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Netflix's Stranger Things killed my excitement for season five by explaining its mysteries too much

Sometimes a mystery is better left unsolved.

Stranger Things season four Vecna screenshot
Image credit: Netflix

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While we expect Squid Game to be the crown jewel of Netflix’s programming for 2024, 2025 will almost certainly belong to Stranger Things. The final season of Stranger Things doesn’t have an official release date yet, but we know that it has finally entered production after a long series of strike-related delays. Whenever season five of Stranger Things does come out, it should be among my most anticipated shows of the past several years... And yet, I can’t manage one iota of hype, simply because they went out of their way to explain away some of the biggest mysteries in the show.

Don’t get me wrong – season four was really fun and introduced (and killed off) some really interesting characters. But it also spent so much of its runtime in needless exposition. Where did Eleven get her powers? Who is Vecna? Worst of all, it insisted on telling us all how the Upside Down came to be and it just killed my enthusiasm for the show.

The early seasons of Stranger Things thrived on the fear of the unknown, casting the Upside Down as an unknowable, alien realm that was home to monsters and demons. The kids used their Dungeons & Dragons logic to try to explain it away, but it felt like something that had always existed in the shadows, just out of sight but always a threat.

Season four undid a lot of that tension and explained the origins of the Upside Down in excruciating, unnecessary detail. The dark, dusty mirror world hasn’t always been there. Instead, it was made just a few decades before the show’s start. Sure there are still some mysteries still to be solved, but a little bit of knowledge has gone a long way to diminish my excitement for the final adventure of the Hawkins kids.

Netflix's Stranger Things is heading into its grand finale - of the main show that is. While you wait, make sure you've watched all of the franchise (including the spinoffs in books and comics) with our Stranger Things guide, know who the Stranger Things season 5 cast, and what Dustin actor Gaten Matarazzo things would make the show better (more deaths). .

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Trent Cannon avatar

Trent Cannon


Trent is a freelance writer who has been covering anime, video games, and pop culture for a decade. (He/Him)