Stranger Things: Is Episode 7 Summer's Most Satisfying Blockbuster?

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Episode No. 7 of Stranger Things Season 4, Part 1. If you’re not finished bingeing yet, treat this article like an invitation to the Creel House and RSVP “no.”

We know, we know — Top Gun: Maverick and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are humongous hits. But for our money, the most satisfying blockbuster of the summer of 2022 just may be the Season 4, Part 1 finale of Stranger Things.

With a run time of more than 90 minutes, “Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” has pretty much everything that we want from a crowd-pleasing feature. Everything that we could want, even. There’s action, courtesy of Hopper and his fellow Kamchatka prisoners’ fierce faceoff with the Demogorgon. There’s suspense, owing to Steve & Co.’s tense battle with Upside Down Demobats. There are laughs aplenty, as Dustin, Lucas and Max are questioned by the Hawkins PD. There’s romance galore, not only in Hopper and Joyce’s long-awaited reunion but in Nancy’s reawakened feelings for Steve. And man, are there surprises. We saw neither Peter being One being Vecna coming, nor Nancy being targeted as the bogeyman’s next victim (with a Barb shout-out to boot!).

Best of all, we already know that we’re getting a “sequel” — and soon, too. The pair of mega-episodes that make up Part 2 of the Netflix hit’s penultimate season will drop on Friday, July 1. What’s your take on “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”? Did it tick all your boxes or leave some unchecked? Grade the Part 1 finale as well as Part 1 as a whole below, then hit the comments with your reviews.

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