Fans argue that season 4 was the best yet in the series, however with season 5 expected to be released anywhere between 2023 and 2024, viewers of the critically acclaimed series have been left with plenty of time to reflect on the latest installment, and many have taken to Reddit to point out some things that they found to be inconsistent or problematic with season 4.
One user went as far as to call the season "poorly written," this is just one of many negative comments online directed at the producers of the show, however, there are plenty of fans defending the series as well, causing quite the stir online.
The Upside Down
The first issue pointed out by viewers focuses on the Upside Down. In season 4 the Hawkins gang enters the Upside Down to fight Vecna, they do this without any form of protection. The problem with this is that looking back on season 1 when Hopper and Joyce enter the Upside down to save Will. In order to enter this alternate version of Hawkins, the pair have to wear hazmat suits after they are warned of the air being toxic. So how do the kids go in without protection and seem unaffected?
Some viewers argued that perhaps the suits are just a precaution from the unknown, and would be considered mandatory for anyone entering with the help of the research facility, because of regulations for health and safety. However, Hopper was badly affected when exploring the tunnels, coughing up a dark substance after passing out from the toxins, which proves that the spores and air in the Upside Down are dangerous, and although Will in season 1 survived a long time in the same conditions, he was on the brink of death when finally rescued. Others have suggested that the Upside Down is getting weaker or older, and has less of an effect on those who enter. This could be a logical explanation, the only other explanation would be a pretty big mistake made by the producers of the show.
Hopper's Russian Prison Adventures
Next up, Hopper was able to kill the Demogorgon with a sword in the Russian prison which seemed a bit far-fetched as the Demogorgon had faced countless prisoners who fought it in groups and with multiple weapons and the Demogorgon still ended up killing them all very very quickly. The creatures had also been released and killed the majority of the Russian guards despite them being heavily armed and shooting at them to no avail. It's just too easy for Hopper, with viewers left feeling like it was unrealistic or simply lazy writing by producers. Other viewers have since defended the show, arguing that the Demogorgon had been blasted with a flamethrower before facing Hopper, and although groups of prisoners had been defeated by the creature, Hopper had combat training and knowledge on them, whilst the prisoners would have been terrified for their lives and not have experience fighting.
Another issue with the Demogorgons is that they were damaged with bullets, which viewers pointed out to be odd as beforehand they had seemed to be immune to ammunition.
It is important to remember that whilst Hopper and the team were fighting the Demogorgons in Russia, the kids were in Hawkins fighting Vecna in the Upside Down. The most supported theory is that because the kids were distracting Vecna, the hive mind was weakened and the Demogorgons would have been especially vulnerable to attacks, they were not killed by bullets but were harmed and slowed down by them, which would make sense keeping in mind their connection to Vecna.
The loveable stoner-surfer-pizza delivery guy played a big part in helping the Hawkins kids battle Vecna. He is arguably an important part of season 4, but his character just seems to disappear near the end. The first disappearance happens alongside Mike, Jonathan, and Will. The group doesn't feature for two whole episodes as they drive across the country searching for Eleven, which can be considered understandable as not much was happening.
It happens to Argyle's character again in the final episode, when the Hawkins gang is seen standing together on the hill as they realize Vecna's invasion is going to carry on. Perhaps he was left out as he wasn't part of the original Hawkins gang? Was he still obviously harvesting mushrooms? Some have argued he was minding his own business and didn't fully understand the severity of the situation, but as a key character in season 4, viewers feel he definitely should have been visible in the scene, it doesn't make sense that he is there, but not there.
Finally, Max's letters, or lack of. Max writes letters to all of her friends in case she doesn't survive her encounter with Vecna with strict instructions that they only be opened if she were to die. Although season 4 ends with Max being in a coma, the letters are never mentioned again. One would assume that not knowing what her future holds, the Hawkins gang would have wanted to know what she had written them. The letters being forgotten would be a very disappointing plothole, but most viewers are leaning towards the idea that they will resurface in Season 5 and play an important role in her character arc, and we can only hope this is the case!