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Stranger Things Season 4 Needs To Address The Mind Flayer's Victims

Stranger Things season 3 never offered a proper explanation for how the deaths of the Mind Flayer’s many victims were covered up, and this is something that season 4 needs to address. Since the series debuted in 2016, Stranger Things has not been without its fair share of plot holes. The small-town sci-fi horror mystery may nail the tone of nostalgic ‘80s genre fare, but Stranger Things also features the occasional narrative dead ends that its inspirations were infamous for.

That said, most of the plot holes included in Stranger Things season one were minor oversights or issues that only became suspect thanks to later revelations. The question of how Dr. Brenner survived a Demogorgon attack, for instance, was not raised until after the character’s death was revealed to be a fake-out years later. However, despite Stranger Things season 4 risking repeating mistakes from seasons 2 and 3, the show has greatly increased the scope of the action and with this increased scale came a lot of harder-to-ignore plot holes.

Related: Why Stranger Things Best Season 3 Scene Was Bad For The Show

Chief among these is the issue of how exactly the government covered up the deaths of dozens of Hawkins residents at the close of season three, somehow wiping the townspeople of the memory of their missing loved ones. Throughout season three, dozens of prominent locals including the entire staff of the Hawkins Post were body-snatched by the Mind Flayer and became mindless zombie-like slaves to the monster. Eventually, their bodies were all absorbed into the giant monstrosity in the season’s end, only for heroine Eleven and reformed villain Billy to kill the beast in the episode’s last scenes. But what cover story were their families, friends, and the community at large given for the sudden disappearance of dozens? Stranger Things season four needs to explain how their demises were hidden (if at all), and what impact the incident had on the small town in the time since.

The “fire at the Starcourt Mall” cover story that is briefly mentioned during season 3’s closing scenes does not account for all of the Mind Flayer’s victims going missing over weeks beforehand, a mass disappearance that is never accounted for in-series. Stranger Things season 3 made it clear that not every single townsperson died at the hands of the monster, meaning there should be a massive public outcry over the mystery. Jonathan and Nancy’s intrepid investigation into Barb’s death was promoted by a single unexplained disappearance, making it less than believable that the townspeople would simply shrug and accept the unexplained deaths of dozens.

The lack of a satisfying answer to how the Hawkins townspeople forgot their neighbors, family, co-workers, and friends overnight could be chalked up to sloppy storytelling on the part of the Stranger Things writing team, but it does not need to stay that way. Much like season 2 of Stranger Things incorporated the backlash about characters ignoring Barb’s death into Jonathan and Nancy’s quest for answers, season four could see the people of Hawkins wake up to the chaos surrounding them and search for answers. Eleven’s new look in season four’s earliest trailer already implies that a time jump will occur between seasons, meaning Hawkins could become a hotbed of conspiracy theorists thanks to its many mysteries before season four even begins. This would allow Stranger Things season four to fix one of season three’s biggest plot holes, offer a timely satire of conspiracy theories, and address the frankly impossible blind spots of Hawkins’ collective populace in one fell swoop.

More: Stranger Things Season 4 Should Be More Comedic (Not Less)

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