“We filmed this season of Stranger Things a year ago,” the warning states before the series recap. “But given the recent tragic shooting at a school in Texas, viewers may find the opening scene of episode 1 distressing. We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable violence, and our hearts go out to every family mourning a loved one.”
The first seven episodes of Season 4 premiered on Netflix today, May 27th, with the final two episodes due out on July 1st. The description of this latest chapter has also been edited to include, “Warning: Contains graphic violence involving children.”
Last Friday, Netflix unveiled the first eight minutes of Season 4. The clip is a week old and shows the very beginning of the first episode, but if you’re hoping to go in with no prior knowledge whatsoever, consider this your spoiler warning for the discussion that follows.
The episode opens in 1979, four years before the events of the pilot. Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) goes through his morning routine and heads to work at Hawkins Lab, where a gaggle of shaved-head youths are beginning their daily lessons. A one-on-one tutorial with a young boy called Ten is interrupted when he senses that something is wrong, and soon afterwards the lab is ripped apart by violence. If you watched the clip when it dropped, and then followed the tragedy in Ulvade, you can attest that seeing Dr. Brenner step over the bodies of children feels much more disturbingly real today than it did a week ago.
The creators of Stranger Things have taken pains to avoid any more substantial spoilers, though it’s hard when you have so many commercial partners. Earlier this month, significant moments in the story were spoiled by a Monopoly tie-in game. If you’re gearing up to watch, you might want to revisit our recap of how the characters got to this point.