It appears that the Russians are not done with Hawkins. With the announcement of newcomers to the show, ‘Stranger Things’ has announced the entry of Yuri. But who is he? And what’s the story?
As the Demogorgon fires up in the third season of ‘Stranger Things’, the show divides itself into three streams. There’s a coming-of-age story wrapped up in action-adventure, Hopper’s spy story, and the teenage story of angst and anger. Wrapped up in all these streams, there is an overwhelming perspective of dread. There have been multiple attacks in Hawkins, the Russians are also looking ahead, and things are going wrong. How did ‘Stranger Things’ become this story?
- The story till now
- Cold war intrigue
- A missing puzzle piece
The story till now
In Season 1, ‘Stranger Things’ was a wonder of its own. The property came on Netflix, a platform that wasn’t known for innovative new programming. But the story with ‘Stranger Things’ went further. The OTT platform got a new lease of life and a new mission, and the story became a bonafide critical hit.
Part of it focused on re-creating the 80s—the atmosphere of Dungeons and Dragons, the monstrous Demogorgon, and the open-ended references to 80s movies. The show wasn’t exactly playing coy with its concerns. Even the show’s mainstay, Eleven, and her powers is a homage to a 60s novel where CIA experimentation and abuse surround an ordinary woman and child. In season 2, the story goes to Eleven again, talking about the laboratory that formed the core of her life before Hawkins.
As the father-daughter relationship between Hopper and Eleven developed, the friendship between the kids developed too. The introduction of new characters and villains covered season 2 and season 3, with complex relationships developing between the different people within the story.
The last season also hinted at something more sinister. The Russians were involved in Hawkins. In a long-drawn-out season, the kids and adults discover an intricate plot threatening America and the underlying occult threat. But why Russia?
Cold war intrigue
World War 2 brought about many changes in the world. The core conception that is challenged was pretty simple. However, the world was no longer European alone. The Asian and American powers have come to play the war game, and they will stay that way for the future.
America immediately hired Nazis because it felt threatened by their philosophical opposites in USSR, and the German story being divided didn’t help. The comprehensive decades from the 50s to 70s have been shaped by this darkened history of panic.
As everyone worldwide developed nuclear weapons (the Demogorgons of the natural world), American filmography turned towards the bomb as the key villain of the story. For these decades, the threat of a nuclear war was genuine, and these shadows developed the story for many Americans across the peninsula.
In season 3 of ‘Stranger Things’, the mechanical and the metal-driven, disciplined clockwork of the Russian army is a direct reference to the cold war movies that depicted the animosity between the two countries. And that is where Yuri comes in.
A missing link
While the scientists from Russia have already made an appearance in ‘Stranger Things,’ the spies were missing. But, in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4, Yuri’s truth seems to be that he is a spy. He is not alone either, several of the new cast members will be portraying Russian parts, and there might be some intrigue on that level. According to the description of Yuri, there is no doubt that he is a Russian smuggler with a penchant for violence. He would be joined by the prison guard Dmitri, who seems to work in the grey area of morality.
As the fourth season hurtles towards more crisis, the crunchy peanut butter-loving Russian might not be a welcome addition for the heroes in Hawkins.
Who is Yuri? Given the decadal panic and the stories that ‘Stranger Things’ has been telling until now, there might be deeper secrets hidden behind revealing a new character. Is the show going into cold war intrigue? Yuri ‘Stranger Things 4’ will be a part of it.