Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Just Finished Stranger Things Season 4, And He Has Some Honest Gripes

Spoiler alert! The ending of Stranger Things Season 4 is discussed below, so proceed at your own risk.

Fans finally got their fourth dose of Stranger Things when the Duffer Brothers’ sci-fi sensation returned after nearly three years. Season 4’s suspenseful drama, epic musical moments and the cliffhanger ending left us with a bevy of emotions. While fans are just happy that their favorite characters survived, others are already wondering if we’ll get our biggest questions answered in Season 5. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been a vocal supporter of the Netflix hit, but he spoke out following his viewing of the super-sized finale to share why he was a little disappointed by Season 4’s final episodes.

Six-time NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar raved about the first seven episodes of Stranger Things Season 4, lauding its “spooky, nostalgic fun” and calling the series overall “magnificent.” It really wasn’t until the end of Volume 2 that the basketball legend became frustrated, and he didn’t hold back his honest thoughts about the ending when he discussed his gripes on his blog. For one thing, Abdul-Jabbar said too many plotlines were left unresolved, and he particularly didn’t like how things were left with Vecna. In his words: 

Most viewers are savvy enough to know that when a villain gets blasted out of a second-floor window and we see their body crumpled on the ground, by the time the heroes reach the ground to check on him, he’ll be gone. I was really hoping they would do something less predictable. Especially because I didn’t want to see Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) return in the next series. Once a villain has been defeated, I want the closure of having them stay defeated.

Certainly no offense to Jamie Campbell Bower, who was a standout addition to the Stranger Things universe in Season 4, but the NBA legend is absolutely right. Vecna being gone by the time everyone ran outside was super predictable. And with our Hawkins heroes fighting different villains each season (the Demogorgon, the Mind Flayer, the Spider Monster and now Vecna), I can definitely see how one might be disappointed at the possibility of a repeat villain come Season 5. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also called out the angsty teenage characters for being so brave in fighting these otherworldly monsters, but still unable to express their own emotions to each other. Possibly his biggest gripe, however, came at the very end, when the group walked over a hill to see the dead flowers, huge chasms in the ground, lightning and tornadoes of the Upside Down world coming into their own. The Lakers legend seemed frustrated and implored the characters to, “Look Up, Damnit!” He said:

Visually puzzling is the last scene when Eleven and the Scooby gang walk over a hill to examine a field of flowers that has shriveled due to the encroaching Upside Down world. They all stare at the blackened flowers in horror. Then they look up and see the entire horizon sky filled with dark tornadoes and lightning. That’s a little like frowning at a spot of blood on your swim suit, then noticing a shark took your leg. Directing gimmicks shouldn’t ignore how people would really act.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s criticisms are honest, but not unfair, and he clearly still holds the series in high esteem, saying he can’t wait for Stranger Things Season 5. We may be waiting a while on that one, and many are sure to remember just how long it took for this new stretch of episodes to see the light of day. But in the meantime, the first four seasons can be streamed as often as you like with a Netflix subscription. Also check out these movies we felt compelled to watch after our own viewing of Season 4

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.