, ’cause like at the time, I was like, don’t overthink it, just ask in this beautiful moment.
Danielle: Just go with it.
Fernanda: And then I’m like, you know what? I am gonna overthink it. They killed Eddie. Like, I need a reason.
Fernanda: I need a good explanation. And in the same review, it’s interesting. It’s a person who really advocates for why Hopper should have died at the end of season three.
Fernanda: And I’m like, emotionally? Disagree. Rationally? Yes. That would’ve been like more shocking, maybe better for the narrative. Like, I don’t know. Eddie was just like a very predictable and very unnecessary gratuitous death.
Fernanda: But of course they would do that, because they needed to take him away from us. I’m just very…I have feelings obviously on this, it was the like most emotionally impactful moment of the season for me. [laughs]
Fernanda: [sadly] And the way he was attacked by bats!
Danielle: He got eaten by bats! It’s fucked up, man!
Fernanda: It was gonna be his year, Danielle! He was gonna graduate.
Danielle: [sadly] It was gonna be his year!
Fernanda: Like, I don’t…
Fernanda: But anyway, that happened.
Danielle: [sighs] Yeah.
Fernanda: And one thing…we’re gonna wrap up soon.
Fernanda: Like, it’s inevitable that in a situation like this, some characters are gonna like, again, we’re talking about multiple storylines happening simultaneously, a bunch of characters being always introduced, like not a lot of turnover between the characters. Some are gonna shine, and some are gonna just fall to the wayside. And I wanted to ask you like, to you, [Danielle: “Yeah”] which were the characters that ended up like standing out, not just in the finale, but in the season, and which ones could we have just really done without?
Danielle: Yeah. Well, like I said, everything that had to do with the town and the school, absolutely. Just every single part of that is in my mind palace, locked away and exploded and never happens. It’s so awful. But I want to shout out Argyle. Oh my God, Argyle.
Fernanda: Argyle was amazing, of course.
Danielle: Oh my God, Argyle. I want to shout out Dustin’s girlfriend, and I’m so sorry, I forgot her name too.
Fernanda: Oh, the nerdy girlfriend. I forgot about her!
Danielle: The genius hacker girl.
Danielle: Not a long moment, but that whole scene, [Fernanda laughs] or I guess it’s a couple of scenes, actually.
Danielle: That whole sequence is a lot of fun and really good. [laughs] That’s really good shit.
Fernanda: She deserves a shoutout.
Danielle: Yeah, she deserves a shout. I want to shout out Robin, the queer teen.
Fernanda: But this…
Danielle: And I do agree that the girl she has a crush on, they do look ridiculously alike, and it’s a little weird! [both laugh] And you’re not wrong, and you’re not wrong. That is pretty weird. I didn’t think of it at the time, but like now I’m thinking back, I’m like, they’re the same person, aren’t they? They really– and maybe it’s like a eighties makeup thing, and they don’t really look that much alike. Like, maybe? I don’t know. But I do like Robin. She’s funny.
Fernanda: They had the same vibe. It’s not even just the look. It’s the vibe. They miss–
Danielle: It’s like nervous dork, yeah.
Fernanda: Exactly. Kinda redheaded.
Danielle: [laughs] And they’re both in band!
Fernanda: Nervous dork. I’m like, this is strange. This is like, I love the little storyline again, but we’re…it’s very– we’re entering like weird familial territory, like “siblings or lovers?” territory here.
Fernanda: And I’m not entirely– I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with it.
Fernanda: We’ll see. We’ll see.
Fernanda: Maybe one of them dyes their hair black next season, and we can be a little… [laughs]
Danielle: Honestly, if one of them has a goth phase, we’re doing great. That maybe should be what happens. [laughs] They make peanut butter sandwiches, and they’re goths. Whatever. That’s cool.
Fernanda: I am a peanut butter loving kind of goth, so I would support it.
Fernanda: I would support this.
Danielle: I love that. Peanut butter goth girls. [laughs]
Fernanda: I would also shout out Steven. He has the biggest, I think, growth.
Danielle: He did a good job.
Fernanda: He is the biggest growth from season one.
Danielle: He is the biggest growth, for sure. He’s just kind of an asshole at first, and now it’s like, ah, he is actually pretty funny and very self deprecating in a lot of ways.
Danielle: And it’s like, all right, Steve. You’re not so bad. In the siblings or lovers category, I do… [Fernanda laughs] I do have to mention one thing.
Fernanda: Nancy and Jonathan is really creepy. [both laugh]
Fernanda: And they’re lovers in real life! Ugh!
Danielle: It’s a– it’s– eh, well, here’s the thing. Okay. So, there’s this whole thing that happens, and it’s like, Will is gay, and they’ve been hinting at this for four years now.
Danielle: And like, he definitely did the biggest– he looks like a tiny child at first, and now he looks like he’s 32 years old.
Danielle: It’s very funny, ’cause you did point out to me–
Fernanda: He’s 17!
Danielle: He’s the only actual teen, but my guy, my dude looks 35 years old. He looks 35 years old here. [Fernanda laughs] And like, it was so– why the fuck did the writers not just have more time pass? It’s fine. Like, you’re doing weird horror shit and time travel anyway. Just make it 1988 or whatever.
Danielle: It’s fucking fine. Just let time pass. It’s okay. But like, you get weird things like the actors look way too old to be playing these characters. My dude Will also looks so much like Charles Leclerc, the Formula One driver, that it’s like, separated at birth? Siblings, lovers? I don’t know. It’s a lot. I have thoughts and feelings.
Fernanda: Don’t put Charles Leclerc and Will from Stranger Things fanfiction ideas out there, Danielle.
Danielle: Oh no. I may have done that.
Fernanda: That’s a can of worms.
Danielle: Oh, I may have done that.
Fernanda: That’s a can of Upside Down worms. [laughs]
Danielle: Oh no. I may have. I’m so sorry, universe. Well, I guess that happened. Anyway, a lot of shouts. There’s a lot of genuinely good stuff, good characters. You know what? I’ll give Paul Reiser a shout too.
Fernanda: Oh my God, amazing. Yes.
Danielle: Owens’s the less evil scientist.
Danielle: Thanks, Owens. He tries.
Fernanda: He made up for–
Danielle: Yeah, he may not succeed, but he tries. [laughs]
Fernanda: He made up for himself in Aliens. I’d say that.
Danielle: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Fernanda: Like, Paul Reiser, he really recovered. I feel like he regretted some stuff after what he was up to in Aliens. [laughs]
Danielle: He really did. And he’s like, “Look, I’m trying to help.” Again, not always effective, but he does try.
Fernanda: Yeah. He didn’t lie.
Danielle: And like, you know what? You get a little shout for that. You tried. [both laugh]
Fernanda: Between this and Mad About You, Paul Reiser, you’re cool in our book.
Danielle: He’s doing good. Yeah, he’s doing good.
Fernanda: He does get a shoutout. I think, like you said, Mike is just, at this point, a useless character.
Danielle: The fucking worst.
Fernanda: Oh, he yelled at Eleven to prop her up, I guess? He’s the heart?
Fernanda: Is he the heart, Will?
Danielle: He’s nothing!
Fernanda: Or is it just the love goggles? Or are you just saying that ’cause you have a crush on him? Like…
Danielle: He’s just nothing. He’s just nothing, and he has that– at least he’s self knowing a little, where he’s like, “I’m nothing, and she’s a superhero,” and I’m sitting there like, yes, that’s correct.
Fernanda: Yeah, that’s pretty–
Danielle: That’s correct.
Fernanda: Yep. Yep.
Danielle: Deal with it, my dear boy, [Fernanda laughs] and do something else with your life. And then Will is like, “I’m in love with you, and–” well, he doesn’t say that, but you know, basically. Like, “She needs you because you’re the heart!” And it’s like, oh, my little dudes. You all need therapy, and I understand. [both laugh]
Fernanda: You all need to find God or whatever form of that is to you, but you have time.
Fernanda: You’re young.
Danielle: He has time. You’re all 15, apparently.
Danielle: Even though you’re all 22 or whatever, except for the person who actually looks older and is actually young. So that’s upside down, I don’t know.
Fernanda: I like that Lucas got his little moment, as I said.
Fernanda: Jonathan was so fucking useless [Danielle: “Yeah”] but he did give us Argyle, so we’re like forgiving him.
Danielle: Yep, so we’re square. We’re square.
Fernanda: He was literally just there to have that moment with Will.
Danielle: He was, yeah.
Fernanda: Which was nice, so I guess we’re good.
Danielle: It was a nice moment.
Danielle: Yeah, it was a nice moment.
Fernanda: So, Steven…
Danielle: Could have done without every other moment with that, but that moment, that was good. Yeah.
Fernanda: Nancy will forever annoy me. [Danielle sighs] I hate the way she dresses like a 17 year old librarian. [Danielle laughs] Do not approve. She seems like a very obnoxious girl.
Fernanda: Like, I don’t know why these two guys are fight– maybe Jonathan and her should be together, ’cause they are boring together, and Steven is like cool.
Fernanda: And, well, he can’t be with Robin, ‘cause…I thought she was bi?
Danielle: She’s queer.
Fernanda: But I don’t know.
Danielle: I thought she was all the way queer, because she was like, “I only like girls,” in the last season.
Fernanda: She did say that?
Danielle: I might be misremembering, ’cause that was three years ago.
Fernanda: Oh, I may be…
Danielle: It was like when they were barfing in the toilet after the…
Danielle: [laughs] After their drug experience, I guess?
Danielle: I could be wrong, though. And also like, you know, many people are bi, and it’s great, so.
Danielle: You know, whatever.
Fernanda: And a boy and a girl can just be friends too, and it’s cool, and they’ve got a great friendship.
Fernanda: So let’s respect that and let Robin hang out with the girl who looks alarmingly like her. The real shoutout of the season really goes to the closed captions people. [laughs]
Danielle: Oh, absolutely. They win. They are on the staff picks shelf. If no one else is, they’re in the staff picks shelf.
Fernanda: With that, I know we gotta wrap up soon. Danielle, [Danielle: “Yeah”] is there anything you want to add that we failed to discuss this episode?
Danielle: No, I think we handled most of the big points. I’ve– ugh. I like a lot of things, and I dislike a lot of things, so it really is [sighs] a stranger thing for me. [both laugh] Sorry.
Fernanda: We did take on a very ambitious task here today, because not only, [Danielle: “Yeah”] like we’re discussing a two and a half hour episode, that also has a whole other universe and season behind it. So apologies, beautiful listeners, if we failed to mention some part of the plot that you wanted to discuss, but the good news is we are on Discord and you can tell us all about it there. Okay? But for now I feel like that wraps up today’s discussion and that sets us up for our final segment of the show, where we discuss where this movie is gonna go in our shelf.
Fernanda: So, we’re moving on to Shelf Life.
Fernanda: So here we are, Shelf Life. You already know it. That’s where we determine where the movie—in this case, the show—we’re talking about gets to go on the staff picks shelf, in the middle aisle, or straight into the dumpster. Again, here, we kind of discussed the entire season because we had to, but let’s focus our efforts here on the finale in particular, episode nine of volume two of season four of Stranger Things. Where does it belong to you, Danielle?
Danielle: I think this is like a very good middle aisle pick, and again, not just because all of it is middle aisle. I think there are elements here that are staff picks worthy, [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] and I think there are elements here that are absolute dumpster trash, [Fernanda laughs] and so it spans this whole spectrum, and so it ends up in the middle aisle. But again, I do recommend portions of it and [Fernanda: “Mm-hmm”] heavily recommend against other portions of it, so watch it with a fast forward button. Anytime you see a letterman jacket, just fast forward, and you’re gonna have a great time. [both laugh]
Fernanda: They are good letterman jackets, though.
Danielle: They are. The jackets are great. Jackets are good.
Fernanda: I feel like I’m too old to rock like Stranger Things merch at this point in my life, [Danielle laughs] but the jackets are cool. Like, I will not be caught dead with a Hellfire Club tee, but it looks cool too, so.
Danielle: It does look good!
Fernanda: Shoutout to that.
Fernanda: If we were judging the entire season, I’d be more like, is it like middle aisle or like a low staff picks for me? But we are not.
Fernanda: And I didn’t love the finale.
Fernanda: I won’t throw it in the dumpster, because like it serves a purpose. It’s there for a reason, and I can see why.
Fernanda: But to me, it’s just, it was a very unimpressive like closure to the whole thing, so I’m just gonna throw it low middle aisle placement.
Fernanda: And we’ll call it a day.
Danielle: Yeah, I think that’s fair. Yeah.
Fernanda: That’s fair, right? Okay.
Danielle: I think it is. Stranger Things season four. Let’s hope season five goes all the way. You know what I’m saying? Staff picks all the way. Eh, you know, we’ll see. [laughs]
Fernanda: We’ll see. We’ll revisit, but I–
Danielle: We’ll revisit, yeah.
Fernanda: Without Eddie, I’m not really hopeful, but I’m sure they’ll introduce another beloved character they’re gonna kill in five minutes. [both laugh]
Danielle: Exactly. Oh.
Fernanda: And that is all for this week. Thank you, of course, as usual, to my wonderful co-host for joining me. Thank you at home for listening. Thank you to our fantastic producer, Jordan, “Not the asshole in the letterman jacket” Mallory [laughs] for producing and making this show sound pretty cool.
And if you’re tired of just listening to us and you want to say some stuff too, as I was saying, that’s just dandy, because as it so happens, we would love to hear from you. If you’d like to get in touch with us, by all means, head on over to our lively Discord at fanbyte.casa, or send us an email to YLTSI, our initials, at fanbyte dot com. You can send us your reviews. You can send us your recommendations, your questions, any general feedback, and maybe we will even read it on the show. We really appreciate all of it.
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Danielle: Oh hey, Fernanda, um…so, uh, is the– [ominous tones playing with occasional wet squelching] do you see this VHS rewinder? It’s like glowing and spinning and making like eldritch squelching noises? Do you see this? Do you hear this?
Fernanda: Uh, yep. Yep, yeah. It sure is glowing and spinning all right.
Danielle: Ooh, okay. All right. I’m gonna try to stop it. All right, let’s see. All right. I’m over here. I’m gonna press fast forward, rewind, fast forward, rewind, fast forward, rewind.
Fernanda: I don’t know if that’s a great idea. I don’t know.
Danielle: [echoing distantly, as if being pulled into another dimension] Aaaah! Whoaaaa! What is happening? Aaaah!
Deep eldritch voice: Welcome to your doom! You love to see it!
[suspenseful horror music]