Stranger Things Season 4 Episode Titles: What Do They All Mean? – Screen Rant

Netflix has revealed the Stranger Things season 4 episode titles, dropping major clues about the plot and confirming the return of Dr. Brenner.
Netflix’s Stranger Things season 4 episode titles drop a lot of major clues about the continuation of the series and its plot. Still holding the throne of being Netflix’s biggest TV series, Stranger Things combines science-fiction and fantasy with ’80s nostalgia. There’s been intense excitement about Stranger Things season 4, which has finally been confirmed to come out in summer 2022. Although the show has traditionally been centered in the fictional town of Hawkins, the series’ fourth season looks to follow three separate arcs set in Hawkins, California, and even Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, respectively. This perhaps partly explains why shooting the series has been relatively more time-consuming, coupled with a long post-production, presumably for VFX.
Still, as part of Netflix’s Stranger Things Day the streaming giant finally confirmed Stranger Things season 4’s episode titles. Stranger Things has always been known for taking a somewhat whimsical approach to episode titles. They tend to conceal as much as they reveal, which is why Netflix can drop them so long before the show’s release. In this case, the episode titles include everything from X-Men references to D&D lore, making them particularly interesting for sci-fi and fantasy junkies to dig into.
Related: Stranger Things Teases A Different Genre For Season 4 (& That’s GOOD)
Stranger Things season 4 promises to expand the show’s mythos, featuring new characters, returning threats, and a revisit of Dr. Brenner’s experiments at Hawkins Lab. Here are all the episode titles for Stranger Things season 4, along with all that can be deduced from them.
Stranger Things season 4’s premiere is called “The Hellfire Club,” an explicit X-Men reference in a series that’s never been shy of admitting its love of comic books. Traditionally enemies of the X-Men, the Hellfire Club is an international body that welcomes the rich and famous into its ranks. Where most X-Men stories are about battles of ideology, the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club are simply powerful mutants who want to profit from the unending conflict between humans and mutants. Introduced in the classic “Dark Phoenix Saga,” the Hellfire Club have been a constant thorn in the X-Men’s side, although one of their key figures – Emma Frost, the White Queen – was ultimately redeemed, and has been fighting on the side of the angels for some time now. The “Dark Phoenix Saga” has had a strong influence on Stranger Things, so it’s appropriate to reference them. However, Stranger Things‘ Hellfire Club is no secret organization composed of the wealthy and influential. The official Stranger Things Twitter account has confirmed it is the name of Hawkins High School’s D&D club. British actor Joseph Quinn will be joining the cast of Stranger Things as Eddie Munson, who runs the Hellfire Club.
Stranger Things season 4, episode 2 is also titled after a Dungeons & Dragons reference, “Vecna’s Curse.” Sometimes called the Whispered One or the Undying King, the evil lich Vecna is one of the most dangerous creatures in D&D lore. Seeking immortality, he transformed himself into a power-hungry undead wizard, and granted his lieutenant Kas a weapon called the Sword of Kas to act on his behalf. Ironically, the sword was sentient, and it persuaded Kas to switch sides and oppose Vecna. Vecna was seemingly destroyed, with only his hand and left eye remaining, powerful magical artifacts. Unfortunately worshipers of Vecna subsequently transformed him into a full-on demigod. It’s possible the Hawkins kids will ascribe the name “Vecna” to some monstrous phenomenon they encounter. Granted,  Stranger Things season 4 takes place in 1986, before a lot of the lore surrounding Vecna developed, so it may not bear many parallels to the modern Vecna.
The title of Stranger Things season 4, episode 3 is a lot more ambiguous. Still, it seems quite likely “The Monster and the Superhero” refers to Eleven – traditionally the most notable superhero figure in Stranger Things. Eleven left Hawkins with the Byers family at the end of season 3, and her story will continue in California, so perhaps an Upside-Down monster will somehow make its way to the West Coast, Alternatively, it’s possible Eleven will visit Hawkins to spend time with Mike, and get drawn into the action once again. Hopefully episode 3’s title also means her powers will have been restored by this point.
Related: Stranger Things Season 4 Will Change How Powerful Fans Think Eleven Is
Max’s older step-brother, Billy was a human antagonist in Stranger Things season 2, and he was possessed by the Mind-Flayer in Stranger Things season 3. He was a hero in the end, rebelling against the Mind-Flayer’s control and delaying the creature before it could kill Eleven. It’s reasonable to assume “Dear Billy” features the kids remembering and mourning Billy, and it’s also likely this episode is centered on Max, who clearly loved her step-brother in spite of their frequent conflict, and who was heartbroken at his death. Eleven may be able to help Max deal with her grief, because she has a unique understanding of Billy, having penetrated his mind to help him fight against the Mind-Flayer.

The experiments at Hawkins Lab were conducted by Project MKUltra, a secretive CIA experiment project aiming to create living weapons to be used against the Soviets. In the real world, Project MKUltra was a response to similar experiments being conducted by the Soviets. Stranger Things season 3 revealed the Russians are trying to open their own Gate to the Upside-Down, and they could be experimenting on children in the same way. That possibility makes the title of Stranger Things season 4, episode 5 – “The Nina Project” – particularly interesting. Nina is a fairly common name in Russia, and it’s possible the Russian equivalent of Dr. Brenner’s experiments began with a child named Nina.
Some of the Stranger Things season 4 episode titles are pretty ambiguous. A good example is the title of Stranger Things season 4, episode 6, “The Dive.” It’s difficult to say what this refers to. It could be anything from spelunking to scuba diving, to somebody diving into something far more exotic – a tunnel into the Upside-Down, for example.
The title of Stranger Things season 4, episode 7 returns viewers to the old Hawkins Lab facility, which was shut down after the events of Stranger Things season 2. Although it’s possible the U.S. government has begun operating at the lab again after the Russians opened another Gate at Hawkins, it’s more likely “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” refers to a flashback of some sort. Teasers for Stranger Things season 4 appear to have shown flashbacks to Dr. Brenner’s initial experiments on Eleven and other children, which could fit with episode 7.
Related: Stranger Things: The Upside Down Broke Through Before Eleven – Theory Explained
The mastermind behind the experiments at Hawkins Lab, Dr. Brenner was initially believed to have been killed in Stranger Things season 1. Season 2 revealed he’d survived the Demogorgon’s wrath, however, and he seems to have gone to ground. There’s been intense speculation about Dr. Brenner’s fate; is he running another Hawkins Lab? Has Dr. Brenner defected to the Soviet Union for protection, helping them with their version of Project MKUltra? Whatever the answer may be, it’s reasonable to assume it will finally be given in Stranger Things season 4, episode 8, called “Papa,” the name he insisted his young test subjects give to him.
Netflix is keen to avoid revealing too much with the episode titles, and so the Stranger Things season 4 finale has another mysterious one: “The Piggyback.” It’s possible the title refers to the idea of a couple of Dr. Brenner’s test subjects – Eleven presumably numbered among them – synergizing their powers in some way. X-Men comics have tended to describe such synergies with names like this, such as the famous “Fastball Special” involving Wolverine and Colossus. It would be appropriate for Stranger Things season 4 to begin with an explicit X-Men nod, while ending with a more subtle one.
More: Stranger Things Season 4 Needs To Address The Mind Flayer’s Victims
Tom Bacon is one of Screen Rant’s staff writers, as well as a Peer Mentor for new writers and a member of the Care Team, offering support and a listening ear to members of the Comics group. A lifelong fan of major franchises including Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Marvel, Tom is delighted his childhood is back – and this time it’s cool. You can find him on Twitter @TomABacon. A graduate of Edge Hill University, Tom remains strongly connected with his alma mater as a volunteer chaplain. He’s heavily involved with his local church, and anyone who checks him out on Twitter will swiftly learn he’s into British politics too.


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