Stranger Things season 4 episode 1 recap: The Hellfire Club

This article contains SPOILERS for Stranger Things season 4 episode 1.

As the gang is finishing all their tasks before a week of spring break, new threats show their ugly faces in the first episode of Stranger Things season 4.

Catch up here on everything from our Stranger Things season 4 trailer breakdown!

After what feels like a lifetime, Stranger Things season 4 kicks off with a man receiving the newspaper, solving a crossword puzzle in under a minute, and then getting dressed. It ends up being revealed that this is Martin Brenner, the man in charge of Hawkins Laboratory.

The date is September 8th, 1979 (four years before Will was taken into the upside-down). At the lab, all of the children who were being tested (like Eleven) are showcasing their powers in the rec room.

Brenner chooses a young boy who has a 010 on his arm and takes him to do more lessons. Here, the bad doctor tests Ten to the point where the child’s emotions are becoming unstable.

He is able to see that several people in the facility are now dead. In the middle of the lesson, the sirens start going off as chaos ensues in the hallways.

Brenner investigates to find death and blood surrounding the hallways and rooms with a prepubescent Eleven standing alone.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 1: Eleven writes to Mike

Eleven writes a letter to Mike explaining how things are going in California. Joyce has a job working from home as a saleswoman, Jonathan has become a stoner with his friend Argyle, and Will has picked up painting but does not show anyone his artwork.

Eleven remarks that Will has been acting a bit strange lately, but she thinks that’s because he has a crush on someone. She talks about how she is making friends when in reality she is being bullied by her Californian peers.

Dustin is still with Suzie from summer camp. Since she is a whiz with computers, she penitently hacks into Hawkin’s school records to change Dustin’s language grade from a D- to an A-.

STRANGER THINGS. Mason Dye as Jason Carver in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

At the basketball rally, Robin is in the band, Lucas is on the basketball team, while Dustin, Mike, and Max watch in the stands. The basketball team captain gives a speech about using the town tragedy to motivate his team to win the semi-finals of their tournament game.

They win which means the next game is tonight. Since Mike and Dustin have a D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) campaign that same evening, they are upset by this news since Lucas has to be there to close out their latest campaign with their friend Eddie.

Lucas pleads with them to change the night of the campaign and attend his game. In California, Eleven who goes by the name Jane, gives her presentation about her hero, Jim Hopper, that gets laughed at by her classmates.

Will tries to help out his friend and tells her that the presentation was not that bad but El reminds him “friends don’t lie” and walks away.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 1: Max notices something off

While walking to her appointment with the school counselor, Max notices the head cheerleader, Chrissy, is upset leaving the office. During her own talk, the counselor talks about Max’s poor grades and upsetting family life after the death of her brother Billy.

Max is clearly reserved and lying to her counselor because of her ongoing trauma from the events of the mall. After her meeting, Lucas invites Max to his game, but this only sets her off some more.

Max’s defenses are stronger than the Iron Curtain and she returns the ticket to her ex-boyfriend. She then finds Chrissy throwing up in the bathroom.

She offers to check in on her, but Chrissy tells her to go away. After Max leaves, Chrissy has visions of her mom abusing her, only to find out it was all in her head.

At lunch, Mike and Dustin try to convince their dungeon master Eddie Munson to postpone the campaign since Lucas will not be around. The rest of the group is appalled as Eddie goes on a monologue about how Mike and Dustin need to find some new folks to play with them just like he did with them a couple of years ago.

Back at home, Joyce receives a mysterious package with a bunch of Russian stamps on it. She opens it up to find a porcelain doll inside.

When she calls Murray Bauman to get his wider knowledge on the subject, they discover a crack on the doll. Murray believes there could be a dangerous weapon inside the porcelain Russian doll.

Jonathan is stressed during woodshop, so his friend Argyle talks to him. This parallels with Nancy working as the editor of the Hawkins school newspaper, who is also very stressed.

They both explain to their friends the numerous reasons why they are unable to see each other but why they still love each other very much. Both lovers are saying hollow statements but state that their relationship is perfect, even though they are not seeing each other.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 1: Mike and Dustin need a replacement

Mike and Dustin struggle to find a new member for their D&D campaign when suddenly Dustin has the brilliant idea to talk to some middle schoolers. Here, they find Erica ready and willing to play.

Chrissy walks into the woods behind the high school, still having menacing and scary visions. In these woods, however, she finds Eddie there waiting to sell her some weed.

The two chat, laugh and bond after spending years on opposite sides of the clique spectrum, proving how they have more in common than their friends and appearances. In the end, though, Chrissy asks for something stronger than weed.

Eleven is still struggling with school, both academically and socially as she is continually bullied by Angela, the same girl who gave her a hard time in class. El is fed up and tries using her powers on the cruel bullies.

But her powers are still not working since the mall and losing Hopper. While breaking the porcelain Russian doll, Joyce finds a letter inside.

In this letter, all that can be easily made out is “Hop is alive” which is all the single mother needs to hear to be filled with relief among many other emotions.

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

That night, the basketball game and the D&D quest are paralleled as they both build-up to a crescendo-inducing huddle on the court and at the table. On the first attempts, both the team captain and Dustin miss their shots.

But when it’s Erica’s turn to roll along with her brother Lucas getting the rebound, they both win for their respective teams.

Stranger Things season 4 episode 1: The monster reveals itself

In the parking lot, Lucas sees his friends and sister celebrating their victory. He’s clearly feeling left out since he chose basketball over his friends.

Max is home feeding her dog outside when she notices Chrissy going into Eddie’s home. In the home, Chrissy is looking for “special K” which Eddie goes searching for since he misplaced it.

As she waits, her visions come back, and she hallucinates her family in a very horrific manner. She becomes locked in her own mind and cannot escape.

When Eddie returns to give her the drugs he finds the cheerleader with glossy eyes, unresponsive, but standing upright. An evil voice is chasing after Chrissy in her visions before a humanoid and slimy monster approaches her and tells her that her suffering can now end.

The monster puts his gruesome hand over Chrissy’s face leading to her to float to the ceiling of Eddie’s home. He watches in horror as she is crunched to death by the unseen monster.

What do we think of the weird and brash Eddie Munson? Do you think Lucas made the right choice in choosing basketball?

Let us know your answers and opinions in the comments below!

Watch all of Stranger Things season 4 only on Netflix!