🚨 There are MASSIVE — and I mean MASSIVE — spoilers ahead for Stranger Things Season 4! 🚨
After years of waiting, Stranger Things finally returned with Season 4, Vol. 1 on Netflix this week, and honestly, it was worth the wait.
The first seven episodes of Season 4 pick up almost a year after the Battle of Starcourt, with Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Max (Sadie Sink), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) trying to navigate high school, while Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Will (Noah Schnapp) are trying to fit in at their new school in California. Of course, this is Stranger Things, so the calm and "normal" doesn't last forever.
Soon, Hawkins is once again under attack, this time by Vecna, a creature from the Upside Down who is killing people in a very brutal way. Like, the end of Season 4, Episode 1 proved that this show has now taken a hard turn into the horror genre, and I am so excited for it.
With Vecna threatening Hawkins, Lucas, Dustin, Steve (Joe Keery), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Robin (Maya Hawke), and Max team up to try and stop him, and it's the best team-up the series has given us. Then, things take a very real turn when Max is Vecna's next victim.
This leads into the episode "Dear Billy," which, in my opinion, is one of the best episodes of Stranger Things to date. As of right now, it's one of the highest rated episodes of the series on IMDb.
Directed by Shawn Levy and written by Paul Dichter, "Dear Billy" follows Max as she comes to terms with possibly dying at the hands of Vecna, and this leads to her writing letters to all the important people in her life.
The entire episode brilliantly leads up to an emotional performance from Sadie Sink, which starts when Max sits in front of Billy's grave and reads the letter she wrote for him. Y'all, I was very much weeping on my couch.
Then, "Dear Billy" takes a turn to the pure horror that this season perfectly delivers, when Vecna gets a hold of Max and tries to kill her. Again, Sadie Sink just knocks it out of the park as Max is trying desperately to escape.
The final moments culminate when the crew learns that Max's favorite song could save her from Vecna, and "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush starts playing and ultimately saves Max. These last five minutes of "Dear Billy" are incredible, from the acting to the directing to the writing to the music choice.
After Stranger Things 4 dropped on Netflix, "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush quickly shot to No. 1 on iTunes and is charting on Spotify's Top 200. The 1985 track originally reached the top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Speaking about Max's big episode, Sadie Sink told Netflix, "[Max's] been wanting to give up. ... But her friends show up for her, and I think that's what really helps her. She is someone in a lot of pain. To see her go on this journey and then even more painful circumstances, but still choose to fight the good fight and be a team player, and also just continue on for herself as well — that's really inspiring."
In terms of filming, Sadie said, "The running bit actually must have been five takes of me running, like, 25 yards that they just cut together to make it look like I was running a lot further. But really it was just like one little square of murky, bloody water." Also, she wrote Max's goodbye letter to Billy in a script-print "hybrid," which is a mix of her own script handwriting and what the Stranger Things team thought Max's would look like.
And on top of Max's storyline, "Dear Billy" also features a perfectly creepy performance by iconic actor Robert Englund, who is best known for playing Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.
Basically, while binge-watching Stranger Things 4 Vol 1., fans and director Shawn Levy quickly shared their love for "Dear Billy," especially Sadie Sink's performance and everyone's newfound love of "Running Up That Hill':
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